Greenway, home of Agatha ChristieKnollGardens of Hidcot Manor, protected by the National Trust.Stourhead

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Welsh Castles, Charming Cheshire & the Beatles

27th July 2014 - 4th August 2014 — £2,395 approx. $3,750

The North West of England offers a fascinating combination of industrial heritage and fine houses while across the border into Wales, mighty castles and dramatic landscapes offer a veritable feast for the eyes.

Sunday 27th July: Arrival

On arrival at Heathrow you will be able to catch a 'Hotel Hoppa' bus direct to our overnight hotel, the Crowne Plaza London Heathrow. In the evening you are invited to join the group for a cocktail, followed by dinner.

Monday 28th July: 'Downton Abbey'

We depart after breakfast for a morning at the world-famous Highclere Castle, residence of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon and filming location for the much loved Downton Abbey television series. Entrance includes access to the Egyptian Exhibition in the cellars of the castle, which explores the achievements of the 5th Earl of Carnarvon who discovered the tomb of Tutankhamen in 1922.

We then travel north and check in to Nunsmere Hall Hotel. There'll be time to unpack and freshen up before dinner.

Tuesday 29th July: Quarry Bank Mill and Little Moreton Hall

We begin the day at Quarry Bank Mill on the Styal Estate in the Cheshire countryside. This restored Georgian mill, complete with hand spinners in authentic costume and Europe's most powerful working waterwheel, offers rich insight into the earliest days of Britain's industrial past.

We then head to Little Moreton Hall where we take a guided tour of this charming and quirky black and white timbered Tudor manor house surrounded by a scenic moat. It is a unique and delightful sight with its tumbling architecture, Elizabethan Long Gallery and pretty knot garden.

Wednesday 30th July: Beatles' Childhood Homes Tour and Arley Hall and Gardens

We take a trip down memory lane and visit the childhood homes of John Lennon and Sir Paul McCartney in Liverpool. We see inside the atmospheric 1950s period houses where they grew up and composed and practised some of their earliest songs.

Our next visit is to Arley Hall and Gardens. After enjoying lunch here, we enter a piece of living history as the Hall has been the much-loved home of Viscount Ashbrook and his forbears for over 500 years. The present-day Hall stands on the site of the original 15th century house and provides a warm and intimate atmosphere with elaborate ceilings, oak-panelling and beautiful furniture. We'll learn more on our private house tour.

Thursday 31st July: Chirk Castle

We check out of our hotel and head to Chirk Castle, where we spend the day. 700 years of history are etched into the stones of the castle, the last of Edward Longshanks' magnificent fortresses still inhabited today. The medieval dungeons and towers are relics of more spartan times, while the Long Gallery and State Rooms are sumptuous by comparison. We enjoy a Connoisseurs Castle tour, taking a closer look at the inspirational interiors and beautiful artefacts.

From here we travel to Bodysgallen Hall & Spa, arriving in time to unpack and freshen up before dinner.

Friday 1st August: Caernarfon Castle and Portmeirion

We visit Caernarfon Castle, a commanding fortress ordered by King Edward I in the 13th century. Set on the banks of the Menai Strait, the fortress with its unique polygonal towers and intimidating battlements has been awarded World Heritage status. The castle also houses the Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum.

We continue on to Portmeirion, an Italianate village created by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, inspired by his visits to the Mediterranean. Its unique atmosphere has been featured on camera many times, most famously in the iconic 1960s British TV series The Prisoner. We enjoy a guided tour of this romantic village.

Saturday 2nd August: Plas Newydd House and Penrhyn Castle

We travel to Plas Newydd House, a fine country house built on the banks of the Menai Strait with views towards the mountains of Snowdonia. We'll take a guided tour of the comfortable interiors of this splendid house, redesigned by architect James Wyatt in the 18th century.

Built in the 19th century in a neo-Norman style, the magnificent Penrhyn Castle was built on a massive scale over a period of 13 years and offers outstanding views of Snowdonia. There is so much to see here, from the outstanding collection of paintings, restored Victorian kitchens and a railway museum.

Sunday 3rd August: Weston Park and Ironbridge

After checking out of our hotel we begin our journey southwards, stopping first at Weston Park, a magnificent 17th century stately home set amidst 1,000 acres of Capability Brown parkland. Weston is also home to an impressive art collection including works by Van Dyck and Gainsborough.

After lunch, we make a brief stop in the town of Ironbridge, site of the world's first cast-iron bridge, built in 1779. It is one of the great symbols of the Industrial Revolution and offers fantastic views of the Ironbridge Gorge and River Severn.

From here we travel back to the Crowne Plaza Hotel close to Heathrow, where we'll enjoy dinner before departure the next day.

Monday 4th August: Departure

Special extras included in your itinerary

  • Guided tour of Little Moreton Hall
  • National Trust tour of the Beatles' Childhood Homes
  • Private house tour and lunch at Arley Hall
  • 'Connoisseurs Castle' tour at Chirk Castle with tea, coffee & biscuits afterwards
  • Guided tour of Portmeirion
  • Private guided tour of Plas Newydd

Your Hotels

Nights One & Eight

The Crowne Plaza London Heathrow is a modern hotel within a couple of miles of the airport. Comfortable en-suite rooms are matched by great leisure facilities, including a large indoor swimming pool and sauna.

Nights Two to Four

Built around 1900, Nunsmere Hall Hotel is a classic English country house standing midway between Chester and Northwich in the heart of the Cheshire countryside. On a private estate with 11 acres of wooded and landscaped gardens and bounded on three sides by a magnificent 60-acre lake, this small luxury hotel is a haven of peace and tranquillity. All rooms are individually designed with antique furniture and fine fabrics and the hotel also boasts elegant lounges, a library, an oak-panelled bar and Crystal restaurant.

Nights Five to Seven

One of the three Historic House Hotels of the National Trust, Bodysgallen Hall & Spa is a luxury hotel just two miles from the seaside resort of Llandudno in North Wales. This sympathetically restored, 17th century country house stands in over 200 acres of wooded parkland and beautiful formal walled gardens affording lovely views of the Snowdonia mountain range and Conwy Castle. The individually-decorated bedrooms are divided between the main hall and several cottages in the grounds and leisure facilities include a swimming pool, steam room, sauna, solarium and gym.

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At a Glance

  • 2 nights at the Crowne Plaza London Heathrow
  • 3 nights at Nunsmere Hall Hotel
  • 3 nights at Bodysgallen Hall & Spa
  • Full English breakfast & 3-course table d'hôte dinner each day
  • Travel by comfortable motor coach
  • Services of a tour director throughout your stay
  • All entrance costs
  • Welcome cocktail on your first evening

Single Supplement waived for this tour.

The member's price in US dollars is $3,750. As a British company, all our tours are priced in sterling rather than dollars. Obviously the exchange rate will fluctuate very slightly each day so the prices shown are correct at the time of this webpage going live.

The prices shown are Royal Oak members' prices. Non-members will be required to pay an additional £100 per person, if booking online please check the non-members box. If you are a member please take your Royal Oak membership card with you as some National Trust properties will require proof of membership to be shown on entry. If you're not a member why not join now?

Find out More

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between the hours of 9am & 5:30pm
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