Arrive in London and settle into The Milestone Hotel & Residences, a luxury five-star hotel located in the Kensington neighborhood, adjacent to Kensington Palace and Gardens. Enjoy a welcome afternoon tea at the hotel so you can meet Victoria Editor-in-Chief Phyllis Hoffman DePiano, Editor Jordan Marxer, and your fellow travelers.
After breakfast, your first full day begins with a visit to Kensington Palace and Gardens, home to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, for a tour of The King’s State Apartments, exhibits including Victoria: A Royal Childhood and Diana: Designing for a Princess, as well as other public areas of the palace and magnificent gardens. Enjoy lunch on your own at The Palace Café or Kensington Palace Pavilion and Tea Room. In the afternoon, travel via private coach to the Victoria and Albert Museum for a one-hour private guided set tour of its renowned fashion collection. At its conclusion, peruse other exhibits at your leisure or explore the surrounding Kensington neighborhood, offering such attractions as the Royal Albert Hall and the Natural History Museum, as well as posh shopping mecca Kensington High Street.
After breakfast, travel via private coach to Westminster Abbey, a royal church steeped in British history, for a 45-minute guided tour. Transfer to Buckingham Palace, the official residence of Her Majesty The Queen, to see the Changing the Guard ceremony, followed by a tour of The State Rooms. You will have time to enjoy special exhibit Royal Animals, stroll the garden, peruse the Official Royal Gift Shop, and eat lunch. Afterward, travel via private coach for a seated afternoon tea at the exquisite The Ritz London. You may return to The Milestone Hotel via private coach or explore the luxurious Mayfair neighborhood, where eighteenth-century mansions share tree-lined streets with such exclusive shopping destinations as Selfridge’s and Saville Row.
After breakfast, travel via private coach to Hertford House in Manchester Square for a 75-minute private guided tour of The Wallace Collection, considered to be one of the UK’s best collections of paintings, porcelain, and furnishings. Offering tantalizing European dishes based on traditional fare, its courtyard restaurant, Peyton & Byrne, is the perfect spot for a leisurely lunch before departing for an afternoon of shopping nearby Regent and Oxford Streets, home to haberdashery V V Rouleaux and iconic Liberty London. You will have the remainder of the afternoon to shop and explore at leisure.
After breakfast, check out of The Milestone Hotel to depart via private coach to Oxford, the City of Dreaming Spires, which both royalty and scholars have called home for more than 800 years, for a 90-minute guided walking tour of its historic buildings, colleges, and botanical garden. Spreading from the vaulted fourteenth-century Old Congregation House of the University Church into a garden facing the Radcliff Camera, nearby restaurant Vaults & Gardens provides a beautiful setting for lunch before departing via private coach to the idyllic Cotswolds hamlet of Thyme. Upon checking in, you are free to explore this enclosed collection of restored historic buildings with elegant drawing rooms, restaurants, gardens, and farm, or luxuriate in a treatment at its Meadow Spa. In the evening, gather at the village pub, The Swan at Southrop, for a cozy feast of locally sourced fare.
After breakfast, join Thyme’s head florist to master one of the most important of floristry skills, the spiraled hand-tie, to create a keepsake bouquet comprising a wonderful mix of British-grown flowers, foliage, and herbs from Thyme’s own cutting gardens. Midday, transfer via private coach for an afternoon excursion to the private residence of HRH The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, The Royal Gardens at Highgrove, considered to be among the most inspiring and innovative in the UK. There, an expert guide will provide unique insight into family life on the estate and lead you through these extraordinary gardens. At its conclusion, return via private coach to Thyme, where you may enjoy the remainder of the day at your leisure.
After breakfast, check out of Thyme to depart via private coach to Windsor Castle, home to The Queen and more than 900 years of royal history. Taking the ceremonial route, you will see the main State Apartments that are used today by the Queen Mother and members of the Royal Family, including the Grand Reception Room, along with the Semi-State Rooms. Included in the tour is Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House, considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful and featuring the work of more than 1,500 of the finest artists of the early twentieth century. Enjoy lunch at a local village pub before departing via private coach for London to check in to The Milestone Hotel, where you will be free to enjoy the evening at your leisure.
After breakfast, check out of The Milestone Hotel and, leaving your luggage with the concierge, depart via private coach to experience the unparalleled delights of Portobello Road Market, a premier destination for antiques and boutique shopping. Midday, return via private coach to The Milestone Hotel, where you will collect your luggage and depart for home.