SW England - 14 Days

Exmoor

Available Dates

12th November - 25th November 2017

11th February - 24th February 2018

Contact us for more info: seymourtravels@europe.com

Cost for this tour is $5795 per person based on double occupancy. A single supplement of $725 per person can be arranged.

This small group (six to 10 people) tour of England will start in the magnificent city of Bristol and end in the historic, maritime city of Portsmouth.

Join us for this adventure, and you'll experience the very best South West England has to offer in 14 days. From the rugged cliffs and windswept moors of Devon, to the gorgeous beaches and enchanting villages of Cornwall; from the evocative maritime history of Plymouth and Portsmouth to the magic and mystery of Dorset's prehistoric wonders…We'll take in the natural beauty of land and sea, discover the region's cherished way of life and deep "pride of place," learn about its fascinating history and dine in some of the finest restaurants in South West England.

This small-group tour was designed for flexibility. We can change the order of events to accommodate variable weather conditions just as we can accommodate your interests and energy levels to provide opportunities for adventure and exploration in addition to those described below. Accordingly, no activity is mandatory; you may opt out of any activity at any time. We'll travel in a comfortable, spacious mini-bus that will allow us to reach hidden treasures you won't experience on larger tours.

All of your breakfasts, two picnic or pub lunches and five of your dinners are included. All tolls, fees and admissions are also included -- this means you aren't paying extra for any of the excursions we make or sites we visit as you would on other tours. For dinners on your own, we are happy to provide recommendations and transportation as necessary. You must arrange for your own transportation to our first hotel in Bristol and from our last hotel in Portsmouth, but we are happy to answer any questions you have in advance of the tour.

 

Day 1: Welcome to South West England

We'll meet this afternoon in our centrally located hotel in Bristol to get an overview of the tour - and acquainted with each other - before taking an evening stroll to visit a 19th century marvel of engineering, the Clifton Suspension Bridge, the perfect vantage point for stunning city views. Then it's on to our first group dinner together in Bristol's lively harbourside area.

Day 2: Heading to the Countryside

Today we'll say goodbye to the bustle of Bristol and make our way to Devon. A beautiful drive along a World Heritage coastline will include a stop at the grand Dunster Castle for a stroll through the grounds, famous for its unique microclimate, and a look inside its magnificent 16th and 17th century interior. We'll have lunch in the village before heading to the tiny harbor of Porlock Weir and its charming port that has existed for more than a thousand years. We'll experience sweeping views of Exmoor National Park as we make our way to the day's final destination. Keep an eye out for Exmoor's famous wild ponies, the single oldest horse species on earth! Tonight, we arrive at our hotel-on-the-sea at Hartland Quay, where we'll stay for the next three nights.

Day 3: Villages and Ports

This morning, we'll make our way down a steep, cobbled, pedestrian-only street into Clovelly, an ancient fishing village that clings dramatically to sheer cliffs, while learning about the role villages like this played in Britain's history. We'll have a chance to experience a way of life as it once was…and for some, still is. Now is the perfect time for a proper cream tea or simply to enjoy the sparkling harbour views. Next up is Appledore, another beautiful port town steeped in history. Upon our return, you'll have the opportunity for an invigorating hike up to the spectacular cliff tops of Hartland or a gentler stroll through its pristine woodlands. Tonight you'll be free for dinner, whether at the hotel pub or a nearby restaurant.

Day 4: Moors and Market Towns

Today we'll take a scenic drive out to Dartmoor National Park, where you'll experience the wild, rugged beauty of this desolate landscape, learn the fascinating geology behind the formation of its many tors and step back in time as you cross an 800 year old clapper bridge! This afternoon, we'll tour the old market town of Chagford, also known as "The Jewel of Dartmoor," where we'll stop for a relaxing pub lunch. Later, we'll visit the Hartland Point Lighthouse, where you'll find some of the best and most breathtaking sea views in Devon.

Day 5: On to Cornwall

This morning we travel further southwest into Cornwall. We'll begin our day at the quintessential Cornish fishing village of Port Isaac; fans of the television show Doc Martin will recognize it immediately. Wander around this town and you'll encounter cozy cottages nestled among steep lanes, stately homes with stunning vistas…and perhaps some Cornish clotted ice cream! We'll have lunch in town before driving to our charming bed and breakfast in Mawgan Porth, our home for the next three nights. A leisurely stroll on the beach and the fresh sea air will work up your appetite for dinner tonight at St. Petroc's Bistro, a fine dining establishment owned and operated by Rick Stein, one of Britain's premier celebrity chefs.

Day 6: The Eden Project and St. Agnes

Today we'll explore the ecological spectacle that is the Eden Project. Situated in a former china clay quarry, the world's two largest biomes house the biggest rainforest in captivity as well as a vast and diverse representation of Mediterranean botany. Being an educational and awareness-raising charity - with exhibitions, demonstrations and tastings - there is always something interesting to see and important to learn here. You can even get a bird's-eye view from the canopy walk at the top of the rainforest biome! After lunch, we'll head to St. Agnes, formerly a prosperous tin-mining town punctuated by the beauty of St. Agnes Head. The evening is yours for additional walks on Mawgan Porth's gentle beach or up the cliffs for sunset views.

Day 7: Tintagel and More Fine Dining

This day is all about Tintagel, the legendary birthplace of King Arthur, where a mystical adventure that must be experienced to be believed is in store for us. Castle ruins perched high above the sea, shrouded in mists and mystery, easily evoke a time and place that live in the imaginations of King Arthur fans around the world. We'll also head down to see "Merlin's Cave" during low tide and have lunch in the village before returning back to the hotel later this afternoon. Tonight, we'll assemble for our third group dinner at Fifteen Cornwall, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's much-loved seaside restaurant.

Day 8: A Victorian Estate and on to Plymouth

This morning we head to Lanhydrock, a National Trust property and classic Victorian estate house with one of the most elegant and well-preserved interiors in Europe and lush gardens that are beautiful year round. Victorian wealth and its attendant craftsmanship are on full display here. We'll have plenty of time to explore the house and grounds and have lunch before making our way to the naval city Plymouth, significant to both British and American history. After checking in to our hotel, where we'll be for the next three nights, we'll take a walking tour through Plymouth Hoe and learn about Plymouth's important role in forging the British Empire as well as the devastating effect of World War II on the city. Tonight you'll be on your own for dinner, but your guide will be on hand to point out many excellent dining options in the Barbican area.

Day 9: Free Day in Plymouth

Today is all yours to relax and explore Plymouth as you wish. There's much to choose from: a boat tour of Sutton Harbour; a visit to the Mayflower Steps, where the Pilgrims set sail for the New World; a look inside Smeatons Tower, a lighthouse relocated inland; a fun and interesting tour of the Plymouth Gin (Black Friars) Distillery, where you can sample the gin while learning how it's made by the oldest - and some would argue, finest - distiller in the world. Or just spend a relaxing day people watching at one of the Barbican's many harbourside cafes and restaurants.

Day 10: A Ride Through the Countryside Followed by a Taste of Wine and Cheese

Travel by train is on today's agenda! This morning we'll board a steam locomotive for a scenic, memorable ride through South Devon's beautiful countryside. Later, we'll visit Sharpham Wine and Cheese, located in the heart of the English Riviera, a creamery and dairy farm that produces wines and cheeses to local, national and international acclaim. Yes, terroir exists in English wine, too, and nowhere is this more evident than Sharpham. Enjoy this guided tasting of some of their finest products and see for yourself! For our last night in Plymouth, we'll have our fourth dinner together at The Dome, a waterfront bistro with stunning views of Plymouth Sound.

Day 11: Prehistoric Wonders and Arrival in Portsmouth

We'll start with a bit of prehistoric adventure in Dorset today before making our way to Portsmouth. Our first stop is Maiden Castle, a massive Iron Age hill fort, where we'll learn about the people who lived here and what impact the Romans eventually had on this early civilization. Later, we'll have a relaxed picnic lunch before setting off for a walk along the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage site on the English Channel. We're headed down to Durdle Door, a natural limestone arch and a breathtaking sight to behold. After checking in to our hotel in Portsmouth, where we'll spend the final three nights of the tour, we'll take a short walk into town for dinner on your own.

Day 12: Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Today is all about British maritime history. Situated within a working naval base, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is an expansive collection of attractions, ships and museums. You'll have the opportunity to visit the HMS Victory, Admiral Lord Nelson's flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar; the HMS Warrior, the largest, fastest, most powerful warship at the time she was launched; and the Mary Rose Museum, where you'll learn about how Henry VIII's flagship (the only 16th century warship on display anywhere in the world) was, in 1982, raised from - having been preserved by - the mud of the sea bed. You'll also have access by water taxi to the Royal Navy Submarine Museum. Outside of the Dockyard, there are plenty of dining options in the nearby Gunwharf Quays area.

Day 13: A Grand Cathedral, a Roman Shore Fort and Our Final Dinner

This morning begins with a walk through the charming town of Winchester, our first destination being the magnificent Winchester Cathedral. One of the largest in England, it also has the longest nave of any Gothic cathedral in Europe. After our tour, head up to the top of the high street to see the Guildhall and the surprises it contains within. We'll have lunch in town. Later, it's on to Portchester Castle, both a Roman fortress and a medieval castle (built within its perimeter), where we'll learn the important role this structure played in defending Britain since the 3rd century. Tonight, we'll enjoy our final dinner together as new friends at Brasserie Blanc in Portsmouth, where we'll reminisce about our shared adventures and raise a toast to the bonds we forged through this once-in-a-lifetime group experience.

Day 14: Tour Ends After Breakfast. Cheerio!

We'll have breakfast together before saying our goodbyes and heading home or making connections to other destinations - wherever your travel plans may take you.

If you wish to contact us regarding available tours for 2016-2017 or would like to discuss your travel needs, please email us at seymourtravels@europe.com. Seymour Travels is registered in the United States.

 

Tourmap

Please click on the map for a larger downloadable version

 

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