Exquisite Cuisine & Amazing Architecture of the Garden of England

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September 10th – 17th, 2017
$4,990 for Royal Oak members
$5,140 for non-members

No single supplement – very limited availability

The county of Kent in south-east England is known as the Garden of England due to its rich landscape of orchards, hop gardens, fertile farmland and vineyards yielding an abundance of fine produce. This fascinating tour gives us the opportunity to sample world-class wines, tangy cider, award-winning beers and tasty cheeses as we discover how the region’s historic houses, castles and country estates are involved in producing delicious food and drink.

Day 1: Arrival


On arrival at Heathrow airport, a private transfer will take you to the Chilston Park Hotel, our base for the next six nights. In the evening you are invited to join the group for a welcome drink, followed by dinner.

Day 2Canterbury Cathedral and Leeds Castle


Ancient Castle in Leeds Kent with Large Lake Acting as Moat on aAfter breakfast, we travel to the historic city of Canterbury to visit Canterbury Cathedral, the oldest cathedral in England, dating back to Norman times. In 1170 Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered in the Cathedral and ever since, the minster has been a site of Christian pilgrimage.
We continue on to Leeds Castle, a quintessential moated castle set in 500
acres of glorious parkland. Dating back to the 12th century, it was once home to Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon. The castle’s last private owner was Lady Baillie, a wealthy Anglo-American heiress. We enjoy a High Society Secrets guided tour where we learn about the Lady Baillie party years with a light-hearted look back at some of the more colourful characters who stayed at the castle in the 1930s. After our tour, we have the chance to go punting on the moat while listening to a short talk from the boatman.
Later, we enjoy dinner in a local restaurant.

Day 3: Biddenden Vineyards and Winterdale Cheesemakers


We begin the day at Biddenden Vineyards, Kent’s original commercial vineyard, where we enjoy a guided tour to learn more about the history of this family-run vineyard and the wine and cider making process. After our tour, we sample the award-winning wines, ciders and juices followed by a tasty traditional British Ploughman’s platter.
Next is the family-run Winterdale Cheesemakers. Our guided tour takes us around the cheese-making dairy and the cave dug deep into the chalky North Downs where the cheese is left to mature. We follow our tour with a cheese tasting session and a Kentish cream tea.
We enjoy dinner tonight at a restaurant in historic Royal Tunbridge Wells.

Day 4: Sissinghurst Castle Garden and Scotney Castle


The Elizabethan Tower and Courtyard at Sissinghurst Castle, Kent.We head to Sissinghurst Castle Garden. Created in the 1930s by novelist Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicolson, these world-famous gardens are laid out as a series of enchanting, individually-planted ‘rooms’ including a fragrant Herb Garden and Rose Garden. Produce from the castle garden is used in Sissinghurst’s restaurant, and we learn more about
this on our early bird garden tour followed by refreshments.
Wealthy Victorians liked nothing more in their gardens than a picturesque ruin and the partially-ruined, 14th century moated example at Scotney Castle is particularly romantic, with roses and wisteria adorning its walls.
The lovely Victorian country house overlooking it combines 19th century revival style furnishings with domestic comfort. Scotney has its own ale, produced from hops grown on the estate as well as honey from the estate’s bees.
After dinner at a traditional pub, we return to the hotel where we enjoy a fascinating talk by a guest speaker.

Day 5: Chartwell, Quebec House and Squerryes Estate


Chartwell

We pay a visit to Chartwell, Sir Winston Churchill’s beloved home from 1924 to the time of his death. The house is set in a stunning location and is still home to many of the great statesman’s personal and political mementos, including an amazing collection of gifts he received from other world leaders and his personal painting studio hidden away in the colourful grounds.
Our next stop is Quebec House, the childhood home of General James Wolfe, victor of the Battle of Quebec in 1759. The house was built in the 1500s but is presented as it would have appeared in the 1730s when
James Wolfe and his family lived here. An exhibition tells of the dramatic battle that won America for the British and of Wolfe’s tragic death.
The 2,500 acre Squerryes Estate has been home to the Warde family since 1731. As well as a dairy herd and arable land, a 35 acre vineyard was planted in 2006 and has since produced two award-winning vintage sparkling wines. We are treated to a guided tour of the vineyard followed by a tasting of several different vintages. Dinner tonight is taken in a traditional English pub.

Day 6: Provender House and Shepherd Neame Brewery


Shepherd Neame Brewery

Shepherd Neame Brewery

Our first visit is to Provender, home of Princess Olga Romanoff, daughter of Prince Andrew
Romanoff, the eldest nephew of the Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. Dating back to the 13th century, Provender is a fascinating record of English building traditions over seven centuries. A recent
programme of careful restoration has revealed a wealth of historical and architectural detail which we discover on our exclusive private tour, led by the princess herself.
We then visit the Shepherd Neame Brewery, Britain’s oldest brewer, founded in 1698. The brewery produces a range of quintessentially Kentish ales and award-winning lagers which we discover on our guided tour, followed by a homemade lunch.
We enjoy dinner tonight at a restaurant in the historic harbour town of Whitstable. Famous for its oysters, Whitstable is a foodie haven.

Day 7: Penshurst Place


Penshurst Place is a medieval manor house surrounded by stunning formal walled gardens and ancient parkland. Previously used as a hunting lodge by Henry VIII, it has been owned by the Sidney family since 1552 and is still a much-loved family home. We are treated to morning coffee and a private guided tour of the house which still displays many of its original medieval and Tudor features, a magnificent Great Hall and State Rooms which house a fine collection of portraits,
furniture and tapestries. We enjoy lunch here after our tour.
From here we travel to the Macdonald Windsor Hotel, where we enjoy a farewell dinner together.

Day 8: Departure


A private transfer will take you back to Heathrow airport for your return flight home.

Please note: On five nights of the tour, dinner will be provided in a traditional English pub or local restaurant with a great reputation for food. Drinks are not included with evening meals.

What’s Included

  • Airport transfers from London Heathrow*
  • ‹‹6 nights at the Chilston Park Hotel
  • ‹‹1 night at the Macdonald Windsor Hotel
  • Welcome drink and canapés
  • Full English breakfast
  • 1 dinner at the Chilston Park Hotel (including after dinner tea and coffee)
  • 5 dinners in traditional pubs or local restaurants in Kent
  • 1 dinner at the Macdonald Windsor Hotel (including after dinner tea and coffee)
  • Services of a tour director throughout your stay
  • Travel to and from all excursions
  • All entrance costs
  • Porterage                                                                                                                                               *Supplement applies for transfers from all other airports 

Special Extras included in your itinerary:

  • Morning coffee at Groomsbridge Place
  • ‹‹High Society Secrets guided tour at Leeds Castle
  • ‹‹Guided tour, tasting and Ploughman’s lunch at Biddenden Vineyards
  • Guided tour, cheese tasting and Kentish cream tea at Winterdale Cheesemakers
  • ‹‹Early bird garden tour and refreshments at Sissinghurst Castle Garden
  • ‹‹Guided tour and wine tasting at the Squerryes Estate
  • ‹‹Exclusive private tour of Provender by Princess Olga Romanoff
  • Guided tour and lunch at Shepherd Neame Brewery
  • ‹‹Morning coffee, private guided house tour and lunch at Penshurst Place
  • Themed evening talk by a guest speaker

Your Hotels:

Nights One to Six – Chilston Park Hotel
Set in 22 acres of parkland in the heart of Kent, the Chilston Park Hotel is an elegant 17th-century manor house. Once home to eminent politicians, writers, Lords and Viscounts, the hotel is
filled with antiques dating from as far back as the 17th century and offers the classic comforts of a British country house hotel.
Night Seven – Macdonald Windsor Hotel, Windsor

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