Heart of England, Wales & Yorkshire
5 day tour

Travel to the centre of Shakespeare country, where villages as pretty as his famed sonnets await you.

Tour map

Highlights

National Parks
Mountains
Cathedrals
Universities

Places you'll explore


Stratford-upon-Avon - The birthplace of Shakespeare, home to many Tudor thatched cottages and the gardens of The Bard’s wife, Anne Hathaway.

Ironbridge World Heritage Site - One of the birthplaces of the English Industrial Revolution, this world famous bridge and heritage site marks one of the crucial moments in the rise of the British Empire.

The mountains of Snowdonia - Inspiring historical figures such as Charles Darwin, these mountains offer a sense of scale and rugged beauty rarely matched in the U.K.

Conwy Castle - Set on a river bank near an impressive pair of bridges, this brilliantly preserved 13th century estuary fortress is a visual treat.

Peak District National Park - Broadleaved woodlands give way to sheltered deep valleys in this geological wonderland.

Chatsworth House - The magnificent grand house of the Devonshire family lies in a stunning estate, famed for its amazing fountains and verdant maze.

York and the Dales - The fiercely rugged Yorkshire Dales are on offer to you, a great verdant expanse with the beautiful Gothic-influenced city of York at its centre.

Cambridge - A towering Gothic chapel extends over this charming university city and its beautifully maintained residences.


Your journey


The vibrant heart of Shakespeare country lays open for you on this 5 day tour of England, Wales and Yorkshire. From the rugged mountains and castles of North Wales to the superbly dramatic scenery of the Peak District, the most powerfully beautiful aspects of British nature are here.

Explore the ancient Gothic majesty of the historic settlements of the North and the charming intimacy of its valley villages.

If you’ve ever wondered what inspired The Bard’s wonderful writings, this exploration of his cultural roots is the ideal tour choice.


Tour Details

Departs
09.00 - Stance 3, Greenline Coach Terminal, Bulleid Way, Victoria
(Tours on and after April 1st depart at 09.15)
Returns
19.30 approx
Discounts

Students, seniors over 60, and children between 5 and 15 (unfortunately, we don't carry children under 5 years old)

Important information
  • Pack your waterproof clothing and walking shoes
  • One 15 kilogram bag, and one carry-on bag per person
Tour inclusions
  • Transport on a 16 seat Mercedes mini-coach
  • Air conditioning as standard
  • The stories and services of a Rabbie's driver-guide
Tour exclusions
  • Entry fees to visitor attractions

Itinerary

Day 1

Departing from London, you travel to the birthplace of William Shakespeare, Stratford-on-Avon. Home to the beautiful gardens and thatched Tudor cottage of his wife, Anne Hathaway, you have time to explore the charming village of Stratford. Enjoy lunch in one of the quaint restaurants before heading to the World Heritage site of Ironbridge, the world’s first ever bridge fully made of iron, set in a distinctive forested gorge on the River Severn. The amazing sights here were developed during the rise of Britain’s Industrial Revolution and there are many attractions within the site for you to learn more about this fascinating period.

You then wind your way down to the riverside town of Shrewsbury, a pretty county town that lies on the banks of the mighty River Severn. The birthplace of Charles Darwin, this bustling market town and its timber framed black and white Tudor buildings are your home for the next two nights.

Day 2

Your tour takes you to the heart of North Wales today. Firstly, you explore the picture book beauty of Conwy and its picturesque medieval castle. Built by Edward I in the 13th century, this estuary fortress offers spectacular views from the battlements.

Next you roam the impressive mountains and valleys of the Snowdonia National Park, delving into the massive Dinorwic slate quarries and the powerfully dramatic Pass of Llanberis under the shadow of Snowdon, Wales’ highest peak. Relive the struggle for Welsh independence and the rebellious tale of Owain Glyndwr, the last native Prince of Wales before heading back over the English border to your accommodation.

Day 3

Lying northeast of Shrewsbury are the incredible peaks and valleys of the Peak District National Park. Picturesque villages and unbeatable scenery line your route as you wind through the park’s inimitable landscape. After a visually spectacular drive, you arrive in the charmingly attractive village of Castleton, nestled in the Vale of Hope. Overlooked by Peveril Castle, this hospitable place offers a chance for a pretty picnic and to enjoy the fine local fare.

In the afternoon, you make your way to the Duke of Devonshire’s famous mansion house and gardens at Chatsworth. Home to the Cavendish family, this renowned building is regularly named the UK’s favourite country house thanks to its fantastically large collection of furniture, priceless paintings, Old Master drawings and neo-classical sculptures. Travelling east from the estate, you pass through rolling green hills to the historic walled city of York, where you will spend the next two nights.

Day 4

Today there are two major options for the events of your day. Firstly, you can choose to spend the day leisurely exploring the medieval heart of York, an ancient city with a colourful history dating back to the times of the Romans, Vikings and Normans. The towering Gothic spire at York Minster rises above the city, casting its spirituality across the brilliant museums, narrow lanes and distinctive stone city walls.

Alternatively, you could journey out with your guide on a half day excursion across the Yorkshire Dales to the handsome market towns of Knaresborough or Ripon. Take your time with the beautiful architecture and spa town luxuries on offer before heading to some of the more remote valleys and formidably impressive scenery of the Eastern Dale, followed by a free afternoon in York to dine and relax in the city’s plentiful restaurants and shops.

Day 5

Departing the fair city of York in the morning, you begin your journey south to London. Stopping in the town of Stamford, famed for its superior collection of historic stone buildings. Declared as “the finest stone town in England” by Sir Walter Scott, it’s more than 600 listed buildings made from mellow limestone are a real visual feast, especially its five medieval churches.

After leaving its phenomenal structures behind, you head south to the university city of Cambridge. Home to one of the world’s finest universities, the iconic architecture of the 16th century Great Gate and the historic medieval streets surrounding it are a delight to behold. Wander through the world famous Kings College Chapel and stroll alongside the river Cam before heading back to London.

Customer Reviews

Excellent tour--Suggested Reading/Listening

Dave and Linda Rosedahl Posted on 13/11/2014

Enjoyed our tour with Steve. Since returning to US, I've been listening to Teachg Company Great Courses lectures by Prof. Patrick Allitt, Emory Univ on Victorian Britain. I'd recommend them to anyone taking this tour, as he mentions several of the places we visited: Chatsworth, York Railway Museum, Ironbridge, etc. and describes historical context. Steve did an excellent job as well.

Heart of England 5 Day Tour was Incredible!

Charlie Muw Posted on 04/11/2014

Originally uploaded by Liza Neft on 9/10/2014 I had a wonderful time on the Heart of England Tour earlier in September (12th – 16th). Steve was an excellent tour guide and added so much to the trip. There were only a few of us on the journey and we received such personalized attention. Rabbies is to be commended for running their tours regardless of the number of people who sign up. The tour began on Friday morning, departing from Victoria Coach Station, and we drove to Stratford upon Avon. Although I did not visit the Shakespeare museums, I enjoyed exploring the town and having lunch. We then drove on to the Ironbridge area on the River Severn where there was time to walk around and go the museum, before driving the rest of the way to Shrewsbury where the tour spent two nights. The bed and breakfast where we were booked, The Trevellion House, was delightful. Sonia took excellent care of all of her guests, there was a cooked to order breakfast, and the single room that I stayed in had a very comfortable double bed and a spacious bathroom. Saturday was spent in Wales. In the town of Conwy, we explored the ruins of Conwy Castle and did a tour of Plas Mawr, an Elizabethan house that was really amazing. In the afternoon we drove into the Snowden National Park and enjoyed the beautiful scenery and learned that the sheep outnumber people in Wales 10 to 1. Stopped at the National Slate Museum before returning to Shrewsbury, where my fellow tour-mates and I had a great dinner at Koochini’s restaurant. On Sunday morning we said goodbye to Shrewsbury and drove into the Peak District. Our first stop was at the spa town of Buxton, known as the Bath of the North. Then onto Chatsworth! It surpassed all expectations I had after watching the different specials on PBS over the years. The house and gardens were truly something to see, you could easily spend an entire day there. After driving to York, Steve dropped us off at our accommodations, and I had a great dinner at Jamie’s Italian restaurant. I stayed at The Groves in York, which was a B&B style hotel. My room was in one of the annex buildings across the parking lot from the main hotel, and I had a huge room with three single beds and a very nice bathroom. The hotel was a short walk to the walled city centre, and I spent Monday exploring the city on my own. (There was an option to drive into the countryside in the afternoon, but there was more than enough to do in the city so I decided against it.) I had a fun day seeing York Minster, the York Castle Museum, Clifford Tower, and walking around city, and had a nice late lunch at the most popular restaurant in the city, Rustique. Tuesday was the last day of the tour, and we visited Cambridge for a few hours before returning to London. Overall it was a great trip and I hope to take a Rabbie’s Tour again in the future.

Accommodation

Where does this tour stay overnight?

You stay two nights in the historic town of Shrewsbury and two nights in the medieval city of York. Please note – on some dates this tour may stay in Chester for the first two nights.


How does the accommodation work?

Your tour excludes accommodation; but when you book, you can ask us to reserve local accommodation for you, or you can choose to reserve your own accommodation in the overnight locations.


I want Rabbie’s to book my accommodation, what happens now?

Once you've booked your tour, we'll reserve all your accommodation, and your driver will drop you off with your hosts. You’ll pay your accommodation hosts directly. Most accommodation hosts don’t accept credit cards, so be prepared to pay cash.

Due to availability, we may not be able to reserve your first choice of accommodation. When this happens we’ll book your second choice, and If there are any further issues we’ll contact you.


What if I want to change my accommodation booking with Rabbie’s?

Changes to accommodation cannot be guaranteed and are subject to availability. A minimum amendment charge of £5.00 will apply, increasing to a maximum of £25.00 depending on the length of your tour.


I booked my own accommodation is there anything I need to do?

You’ll need to contact us with your accommodation details. Please only reserve accommodation within the overnight towns that your tour stops in. And if you’re unsure, please check with us first.


Your driver will drop you off at your chosen accommodation as long as it’s relatively central.


What if I cancel my tour at short notice?

If you cancel less than three days before departure, you may be liable for the cost of your first nights’ accommodation. And occasionally you may be liable for all your accommodation costs.


What are the accommodation types and what do they cost?

We try to reserve accommodation that’s no more than a 20-minute walk from the town centre. But during busy periods there can be a walk of up to 30 minutes.


We regularly check our accommodation suppliers to ensure they reach a certain standard. The prices below are for guidance only.


B&B (Bed and Breakfast) Standard

The toilet and showering facilities are shared with at least one other rooms in the house, and the price includes breakfast. The cost is between £30.00 - £35.00 per person per night. A single standard is between £35.00 - £60.00 per night.



B&B En/suite

The showering and toilet facilities are private, and breakfast is included in the price. The expected cost for a room, based on two people sharing, will be between £40.00 – £50.00 per person per night.

The expected cost for a single room will be between *£55.00 - £65.00 per night. If you travel during a busy period, you can expect to pay up to *£75 - £80 per night. Rooms with a view are limited and may be more expensive.

In Ireland B&B's will be around €45 - €55 per person per night.


Hotels

Hotels have a bar or restaurant and provide evening meals. Breakfast is included in the price. The expected cost of Hotel 3* is between £65.00 - £85.00 per person per night. Hotel 4* is approximately £75.00 - £120.00 per person per night. Please be advised that 4* hotels aren’t available in some smaller rural areas of the Scottish Highlands and islands.

In Ireland, Hotels are around €55 - €65 per person per night.


Hostels

A hostel consists of dormitory rooms with 4 to 16 bunk beds. Towels aren’t provided, but you can hire towels there. The bathroom facilities are a short distance from the dorm room. Kitchen facilities are equipped so you can make your own meals. The cost is between £15.00- £25.00 per person per night.

Please note that SYHA hostels only offer same gender dorms. Some independent hostels will offer mixed rooms (males and females together). If you have a preference, please let us know at the time of booking.


I have more questions, who can help me?

If you have any more questions, feel free to call us on +44(0)131 226 3133, or email rooms@rabbies.com.


4 reasons to choose Rabbie's

Our small group travel style lets you head off the beaten track

Guaranteed experience
or your money back

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Award winning customer service

Meet our guides

Ally_Palmer_Still_Image.jpg

Ally Palmer

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Scottish Tourist Board 5 Stars Scottish Thistle Awards Winner 2015/2016 Green Tourism Award

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