2019 Cotswolds Land Cruise Detailed Itinerary

 

Lovely Castle Combe in the Cotswolds. Although this picture was taken by a tour member on our 2018 tour, it could be any time in the last several centuries.

The first of the two land cruises is centered in the beautiful Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the heart of England.

We add a day in the historic university city of Oxford, and we even visit Wales, but our concentration is in this beautiful timeless region.

Click the links for each of the tour pages
Main Tour Page & Joining Form
Date Summary Chart
First Landcruise - The Cotswolds
Second Landcruise - Yorkshire

 

This tells you more about what we will do and see each day on our 2019 Cotswolds Land Cruise, and how the main itinerary (with the green border) fits together with the optional pre and post extensions (with the blue borders), plus how it can dovetail into the immediately following 2019 Yorkshire Land Cruise.

For more information on both tours, and of course, to join, please go to our 2019 UK Land Cruise main page.

As a quick reminder, you can join these “land cruise” tours on any day, and leave on any day.  We generally recommend you should enjoy the entire one week main cruises, but it is your time, your money, and so, totally your choice.  Just let us know what works for you, and we’ll make the arrangements accordingly.

 

Optional Cotswolds Pre-Cruise Itinerary
Please now continue reading the main itinerary (green border) for the Cotswolds Land Cruise, which is immediately below, and starting from the same Thursday 6 June date.
Sunday 2 June (or earlier)

You can choose your preferred airline for your flights to and from Britain.

It is usually an overnight flight from the US to UK, so you should probably leave the US today (or earlier) to arrive into the UK tomorrow (or earlier).

Let us know if we can help you choose airlines, flights, and airports to use when flying in to the UK.
Monday 3 June : Be in Edinburgh or Glasgow Today (or earlier)

Both Edinburgh and Glasgow have excellent train links with the rest of Britain.



Edinburgh is a mix of the old and the very old.

You should probably get to either Edinburgh or Glasgow today in order to join the Pre-tour tomorrow morning.

If you flew into London or elsewhere in Britain, you might choose to travel by train up to Glasgow or Edinburgh. We can tell you the best way to book train travel in Britain (and at lowest cost).

We can also help you with hotel suggestions in either city if you wish, of course.
Tuesday 4 June : From Scotland and to The Lake District in England

View from Troon over to the Isle of Arran.



The Crichton Memorial Church in Dumfries.

We'll first collect you from either the Edinburgh or Glasgow Railway Station, and then we'll head to Scotland's west coast on the Firth of Clyde, with views out to the Isle of Arran and further afield to the Kintyre Peninsula.

We travel along the Ayrshire Coast before heading to Dumfries for lunch. Dumfries was named a royal burgh in 1186 and has been nicknamed "The Queen of the South". These days it is a pleasant county town of about 50,000 people.

After lunch, we leave Scotland behind and continue on to England's lovely Lake District, where we'll spend this evening (and tomorrow too).
Wednesday 5 June : A Day in the Lake District

The small village of Lakeside at the south end of Lake Windermere.



The lovely town of Ambleside in the heart of the Lake District.

Today is going to be a relaxing and beautiful day of touring around the lovely Lake District.

Maybe you'll want to take an old steamer across Lake Windermere.

Maybe you'll want to visit some of the other lovely villages and towns. Maybe you'll want to go hiking across some of the pathways in the area.

We'll be there to help you with whatever it is you wish to do.
Thursday 6 June : From the Lake District to the Cotswolds; Main Tour Starts

Town Hall and statue of Queen Victoria at Royal Leamington Spa.



The Bridge of Sighs in Oxford. The blackboard talks about "An Education in Intoxication since 1381".

Today we travel from the Lake District, down through Royal Leamington Spa, where we'll stop for lunch. The town was one of several to capitalize on their natural hot water springs and has fine Georgian and Victorian period architecture reflecting its prosperity in those times. It was given the prefix "Royal" by Queen Victoria in 1838.

After lunch we continue on to Oxford.

In Oxford we'll collect any people not doing the pre-tour from the railway station, and then continue on the relatively short distance to Burford, for the start of the main Cotswolds Land Cruise.
Itinerary for Main Cotswolds Landcruise
Please now continue reading the Post Tour itinerary (blue border) for what is simultaneously both the Cotswolds Post Tour option and also the Yorkshipre Pre Tour option. This is immediately below.
(Wednesday 5 June or earlier) : Leave the US

You can fly on any of the many different airlines that go to the UK, and there are good connections from many English airports to Oxford and the Cotswolds.

If you are not joining us for the optional pre-tour (see above) you should leave the US today or earlier. It is usually an overnight flight from the US to UK, so leaving today or earlier will get you in to the UK tomorrow, in time for the start of the main tour.

Let us know if we can help you choose airlines, flights, and airports to use when flying in to the UK.
Thursday 6 June : Arrive Cotswolds, Tour Starts

Uneven roof lines and exposed timbers on the old buildings in Burford.

The main tour starts today. You can either arrange for us to collect you from the Oxford Railway Station (or anywhere else on the pre-tour's route from the Lake District to the Cotswolds today), or make your own way to our Burford Hotel.

Oxford is just over one hour by train from London, making it very easy to get to. Fast luxury coaches also travel directly to Oxford from Heathrow. Let us know if you need help getting to Oxford to meet up with us.

If you were on the Pre-Tour, then you'll of course simply travel by coach down from the Lake District (see the pre-tour option, immediately above).
Friday 7 June : A Day in Oxford

Overlooking the (round) Radcliffe Camera and some of the Colleges in Oxford.

Today we'll go to Oxford for the day.

Oxford is the home of Britain's oldest university, with the distinctive "colleges" of the university sprawled all around the city and adding enormous character to an already charming city.
You'll have time for plenty of sight-seeing. Maybe go on a walk around some of the sights and sites made famous in any of the "Morse" (and Lewis and Endeavour) televisions series. Maybe visit a College or two, or a museum, library, or Art Gallery.

We're in Oxford for most of the day, so you can treat yourself to a nice lunch, and even do some shopping.
Saturday 8 June : Local Touring Around the Cotswolds

The old mill (on the left) and houses in Lower Slaughter, on the River Eye.

Today is a fun day full of visits to some of the Cotswolds loveliest tiny villages.

We visit some of the best known parts of the Cotswolds, and even give you a chance to walk across open fields on a public pathway between two of the towns (or stay on our coach if you'd prefer to drive!).

Also today is a visit to a traditional weekly open farmers' market, in the town of Charlbury.
Sunday 9 June : To Wales and Cardiff

The entrance to Cardiff Castle, in the heart of the city.



Cardiff is located on the north bank of the Bristol Channel.

Today we take a break from the beauty of the Cotswolds, and leave England entirely.

Don't worry, leave your passport in your hotel room, because we're only going the short distance to Wales, where we'll visit the Welsh capital of Cardiff.

If you are taking either the pre-tour or the post-tour after the Yorkshire cruise, this means you'll get to see all of Great Britain - Scotland, Wales and England.
Monday 10 June : A Free Day to Do as You Wish

Classic Cotswolds stone houses in Burford.



A typical view of the lush green farmland and gentle rolling countryside in the Cotswolds.

Most cruises have a day which is spent entirely at sea because the ship is simply getting from somewhere to somewhere else.
We have something much better than that. A free day where, instead of not being able to do anything ashore, you can do whatever you like. Rather than strand you in an ocean, you are right in the heart of the Cotswolds.

If you wish, you can spend the day in Burford itself. There's a lot to see in the town and nearby. Or you can take a local bus into other parts of the Cotswolds, or a tour to various interesting places, too.

We'll be there to help you breathe life into your plans, any which way.
Tuesday 11 June : To Gloucester, partially via Vintage Steam Train

A "Merchant Navy" class loco hauling a train on the vintage railroad we'll travel on today



The cloisters at Gloucester Cathedral were features as part of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movies

Gloucester is a much under-appreciated city, with a nicely revived dockland area at the head of the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal (built in the early 1800s).

As part of getting to Gloucester, we enjoy a 35 minute ride on the Gloucester Warwickshire Steam Railway between Toddington and Cheltenham.

In Gloucester we have a chance to see their lovely cathedral (featured in Harry Potter), the historic dockyard area, assorted museums, and of course, the historic heart of the city itself.
Wednesday 12 June : Warwick Castle and Stratford upon Avon

An ancient Elizabethan era building in Stratford, now being used for a more modern purpose (Costa Coffee Shop - the UK equivalent to Starbucks).



The outside of Warwick Castle.

For a different type of experience, today we go to Stratford upon Avon, home of The Bard (Shakespeare) and renowned for all its preserved half-timbered buildings.

After time to visit and enjoy lunch in Stratford, we continue on to Warwick Castle, one of the best preserved and most imaginatively presented of all the castles in England.
Thursday 13 June : Tour Ends, see below for Post Tour Options
If you're staying on for the optional Post Tour, and perhaps the second Land Cruise in Yorkshire, too, keep reading the next section with a blue border.

If you're leaving us today, you can simply say farewell in Burford, or we will happily take you to the Oxford Railway Station, or you can travel on with us to Coventry or even to Buxton.
Optional Cotswolds Post-Cruise Itinerary/Yorkshire Pre-Cruise Itinerary
Please now continue reading the main itinerary (green border) for the Yorkshire Land Cruise, which is on its separate itinerary page here.
Thursday 13 June : Burford to Buxton

Coventry has been home to much of Britain's auto industry, and has one of the world's finest auto museums. Even better - admission is free.



St Ann's Well in Buxton, where you can still fill your own bottles with this natural water having reputed holy healing powers.

This morning marks the end of the main Cotswolds Cruise. If you're continuing on with us, we'll travel via Oxford (dropping some of our fellow cruisers at the train station) and then on to Coventry where we'll stop for lunch and sightseeing.

If you are just joining us, you could meet us in Oxford, Coventry or Buxton today, or come in the previous day for a night in the Cotswolds.

Coventry has already been announced as being awarded the 2021 title of UK City of Culture. It has been beautifully restored after the terrors of its Blitz bombing in WW2, and now has an interesting mix of new and old architectures.

After lunch, we head west and into the Peak District National Park, where we'll spent two nights in Buxton, a market town and once known for its thermal spas, and still famous to this day for its bottled mineral water.

Buxton is distinctive for having the highest elevation of any market town in England, but at about 1,000 ft above sea level, you're not really all that high up at all. England is a very flat country - its highest point is Scafell Pike in the Lake District, at 3209 ft above sea level.
Friday 14 June : Experiencing the Peak District National Park

Wonderful views over the Peak District from the top of the Heights of Abraham Cable Car ride.



Also at the Heights of Abraham - two caves you can tour inside.



An iconic view of Chatsworth House.

The Peak District became Britain's first national park in 1951.

Like all British national parks, it is a "working" and "lived in" national park, with towns, transportation, tourism and industry, making it easy and convenient for us to enjoy this beautiful region.

We'll tour around the area today, including a visit to one of England's finest stately homes, Chatsworth House, home of the Cavendish family since 1549. We'll tell you about the close link to John F Kennedy, and a link to the Cotswolds close to Burford and how The Travel Insider even had an involvement, plus much more, when we visit.

We'll see some lovely small villages, and we'll take the overhead gondola ride up to The Heights of Abraham, where we can visit some caves and enjoy wonderful views over the national park.
Saturday 15 June : The Peak District, via Leeds, to York

Beautiful views through Cave Dale to the ruins of Peveril Castle in the Peak District.



Part of the beautifully restored Victoria Quarter shopping precinct in Leeds.

We've some more of the Peak District this morning, when we travel through it again and over the Pennine Hills on our way to Leeds and then to York.

The Pennine Hills have four separate Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and sprawl from the Peak District over to the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Britain's oldest long-distance footpath, the Pennine Way, meanders through the Pennines for a total of 268 miles.

Coming to the other side of the Pennines, we pass through Saltaire, a World Heritage site due to its Industrial Revolution significance.

After driving through Saltaire, we travel the short remaining distance to Leeds. This was a small manorial borough back in the 1200s, but now is Britain's fourth largest urban area, with a population of 2.6 million. It is the largest financial center outside of London, and is growing strongly. It has a large pedestrian area in the center of the city, and great shopping, including at the historic Victorian Quarter. We'll stop in Leeds for a leisurely lunch.

We then continue on the short remaining distance to York where we'll arrive at our hotel and transition now to the Yorkshire Land cruise.

If you are leaving us today, you could leave in Buxton, Leeds, or York, as it suits you. But hopefully you'll stay on and continue for the Yorkshire Land Cruise, which is detailed on its own detailed itinerary page.

 

Links to the other pages describing this tour are at the top of the page.