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England, Scotland & Wales 2014

Trip Extensions

Pre-trip: London, England

Begin your discoveries in London, the bustling, historic capital of England. An included two-day London Transport Pass will give you easy access to the city’s “Tube” (subway) and buses, bringing you to all corners of the city—enjoying sites like the Royal Albert Hall or the British Museum.

It's Included:
Accommodations for 3 nights in London at the First-Class Tower Hotel
3 meals: 3 breakfasts
Included tour: Hampton Court Palace & Gardens
2-day London Transport Pass
Exclusive services of a Hospitality Desk representative during the day
All transfers
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    Depart the U.S. today on your flight to London. Please refer to your individual air itinerary for exact departure and arrival times.

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    Arrive throughout the day in London, England. You'll be met at the airport and accompanied to our hotel, where you are invited to join your Hospitality Desk representative for an orientation walk of the area around your hotel.

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    The day is yours to explore London on your own using your included London Transport Pass. Perhaps you’ll journey to Buckingham Palace to view the official residence of Her Majesty, the Queen. Or you might explore the exhibits at one of London’s many museums. The vast collection of the National Portrait Gallery, near Trafalgar Square, includes the famous Chandos portrait of William Shakespeare. The Tate Britain offers an extraordinary range of five centuries of British art. The Tate Modern features contemporary art, with changing installations that make headlines around the world.

    The Royal Albert Hall was inspired by the early works of the Romans. This large amphitheater is home to some of the world's finest concerts and musical events, and is a true English monument. Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone for the Royal Albert Hall in 1867 in memory of her late husband, Prince Albert.

    Or, perhaps you'll visit the Victoria and Albert Museum, a spacious building full of art galleries and artistic displays. Some of the country's great artistic treasures are here. Entry to the museum is free, as is entry to the adjacent National History Museum and Science Museum, both of which are well worth a visit.

    Another interesting site is Kensington Palace, built for joint monarchs William and Mary, and once home to Princess Diana and Princess Margaret.

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    This morning, enjoy an included visit to the Hampton Court Palace and Gardens, exploring at own pace using their audio equipment. Hampton Court was leased by Cardinal Wolsey in 1514, and he began rebuilding and converting it into a lavish palace. Hampton Court became a royal residence when it was turned over to Henry VIII in 1529. A pair of magnificent public rooms remains from Henry’s reign: the Great Hall and the Chapel Royal, still a place of worship today. The practical side of royal life is represented by the enormous Tudor Kitchens, the most extensive surviving 16th-century kitchens in Europe, where meals for 1,000 people were once prepared daily. The palace is home to one of the greatest collections of Renaissance paintings in England, housed in the Wolsey Rooms and the Renaissance Picture Gallery. The buildings cover six acres, and there are also more than 60 acres of gardens.

    The Hampton Court Gardens are a fascinating mix of 500 years of royal gardening history. Originally agricultural land, Cardinal Wolsey created the first gardens; but Henry VIII established the overall structure of the gardens—much as they exist today. Among others, the gardens feature a Privy Garden (the King’s private garden, recently restored to its 1702 state with period-era plantings), the Knot, Pond, and Great Fountain Gardens. The Northern Gardens feature a 1702 maze. Here you’ll also find the Great Vine—a vine planted in 1768 by Lancelot “Capability” Brown, which is the oldest known vine in the world. It still produces more than 500 pounds of grapes each year.

    This afternoon and evening, use your included London Transport Pass to make your own discoveries.

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    This morning, after breakfast at your hotel, you'll join fellow travelers arriving for your England, Scotland & Wales Land Tour.