Please sign in to post.

Villages of South England Tour - May 8th - May 20th

We are on the Villages of South England Tour: May 8th - May 20th. This will be our fourth RS tour. I would be interested in hearing from people who have been or will be on this tour.

We will be flying into Dublin and staying for a couple of days before the tour starts. On the day before the tour, we will fly from Dublin to London Gatwick and take a train to Canterbury. At the end of the tour, we will stay on in Bath for a few days in the same hotel used by the tour. We will then be staying with my wife's penpal in Wales. Finally, we will fly from Bristol to Dublin, stay overnight, and return home. We have a new direct flight option from Bradley (Hartford) to Dublin on Aer Lingus, which is why we are including stops in Ireland.

Posted by
1017 posts

Jane-

Thanks for the link. I remember reading your excellent review when you posted it last year.

  • Bob
Posted by
86 posts

DH and I are signed up for the tour beginning on May 15th. Looking at this year's itinerary, I see a couple of minor changes from last year - - they've added a punt ride on the River Stour in Canterbury, and replaced the Day 4 stop at Battle Abbey with a stop at Pevensey Castle. After the tour ends in Bath, if you haven't been to Avebury I'd highly recommend seeing that. We took the Mad Max day tour to Avebury and Lacock a few years ago and liked it a lot.

Posted by
1017 posts

Hope you enjoy the tour. I am celebrating retirement with this trip, as well as commemorating a summer spent in England in 1972. I have not been to any of the places on the Villages of South England tour except for Stonehenge. On my previous visit, I was able to visit Stonehenge at dawn and wander among the stones with nobody else around.

Posted by
86 posts

Those were the days! It was great to be able to just wander among the stones, practically alone, back in the early 70s. Shortly after that they got fenced in, no touching. But it will be interesting to see what the new visitors center exhibits are like. The attraction of Avebury is that it's not too heavily visited, and it's still possible to wander at will among the (very large) neolithic stones. The other place on this tour which I've already been is Portsmouth naval shipyard, but there's so much to see at that location that one visit can't cover it all. The Mary Rose and Victory are highlights, of course. You'll love the tour, I'm sure.

Posted by
1017 posts

I am looking into travel options for the Gatwick to Canterbury leg, and have posted a question on the England forum to ask if it is better to take the train or arrange for a car service.

Posted by
177 posts

We will be doing this tour the end of August so will be excited to hear about your adventure.

Posted by
1939 posts

Of all my many RS tours, this was among my top 3 favorites. It's amazing, beautiful and unique countryside, lovely gardens, incredible history (both "real" and "maybe real"), the food, the lodgings. Two of my favorites activities involved walking/hiking (do bring well broken in shoes). We walked a portion of the South Downs Way with it's lovely scenery and easy walking. My very favorite day was spent on Dartmoor....it was a cool, misty day, perfectly suited to the location which is mystical even without its remnants of Bronze Age civilization. Our local guide was spectacular. Walking among the Dartmoor ponies, seeing standing stones and stone circles-big wow for me. And then there was the trip down into the tin mine, making and picnicking with our own handmade pasties, the brewery visit complete with a Ploughman's lunch and their own product (good!). Oh, yes-and then the Cathedrals-breathtaking! I think you'll be happy you are arriving in Canterbury at least one full day before the tour starts, lots to see there not included on the tour and staying over an extra day in Bath as well for the same reason. Connections from London to Canterbury and back to London from Bath are easy. So much to see, so much to do on this tour. Oh, and by the way, it happens to be very busy one!

Posted by
1017 posts

Andi-

The tour sounds great - our trip is only a month away! The Villages of South England Tour is one of the so-called cultural connection tours (Sicily, Portugal, Eastern France and Village Italy are the others). We went on the Sicily tour last year, and it was full of rich experiences.

Posted by
1017 posts

We decided to use the car service to get from London Gatwick airport to Canterbury, the starting point of the tour. The car service goes door to door and only takes a little over an hour. The train, on the other hand, requires 2-2.5 hours and at least one change. Two walk-up train tickets cost only a bit less than the car service. We don't want to buy advance train tickets in case the flight is late.

Posted by
168 posts

We participated in this tour last August and really enjoyed it. Weather was a little iffy - rain and overcast on several days but it made the Moors more interesting. We could almost hear the hounds!!!!. Adding the punt ride is good since my husband and I did that on our own and thoroughly enjoyed it in Canterbury. This tour is pretty busy with not as much free time as some others ( we have been on 11 RS tours and about to join #12 and 13). Pace yourself and take rain gear! We stopped at both Battle Abbey and Pevensy Castle and thought both were pretty interesting from an historical perspective. Our guide, Mark Seymour, was quite well prepared with history and other background. In Canterbury, we had lunch on our own at The Foundry and really enjoyed it. Extra time in Bath will be good. We had spent a few days there with the Best of England tour earlier so had been able to really see the sights. This tour will have only a brief stop in Bath. Fashion Museum, Work Museum, all good. Loved the visit to the Tin Mine - Poldark country!! Have a great time!!

Posted by
1017 posts

Lynda

Thanks for the report. They may tweak the itinerary this year considering that last year was the first time for this tour.

Posted by
1017 posts

Just received the final tour package: roster, hotel list etc. Looking forward to a great trip.

Posted by
7 posts

We're taking that tour on June 17. Can't wait! We did Best of England last year and our tour guide, Mark, was instrumental in creating the Villages tour. Based on his description, we decided to sign up and hope Mark will be our tour guide again. This will be our ninth RS tour and all the guides have been great, so we know we'll be happy no matter who the guide is.

My sister-in-law and brother-in-law live in London and when we shared the tour itinerary with them they said it was wonderful. We'll be spending a few days with them in London before the tour starts. We've visited many big cities in Europe but really enjoy the villages.

Posted by
1352 posts

I hope you all come back and do trip reports:) I've been toying with the idea of doing this tour next year,

TIA and enjoy your tours!

Posted by
1017 posts

Just completed the Villages of South England tour. We are still in Bath on a post tour visit. The tour was outstanding - funny and informal guide (Gillian), great group and mostly good weather. More details to come after I return home on May 25th.