We check in to the Holiday Inn London Bloomsbury in the afternoon. Later, we enjoy a welcome drinks reception hosted by our tour manager followed by dinner together at our hotel.
Tuesday: Spencer House, Green Park & Piccadilly
Today begins at Spencer House with a private guided tour. Built between 1756-1766 for John, first Earl Spencer (an ancestor of Diana, Princess of Wales), the house is London’s most spectacular 18th-century aristocratic palace. Designed by John Vardy and James ‘Athenian’ Stuart, the State Rooms were amongst the first neo-classical interiors in Europe. After our tour, we enjoy tea and coffee together.
We then enjoy a walk through leafy Green Park, one of eight Royal Parks in London which provides a tranquil refuge from the bustling city. Afterwards, we visit Piccadilly, home to the Royal Academy of Arts and a host upmarket of shops. This is the perfect chance to find somewhere for lunch under your own steam and to explore at leisure. Close by is Piccadilly Circus, one of London’s most popular tourist destinations, home to the iconic Piccadilly screens and the statue of Eros.
Wednesday: Greenwich, Queen’s House & Charlton House
We take a river taxi from Tower Bridge to Greenwich for our visit to Queen’s House. Built between 1616 and 1635, this is one of the most interesting buildings in the country. Designed by prominent English architect Inigo Jones and home to an internationally renowned art collection, there is plenty to discover here. After our visit there is free time to explore Greenwich and purchase lunch.
From here, we head to Charlton House in south-east London, built in the early 17th century by Sir Adam Newton. This fine Jacobean mansion boasts an original oak staircase, and beautiful fireplaces as well as plasterwork ceilings. After our guided tour we enjoy afternoon tea here.
Thursday: RHS Chelsea Flower Show
Today we enjoy admission to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Set in 11 acres, this is the most prestigious flower show in the country, showcasing all the latest in garden design innovation. This show is the one the top professionals want to be known for, with over 550 exhibitors all striving for the horticultural prize of prizes, a Chelsea Gold Medal. The Great Pavilion is the centrepiece, housing a vast exhibition of displays by growers from all over the world while the Show Gardens incorporate tranquil water features, sculptures and carefully conceived plantings, making them an annual highlight and the talking point of every show. There are plenty of refreshments on hand too, everything from cafés, farmers’ market stalls, wood-fired pizza and seafood restaurants to a real ale bar and champagne lounge.
After enjoying a farewell dinner at our hotel this evening, we enjoy an interesting themed talk from a guest speaker.
After breakfast, we check out of the hotel for our journey home.