Welcome2Britain

Visit Glorious England!

Soaked in history and beauty – the British Isles should be considered a priority for any self-respecting traveller. If you have never visited ‘this sceptred isle’ before then there are a thousand reasons to tempt you over – I hope to show you just a portion, in the hopes you may discover the rest.

Avebury Stone Circle

Avebury henge and stone circles are one of the greatest marvels of prehistoric Britain.

History
England is a fascinating tapestry of history, threads from all our many disparate periods interweave to create the stunningly complex picture you see today. Great Britain became an island around 5600 BC, when it completed its gradual break off from the European sub-continent. And since then the island has been a hub of human history, much of which is still visible, especially as we hurtle through the millennia. 

Throughout the country there is still evidence of prehistoric human life, the arcane roots of British history. Nowhere is this better seen than in the Southwest, England’s Neolithic heartland. Here you can see Stonehenge, the most striking of England’s ancient monuments. This 5,000-year-old site is as ancient as the Great Pyramid at Giza and just as mysterious and is complemented by a landscape littered with similarly ancient monuments – like Avebury Stone circle.

Leaping forward, our island couldn’t avoid European history for long as the Romans first invaded in 55BC, before becoming our masters in 87 BC. During there dominion they erected thousands of buildings across the country in their bold classical style. You are never far from Roman history in England, but the best sites include: the roman baths in Bath (I wonder where the town got its name?), which are stunningly well preserved or Fishbourne Palace in Chichester. Or, for the traveller who wants to stray all the way to the Anglo-Scottish border, Hadrian’s wall is a true wonder of this isle.

Despite plummeting into the dark ages after the Roman’s departure, we soon recovered and a whole procession of Kings and Queens sculpted this county into its current shape with varying degrees of grandeur. Now our country is beset with castles – over 1500 in total (in various states of repair!). Some of the best to see today include, Warwick Castle or Dover Castle. Or why not visit Hampton Court, built by Thomas Wolsey before he was executed, and the property was seized by Henry VIII.

Or if you would prefer the relatively modern castles, the royal family currently have 26 royal residences, some of which you can visit such as Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle. Or, some of the UK’s most historic and breath-taking homes are open to the public. The National Trust alone owns of 200 stately homes, and there are more still, each one a cornucopia of history and its own miniature tapestry of famous names and events: try Blenheim Palace, Chatsworth House or Highclere Castle.

Salisbury Cathedral

Explore over 800 years of history at Salisbury Cathedral, one of the UK’s most iconic medieval buildings with an award-winning welcome. Discover our original 1215 Magna Carta, one of only four in the world, and explore its legacy in an interactive exhibition

Beauty
Although the surface of England is strewn with sites of historical significance, (many of which are beautiful in their own rights), the landscape of England is also as various and beautiful as any country in the world. And this natural beauty is evident all over! There are 13 national parks in England and Wales, all of which are uniquely stunning. Try the austere attraction of the new Forest, or the Tranquil majesty of the Lake District, or perhaps the mysterious Dartmoor and Exmoor, or the heady Peak District.

We have hardly scratched the surface of the burgeoning history this island represents and could hardly illustrate the wondrous sumptuousness of the place. The marriage of these two cornerstones of tourism is what makes England so special to visit and it really has to be seen to be believed – so visit glorious England!

The Small Group Touring Company operate unique mini coach day tours and extended U.K sightseeing tours throughout Britain.

The Small Group Touring Company
http://www.Welcome2Britain.com

Coronavirus – is it safe to travel to the UK? The answer is a yes!

Concerns over the new Coronavirus are sweeping the globe – with cases reaching European shores people are beginning to wonder if it is still safe to travel across Europe, particularly the UK. The answer is a yes. Although the UK count is rising, the number remains relatively low (319 at the time of writing).  

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There are many reasons not to be too concerned about the coronavirus, as long as you are considerate of the symptoms and the badly effected areas. Currently, the most deeply effected countries are China (which has the vast majority of the cases), South Korea and Iran. Italy, especially northern Italy, has the most cases in Europe. So firstly, one way to ensure safe travel to the UK for everyone is to be considerate if you have travelled to any badly effected area. If you have been to these places and are experiencing flu like symptoms, quarantine yourself and even if not, it is probably best not to travel until you are certain. This is sensible practice when dealing with infectious diseases globally and will help continue to keep places like the UK safe to travel for others. Some flights from northern Italy have been cancelled which is sure to ease the spread of the virus.

If you have not been anywhere near badly effected areas, then you are good to go! If you are still concerned however, there are a few things that could ease your mind. Less than 1% of those tested so far in the UK have tested positive for the virus (and these are people coming back from badly effected areas). The government have released statements saying the risk to individuals is low and that they are ‘well prepared’ to deal with the virus. They have been given special powers to quarantine anyone suspected of having the virus so the risk if spread is still low. Some statistics might ease your mind further. The disease has currently affected 0.0005% of the UK population (most of which have been to a dangerous area. The four deaths the UK has seen as a result of the virus affected the elderly with underlying health issues. The mortality rate of the virus is immensely low and so is the rate of infection. You are far more likely to be hit by a car then ever getting Corona virus, one hundred times more likely in fact!

There are further precautions you can take as a tourist if coronavirus fears are still troubling you.  Why not avoid the crowds by booking a private guided tour? Away from crowded coaches and try travelling more rurally, away from the cities. There are hundreds of sequestered yet historically significant sites around the UK, with many an expert willing to take small groups around – avoiding the masses! (With Brexit weakening the pound and coronavirus fears thinning crowds, it’s probably the best time to visit anyway)

As things stand there is very little reason to be concerned about Coronavirus – pack a facemask if it gives you peace of mind but at the moment there is no need. Just wash your hands regularly and dispose of your used tissues…. and enjoy your trip to the UK!

The Small Group Touring Company operate unique mini coach day tours and extended U.K sightseeing tours throughout Britain.

The Small Group Touring Company
http://www.Welcome2Britain.com

 

 

Coronavirus – is it safe to travel to the UK?

Concerns over the new Coronavirus are sweeping the globe – with cases reaching European shores people are beginning to wonder if it is still safe to travel across Europe, particularly the UK. The answer is an unequivocal yes. Of all the globes 81,229 cases, 13 are in the UK, 0.016% of the global cases.

coronavirus-london-uk-holidays-travel-warning-news-latest-1241504

There are many reasons not to be too concerned about the coronavirus, as long as you are considerate of the symptoms and the badly effected areas. Currently, the most deeply effected countries are China (which has the vast majority of the cases), South Korea and Iran. Italy, especially northern Italy, has the most cases in Europe. So firstly, one way to ensure safe travel to the UK for everyone is to be considerate if you have travelled to any badly effected area. If you have been to these places and are experiencing flu like symptoms, quarantine yourself and even if not, it is probably best not to travel until you are certain. This is sensible practice when dealing with infectious diseases globally and will help continue to keep places like the UK safe to travel for others.

If you have not been anywhere near badly effected areas, then you are good to go! If you are still concerned however, there are a few things that could ease your mind. Less than 1% of those tested so far in the UK have tested positive for the virus (and these are people coming back from badly effected areas). The government have released statements saying the risk to individuals is low and that they are ‘well prepared’ to deal with the virus. They have been given special powers to quarantine anyone suspected of having the virus so the risk if spread is still low. Furthermore, even the worst effected country in Europe (Italy with 165 cases) has yet to close its borders with neighbouring countries. If you are still in need of some more peace of mind, then perhaps some statistics might help you, you are roughly five times more likely to win the lottery* than contract coronavirus, you are 4,483 time more likely to be hit by a car. You have roughly the same chances of being struck by lightning – probably not something that deters tourists often!

There are further precautions you can take as a tourist if coronavirus fears are still troubling you.  Why not avoid the crowds by booking a private tour? Away from crowded coaches and try travelling more rurally, away from the cities. There are hundreds of sequestered yet historically significant sites around the UK, with many an expert willing to take small groups around – avoiding the masses! (With Brexit weakening the pound and coronavirus fears thinning crowds, it’s probably the best time to visit anyway)

As things stand there is very little reason to be concerned about Coronavirus – pack a facemask if it gives you peace of mind but at the moment there is no need. Just wash your hands regularly and dispose of your used tissues…. and enjoy your trip to the UK!

*Chance of matching 5 numbers.

Click here for Customised Guided Tours of Britain & Luxury Transport Service

The Small Group Touring Company operate unique mini coach day tours and extended U.K sightseeing tours throughout Britain.

The Small Group Touring Company
http://www.Welcome2Britain.com

Harry Potter and Lacock Village

Having received a mention in the Doomsday book in 1086- Lacock village has seen the coming and going of at least a thousand years of English history- nestled by the river Avon in the north of Wiltshire. However, it is for its most recent history that the village is receiving its far-flung fame, as it has become a go-to location for the British film industry, hosting pride and prejudice (1995), Downton Abbey (2010-2015) and most importantly, the juggernaut of British culture, Harry Potter. I want to explore why the village is such a perfect film location for the Harry Potter Franchise and why it’s such a wonderful place to visit. Click here for Downton Abbey and Harry Potter Tours

Lacock Village

Lacock Village and Harry Potter

First, let’s take a look at where in the franchises eight instalments you can spot Lacock’s characteristic charm.

You will see the village of Lacock predominantly in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001) and Harry Potter and the half-blood prince (2009). In the first instalment of Harry Potter film, Lacock is used to represent Godrick’s Hollow and one of Lacock’s many traditional stone houses is where Lilly and James Potter are murdered by lord Voldemort. And in sixth instalment- Lacock represents ‘Budleigh Babberton’ where Harry and Dumbledore find Horace Slughorn– and convince him to take on the post of potions master. The whole episode was filmed in Lacock and you can see a number of Lacocks famous buildings- the distinctive timber framed houses of Church street and later a large brick mansion on Cantax hill.

However, the real Jewell in Lacock’s crown- especially for its burgeoning film career- is Lacock Abbey. Built in 1232 and having undergone many architectural renovations, the building is a prime spot for various films and has subsequently been chosen to represent both Hogwarts and Downton Abbey! Harry Potter fans will instantly notice the medieval archways of the cloisters, which have represented the corridors of Hogwarts

on several occasions. Furthermore, the beautiful gothic stonework of various crypt-like rooms made them perfect locations for both Snape’s potions classes and Quirell’s defence against the dark arts in the first Harry Potter Film.

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Why is Lacock Village so perfect for film?

What makes Lacock village so perfect for the film industry is the fact that it seems frozen in time- untainted by modern developments and perfect for the antiquarian sets of the Harry Potter films.  The fact is that Lacock has been unchanged for centuries and there are historic reasons for its antique appearance. Lacock was formerly one of the very few places at which you could cross the Avon river, twinned with its ideal location between bath and London, it developed a reasonably successful wool and cloth trade. A couple of centuries of prosperity would have given rise to the majority of the finer buildings visible today Lacock. The dominate family of 17th century wool trade in Lacock, the Colbornes, lived at the very same house depicted as Horace Slughorns, on Cantax hill. However, due to a new road between bath and London which bypassed Lacock as well as a failure to modernise, the industry declined. A lack of development in its key industry lead to a lack of development in its infrastructure and Lacock became frozen in time. With the help of the national trust, the village largely looks the same as it did when the last cloth worker, Richard Perkins,  lived there in 1851.

Why Visit?

Lacock Village is the platonic idea of a quintessential English village- so not only can you enjoy the more modern pleasure of visiting a top film location but you can simultaneously throw yourself back to a simpler time of English elegance and savour this quaint village’s aesthetic charms. Although it appears frozen in time, Lacock continues to be a living history.

See top filming locations from the award-winning ‘Downton Abbey’ television series and several Harry Potter films on a full-day tour from London.

Click here for Downton Abbey and Harry Potter Tours

Click here for Customised Guided Tours of Britain & Luxury Transport Service

The Small Group Touring Company operate unique mini coach day tours and extended U.K sightseeing tours throughout Britain.

The Small Group Touring Company
http://www.Welcome2Britain.com

Visit Highclere Castle as seen in the Downton Abbey TV series. Book now for 2019

HIGHCLERE CASTLE, BAMPTON & OXFORD: 2019 –

Tour Highlights:downton-abbey-48d4d68dcb1ec8dcbcfb3c48e62b48140cb1

  • Visit Highclere Castle where the Downton Abbey TV series was filmed.
  • Visit to Bampton Village setting many of the outdoor scenes from the TV series.
  • Signed copy of Lady Carnarvon’s autobiography
  • Upgrade to include an additional book  “At Home at Highclere: Entertaining at The Real Downtown Abbey” written and signed by Lady Carnarvon (Upgrade option must be selected at the time of booking – Tour 03DX)
  • Walking tour of Oxford and independent time for Lunch.

The tour:

Leaving London we head for the University town of Oxford.

Oxford
Oxford, the city of dreaming spires, boasts one of the world’s greatest – and oldest – universities, as well as some of the finest architecture in Europe. The colleges themselves, which make up the university, are amongst the architectural highlights, their ivy-clad stone walls protecting beautiful chapels, halls and libraries.

A walking tour of Oxford with our guide is included before some free time to grab a bite to eat.
Why not try out a pub lunch at one of the many famous inns of Oxford.

Next we head to Bampton the setting of various village scenes from the Downton Abbey series. Visit the Church, Mathew Crawley’s mother’s house, the hospital and more. The village itself is quintessentially British and one of Britain’s hidden treasures.

Leaving Bampton we now head for Highclere Castle made famous by the Downton Abbey TV series.
Built by Sir Charles Berry who also built the houses of Parliament, this is the countryseat of the Earls of Carnarvon. The tour of the Castle’s public rooms includes the magnificent public main hall, the library and sitting rooms in addition to other rooms featured in Downton Abbey.

Why not spend some time enjoying the enjoying the parklands created by Lancelot “Capability” Brown who also designed the grounds of Blenheim Palace or indulge yourself with tea and cake at one of the tea rooms once you have finished touring the Castle. A signed copy of Lady Carnarvon autobiography will also be given to every customer on the tour. It makes for fascinating reading and is a unique souvenir to remember the day!!

Departing Highclere Castle we head back to London and arrive back at approximately 7pm.

Dates available are as follows for 2019

Apr: 7, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 21, 23

May: 5, 6, 7, 28

Jul: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 16, 17, 18, 21, 23, 24, 28, 30, 31

Aug: 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 18, 20, 21, 25, 27, 28.

Sep: 1, 2, 3

Visit our website for availability and booking details

DOWNTON ABBEY PRIVATE TOURS are also available on other dates (Apr, May, Jul, Aug and Sep 2019). In addition tours are available to Downton Country locations on other dates

The Small Group Touring Company operate unique mini coach day tours and extended U.K sightseeing tours throughout Britain.

The Small Group Touring Company
http://www.Welcome2Britain.com

 

2018 Royal Wedding – time, schedule, venue and route in Windsor for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s big day.

THE Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle takes place TOMORROW on May 19th, with a global audience of millions expected to tune in.

On Saturday, Harry and Meghan will say “I do” at St George’s Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle. Here’s the lowdown on the big day…

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are officially engaged – and are due to marry in May

When are Prince Harry and Meghan Markle getting married?

Shortly after their engagement was revealed, it was confirmed the wedding between Harry and Meghan will be held on Saturday, May 19.

In a statement, Kensington Palace said: “Her Majesty The Queen has granted permission for the wedding to take place at the Chapel. The Royal Family will pay for the wedding.”

Visit the Sun website for full details

Join us on a small group Windsor Castle Tour this summer and hear all about the history of the Royal family.

The Small Group Touring Experts
http://www.Welcome2Britain.com

 

In Britain 2017 is the Year of Literary Heroes, in recognition of the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death and 20 years since the first Harry Potter book!

One of the most widely read authors in English literature, Jane Austen died on 18 July 1817 in Winchester, south England.

To mark the 200th anniversary of her death, fans can visit Jane Austen’s house, Chawton, near Alton in Hampshire, south England, around an hour by train from London. It was here that she wrote Emma, as well as Mansfield Park and Persuasion.

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20th anniversary of the Harry Potter book series

Since the release of JK Rowling’s first novel Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone on 30 June 1997, the books have gained immense popularity, critical acclaim and commercial success worldwide, and inspired a popular film series.

All eight movies were filmed in Britain, with locations spanning England, Scotland and Wales. While in London, Potter fans shouldn’t miss a priceless photo opportunity at the enchanted Platform 9¾ at King’s Cross Station. Would-be sorcerers can try their hand at pushing a trolley through the brick wall between platforms 9 and 10, otherwise known as the portal to the wizarding world.

And a must-visit for any discerning Harry Potter fan is the Warner Bros. Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter(link is external), a dream come true for anyone – young or old – who watched and loved the movies and the books.

We offer a number of Jane Austin Bath Tours and Harry Potter themed day tours plus our custom private guided tours can easily be arranged for families and small groups.

The Small Group Touring Experts
http://www.Welcome2Britain.com