The English Countryside

June 11-21, 2019

Stellar English wine? Fabulous English food? Not too long ago these were both oxymorons for wine & food lovers. English wines, however, have recently put the wine world on notice. In 2016 an English bubbly beat out several French Champagnes in a blind tasting that shocked the wine world. In 2017 a wine from England won “Best in Show” among > 17,000 wines judged by a panel of international experts. English wines are no longer step-sisters. And, boutique micro-breweries are opening faster than you can say “Long Live the Queen!”

The same riveting change can be seen in England’s food scene. Michelin star chefs abound. Gastro-pubs are springing up and featuring dishes made from locally sourced ingredients. Fusion cuisine is weaving a new culinary tapestry with tastes of India, Asia, and France. Old English standards continue to tantalize …Stilton & Gloucester cheeses are some of the world’s best. Farmers’ markets are becoming very popular. It’s out with the old, uninteresting cooking and in with new, cutting-edge gastronomy.

This trip will take place in the southern region…the sunniest part of the country (Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Wilshire and Somerset). The majority of the trip will be in the Cotswolds, an area of quintessential thatched medieval villages and rolling green hills. The Cotswolds, declared by the British Government as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), is considered by many foreigners & Brits as England’s most beautiful.

Trip Highlights

  • Private tours & tastings at award-winning la crème de la crème wine producers, as well as Bombay Sapphire Gin & a micro-brewery
  • Foodie excursions to England’s most famous outdoor market, as well as visits to both Stilton & Gloucester cheese makers
  • Accommodations in Anne Boleyn’s childhood castle and a luxurious private estate in the Cotswolds
  • Cultural visits including Shakespeare’s birthplace and the marvelous Roman Spa in Bath
June 11: Premium Gin & Wine

A private chef will cook dinner tonight at our estate

Afternoon: Our tour begins in the afternoon southeast of London in the district of Kent.   Affectionately called the “Garden of England,” Kent is also home to a famous castle home of Anne Bolyen’s family for a century.  Now owned by descendants of the famous John Jacob Astor, it has been turned into a 5 star hotel.  We’ll kick off the trip with a blind tasting of some of England’s award-winning wines.

Evening: Dinner will be at a nearby quaint pub known for its high level of cooking. As Kent is replete with micro-breweries and wineries, there will be plenty of choices for beverages.

June 12: Our Castle and Bubbly

Anne Boleyn’s childhood castle offers a unique opportunity for lodging

Morning: We’ll begin the day with a tour of our double-moated castle & its 125 acres of formal gardens.

Afternoon: Next, we’re off to visit our first two wineries. But, these are not just any wineries. Both have received a plethora of international awards. This is sparkling wine country, so we’ll delve into discovering England’s bubbles. (NOTE: Kent is the same latitude as Champagne area of France and has similar limestone soils.)

Evening: Tonight we’ll dine at a restaurant that offers an enticing array of fresh local produce, along with a menu reflecting England’s move toward creative cooking.

June 13: Premium Gin & Wine

A private chef will cook dinner tonight at our estate

Morning: It may be difficult to leave the castle but today we move to the enchanting Cotswolds region.  Enroute we’ll stop for a tour to learn how Bombay Sapphire Gin is made.

Afternoon: After lunch we’ll then head to a winery that has a cult following.  Finally, we’ll arrive in the Cotswolds at our private, grand estate—aspectacular Georgian property surrounded by 20 acres of gardens and set in 500 acres of private farm and parkland.

Evening: Dinner will be catered in by a private chef.

June 14: Cotswold Splendor

This former wool market is built of the area’s famous honey-colored stone

Morning: After breakfast we’ll head to one of the Cotswold’s loveliest villages, Stow-on-the-Wold where there will be free time.Hundreds of years ago the Cotswolds was the wool capital not onlyof England but of Europe.  Stow-on-the-Wold was an important market town where much of the sheeps’ wool was sold.

Afternoon: Next, well move to another enchanting town, Chipping Camden where you’ll be free to explore.  Another key wool settlement, Chipping Camden was quite important from the medieval ages until the Industrial Revolution.

Evening: India was the biggest jewel in the British Empire’s crown. Today, there are nearly two million people of Indian ethnicity in England.  This translates to a plethora of Indian restaurants which have always been immensely popular due to England’s former bland and rather boring cuisine.  Tonight we’ll dine at the best Indian restaurant in the Cotswolds.

June 15: U.K.’s Best Farmer’s Market

Just-picked fragrant berries are just a few of the market’s treasures

Morning: We’ll jump-start the day by visiting England’s award-winning outdoor foodie’s market.  Strawberries are synonymous with June, as are cherries and stone fruit.  Local dairies abound and will be selling fresh yogurt and cheese.  Stone fruit will just be coming into season.  Artisan bakers will offer tempting breads and pastries.  The English love their flower gardens so expect a plethora of vendors selling an array of florals.

Afternoon: It just so happens that a brilliant winery is in the vicinity of the market, so after shopping we’ll have a tasting of their award-winning wines.

Evening: Tonight’s a free night. There’s an option for a group pot-luck at the estate put together from items purchased this morning. Or, opt for dining out.

June 16: Strolling, Shopping and Sipping

Beautiful Bourton-on-the-Water offers something for everyone

Morning: Free time.  There are plenty of walking trails just out the door of our country estate.  Or perhaps, a game of croquet on the expansive lawn?

Afternoon: We’ll head to another of the Cotswold’s beloved towns.  This village has something for all:  one can simply wander, shop, or visit the micro-brewery.

Evening: We’ll dine at a gastro-pub that sources its produce and food products locally.

June 17: Stilton & Shakespeare

The Stilton producer has been making cheese for >100 years

Morning: Today we head north to Robin Hood’s Nottingham district for one of the most ethereal food products in England, Stilton Cheese. We’ll visit the top producer of this blue cheese to learn about its labor-intensive process.  A tasting will follow.

Afternoon: We’ll stop in Stratford-on-Avon where there will be free time.  Birthplace of Shakespeare, the town is very popular and its waterside location makes for a beautiful stop.

Evening: Dinner will be at a local pub that offers a killer list of English beers, as well as a great wine list to accompany its fusion-inspired cooking.

June 18: Your Day in the Cotswolds

Consider indulging in a favorite English tradition….afternoon tea

Morning  &  Afternoon: Today is your day to do as you wish.  The famous Cotswold trail for hiking is right out our front door.   Biking on the pretty country lanes is an option.  If you’re a gardener, there’s a wonderful garden nearby owned by the National Trust that shouldn’t be missed.   Maybe you’ll decide on a formal afternoon English Tea?   Or, perhaps you wish to return to one of the charming villages we visited?  All are possible.

Evening: We’ll toast our last evening in the glorious Cotswolds at one of the area’s top restaurants.

June 19: Wine and Glouchester Cheese

This gold medal winning owner serves as a consultant to >20 wineries

Morning: You most likely will not wish to say good-bye to the amazing Cotswold countryside, however, today we’ll continue onward to another equally charming part of the Cotswolds—the awesome town of Bath.  In route, we’ll stop at a Gloucester cheese maker to see the process and sample the cheese made from the Gloucester breed of cows.

Afternoon: Immediately following lunch, we’ll visit a nearby winery that has received accolades from the international press.   Then, we’ll check into our villa-hotel located in the historical center of the town of Bath.

Evening: Dinner will be at an atmospheric gastro -pub with killer food and a terrific list of libations.

June 20: The Brilliance of Bath

Bath is one of the most beloved towns in England

Morning: Today we’ll begin with a walking tour of Bath with a professional guide.  Definite must-stops will include the town’s famous Roman Spa and the Royal Crescent, one of the greatest examples in the U.K. of Georgian architecture.

Afternoon: Free time to explore oh-so special Bath: shop for last minute gifts, savor one last meal in a British pub, or if you missed tea in the Cotswold now’s a good time to indulge.

Evening: Tonight’s farewell dinner will be a 5 Course Tasting Menu at Bath’s cutting-edge restaurant.  There’s not a better place to toast the trip’s many awazing experiences.

June 21: Hail Caesar!

Natural hot springs are just one of the many compelling features of Bath

By now, trip participants will have discovered some of the numerous reasons why the Romans fell in love with this town  nearly 2000 years ago.  Unfortunately, the tour ends after breakfast.  For those of you who can’t stand the thought of leaving this enchanting spot, Wine-Knows can arrange extra days at our hotel (but early booking is critical as this is a small, very popular venue).  Otherwise, we can assist with transport back to London, or make arrangements for other locations in England or Europe.   Bon voyage!

FAQs

The tour begins June 11, 2019 at our castle-hotel located 40 miles south of London. (Instructions for how to reach our accommodation will be sent with the final documents, however, for planning purposes it can be reached by rail service from London in about an hour). It is strongly advised that participants arrive in England the day before the tour begins to avoid any possibility of missed connections with the group. Wine-Knows will be happy to obtain early arrival hotel space for you.

Group airfare has purposefully not been included to allow maximum flexibility in arrival & departure options. You may go early or stay over after the trip concludes. Wine-Knows Travel, Inc. provides land-only arrangements and does not provide airfare.

Our groups are composed of people from diverse occupations, singles & couples, men & women, a mix of young & old, well- seasoned international travelers as well as novices. All have a common interest in food & wine. Many participants on our tours are repeat clients. In addition, each tour participant is a non-smoker.

Wine-Knows is planning to use the following 3 properties, however, we will be previewing a wide selection of properties in 2018 from which we’ll make our final selection for 2019. If there are any changes in the properties below, participants will be notified.

Anne Boleyn’s Childhood Castle. The second wife of King Henry the VIII, Anne changed the course of English history. (The King had to renounce Catholicism & create the Church of England to marry her.) Her family’s castle contains 28 bedrooms, all decorated in antiques, rich fabrics, & well-outfitted bathrooms. 5 stars. Early arrival can be arranged, but space is limited so early booking is essential.

Elegant Private Estate in the Cotswolds. This spectacular country home offers 9 bedrooms, all of which are individually decorated. Most have private ensuite baths, however, some rooms will share a bath with another room. The gorgeous salon & formal dining room are huge with high ceilings & tasteful country decor. The property’s grounds include a pool, a 20 acre garden, and 500 acres of parkland.

5 Star Victorian Villa-Hotel in the Center of Bath. Built on a park in a prestigious part of this delightful city, this luxury boutique villa offers 20 stylishly appointed bedrooms. Elegant touches abound from goose down duvets to quality Egyptian cotton linens. The hotel is winner of Britain’s Breakfast Award…expect smoked salmon, free range eggs & a cornucopia of other delectable items.

Dining experiences have been mindfully selected. Meals will be special culinary events ranging from sophisticated world-class restaurants to simpler gastro-pubs.

In addition to carefully chosen restaurants, this tour will also feature a dinner at our estate in the Cotswolds with a private chef. Participants can assist in the kitchen if they so wish. There will also be excursions to England’s best Stilton Cheese maker (winner of numerous “Best in Show” awards throughout Europe). We’ll also visit a Gloucester cheese producer, as well as England’s top rated outdoor food market.

The tour will be business casual dress during the day. As the Europeans have a more formal dress standard, there will be no shorts allowed during our winery visits. It is strongly suggested that men bring a sport coat (tie optional) for dining at the more sophisticated restaurants. Women should bring a similar level of attire for these high-end dinners. Don’t forget to bring a swimsuit as the private estate we’ve leased in the Cotswolds has a swimming pool.

Consider the following 3 rules of thumb to minimize the amount of clothing required: (1) Bring layers. (2) Use the mix-and-match principal (i.e. if it doesn’t mix or match, leave it at home.) (3) Use accessories to change the look versus bringing additional clothing.

Keep in mind that England is generally cooler than the Mediterranean countries of Europe. While this tour will involve the southern-most part of the country where temperatures are warmer, it can still be cool. Daytime temperatures can vary from low 60’s to low-70’s so pack accordingly. While rain is unusual at this time of year, it never hurts to pack a small umbrella.

The price is based upon double occupancy. Should you wish to share a room, every attempt will be made to find you a roommate (most of the time we have been successful in doing so), however, if we are unable to find you a roommate, you will need to pay the single supplement of $1450 US.

We have provided free time as detailed in the itinerary. Furthermore, it is not mandatory that you attend all of the planned experiences, although most of our clients do! This is your trip—if you would rather sleep in, shop, or simply chill at a local pub, then do it!

The tour ends in Bath. There is frequent rail service from Bath to London (1 ¾ hour). Wine-Knows can arrange transport for you to any part of England or other cities in Europe.

Yes. We accept payment through PayPal (PayPal.com). Since PayPal charges us a fee, this fee must be added to the cost of the trip.
Tour Prices
Tour Dates
Book Before 11/1/2017
Book After 11/1/2017
June 11-21, 2019
$5,691 each
$5,997
  • All activities listed in the itinerary
  • Double occupancy accommodations (two 5 star hotels, plus a luxurious private estate in Cotswalds with 9 bedrooms)
  • Private bus transport with a professional driver
  • Daily full breakfast and 9 dinners
  • Wine to accompany dinners (the trip has been priced based on 2 persons sharing a 750ml bottle of wine, or 2.5 glasses per person of 150ml each)
  • All gratuities (e.g. restaurants, driver, bellmen)
  • Airfare to and from Europe
  • Passport fees
  • Transport to the start point, or post trip
  • Personal items (e.g. laundry, mini bar, telephone calls)
  • Single supplement of $1,450
  • Meals not listed above
  • Wine over and above the 2.5 glasses (150 ml each) per dinner (you are welcome to purchase extra wine if you would like more)
  • A Deposit of $1,500.00 US per person is due at the time of booking.
  • A second payment of $1200.00 US is due by May 1, 2018.
  • A third payment of $1200.00 US is due by October 1, 2018.
  • The final payment is due by February 1, 2019.
  • There will be a $100.00 US charge for late payments.
  • Please make all checks payable to Wine Knows Travel, Inc. Trust.
  • A non-refundable fee of $250.00 US, applies for all cancellations.
  • Cancellations received prior to October 1, 2017 will be fully refunded less the cancellation fee.
  • 75% refund of the remaining funds will be made to those who cancel between October 2, 2017 and February 1, 2018.
  • A 55 % refund of the remaining funds will be made to those who cancel between February 2, 2018 and September 1, 2018.
  • A 25% refund of the remaining funds, if any, will be made to those who cancel between September 2, 2018 and February 1, 2019.
  • There are no refunds for cancellations after February 1, 2019.

Trip cancellation insurance is *strongly recommended* and can be purchased for a nominal premium.

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