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Best of England vs Villages of Southern England

My apologies if this has already been covered, I looked but did not see that it had been covered already.

I'm thinking about taking one of these tours next year. I would like to hear from those who have taken either or preferably both. Likes and dislikes? Highlights? How was the food? How did it compare to other RS tours you have taken? And other thoughts.

Thank you for the help.

Rich

Posted by
8068 posts

I did Best of England last year and wanted to do Villages this year but it was sold on the dates I was interested in by the time I made a decision.

I don't think I had any dislikes.

I loved the itinerary, the guide, the bus driver, lol!! And the group. Here is a link to my trip report from last Fall.

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/tours/trip-tour-report-for-best-of-england-paris-hof

Food-wise- I'm vegan so my food views are going to be different from yours!

My overall opinion is that you can't go wrong with either!

Posted by
3446 posts

Have taken both and both were great but they are very different. Food was great, too many highlights to list, no real dislikes to speak of, and it's hard to compare to other RS tours since they are all different to some degree. Don't know what your traveling background is, but if you've not been to England before, I'd suggest doing the Best of England first just to get a broader perspective of England as a whole. Then do the Villages Tour a year or so later.

Posted by
1144 posts

Thanks for all the help everyone.

I guess I should have provided more background info. I'm a veteran of 11 RS tours and I've enjoyed them all. I started using RS guidebooks years ago when planning independent travel. About 10 years ago I was too busy at work to plan a trip so I decided to take the plunge and signed up for the Rome city tour. I figured that if I didn't care for the tour it was only a week. Well I just had so much fun that I haven't stopped signing up for trips since. A few years ago my friend had a bad travel experience with a group of friends. He decided to join me on the Paris and HOF tour. Now he's hooked too. Maybe the tours need to come with one of those warnings - WARNING-RICK STEVES TOURS CAN BE ADDICTIVE AND CAUSE SERIOUS HARM TO YOU BANK ACCOUNT!!!!!

I think Emma has hit on something. Going to different areas does appeal to me.

Thanks again!

Rich

Posted by
1794 posts

Hi Rich,
I just had to respond to your comment that RS tours are addictive, so true! I am about to embark on my third -17 Days in Italy, Oct 9-25. The fourth is already booked for next March, 7 Days in Rome. My first was Paris & HOF in Oct. 2014.
I have also started a travel group meeting here in Atlanta.
Hope you will let us know what you decide re: England, although 14 Days in England sounds like a very good overview and hits a number of places I have heard about and would like to visit.

Judy B

Posted by
1007 posts

We were debating between these two tours, but decided on the Villages of Southern England tour. Our last RS tour was Sicily in April 2016. We really enjoyed that tour, as it took us off the beaten path. The southern England and Sicily tours are part of the "cultural connection" group of RS tours, which offer more diverse experiences and more contact with local people. Finally, the Villages of Southern England tour has less travel time between stops. Either way, you won't make a bad choice.

Posted by
4486 posts

Rocket:

WARNING-RICK STEVES TOURS CAN BE ADDICTIVE AND CAUSE SERIOUS HARM TO YOU BANK ACCOUNT!!!!!

LOL! But so true!

Posted by
65 posts

We took the Best of England tour in May and loved it. The itinerary covered all the places we wanted to see. Each day seemed better than the last. Highlights included the museum at Hadrain's Wall, Well's Cathedral, York Minster and the museum there, Stanway House and Bodnant Gardens. The food was great, including the various english breakfasts, fish for dinner and Indian food. We arrived a couple of days early in Bath (all the regular price rooms at the hotel were booked so we booked the superior room and for an extra 20 pounds a night we stayed in that room for the days on the RS tour). We also used Airport Pickups London to pick us up at the airport and take us to Bath. There was a great laundry that we used when we stayed in the Lake District. We also saw plays in Bath (booked before the trip) and while in the Lake District (purchased the day of the play) that added variety. There was a great resturant in Bath near the hotel - The Scallop Shell that I would recommend for seafood. Listening to music at the pub (included dinner) and visiting the sheep farm were also highlights.

Posted by
1144 posts

Well, this was actually a semifinal competition. Of the two, the best of England won out, but it went up against the Switzerland tour. My friend and I debated the merits and drawbacks of each tour and it was really hard to decide. Eventually though we picked Switzerland. In the end it was the beauty of the alps that swayed us. Hopefully we will have good weather for our trip. We'll still have a few days in London on the way over. And both England tours remain high up on the priority list.

Thank you all for your thoughts and help.

Rich