Step Back in Time Traditional Country House Christmas

About the tour

Christmas in England conjures up images of Dickensian London and A Christmas Carol or traditional country houses where families gather around roaring fires. We celebrate the spirit of Christmas past and catch a glimpse of festivities of times gone by as we travel from London to the pastoral Home Counties on this special tour. We enjoy enchanting visits to magnificent properties which are specially decorated for the season, from the royal residence of Windsor Castle to Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill. To complete our festive getaway we experience the magic of Christmas at Kew Gardens and also visit the lovely city of Oxford, where we have time for some Christmas shopping.

What’s Included

  • Return airport transfers from London Heathrow*
  • 3 nights at the Macdonald Windsor Hotel
  • 2 nights at Hartwell House & Spa
  • Welcome drink and canapés
  • Full English/Continental breakfast each day
  • 3-course table d’hôte dinner on 3 nights at the hotels (with after-dinner tea and coffee)
  • 1 dinner at a local restaurant
  • Services of a tour director throughout your stay
  • Travel to and from all excursions
  • All excursion costs
  • Porterage where available

*supplement applies for transfers from all other airports and all other locations, including central London

Special extras included in your itinerary

  • Audio-guided tour of Windsor Castle
  • Guided walking tour of Oxford
  • Afternoon tea at Hartwell House
  • Festive lunch* at the Five Arrows, Waddesdon Estate
  • Private carol singing performance at the Macdonald Windsor Hotel

*Please inform us at the time of booking of any special dietary requirements.

Tour Information

6th to 11th December 2023

6 Day Tour

Price from:
$4,340 Per Person


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Hartwell House Hotel

Windsor castle near London, United Kingdom

Waddesdon Manor

Ham House



Wednesday: Arrival

On arrival at Heathrow airport, a private transfer will take you to the Macdonald Windsor Hotel, where we stay for the next two nights. In the evening, join the group for a welcome drink, followed by dinner.

Meals: Dinner


Thursday: Windsor Castle, Ham House and Kew Gardens

We start our day with a visit Windsor Castle, the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world and the final resting place of Elizabeth II. Established in the 11th century by William the Conqueror, it has been remodeled by successive kings and queens and is regularly used for ceremonial and state occasions. The magnificent State Apartments are furnished with some of the finest works of art for you to admire, beautifully decorated at this time of year. We find out more of the castle’s history on our audio-guided tour.

We continue to Ham House and Gardens, one of Europe’s greatest 17th-century houses nestling on the banks of the River Thames. This atmospheric mansion with fine interiors and historic gardens has remained virtually unchanged for 400 years. The atmosphere of a 17th-century Christmas is recreated during the festive season with decorations adorning the house and gardens.

Later, a festive treat awaits us at the world-famous Kew Gardens, where the iconic architecture and tree canopies are brought to life, drenched in Christmas color and sparkling with seasonal decorations. Discover an enchanting festive trail of lights that winds its way through the botanic gardens, before enjoying some tasty treats from one of the many enticing stalls.

This evening we enjoy a late dinner at a local restaurant.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner


Friday: Blenheim Palace and Greys Court

Today we visit Blenheim Palace, set in over 2,000 acres of beautiful parkland landscaped by ‘Capability’ Brown. As the seat of the Dukes of Marlborough, the palace is synonymous with the Churchill family and is the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. A permanent exhibition commemorates the life of this famous wartime Prime Minister, whilst the magnificent State Rooms are sumptuously dressed for Christmas and reveal a superb collection of tapestries, paintings, porcelain and furniture.

We continue on to Greys Court, a filming location of the hugely popular Downton Abbey TV series and film. Set in the rolling hills of the Chilterns, this picturesque Tudor mansion has a rich patchwork of styles, including 18th-century additions and 20th-century interiors. The house is still furnished as an intimate family home, having been occupied until 2003, and is beautifully decorated during the countdown to Christmas.

Later, we check in to Hartwell House & Spa, one of the National Trust’s Historic House Hotels, where we stay for the remainder of our tour.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner


Saturday: Oxford and the Ashmolean Museum

This morning we enjoy a guided walking tour of Oxford, known as the city of dreaming spires and famed for its world-renowned university colleges, some of which we visit during our tour. We take in the city’s highlights before refreshments and a guided tour at the Ashmolean, the world’s first public museum. Founded in 1683, the museum focuses on art and archaeology and the world-famous collections range from Egyptian mummies to contemporary paintings and sculptures. There is then time for a spot of retail therapy before indulging in a festive afternoon tea back at Hartwell House.

Meals: Breakfast, Afternoon Tea


Sunday: Waddesdon Manor

Checking out of the hotel, we head to Waddesdon Manor, built by the wealthy Rothschild family in the style of a Renaissance château and filled with royal treasures. We have time to explore the interiors, given an extra sparkle around Christmas with lavish festive decorations, before enjoying a festive lunch at the Five Arrows, located at the gates of the manor. The Christmas theme continues into Waddesdon’s gardens with light trails and stunning illuminations, including the 30ft-high real Christmas tree with its magical fairy lights, as well as a charming Christmas Fair offering a range of yuletide treats.

Afterward, we check back in to the Macdonald Windsor Hotel where we toast the festive season with a farewell dinner this evening and enjoy a private carol singing performance, highlighting some of the traditions and customs during this special time of year.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Monday: Departure

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

Meals: Breakfast

Please note: the order of excursions is subject to change and guided tours are subject to restrictions.


Hotel Information

  • Nights One, Two and Five – Macdonald Windsor Hotel, Windsor
    The Macdonald Windsor Hotel is situated in the heart of the historic town of Windsor, opposite the famous Windsor Castle. The classic interiors, with a contemporary edge, fit perfectly with the Georgian elegance of this townhouse hotel. The luxury bedrooms are individually-designed and the hotel also offers a stylish bar and restaurant.
  • Nights Three and Four – Hartwell House & Spa, near Aylesbury
    Set in over 90 acres of gardens and parkland, Hartwell House & Spa in Buckinghamshire is a wonderful stately home that was donated to the National Trust and is now run as a luxury hotel. The estate’s history stretches back nearly a thousand years while the house itself dates from the 17th century. In the early 19th century the exiled king, Louis XVIII, held court here and, more recently, Bill Clinton addressed the American people from Hartwell’s library.


Hartwell House Hotel bedroom

Mac Donald Windsor Hotel Bedroom

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