We have partnered with R. Crusoe, one of the leading luxury tour operators to present these curated pre and post Wimbledon tours to come sightsee and take in the local flavor of intriguing regions in the Cotswolds, Scotland or Wales. They will arrange for exceptional luxury hotels for you, some of which are historic manors. They hand-pick the top local guides and get you off the beaten path and deep into your destination. Consider the following ideas as jump-off points, and remember that they will customize any journey to fit your specific desires.
The English Cotswolds
Close your eyes and imagine the quintessential English countryside. You know, thatched-roof stone cottages beside a meandering stream. Quiet villages where farmers toil and sheep graze. Where afternoon tea is not just a ritual, it’s a way of life. Where Ye Olde Shoppes are for real (and they opened for business long before Disney had a clue). You’ve just had your first glimpse of the Cotswolds, just a short drive from London.
En route, pause in Windsor for a visit to Windsor Castle, built in 1070 by William the Conqueror. It still serves as a royal residence. What would a journey in England be without time to ponder the mysteries of Stonehenge? Come join in the endless speculation.
The city of Bath was a popular meeting place for the Romans, who enjoyed a good soak and plenty of gossip here. The entire old town is a UNESCO site, a glorious mix of Roman and Georgian architecture. Overnight here and wake up to a private tour of the Circus, Pulteney Bridge, the Abbey Church of Sts. Peter and Paul, the Grand Pump Room, and the Jane Austen Center.
The magical Cotswolds‘ rolling hills and ancient roads lead us to delightful hamlets – Shipton-Under-Wychwood, Upper and Lower Slaughter, Stow-on-the-Wold… A pub lunch is rigueur. So is afternoon tea in a local shop.
One of the most celebrated Cotswold villages is Stratford-Upon-Avon, birthplace of the Bard. Enter Shakespeare’s childhood home as well as that of his wife, Anne Hathaway. See the Church of the Holy Trinity. Shakespeare was both baptized and buried here. Have a green thumb? If so, we suggest a visit to Hidcote, known for one of England’s most influential 20th-century gardens.
To the delightful city of Oxford. On a private walking tour, enter one of the oldest colleges, then see what makes Oxford unique: the Sheldonian Theater, Radcliffe Camera (library), bustling High Street, and University Church of St. Mary the Virgin. You mustn’t miss nearby Woodstock, home to Blenheim Palace, birthplace of Winston Churchill and a stunning Baroque tribute to early-18th-century English style.
Enjoy a final country day in Ascot, just beyond the London city limits and site of the Ascot Racecourse. Think elaborate race-day hats of every shape, shade, and silhouette. Then back into London, where you might enjoy a few more days of poking around.
We suggest a six-day journey.
Scottish Border Country and The Highlands
After the crowds of Wimbledon, who wouldn’t want a change of pace? We have just the thing: from London, head for the open hills of the Scottish Border Country and the Highlands. Edinburgh, Scotland, where we suggest you begin, is a non-stop 90-minute flight from London. Check into your swank hotel right in the old city, then head out with a private guide to explore this ancient, history-filled city. Trace the Royal Mile to Edinburgh Castle. See the Crown Jewels and the Stone of Destiny, whose importance your guide explains.
The Palace of Holyroodhouse, founded by David I, King of Scots, in 1128, has served as the principal residence of Scottish royals since the 15th century. Queen Elizabeth II spends one week here each summer. Speaking of royals, take a gander at the crown’s yacht Britannia, decommissioned in 1997 after 44 years of service. Daytrip to the Scottish Borders country, about an hour’s drive outside the city. Here, where Scotland’s and England’s borders meet, conflicts were once the order of the day.
In Kelso, we arrange a VIP look at Floors, Scotland’s largest inhabited castle and home of the duke of Roxburghe. Nearby Melrose, a charming market town, is know for its Cistercian abbey, founded in 1136. While you’re here, listen to colorful tales of Robert the Bruce and the Crusades. The Scottish Highlands await, sparsely populated and ever so beautiful, from the mountains to the lochs. Cross the Firth of Forth into the ancient Kingdom of Fife.
Castles abound in the Highlands: Scone Palace, which boasts fine collections of art, antiques, and family heirlooms; Glamis Castle, best known as the childhood home of the late Queen Mother and birthplace of Princess Margaret; 13th century Blair Castle, impressive and imposing, and host to the likes of Mary Queen of Scots, Bonnie Prince Charlie, and Queen Victoria (you’re in good company); Dunrobin Castle, ancient seat of the Sutherland clan; Inverary Castle, home of the duke and duchess of Argyll and known for its armor and French tapestry collections.
Culloden is the site of one of the Highlands’ most important battles (1746), the final showdown between French-backed Jacobites and the British government. And no visit to the Highlands would be complete without sampling single malt scotch. We suggest you do so in Tain at Glenmorangie Distillery. During a cruise on Loch Ness, watch for Nessie. Even if you don’t spot the elusive monster, you’re likely to see deer, feral goats, osprey, cormorants, and other (less shy) wildlife. If you’d like, we can arrange a private launch on the lake. Just let us know.
Trace the shores gorgeous Loch Lomond, where heatherclad peaks tower above the horizon. End in Glasgow, another Scottish city we love. Your hotels in the Highlands? We recommend a 16th century lakeside beauty and a castle hotel that was a favorite of Queen Victoria.
We suggest an eight-day journey.
Aboard a Vintage Railway, The Royal Scotsman
Consider touring the Scottish Highlands in absolute style aboard a vintage railway, The Royal Scotsman. It’s an easy flight bertween London and Edinburgh, where we suggest you spend an overnight at a luxurious hotel. A local guide takes you to see the city highlights, from Edinburgh Castle to the royal yacht Britannia. The next day, board The Royal Scotsman, an elegant Edwardian-era train that offers the epitome of service and care. It carries a maximum of 36 passengers served by 14 experienced crew members. That means attention to detail, incredible food, and extraordinary comfort.
All meals on board are taken in one of two dining cars, five-star restaurants with a club-like atmosphere. Mahogany paneling, tables beautifully set with white linen, crested Royal Worcester china, and fine crystal. Dinner each night is either formal or informal. An observation car offers passengers a place to congregate in comfort and style. Over coffee or an aperitif, enjoy the magnificent scenery just beyond the train windows. This is also where you enjoy musical programs planned for the odyssey.
The sleeping car cabins have a distinctly Edwardian flavor. Think rich wood and inlaid marquetry, thick carpets, beds, a dressing table, and windows that open onto the fresh Scottish air. Each cabin has its own bathroom with shower, wash basin, and toilet. From Edinburgh, cross the Firth of Forth, tracing the east coast through Arbroath, Montrose, and Aberdeen into the market town of Keith. Over the next three days, your moveable hotel (and movable feast) travels to some of the Highlands’ most extraordinary spots and most memorable scenery: Muir of Ord (to tour the Glen Ord Distillery); Achnashellach and Strathcarron forests; Loch Carron…
In Plockton, an 18th-century fishing village, take a boat trip to see seals near the Isle of Skye; or wander the charming stone-cottage-lined village street; or take a guided woodland walk. Or perhaps you’d prefer to enter Eilean Donan Castle, built in the 13th century? In Carrbridge, visit Ballindalloch, one of Scotland’s most romantic castles. While we’re here, play the castle’s private golf course, or visit the nation’s only single-estate distillery.
Boat of Garten is home to historic Rothiemurchus Estate, where there are again options: fly-fish; try claypigeon shooting; or enjoy the splendid Speyside scenery. Glamis Castle in Dunkeld is next, childhood home of the late Queen Mother. The following day, return to Edinburgh.
This is a six-day journey. We also offer longer itineraries aboard The Royal Scotsman.
It’s only a pleasant two-hour train ride (or three-hour drive) between London and Wales. The Welsh are staunch supporters of their ancient language, protectors of their distinct traditions, and proclaimers of their national identity, separate from England’s. Come get to know the Welsh and their delightful country. Cardiff, Wales, is a port city. Take a private insider’s tour of Cardiff Castle, entering portions not open to the general public. In the National Museum, get a primer on Welsh history. Meander through Brecon Beacons National Park for your first taste of Welsh moorlands, dramatic escarpments, and sandstone peaks. Your drive ends at an elegant historic estate hotel in the Wye Valley.
In Tregaron, meet artisans who’ve made an international name for themselves designing traditional Celtic jewelry. Tour Aberystwyth, known as the Biarritz of Wales for its tourist boom during the Victorian era. Enter the National Library for a private behind-the-scenes tour. Machynlleth was the seat of the Welsh Parliament in the early 1400s. Today it’s home to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Wales. What a contrast. Wild and rugged moorlands unfold before you in the Berwyn Range, where the bird species are notable. Our drive leads us to Welshpool, where we enter medieval Powis Castle, known for its remarkable parklands.
Montgomery, just a mile from the English border, has much to recommend it – 13th-century Montgomery Castle, the old Bell Museum, and the cemetery’s Robber’s Grave, among them. Wales is known as the Land of Song. Get an earful at a choir performance. We can arrange that. Head to Chirk for a tour of the castle, including a bi-level dungeon, medieval garderobes (toilets), and murder holes used to defend the inhabitants.
In its time a marvel of engineering, Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is a navigable waterway, which we tour by motorboat. Visit the last Cistercian abbey founded in Wales (built in 1201). Bodnant Gardens, famous for its arbor. At the National Slate Museum, learn about the importance of slate mining in the 19th century. Ride the vintage Welsh Highland Railway through County Gwynedd, and disembark in Caernarfon for a tour of its medieval fortress. Then on to Manchester, England.
We suggest a six-day journey.