7 nights starting from
Week long stay with festive meal programme at charming Barnsdale Lodge on the edge of Rutland Water
Boughton House – an 18th century mansion inspired by the Palace of Versailles
Richard III exhibition and tomb in Leicester Cathedral
Lovely market towns of Oakham, Uppingham, Stamford and Oundle
Rutland Water, the largest man-made lake in England
As uncertainty lingers about foreign travel, how about getting away at Christmas in the UK, to the excellent Barnsdale Lodge Hotel on the edge of Rutland Water for a week of festive dining and sightseeing in and around England’s smallest county, whose motto “Moltum in Parvo” (much in little) sums up this quintessentially English area’s appeal. As well as a range of festive meals and a pub lunch, we’ll visit some of the delightful towns in the area, three country houses and head into nearby Leicester to the fascinating Richard III visitor centre which tells the story of this much-maligned historical character.
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Day 1: Arrive independently at Barnsdale Lodge from 15.30 and enjoy a cream tea in the hotel’s conservatory. This evening there will be a welcome drink, private dinner with wine and an introductory talk by your tour manager.
Day 2: Full day Rutland Water.
Our first day of sightseeing takes us on a tour of Rutland Water, the largest (by surface area) reservoir in England, which was created in 1975. Two lovely towns are worthy of attention: Rutland’s County town, Oakham, with the remains of its castle and pretty Uppingham, full of antique and craft shops with a picturesque market square and historic public school which boasts some beautiful architecture. The semi-submerged church at Normanton gives a clue to the reservoir’s history.
Day 3: Boughton House and Lamport Hall.
Morning guided tour of Boughton House, the great 18th century Versailles-inspired mansion of the Dukes of Buccleuch with a visit to Warkton, St Edmund Church, site of the mausoleum of the Dukes of Montagu located within the grounds of Boughton House. After a light lunch here (included), we continue our tour to nearby Lamport Hall, home to the Isham family for more than four centuries with an outstanding collection of furniture, books, china and paintings.
Day 4: Full day Leicester including Richard III exhibition centre and Cathedral.
Today we head to Leicester to look at the fascinating story of much maligned Richard III. Our visit includes the excellent visitor centre, where visitors are guided through the dramatic story of the king’s life, brutal death and the fascinating story of his rediscovery. We will also visit Leicester Cathedral where you will see the new tomb of Richard III. Elsewhere, the Leicester Museum and Art Gallery is well worth visiting and is a fine Victorian building, which opened as a museum in 1849, one of the first public museums in the country.
Day 5: Morning Stamford and Christmas Eve carols and dinner at the hotel.
This morning we will head the short distance into Lincolnshire to the lovely town of Stamford, one of the most unspoilt Georgian towns in England with a host of fine buildings. The pretty facades of the town are favourites with film and television producers – Stamford was used as Meryton in the 2005 Pride & Prejudice film and has also appeared in Middlemarch and The Da Vinci Code. Weather (and time) permitting we will also get the chance for an external view of Burghley House on the outskirts of town, on the of the country’s finest Elizabethan mansions. Back at the hotel, mulled wine and Stilton will be served before carols around the Christmas tree and a Christmas Eve dinner. Midnight mass will be held in several local churches.
Day 6: Christmas Day at the hotel.
A full day of relaxation and festive treats at the hotel today, starting with a Buck’s Fizz breakfast, 5-course traditional Christmas lunch, afternoon tea with Christmas cake and evening light buffet. A walk around lovely Rutland Water will aid digestion or several local churches will be hosting morning services.
Day 7: Boxing Day at the hotel.
Another full day to relax with a morning stroll with lunch at the hotel and dinner followed by a quiz.
Day 8: Kirby Hall, Oundle and Fotheringhay.
Our final days takes us first to Kirby Hall, one of England’s greatest Elizabethan and 17th century houses with rooms redecorated to authentic 17th century specifications and now owned and run by English Heritage. We then head to the pretty market town of Oundle, renowned for its school which dates back to the 15th century, where time will be allowed for lunch in one of its many hostelries and cafes.(not included) We finish the day with a visit to lovely Fotheringhay to view the Castle ruins where Richard III was born in 1452 and where Mary Queen of Scots was executed. We will also visit St Mary & All Saints Church nearby. Return to the hotel for approximately 17.00.
NB: Exact order of excursions may vary according to local conditions and tour manager's discretion.
Please note: Post tour extra nights are available at a supplement.
Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 45 passengers.
Barnsdale Lodge, Rutland Water
Converted from an historic farmhouse that has been in the owner's family since 1760, the three-star Barnsdale Lodge offers comfortable accommodation, excellent food and a warm, friendly welcome. All bedrooms are en-suite and individually furnished with TV, telephone, tea/coffee making facilities, hairdryer and have views of the surrounding countryside or the picturesque courtyard. Facilities at the hotel include a restaurant where dinner will be served each evening. Complimentary car parking is available at the hotel.
7 nights from £1295View
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