Puffins at Sumburgh Head, Shetland
Puffins at Sumburgh Head, Shetland

Introducing... Our Brand New 2020 Brochures

A Gardens of the Spice Island of Grenada holiday, Arts and Gardens of the French Riviera and a Gardens of Distinction tour with exclusive access to the Rothschild’s walled garden at Eythrope in Buckinghamshire are among nine new itineraries featured in our new 2020 Gardens and Archaeology Tours brochure. Featuring a tempting choice of perennial favourites alongside the new additions, destinations range from classic Italian gardens in Rome, Sicily and the Italian Lakes to the iconic Alhambra gardens as well as more exotic tours to Costa Rica, South Africa and Japan.

Our new programme also includes the chance to be among the first to visit the RHS’s first new garden for 17 years in Greater Manchester on the RHS Garden Bridgewater and the Gardens of the North West itinerary; a Gardens and Wildflowers of the Burren tour in County Clare, a beautiful Summer Gardens of the Peak District itinerary and the opportunity to visit the freshly rejuvenated gardens of Walmer Castle as part of a tour of the historic Cinque Ports. Also new is a Downton Abbey and the Stately Homes of England tour, which comes at the perfect time as the much-anticipated film is premiering in September! Offering exclusive access to Highclere Castle to see many of the state rooms and bedrooms that feature in the show, it also takes in gardens and stately homes in destinations such as Lacock near Bath (as featured in Cranford, Wolf Hall and Pride & Prejudice) as well as Waddesdon Manor, which appeared as the fictional ‘Haxby Park’ in the second series of Downton Abbey.

In our Scenic Scottish Tours brochure, we have a selection of fabulous new tours. These include our Highland Wildlife Safari, which offers you the chance to observe rare and endangered species from around the world along with native animals at the Highland Wildlife Park; our Private Gardens of Caithness & Sutherland trip, which includes a visit to the Queen Mother's former summer residence – the Castle of Mey; and our food-lover's new favourite, Aberdeenshire - Scotland's Larder, where you'll meet a herd of prize-winning cattle and can see how whisky is made at a distillery. Just scroll to the bottom of our blog to check out the Scotland tours on offer!

Gardens & Archaeology – 2020 Highlights

RHS Garden Bridgewater

Finally opening to the public in 2020, RHS’s new project – Garden Bridgewater – is set to be one for the books. This 154-acre garden in Worsley will feature one of the UK’s largest walled gardens, landscaped grounds, living plant collections, and horticultural trails. This exciting new tour is led by celebrated landscape architect Tom Stuart-Smith. It also features a visit to the Italian-style garden at Trentham Estate (pictured right), Dunham Massey and Tatton Park. 

4th, 11th and 18th September 2020 | 4 days from $895pp

Grenada – Gardens of the Spice Island

After winning its 15th gold medal at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year, it’s clear that Grenada’s people know a thing or two about gardening! Highlights include breakfast with the owner of Smithy’s Garden and a tour of its wonderful grounds, a visit to a working rum distillery, and an excursion into the Grand Etang Rainforest where it might be possible to see the island’s famed mona monkey. There will also be numerous visits to glorious gardens to see an array of endemic plant and birdlife.

2nd May or 3rd October 2020 | 9 days from $3,445pp

Oberammergau & the Austrian Tyrol

Combine the once-in-a-lifetime experience of Oberammergau with a tour through the beautiful countryside of the Austrian Tyrol. Taking place just once every 10 years, the legendary Oberammergau Passion Play is a cultural and historic event unlike any other in the world. Prior to the Passion Play, explore the neighbouring Austrian Tyrol with its storybook castles, dramatic landscapes and gilded architecture.

13th May, 10th August or 12th August 2020. 6 days from $2,955pp

Downton Abbey & the Stately Homes of England

The principal film location for Downton Abbey is Highclere Castle in Berkshire, which has become one of the most popular destinations in the country. We are delighted to have secured access to the castle, where we will see many of the state rooms and bedrooms that feature in the show, as well as the fascinating Egyptian Exhibition which tells the story of the Earl of Carnarvon and Howard Carter’s thrilling archaeological discoveries. Complementing this are visits to some of the outstanding stately homes and picturesque villages in the surrounding area, many of which have themselves featured as film and TV locations. 

12th July, 16th August or 5th September 2020. 4 days from $1,045pp.

Scenic Scotland – 2020 Tour Highlights

Highland Wildlife Safari

Scotland’s natural environment is second to none with a more diverse range of habitats than almost any other country of comparable size. This tour of the Highlands aims to provide close encounters with a wide range of wildlife, all set against a backdrop of magnificent scenery. Spot ospreys, admire the Moray Firth dolphins from the water, marvel at the magnificent plantlife at Inverewe, and look out for beavers and wildcats at the House of Aigas. 

24th or 26th June 2020. 4 days from $1,045pp.

Aberdeenshire: Scotland's Larder

Scotland’s Larder, as Aberdeenshire, with its rich red soil and abundant farms, its skilled bakers, passionate distillers and brave fishermen, is indeed the origin of much of the best food and drink to come out of Scotland. Put the diet on hold and join us on a four-day tour featuring top-quality producers, from a prize-winning herd of Highland cattle to melt in the mouth shortbread, smooth malt whisky and a household name in the world of preserves and soups. Be welcomed by bagpipes and a prize-winning herd of Highland cattle, learn how whisky is made, discover the origins of Cullen Skin, and uncover the real-life stories behind farming and fishing. 

10th June or 18th September 2020. 4 days from $865pp.

Private Gardens of Caithness & Sutherland

The spectacular seascapes and wild lands of Caithness and Sutherland, right at the very top of Britain, are home to a surprising number of stunning gardens - from formal gardens that surround grand castles with heaving and colourful herbaceous borders, to small and homely gardens tucked away in neat little villages. Travelling amongst the jagged headlands and shining white sands on the Northern coast, our visits include two gardens both protected from the wind by high walls - Bighouse Lodge by Melvich and The House of Tongue in a spectacular setting on the Kyle of Tongue. Visit the late Queen Mother's favourite rose gardens at the Castle of Mey, explore Dunbeath Castle, and admire spectacular views from the North Coast 500 route. 

6th or 20th July 2020. 4 days from $820pp. 

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Introducing... Our Brand New 2020 Brochures was published on 2 July 2019