2021 Overlooked England Tour
What do you think of when someone talks of visiting England? London, yes, always. But what and where else?
This tour skips London entirely (you can spend time there after the tour if you wish) and blends some of the familiar with plenty of unfamiliar territory and experiences.
For example, maybe you’ve seen Stonehenge before, but have you seen the much larger stone circles at Avebury?
For example, maybe you’ve passed through the Cotswolds, but have you stayed in a Cotswolds village and gone to some of the smallest and most characterful of villages there?
And how about Kernow – the name used by the locals for Cornwall, possibly the next part of Britain to get self-rule (for more about this wonderful part of England, please see our introduction to Cornwall series of articles here). Cornwall has some of the most amazing and evocative landscapes of anywhere in England (and is the setting for the British Poldark tv series).
We’ve plenty of pre-tour options to extend your experience further, and you’re free to add on anything else after the tour, too (of course).
This page tells you what you need to know about the tour in general, and we also have a detailed day by day itinerary so you can understand everything that you’ll get to see and do during your lovely Overlooked England tour.
Start Date & Options
The tour starts on Wednesday 8 September in Salisbury.
If you prefer, you can join the tour part-way through, on the date of your choice, anywhere on our touring route.
We will meet in central Salisbury at 8.30am. You can take an early morning train from elsewhere in the country to get there by that time, or perhaps you might arrive a day or two earlier, maybe taking advantage of our optional Pre-tour experience, joining either in Edinburgh, York, or somewhere else on the pre-tour route, and/or enjoying our Scotland’s Four Corners tour immediately beforehand.
Optional Pre-tour Extension
Firstly, we always recommend you should arrive at least a day early when joining tours internationally. This gives you a day to unwind after the flights, and also gives you an “emergency” day in case of problems with flights en route.
Secondly, if you’re coming over early, why not use your extra days to good purpose, and consider joining our pre-tour optional extension – possibly in Edinburgh, or York. These options are detailed on the day-by-day itinerary page.
End Date & Options
The tour finishes on Thursday 16 September, in Burford or Oxford.
If you prefer, you can leave the tour part-way through, on the date of your choice, anywhere on our touring route.
We will leave Burford in the morning and travel in to Oxford, arriving later in the morning, at the train and bus stations.
You can take a train onwards from there to anywhere, or the bus that goes direct to Heathrow if you prefer.
Optional Post-tour Extension
If you have extra time, we’d of course recommend you first consider adding our pre-tour extension and maybe some or all of our Scotland (and Wales) tours too.
But if your schedule is better filled after this tour, then you could consider a day or two in Oxford, of course time in London, or anywhere else in Britain (and possibly Europe too).
Just ask, I’m pleased to help you plan whatever else you might want to do.
Look at Everything We Include
We’ve balanced the opposing concepts of including lots of activities and also allowing you free flexible time on this tour.
We’re also reasonably flexible about adding to or varying the tour ‘real time’ as we are traveling. As long as the group as a whole agrees and the schedule allows, we’re happy to make changes to enhance the experience for all group members.
Accordingly, while including accommodation every night, breakfasts and two dinners, touring and sightseeing, we’ve left plenty of time open for you to choose exactly the experiences, meals, and other activities you personally wish.
Everything is optional, so if you want to spend a lazy day strolling around one of the lovely towns we stay in rather than an active day out and about sightseeing, that is of course totally possible too. It is all up to you.
Some of what the tour includes comprises
On the Coach
Large luxury coach so there’s always an average of at least 1.5 seats per person, giving you best views and comfort while touring
Personal travel-sized bottles of hand-sanitizer (refills available)
Bottled water, soda, and beer available for purchase at modest price
On-board rest-room, reclinable seats, and plenty of space for carry-ons and purchases
David Rowell (the ‘Travel Insider’ himself) as tour leader
Where we visit (in order including pre and post tours – see the itinerary page)
Salisbury – A glorious cathedral and a lovely medieval city center make this one of my favorite English destinations.
Avebury – Think Stonehenge on steroids. The entire village is enclosed within a stone circle.
Devizes – A smaller market town in Wiltshire, based around the 11th century Norman castle.
Portsmouth – Considered the home of the Royal Navy, and with some fascinating ships on display including HMS Victory, Nelson’s flagship and the oldest still-commissioned warship in the world.
Isle of Wight – If you’d like, you can travel on from Portsmouth to the nearby Isle of Wight – there’s a fast 10 minute hovercraft ride as well as slower regular ferries.
Glastonbury – Full of myths and (some say) magic. Glastonbury Abbey is said to be the burial site of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere, and Glastonbury Tor is a mysterious monument on a nearby hill.
Exeter – Dating back to Roman times, with extensive underground passages, city walls protecting the center, and a Gothic style cathedral.
Plymouth – A nice city and harbor. We’ll see the Mayflower Steps where the Pilgrims set sail to America in 1620 (amusingly very close to a gin distillery), and narrow cobblestoned streets in its historic district.
Dartmoor National Park – A a vast moorland in the county of Devon. Dartmoor ponies roam its craggy landscape, with Neolithic tombs, Bronze Age stone circles and abandoned medieval farmhouses. The area is dotted with villages, including Princetown, home to infamous Dartmoor Prison.
Torquay – We ride a very steep funicular at Babbacombe, have a chance to walk around the promontory, and see various Agatha Christie sights in this city (also famous for being where Fawlty Towers was set).
Fowey – A lovely small fishing village at the mouth of the River Fowey.
St Austell – Formerly famous for its china clay, now well-known for its beautiful architecture.
Penzance – Made famous in Gilbert & Sullivan’s operetta “The Pirates of Penzance”, this is the most westerly major town in England.
St Michael’s Mount – Like Mont St Michel in France, this island is just offshore and can be walked over to depending on the tides.
Land’s End – The “official” SW extreme of Britain, we’ll get a picture taken by the famous sign here.
Southwest Cornwall Mysteries and Mines – We’ll see some of the stunningly beautiful landscapes around southwest Cornwall and visit some of the mysterious stone formations.
St Ives– A lovely seaside resort with lots of arts and crafts and galleries in the town center.
Tintagel – The ruined castle here is said to be where King Arthur lived. You can guess who was said to live in Merlin’s Cave, beneath the castle.
Boscastle – A mysterious place, notable for its museum of witchcraft. It is also very beautiful, a lovely natural harbor.
Burford – One of the market towns in the Cotswolds, with a main street full of “Cotswold Stone” shops and a lovely unassuming local church.
Cotswolds Villages – We tour around the Cotswolds, stopping at a number of villages, and even giving you a chance to walk between a couple of the villages if you wish.
Oxford – Famous for its university, which, with its many buildings (“colleges”) dominates and fills the inner city.
With all of this, your England experiences will no longer be overlooked!
Food and Drink inclusions
Cooked breakfasts every morning
Welcome drinks the first night
A group welcome dinner on the second night in Salisbury to accelerate the getting to know each other process, with a drink or two also included
Group farewell dinner – a sad experience for sure, but we try to make it as convivial as possible, and, yes, of course there’ll again be a drink or two on offer
An occasional additional libation
A traditional Cornish snack
Of perhaps equal importance in understanding the distinctive and special nature of this tour is not just what the tour includes, but also what it omits.
What the tour proudly does NOT include!
NO Early starts
NO Crowded coaches (maximum group size 24 people)
NO Characterless hotels on the outskirts of cities
NO Checking in and out of multiple hotels
NO Series of long days of endless travel on a bus
NO Huge groups being rushed through tourist trap after tourist trap
NO ‘Shopping opportunities’ at over-priced trashy souvenir shops
NO Group meals, at fixed times, with limited fixed menus, in generic cafeterias
NO Regimented inflexible schedules and mandatory events
NO Obnoxious inexperienced ‘out of their depth’ first time travelers
NO Crowded schedules leaving no flexible free time
Responding to Covid-19
At present (we will update this section any time there are significant changes) we can not yet confirm and guarantee this tour will operate, because we don’t know what will happen with the virus and how Britain will continue to respond and open-up or lock-down.
We will make a go/no-go decision as soon as we can, but this depends on Britain (and the virus). We hope to be in a position to confirm with a high degree of confidence (or cancel) by early June.
We discuss these complexities in detail in this article, but for now, there are two essential elements needed before we will operate the tour.
1. The UK must allow vaccinated visitors from the US to enter without needing to be quarantined upon arrival.
2. The UK must allow reasonable opening hours and operating conditions and internal travel for hotels, restaurants, bars, shops, and tourist attractions such that we can enjoy a relatively normal vacation experience.
For our part, we have adopted four strategies :
1. We will not ask for your deposit until we are reasonably certain the tour can proceed, at which stage we need deposits as a show of participation by people who have registered interest.
2. You must be able to show that you have had the two vaccinations (or one in the case of Johnson & Johnson) at least two weeks prior to departure.
3. If you display symptoms of Covid while on the tour, you agree to leave the tour and not rejoin until obtaining a negative “no Covid infection” test result.
4. Our hired coaches will have at least 50% more seats than people in our group, and group size will be restricted to a maximum of 24 participants.
Please ask if you have additional questions or concerns.
As we generally do with our tours, we’ve created variable pricing depending on how many people come on the tour. With the small-sized groups we offer, but with full-sized coaches, the cost per person is quite sensitive depending on the people traveling, so rather than set a price that is unfairly high or unrealistically low, we set it fairly based on how many people are traveling.
The price for the main tour is shown immediately below. Note that if you choose a second or all three of our 2021 Britain tours, we subtract a “quantity discount” from the total sum. We will not operate the tour with fewer than ten people, and will not accept more than 24 in total.
So encourage your friends to come, and not only get the special savings (mentioned next) but the growth in numbers also brings the tour price down for you, for them, and for everyone else, too.
To give you an indication for possible total tour numbers and therefore cost, our last few British tours each had in the high teens or low twenties of people participating. Hopefully we’ll get somewhere in that range again for this tour.
|Group Size||Main Tour Price per person|
|less than 12||to be determined|
We offer this tour to you with a choice of three accommodation levels. In addition to the regular prices above, you can :
Add $199 for one level of upgrade
Add a further $100 for a second level of upgrade
Rates are per person, share twin. Upgrades are not always available, and we only charge you for the actual upgrades we can secure on your behalf.
We will help to match together singles if you’d like to share with a compatible fellow single traveler but can not guarantee this.
No Hidden Extras
There are no extra charges.
While you are free to tip our coach driver as you might wish, there are no envelopes passed around at the end of the tour nor ‘recommended’ tips that you are asked/expected to pay.
Other Price Comments
All these prices reflect a 3% discount for cash/check.
A $500 per person non-refundable deposit will be required to confirm your place on this tour once the tour is guaranteed to proceed.
Tour does not include the costs of travel to and from the tour start and end points, or anything not specified as included.
Why not bring a friend or two with you, for more shared fun and fellowship.
To encourage you to do this, and your friends to travel with you, we’ll offer a 1% discount for each extra person you bring with you (other than anyone you are sharing your room with to start with).
Bring another couple, and they get a 2% discount – and you get the same 2% discount too! Bring two couples and all of you get a 4% discount, and so on (up to a maximum of 10%).
Singles Save Too!
Travel Insider tours always have a large number of singles – our groups are friendly, inclusive, and welcoming, making them ideal for singles as well as couples and larger groups.
We do our best to make our tours not only as friendly as possible, but also affordable and fair for singles, too.
We have managed to cut the single supplement down to $695, about one-quarter of the per person price.
More Helpful Information
You will save money and gain flexible convenience if you arrange your own air travel. These days airlines seldom give discounts to groups, and sometimes even charge more, while also adding extra restrictions to the tickets.
You can choose whichever carrier has the best fare and the best schedules for you, and you can also choose your preferred carrier that you wish to earn miles with. You can even cash in miles and fly on frequent flier awards.
We’ll be pleased to answer any questions you might have about arranging your air transportation, of course. We’re here to help, every which way.
Join and Leave at Any Time
We always design our tours around you, not vice versa. If you have other commitments so that you need to arrive after the tour has started, or leave before its official end, that’s fine. We’ll work with you to meet you somewhere on the way.
Tell us when you’d like to arrive and leave and we’ll work out an adjusted price to reflect this. Typically expect about a $200/day credit for days you miss.
See the itinerary page for details of where we are each day.
Register Your Interest Now
As soon as your application is received, we will advise you of your position on the list of potential participants, and keep you regularly updated between then and the tour’s go/no-go decision.
Tour Terms and Conditions
Our standard terms and conditions apply to this tour.
In addition, please note these extra terms :
1. Deposit will be required within seven days once the tour is officially confirmed. Full payment is due on or before Thursday, 1 July, 2021.
2. US, Canadian, and many other citizens require a current passport that will not expire until after the date of their planned return from Britain in order to be admitted to the UK, but do not require a visa. Citizens of other countries should check with the airline that will transport them to the UK to determine what passport and visa requirements may apply. Note that if you’re including Europe, the EU requires a passport to be valid for at least three months after your planned departure from the EU.
3. Tour price is based on a wholesale Pound/Dollar exchange rate in the range of 1.35 – 1.41 (as shown, eg, in Yahoo Finance/Money – on 31 March 2021 it is showing a rate of 1.38). If the exchange rate moves outside this range, and prior to full payment having been received by you, we will adjust the price up or down to reflect the change in underlying tour costs. We will advise you if the exchange rate is materially changing and you can always lock in the price by sending in early full payment.