We check in to the Mercure Bristol Holland House Hotel & Spa in the afternoon. Later, we enjoy a welcome drinks reception hosted by our tour manager.
Saturday: Bath & Jane Austen Festival
We head into Bath, this picturesque city has remained faithful to its Regency roots with an abundance of elegant terraces, circuses and squares in a lovely valley setting. We enjoy a guided Jane Austen themed walking tour to view the highlights of the city that features so much in her writing.
Next up is the highlight of our tour, as we attend two special events as part of the Jane Austen Festival. Bath was home to the famous author in the early 1800s and to celebrate, every autumn sees the largest gathering of Jane Austen enthusiasts in the world. Events include the world-famous Grand Regency Costumed Promenade, public readings, theatricals and discussions on all sorts of subjects from food and 18th-century fashion to health and gardens.
Sunday: Bowood House & Iford Manor Gardens
We make our way to Bowood House; family home of the Marquis and Marchioness of Lansdowne. This fine Georgian house holds a unique collection of historical artefacts and family heirlooms built up over nearly 300 years; from Queen Victoria’s wedding chair to Napoleon’s death mask, among a wealth of other treasures. Outside are 100 acres of beautiful parkland, designed by ‘Capability’ Brown. We enjoy lunch here after our guided tour.
Afterwards, we head to Iford Manor Gardens for a guided tour. The Grade I listed gardens were created by the Edwardian designer Harold Peto and have been welcoming visitors since 1910. Evoking Peto’s love of Italy, the gardens are characterised by colonnades, pools and ancient statues. In more recent times, the gardens have enjoyed their 15 minutes of fame by making their Big Screen debut; they served as the key location in the new adaptation of The Secret Garden starring Colin Firth and Julie Walters. We enjoy this beautiful and tranquil setting, with stunning rural views across the valley.
During the late afternoon we head back into Bath, with time to enjoy another Jane Austen Festival event and to explore the stunning city at leisure.
After breakfast, we check out of the hotel for our journey home.
Please note: the itinerary order is subject to change.