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Tour Pricing:

Double-occupancy, land only: $3,898 per person

Single occupancy: +$1,220


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Tour Overview Itinerary Photo Gallery Free Insider's Guide Join the Tour About Us
Glorious Gardens of Ireland Itinerary
Oxford & Cotswolds Gardens
May 14 - 21, 2018
Chelsea in Style
May 20 - 27, 2018
English Gardens
May 27 - 30, 2018

Oxford and the Gardens of the Cotswolds

Guaranteed Departure

Oxford Tour "pre" Chelsea in Style
May 14 - May 21, 2018

Our wildly popular Oxford and the Gorgeous Cotswolds gardens tours return in 2018 (now in its sixth year this trip is better than ever!) Our guests are enthralled by Oxford and love the time this tour affords them to explore the museums, art galleries, shops, history and gardens of this wonderful city. We are thrilled to offer a package that includes visits to the best gardens and villages of the Cotswolds area. Not only will you love the amazing gardens, the private tours, the memorable dining experiences and first-class guides, but you will be traveling with a group of garden lovers just like yourself.

When combined with our 29th annual Chelsea In Style trip this is the BEST way to see the most spectacular gardens in England.

Sunday, May 13 ~ Travel day, meals on-board flights.

Though not officially a day included in the tour, we've included it here to help you make your plans. The vast majority of US flights to London depart the day prior to the day they arrive (depart on the 13th, arrive on the 14th.) You'll depart from your nearest international gateway to Heathrow Airport (LHR), in London, England via your preferred air carrier. You should arrive on Monday, May 14 so you will be in London for our first group event. Please get in touch with us if you'd like assistance exploring your flight options. You may also want to consider arriving a day early (arriving Sunday, May 13) and spending the night at the luxurious Sofitel airport at London Heathrow - this is the easiest way to join the tour, and provides for the most gentle transition to "England" time. PLease get in touch with us if you'd like more information.

Monday, May 14 ~ Hampton Court visit, welcome dinner at the Randolph Hotel.

Arrive in London and meet your Blue Badge Guide and Huron Tours & Travel tour managers who will be with you the entire tour. Transfer by private motorcoach to the historic and vibrant city of Oxford which will be our home base for the next 7 days.

En-route to Oxford, we'll visit the famous Hampton Court Palace and Gardens for a self guided tour.

The Royal residence is situated on the banks of the Thames, south-west of London. Started by Cardinal Wolsey in 1514, Hampton Court was confiscated in 1529 by Henry VIII and beginning in 1689 Sir Christopher Wren started work on many enhancements. During your visit you can explore the apartments filled with period porcelain, furniture, paintings, and tapestries.

The real draw for our Huron Travelers will no doubt be the Palace Gardens! Hampton Court has nearly 60 acres of formal gardens featuring 200,000 flowering bulbs and 140,000 plants which are grown in the palace nurseries. The palace gardens date back to the 16th Century when the first Privy garden was laid out between 1530 and 1538 for Henry VIII. Be sure to see the famous Hampton Court Maze which was planted in 1714 and covers a third of an acre and contains a half a mile of plants.

Upon arrival in Oxford, we'll check into the perfectly located Randolph Hotel in the heart of historic Oxford. This historic, stunning and unique hotel is a beautifully restored property and features fabulous original architecture and every first class amenity you can imagine. It is a luxury hotel like no other and we are so thrilled to be staying at this unique hotel for our tour of the gardens of the Cotswolds.

This evening we'll enjoy a very special welcome dinner with wine at celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's Italian restaurant, one of Oxford's most popular establishments.

Tuesday, May 15 ~ Oxford orientation walk, Cotswold village visit, Barnsley House visit and dinner. Breakfast included.

After enjoying breakfast at the hotel, our very own Oxford graduate and Blue Badge Guide will lead us on a private Oxford Orientation. We'll see Oxford's highlights, while getting a feel for how easy it is to explore this vibrant, welcoming city full of history.

Dotted throughout the beautiful Cotswolds countryside are absolute gems of little medieval villages. Today, following our Oxford orientation, we'll set out to visit one of our favorites, Burford, to experience the magic that draws thousands of tourists through this area each year. Burford, nestled along the banks of the River Windrush, has maintained its charm, and is of historical significance having held a local market for the past 900 years. It also is home to one of the top 20 churches of the Cotswolds, which boasts a charming garden of its own, and is open to visit.

A special treasure awaits us this evening at the late Rosemary Verey's Barnsley House and Gardens.

Barnsley House’s four acre garden is the epitome of a delightful English garden and blends many styles in an artful and pleasing combination with subtle and beautiful color and texture coordination. The house dates from 1697 and the garden is enclosed on three sides by a stone wall dating from 1770. Their head gardener Richard never fails to provide us an informative and enthusiastic tour, and he delights our tour each year.

Following a private tour of this garden of unmatched character, we will enjoy a wonderful dinner made with the freshest ingredients from the kitchen garden in Barnsley’s beautiful restaurant with delightful garden views.

Wednesday, May 16 ~ Visits to Hidcote and Kiftsgate Gardens. Breakfast included at hotel today.

This morning we’ll depart for two amazing visits: Hidcote Manor & Kiftsgate Court Gardens.

Nestled in the beautiful North Cotswolds with stunning views of the Valley of Evesham, Hidcote is one of England’s greatest arts and crafts gardens and consists of a series of outdoor “rooms”, each with its own distinct character and theme. These rooms, such as the 'White Garden' and 'Fuchsia Garden' are linked together by imaginative vistas and furnished with topiaries. Some have ponds and fountains, and all are planted with flowers in bedding schemes. You will have plenty of time to explore this astonishing creation and enjoy lunch at your leisure before we depart for our next stop, Kiftsgate Court Gardens.

Famous for its roses, Kiftsgate is the creation of three generations of women gardeners and is all about plants and use of color. It was made by Heather Muir with much help from Major Johnston of Hidcote. This 20th century garden is blessed with color and an informal atmosphere. Most impressively, there is a wonderful display of bulbs in the spring. A woodland garden steps down the hillside to a half-moon swimming pool. Many features are typical of the Arts and Crafts period: herbaceous borders, a four square garden, a white garden, a yellow border, a rockery, lawns and a bluebell wood. The Kiftsgate Water Garden, called the New Garden, has a bronze leaf sculpture by Simon Allison. The water garden was designed by the owners (Anne and Johnny Chambers).

Huron Tours finds Kifsgate Garden to be one of the most charming spots in all of England.

Tonight dinner is on your own. Be sure to review our extensive list of Oxford restaurant recommendations included in your tour documents, most are within easy walking distance of our hotel.

Thursday, May 17 ~ Visits to Highgrove Gardens and Tetubury. Breakfast and lunch included.

After a leisurely breakfast and morning on your own, we'll depart for a very special day out.

We'll begin our day with a tour of Highgrove Gardens - the Private Gardens of Their Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall.

The Prince of Wales has spent 30 years transforming the grounds of Highgrove into what have been acknowledged as some of the most inspired and innovative gardens in the United Kingdom. His Royal Highness’s strict adherence to organic and sustainable methods has helped create gardens which are both magical and intriguing while being environmentally sound; encouraging both plants and wildlife to thrive. Our extensive tour will be led by one of His Royal Highness's Garden Guides.

We’ll enjoy lunch together today in the beautiful setting of Highgrove’s Orchard Room.

After lunch we’ll head into the nearby town of Tetbury, a true architectural gem as many of the wool merchants houses still look as they did 300 years ago. Tetbury is well known for its many antique shops, and several shops boasting the "Royal Warrant of Appointment", and you will have time to browse and stroll before we head back in to Oxford for a night on your own.

Friday, May 18 ~ Blenheim Palace, lunch at the Bear, village of Woodstock visit. Breakfast at the hotel.

Neighboring Oxford is the home of the 11th Duke and Dutchess of Malborough, Blenheim Palace. Blenheim Palace and Gardens, named the 2008 Garden of the Year by Christie’s and the Historic House Association. Set in 2100 acres of beautiful parkland, Blenheim Palace was built for the first Duke of Marlborough and is the birthplace of Winston Churchill. The vast mansion is a unique example of English Baroque Architecture and one of England’s largest houses. The gardens, landscaped by the famous landscape architect, Capability Brown, offer quite the variety! From the beauty and tranquility of the formal and rose gardens to the charm of the Arboretum, there is something to suit every taste at Blenheim. The Secret garden is one of the most popular attractions for plant lovers as it is a garden for all seasons combining mature trees with new plantings.

After exploring Blenheim, we'll enjoy lunch together at the award winning Bear Restaurant in the nearby town of Woodstock. Following lunch, you'll have time to visit Woodstock. The Domesday Book of 1086 describes Woodstock (Wodestock, Wodestok, Wodestole) as a royal forest, and it is now a town of easy-to-explore historic streets as lovely as any found in the Cotswolds. Woodstock has many interesting boutiques, unique art galleries and antique shops. The Oxfordshire Museum in the heart of town is also worth a visit.

Tonight, dinner is on your own in Oxford. Ask Katie or John for their favorites.

Saturday, May 19 ~ Free day. Breakfast at hotel, dinner at Balliol college.

A completely free day to enjoy Oxford and its many museums, shops, and historical attractions.

You might wish to spend the day at Oxford’s Botanical Gardens-the oldest in the U.K. and just a short walk from our hotel.

If you enjoy museums, you won’t have to look far to find some of the best. The famous Ashmolean is vast, impressive and is Britain’s oldest public museum. Other highlights include the Oxford University Museums of Natural History, The Pitt-Rivers Museum and the Christ Church Picture Gallery just to name a few.

If shopping strikes your fancy, Oxford has the oldest covered market in England and there are a large number of wonderful shops in the city centre right near your hotel. For the bookworm (like we are!) be sure to visit Blackwell’s Books which is the largest space dedicated to book sales in Europe and a tourist attraction in itself.

Be sure to review our ‘What to Do and See in Oxford’ guide that is included in your final tour documents. It will assist you in making the most of your free time in this amazing city.

For our final evening together in Oxford, we'll enjoy a once in a lifetime private Farewell Dinner at Balliol College. Balliol is arguably the oldest and leading intellectual college at Oxford. It has stood at the site where we will be having dinner longer than any college in the English-Speaking world. In addition to the college itself we will also have access to the beautiful garden quad and the Chapel. This will be an evening you won’t forget.

Sunday, May 20 ~ Transfer to London, Chelsea Physic Garden visit and lunch. Breakfast at hotel before departure. Free night in London.

Enjoy a morning of leisure before we depart for London. En-route to our hotel we'll visit the famed Chelsea Physic Garden where we will also enjoy lunch together.

Situated behind the Royal Hospital site where the Chelsea Flower Show is held each year, this 4 acre garden of horticultural delights was first an Apothecaries’ garden when it was established in 1673. It is the 2nd oldest Botanical garden in the U.K. after Oxford’s Botanical Garden. It is home to one of the oldest rock garden in Europe and also boasts several rare plants, an herb garden with culinary and medicinal plants as well as a glass house.

We depart the Physic Garden and make our way to our fabulous hotel in London's posh South Kensington neighborhood.

If you have joined our Chelsea Flower Show in Style tour, we'll have an excellent "welcome to London" dinner and drinks reception at the hotel this evening.

If your tour ends, and you are leaving us tomorrow, dinner will be on your own tonight.

Monday, May 21 ~ Depart for home, or join our Chelsea Flower Show tour. Breakfast at hotel before departure.

This morning you'll enjoy our hotel's excellent breakfast. For those of you who are not joining our Chelsea Flower Show in Style tour, we'll bid you a sad farewell as your transfer whisks you to the airport in time for your flights home (or take advantage of our special group pricing at our hotel and extend your stay.)

Or continue your exploration of English gardens and attend the world's greatest flower show by joining our Chelsea Flower Show in Style tour.

Onward for Chelsea Flower Show and London! (Click Here)

If the above Oxford dates don't work for you, you may want to consider taking our "English Garden Extension" post "Chelsea Flower Show in Style," May 27 - May 30, 2018. English Garden Extension.

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Chelsea Physic picture by Flickr user bixentro