Day 1 – June 6th, 2020
Flights from Toronto (YYZ) and New York (JFK)

Day 2 – June 7th, 2020
Arrive in the UK, claim your bag and clear customs and immigration.  You will meet your tour guide in the arrival’s hall.  Transfer to your hotel.
2:00 PM – Meet in the hotel lobby. Afternoon visit to the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects.  It was founded in 1852 and name after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

Victoria & Albert Museum, London

This exhibition showcases a collection of patchwork and quilted covers to bring together over 300 years of British quilting history, from the spectacular bed hangings and silk coverlets of the 18th century, to the creative reinvention of the quilt by contemporary artists. Each quilt has a unique story to tell, revealed under the broader themes of consumerism, luxury and utility, creativity and confinement, taste, the domestic interior, travel, national and regional identity, and commemoration. The exhibition celebrates the astonishing vision involved in the design and making of each quilt and attempts to unravel some of the complex and individual narratives embedded in its history.

Quilting can be traced back at least to the Middle Ages. Examples from Europe, India and the Far East can be seen in the Museum, but quilting has also been practiced in Persia, Turkestan and Moslem Africa. The word “quilt” seems to have first been used in England in the 1200s and connects with the Latin word “cucita” meaning a bolster or cushion. Quilting usually means two layers of fabric sandwiching a thickish padding or interlining, all held together by lines of stitching. However, it is not essential to have the middle layer; for instance, in early 18th-century English quilting, just the two outer layers of fabric were used, and in “Italian” or corded quilting, strands of cord or thick wool are threaded between parallel lines of stitching to make the raised pattern.
Non-QuiltersThe famous Natural History and Science Museums are right next door to the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Location of dinner TBD, it will be either at your hotel or a local restaurant.
Overnight:  Park Plaza Hotel, Westminster Bridge Road, London (B, D)

Day 3 – June 8th, 2020
Orientation tour of London’s most famous sights by coach including Big Ben, Parliament, Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace. This afternoon shop the legendary Liberty of London to discover the latest English fabrics. Free evening
Overnight:  Park Plaza Hotel, Westminster Bridge Road, London (B)

Day 4 – June 9th, 2020
Visits to more iconic London sights – the Tower of London and the iconic London Eye.

The Tower of London

9.00am Depart hotel by coach.  10.00amBeefeater tour” of the Tower of London.The famous Yeomen of the Guard (popularly known as Beefeaters) provide expert (and colorful) guides to the Tower. This is no ordinary guided tour although of course the Beefeaters know the Tower and its history extremely well. They are renowned for adding in that extra detail and humor with makes this a “wow” moment in the visit.The Tower of London has a long and stormy history beginning with the Norman Conquest in 1066. The Tower evolved from William the Conquerer’s stronghold to a royal palace, armory, royal mint, prison and gruesome execution place. You will want to see the famous ravens that perch near Wakefield Tower and lose yourself in myth and history as you visit the White Tower and its Royal Armories collection, the Bloody Tower and Traitors’ Gate. Hear the tale of Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s unfortunate second wife, who passed through Traitors’ Gate in 1536 and was quickly tried for adultery and executed. Walk to Tower Gate, the execution site where Boleyn and many others met their fateful ends.Despite its chilling reputation, the Tower of London has also been the cradle for the British Crown Jewels since the 14th century. Get a close-up look at this remarkable regalia, the ultimate symbol of the British monarchy and the centerpiece of coronations since 1661. Don’t miss the famous 105.6-carat Koh-i-Noor diamond.After you’ve visited the major sites, stroll along the Wall Walk and head into the Medieval Palace to admire the beautifully reconstructed spaces. Take your time soaking up this cornerstone of English history.

1.00pm – Depart the Tower
1.45pm – Lunch in Westminster at your leisure
3.30pm – Experience the London Eye

It’s a thirty minute ride but feels much more than that as you travel on one of the world’s finest ferris wheels – in a superb position by Westminster Bridge over looking Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. On a clear day you can see 20 miles in every direction to the outskirts of this great city.

City skyline and the Thames, London

07.15pm – Dinner and cruise on the River Thames.   A great way of enjoying dinner as you sail past the icon sights of the city. From the center of the river you get a unique view of the Houses of Parliament, London Bridge, Tower Bridge, the Docklands and the Millennium Domes whilst at the same time enjoying first class service, delicious meal and to complete the evening a live entertainer sings song from West End musicals!
Overnight:  Park Plaza Hotel, Westminster Bridge Road, London (B, D)

Day 5 – June 10th, 2020
Travel through green English countryside to York, where you can stroll through the narrow streets of this medieval city. Lunch on arrival in York. After a visit to the famous York Minster, meet with a member of the Quilters Guild of the British Isles who specializes in North Country quilts. Her private collection dates from the early 19th and 20th century, and she has invited us to view the extraordinary detail of her pristine collection. Other attractions in York you may wish to explore on your own include GB’s best-known railway museum, The National Railway Museum. Enjoy dinner in your hotel followed by a Ghost Walk in the ancient mediaeval streets of York
Overnight:  Hotel Indigo, York (B, L, D)

Day 6 – June 11th, 2020
After breakfast, visit an ancient market town – Barnard Castle and 19th century French chateau housing the Bowes Museum, Britain’s largest and best European textile collection, with tapestries, needlework, lace and quilts from the 15th to 19th centuries.

Non-Quilters Optional Excursion:
Additional Cost:
$100 based on a minimum of 20 people
A visit to Whitby famous for its Abbey but also strongly associated with Captain James Cook cartographer and explorer who began his career as a seafarer here. There is an excellent museum, the Captain Cook Memorial Museum.

Return to York. Free evening
Overnight:  York at Hotel Indigo (B)

Day 7 – June 12th, 2020
This morning you will board your luxury motor coach and travel to the capital city of Wales – Cardiff.  Stop en route to visit Macclesfield. Macclesfield Museums Paradise Mill gives a glimpse into the North-West’s industrial past and the fabulous craft of silk making.  At Paradise Mill you will experience silk making machinery in action including your only opportunity in the UK to see demonstrations of hand-loom silk weaving.  A skilled and knowledgeable guide will tell you about the rise and decline of the industry as they weave into the story details of the weaver’s daily lives.

The light and airy Silk Museum tells the story of silk from cocoon to loom.  The museum is unique in being able to tell the stories of individual weavers who trained a t the school, with portfolios of their work, exam pieces and awards.  It shows you how silk cloth was designed, dyed, woven, printed and much more.

Evening tour of St Fagan’s Museum with a private Curator followed by supper at the museum.
Overnight:  Park Plaza Hotel, Cardiff (B, D)

Day 8 – June 13th, 2020
After breakfast enjoy a scenic drive to Lampeter, a small market and university town in the middle of the beautiful Welsh countryside.  Here you will enjoy a visit and tour at the Jen Jones Welsh Quilt Center.  Have some free time to enjoy and explore the smallest town in Wales.  Stop for a visit in the Calico Kate Quilt Shop, Red Apple Yarn Shop, return to further explore the Jen Jones Welsh Quilt Center.

Cardiff Castle, Wales

6.30pm – An unforgettable evening of Welsh hospitality in the historic surroundings of Cardiff Castle. Private Tour of the Castle followed by a banquet.  This will be a relaxed and informal evening where you can enjoy the best of Welsh entertainment, food and the warmest of welcomes from your hosts, who will entertain you with a selection of traditional and contemporary songs in both English and Welsh. Return to your hotel. Cardiff Hotel
Overnight:  Cardiff Hotel, Cardiff (B, D)

Day 9 – June 14th, 2020
After an early Breakfast you will board your coach.  Frist stop will be Midsomer Quilting where you will see wonderful fabrics including a wide variety made by Nortcott. Meet with Emma for a chat about the facility.

Arrive in Bath for an exploration of this culturally and historically rich city. See the 18th-century Royal Crescent, a street that boasts some of the greatest examples of Georgian architecture in England. Other fine examples of Georgian architecture – the Circus, a circular space surrounded by large townhouses.  And Pulteney Bridge (1774), which crosses the River Avon and was designed by Robert Adam. The Abbey Church of St Peter and St Paul, more commonly known as Bath Abbey, began as a Benedictine monastery founded in the seventh century.  In 1090, its status was elevated to that of cathedral. Bath Abbey remains one of the largest examples of perpendicular Gothic architecture in England’s West Country. Visit the Grand Pump Room, a great historic building from the 18th century. You can sample the waters from the hot spring that fill the adjacent Roman Baths. Consider taking high tea here.

Then we will visit the Jane Austen Center to learn about the author’s experiences here. Jane Austen is perhaps the best known and best loved of Bath’s many famous residents. She paid two long visits here at the end of the 18th century, and from 1801 to 1806 Bath was her home. Her intimate knowledge of the city is reflected in two of her novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.

No visit to the city would be complete without time at the Roman Baths. The first shrine at the site was built by Celts, but the temple we see was constructed by Romans between A.D. 60 and 70, and the complex was enhanced over the next 300 years. The ancient baths grew up around a natural hot spring. During the Roman occupation of Britain, and possibly on the instruction of Emperor Claudius, a stone chamber was built at the spring. This afternoon, we’ll explore textile collections at the American Museum, where vintage American quilts include 18th century examples by Sioux and Amish women.
Overnight:  Mercure White Hart Hotel, Sailsbury (B)

Day 10 – June 15th, 2020
5.30am – Depart hotel for Stonehenge. One of the most mysterious sights in Europe, Stonehenge, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The earliest portion of the stone complex dates to approximately 2950 B.C. Most likely built by Druids, high priests of the Celts, the site might have been used for sacrificial ceremonies. Yet questions about Stonehenge remain unanswered. Now for the climax of the tour. A private and exclusive “behind the ropes” tour of Stonehenge lead by Curator. Each year just a small number of select visitors are allowed to enter the stone circle itself! You will be part of that select number!

Marvel at the prehistoric circle of vast monoliths of Stonehenge and learn about the primitive builders who managed to create such an enduring monument.  After your tour enjoy breakfast at Stonehenge.

Stonehenge at sunrise.

Free time in Salisbury a charming old city where the cathedral boasts the tallest spire in England.  Gather this evening for a farewell dinner at the Salisbury Cathedral. A stunning location and a fitting place to end this very special tour.
Overnight:  Mercure White Hart Hotel, Sailsbury (B, D)

Day 11, June 16th, 2020
This morning after breakfast transfer to London Heathrow for flights to Toronto and New York. (B)

B – Breakfast
L – Lunch
D – Dinner

Group Air
Group air will be available on July 17th from YYZ (Toronto) & JFK (New York) direct to London Heathrow (LHR)

 

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