1st Day: Board our plane for your transatlantic flight to England.
2nd Day: Arriving in London we meet our tour escort and tranfer to your hotel in the English countryside, where we have accommodations for the next 3 evenings. Our scenic drive gives us a preview of the incredible colors and beauty that await us. After checking in and freshening up a bit, we are treated to a welcome cocktail reception, where we have a chance to get acquainted with our traveling companions. A delicious dinner follows. (D)
3rd Day: A drive through the lovely English countryside takes us to today's destination - Wakehurst Place. We take a tour of the 465 acre country estate, with its ornamental gardens and temperate woodlands. While seeing the walled gardens, Asian Heath Garden, Water Garden, Loder Valley Nature Reserve and, of course, the magnificent Elizabethan Mansion, we'll be amazed by the fantastic kaleidoscope of colors of the rhodendrons and azaleas that are in full bloom. What a wonderful introduction to the world of English gardens and a great way to begin our tour. (B)
4th Day: A delightful visit to one of the world's most celebrated gardens and the pride of England's National Trust - Sissinghurst Gardens & Castle - is the highlight of today's touring. Using the property's brick structures and walls, together with the hedges of rose, yew and hornbeam, a series of "outdoor rooms" with long walking links was created. Some of the sights you will see are the Elizabethan Tower, Yew Walk, Moat Walk, Cottage Garden and the White Gardens. It's such a pleasure meandering through the intimate Rose Garden, visiting the working vegetabel garden or just strolling on the magnificent grounds at Sissinghurst. (B)
5th Day: After checking out of our hotel we drive to Hever Castle for a delightful tour. One of the most celebrated areas of Hever's gardens is the Italian Garden, which was designed to display William Waldorf Astor's collection of Italian sculptures. A delightful stroll can be taken along Rhododendron Walk and Anne Boleyn's Walk (Hever Castle was, in fact, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn). We next visit a private English counry home where we are treated to "Afternoon Tea," with scones and homemade cakes, while overlooking its magnificent gardens. This is always one of our tour's most memorable highlights. Then it's on to London, where we have accommodations for the next 3 evenings and enjoy another fine dinner. (B, D)
6th Day: We spend the day at the 2012 Chelsea Flower Show. The most famous garden event in the world, the Show - which is sponsored by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) - has been held in London since 1888. Extensively covered in the media, the show has become an important venue for watching trends in all aspects of gardening and design. Words can't describe it; you have to see it for yourself. (B)
7th Day: A short drive brings us to the RHS Gardens at Wisley. Considered the flagship garden of the RHS, Wisley captures the imagination with richly planted borders, luscious gardens and the new state-of-the-art Glasshouse. A wonderful farewell dinner is prepared for us tonight. (B, D)
8th Day: We transfer to the airport for our flight home. (B)
Optional 9th Day: We take a tour of London today seeing, among other things, Big Ben, the Parliament Buildings, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, Kensington Park, Piccadilly Circus and the Tower of London. The afternoon is free to enjoy London at your leisure; perhaps to take in a West End theatre production. Additional day includes accommodations, city tour, breakfast, meal gratuities and taxes.
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