Check-in at the Tower Hotel is from 3pm. Later, we enjoy a welcome drinks reception hosted by our tour manager followed by a three-course evening meal.
Monday: Spencer House, Green Park & Piccadilly
We start our day with an exclusive guided tour of Spencer House. Built between 1756-1766 for John, first Earl Spencer (an ancestor of Diana, Princess of Wales), the house is London’s most magnificent 18th-century aristocratic palace. Designed by John Vardy and James ‘Athenian’ Stuart, the State Rooms were amongst the first neo-classical interiors in Europe.
Our next visit is to Green Park, one of the eight Royal Parks of London and a tranquil haven amid the bustle of the capital. We then have some free time at leisure in Piccadilly, London’s exclusive shopping and cultural district. Home to the famous Burlington Arcade and Royal Academy of Art, there is much to explore here.
The evening is free for you to make your own dinner arrangements.
Tuesday: Greenwich – Royal Observatory, Queen’s House & National Maritime Museum
We travel by river taxi from Tower Bridge to Greenwich, the ‘Home of Time’, where our first visit is to the Royal Observatory. Commissioned by King Charles II in 1675, it played a major role in the history of astronomy and navigation. It is also the location of the historic Prime Meridian, which divides the earth’s eastern and western hemispheres, as well as London’s only planetarium.
Next stop is Queen’s House which re-opened in 2016 after renovation. This splendid 17th-century royal villa was the first Classical building in England and houses an extraordinary art collection including works by Great Masters such as Gainsborough, Hogarth and the Van de Veldes.
We round off our day at the National Maritime Museum, the largest museum of its kind in the world. Here we enjoy that great British tradition of afternoon tea, served overlooking Greenwich Royal Park.
Tonight is left free for you to make your own arrangements for dinner.
Wednesday: Barbican Centre, the Charterhouse & Charles Dickens Museum
This morning we visit the Barbican Centre, one of the world’s leading arts centres. Here we can view art galleries and exhibitions as well as enjoy the cafés and shops. Outside the main focal point is the lake and terrace or there’s the chance to take a short walk to see the ancient city walls.
We continue on to the Charterhouse, a former Carthusian monastery which, in 2017, opened its doors to the public for the first time since its foundation in 1348. Since the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th century, the site has served as a private mansion, a boys’ school and an almshouse, which it remains to this day. We enjoy a guided tour of this historic site with one of the ‘Brothers’ (a resident of the almshouse).
Afterwards we visit the Charles Dickens Museum – the London home of Charles Dickens. This is where the author wrote Oliver Twist, The Pickwick Papers and Nicholas Nickleby and where he first achieved international fame as one of the world’s greatest storytellers. Here we can explore his study, the family bedchambers and the servants’ quarters below stairs. The museum also contains the world’s finest and most comprehensive collection of material relating to Dickens’ life and work including personal effects and handwritten drafts.
In the evening we enjoy a three-course dinner and an interesting themed talk from a guest speaker.
After breakfast, we check out of the hotel for our journey home.