June 20-28, 2022
Keep calm and join The History Chicks in London! From suffragettes to queens; rebel women to Dollar Princesses, London has it all and this 8-day History Chicks Field Trip will bring to life some of history’s most fascinating women. Experience afternoon tea with an etiquette expert, take in the English countryside, and see top sites like Westminster with a Blue Badge guide while hanging out with Susan and Beckett on this unforgettable tour of London!
Day One- Welcome to London, a city that embraces a vibrant multi-cultural scene while honoring their many customs and traditions. Check into the hotel before joining Susan and Beckett on an unforgettable tour atop an iconic taste of London: An open-air double-decker bus. This evening tour will allow you to relax and get your first glimpse of this charming metropolis as the landmarks of London come to you!
Day two- Rise and shine each morning over a buffet breakfast at the hotel to power up for a full day of making history come to life.
Today we begin by meeting our official Blue Badge Guide for a tour of Westminster Abbey. The Abbey is best known as the site of coronation for England’s kings and queens but took center stage in 2011 for the nuptials of Prince William and Duchess Catherine. Our Blue Badge Guide will give us all the details and history of this storied church before continuing with a walking tour of London’s political center: The Parliament Building, Big Ben, and Buckingham Palace!
Our walking tour ends near Covent Garden – the perfect place to grab lunch on your own and enjoy the street performers and shops.
Day three- After the previous day’s busy pace, you will be ready to board our motor-coach and watch the bucolic English countryside pass by as we make our way to the stately Blenheim Palace. Our day-trip in the English countryside starts off with a 45-minute private lecture on the “Ladies of Blenheim” of which many have been highlighted on your favorite podcast! Perhaps the most famous ladies of Blenheim are Jennie Jerome Churchill and Consuelo Vanderbilt, the unhappy “dollar-princess.” After the lecture, we continue to the palace with an audio guide allowing you to take in the splendor of the palace at your own pace before gathering as a group for a lunch at the palace. The estate is expansive, and we will allow time to relax and enjoy the traditional English gardens designed by famous English Landscaper, Capability Brown, before heading to the nearby Oxford, home to the oldest university in the English-speaking world. Discover the town of Oxford on your own, join a Harry Potter tour, a pub crawl, or go “punting” – floating lazily in a popular style of boat. We will return to our motor-coach and London in the late evening.
Day four- Perhaps women would still be voting through their husbands if it weren’t for the brave women who fought for the right to vote just over 100 years ago. Today we honor and learn about those courageous women by taking a Suffragette walking tour. Our costumed guide will guide us throughout the city and tell the inspirational story of the suffragette movement as it corresponds to landmarks in the city.
With all that walking you will be ready to rest for a bit so we have arranged a lovely afternoon tea at the ultra-posh Fortnum and Mason’s, arguably the world’s most exclusive grocery store with royal customers. Learn to be a proper lady or gentleman over tea, joined by a leading British etiquette expert. Get the low down on the proper manners required of such an occasion. Pinkies up!…or not???
Awash with new manners and proper etiquette, feel free to shop for provisions in Fortnum and Mason’s or chart your own path in the city. With museums, theater, and eclectic local markets the city is overflowing with choices.
Day five- Of course we are familiar with Downton Abbey! Today just may be a pilgrimage of sorts. We board our motor-coach and journey through the English countryside for an exclusive private tour of the legendary Highclere Castle. We will be greeted by one of the estate guides and led to the heart of the home, known as the saloon (where the Christmas parties were held) with beautiful, vaulted ceilings and open-hearth fireplace. Settled near the fireplace we will put our tea manners to use and channel or inner Lord and Lady for biscuits and a cup of tea before touring all the locations that stole our hearts and captured our imaginations. The manor is significant for more than just Downton. Our guide will tell us the real story of the home and its inhabitants, including the 5th Earl of Carnarvon who discovered King Tut’s tomb in 1923. Our tour will include some of these Egyptian artifacts he discovered on his many expeditions to Egypt.
From Highclere Castle we head to a humbler home but of no less historical importance, Jane Austen’s home in Chawton. Jane lived and wrote all her novels in the small country home after moving here in 1809 with her mother and sister. The museum houses many personal effects of the author such as first editions of her works, jewelry, and furniture. The nearby Winchester cathedral is the burial site of Jane Austen at which we will spend time before heading back to the hustle and bustle of London.
Day six- Queen Victoria’s legacy in London is evidenced all over Victoria and Albert Museum, perhaps her biggest mark on the city. A product of the 1851 Great Exhibition, this decorative arts museum is vast and considered the largest in the world. To help us focus, we will join a museum guide for a custom tour geared towards women in history while still allowing you time to seek out your own interests.
We will regroup this afternoon and make our way through Hyde Park on our way to Kensington Palace. This palace has been very significant to the royal family since it was purchased by William and Mary in the late 17th century; Queen Anne died here, Queen Victoria was raised here, Diana spent her time as princess here, and William and Kate currently call it home. We will tour the state rooms and enjoy the garden. Maybe we’ll get lucky and see a little Prince George or Princess Charlotte!
Day Seven- 900 years of history, a former fortress, palace, and prison, the Tower of London may be the most visited site in London. All the better to have it to yourself before the crowds descend! We begin the day with a private viewing of the Crown Jewels. Crowns, sceptres, swords, and coronation orbs are the highlight of the Queen’s personal jewelry box – many of which she’s still wearing. Enjoy exclusive time with all the jewels before touring the rest of the Tower, including the royal residence, the prison, and the infamous execution location of Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard, and Lady Jane Grey. With 900 years of history to unearth, you may need more time. Feel free to stay and enjoy more Tower sites and stories or venture out into the city for your own exploration. Check out the nearby Museum of London, a fantastic way to bring the history of this legendary city to life or join “Jack the Ripper” walking tour in London’s bustling East End.
Day eight- Hampton Court – Home of the most infamous of English kings, Henry VIII. The 500-year-old palace was originally built for Cardinal Wolsey, who soon realized it would be best if he gave it over to Henry VIII – you know how much Henry liked getting his own way! Your tour of the palace includes an audio guide and a lunch voucher to be used in their lunch hall. The rest of the afternoon is yours to explore London. Why not slowly meander back to London by boat or make a stop at Kew Gardens?
Parting is such sweet sorrow, but tonight we must bid adieu. Let’s grab a pint at a traditional English pub as a group and relish the great food and new friendships as we say farewell to this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Day nine- Believe it or not, this action-packed itinerary has barely scratched the surface of sightseeing in London. Perhaps you need another day or two to check off your London bucket list? Please contact Laura Hart at firstname.lastname@example.org for any assistance with extra nights at the hotel. Otherwise you’ll head back home today with memories of strong women ahead of their time and great new friends.
- 8 nights in a 4-star centrally located London hotel
- Breakfast each day
- Private tour of Highclere Castle
- Evening double decker bus tour
- Blue-badge guide of Westminster Abbey
- Blue-badge walking tour of London’s political center
- Blenheim Palace lecture and tour
- Suffragette walking tour
- Afternoon tea with an etiquette expert at Fortnum and Mason’s
- Jane Austen’s home admission
- Victoria and Albert museum
- Kensington Palace tour
- Private viewing of the Crown Jewels
- Tower of London audio guide
- Hampton Court tour
- Lunch at both Blenheim Palace and Hampton Court
- Farewell dinner at a traditional English pub
- 7 day Travel Card (public transportation pass)
- Motorcoach transportation to Blenheim Palace and Highclere Castle
- Awesome The History Chicks swag