22 days
Duration
British Isles
Destination
Level 1 - Introductory to Moderate
Activity

Discovering the art and literature of England.

Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Turner, some of the greatest contributors to the art and literature of England. This small group tour from Odyssey Traveller New Zealand is specifically designed for seniors with an interest in art and literature of England. The subject is vast. It is only possible to cover a selection of those writing and painting in England up until the middle of the twentieth century. It is envisaged that future tours will cover other parts of the British Isles and the period after 1945. Even within these boundaries it was necessary to be selective. The tour concentrates on just ten painters and ten writers. Naturally, other artists and writers will be looked at when and where appropriate.

Discovering the art and literature of England

The interested mature traveller will be given the chance to visit many houses lived in by writers and artists from across the centuries. The house where Jane Austen wrote her novels is now a museum which we can visit. The romantic ruin of Tintern Abbey, which inspired both Turner and Wordsworth, is on our tour. We will walk though Constable country, take a hike over the Bronte moors and listen to lectures by experts on topics as diverse as the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the novels of Thomas Hardy.

Over three weeks travelling around England, from south to north and back again, we will attempt to come to an understanding of a variety of writers and artists and the landscapes that helped to make them what they were. This small group tour is fully escorted. Odyssey  engages a number of specialist guides along the way to bring the likes of  Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Turner and others, alive in minds eye.

Most of us have grown up with a grounding in the Art and Literature of England. This tour will help us to consolidate our knowledge and provide us with background information that will enhance our appreciation of the many men and women of genius who lived and worked in Britain.

Art and Literary Heritage of England

This tour introduces travellers to some of the most significant literary and artistic achievements of England and Wales. While travelling to numerous sites of artistic significance, we deepen our knowledge of Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, The Bronte Sisters, William Wordsworth and the Lake poets.

Highlights of this Small group literary tour of England.

Highlights of the tour include touring Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, where we also enjoy a theatrical performance, as well as visiting the Charles Dickens Museum in London, where we discover more about this iconic nineteenth-century novelist. We also take in the famous Bronte Parsonage in Haworth, and explore Jane Austen's house at Chawton. In addition, we experience the majestic natural beauty of the Lake District. We learn more about why this landscape inspired so much Romantic poetry in the late eighteenth and early-nineteenth century. The tour also comprises a literary pilgrimage to Shakespeare's birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon. Here we visit the Holy Trinity Church and take in a play performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company.

A summary of some of the Painters and Writers studied on the Art and Literature of England tour whose life and works we explore:

  • J M W Turner
  • Geoffrey Chaucer
  • John Constable
  • William Shakespeare
  • Joshua Reynolds
  • Jane Austen
  • George Stubbs
  • Thomas Hardy
  • William Hogarth
  • Emily Bronte and her sisters

Discovering the art and literature of England; Jane-Austen, Shakespeare is scheduled to commence once a year. Early reservations are advisable.

This article from Odyssey Traveller Australia, provides more information about the likes of Jane Austen and many other art and literary greats of English culture

 

Tour Notes
  • Group size is limited to a maximum of 16 participants.

PDF of Tour PDF of Reading List

1
Visit the childhood home of the Bronte Sisters
2
Explore the majestic natural beauty of the Lake District, where we learn about the Romantic poets.
3
Walk through Constable country
4
Enjoy a visit to Chaucer’s Canterbury
5
Enjoy a performance of the world-famous Royal Shakespeare Company, and visit the restored Globe Theatre in London.

Overview: Arrive at London hotel by own arrangements.

In the afternoon meet with your Program Leader for a pre-tour briefing.

This will be followed by an early evening lecture on English literature by a local specialist.

A welcome dinner will be provided in a local restaurant.

(D)

Accommodation: London Lodge or similar

Overview: A morning visit  to the Tate Gallery, where we focus on some of the most significant British artworks from the past. We enjoy learning from a specialist guide, who’ll explain the cultural and historical meanings of each painting viewed as part of the tour.

In the afternoon, we enjoy a guided tour of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, as well as a afternoon performance.

Evening will be at your leisure.

(B)

Accommodation: London Lodge or similar.

Overview: This morning the group will transfer to Russel Square by public transport for a literary tour of the Bloomsbury area with a specialist guide visiting sites related specifically to Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.

Afterward, we stop to see Lady Ottoline Morrell’s house on Gower Street on our way to the Charles Dickens Museum.

We will visit the home once lived in by Charles Dickens. This house is now a museum and gives an insight into the author’s life and work. This is where the author wrote Oliver Twist, The Pickwick Papers and Nicholas Nickleby. It’s where he first achieved international fame as one of the world’s greatest storytellers.

From the Dicken’s museum, it is a short walk to the Foundling Hospital which was supported by William Hogarth and Frederick Handel. Here we can visit the original building, specially filled with art to attract wealthy patrons to the charity, as well as the poignant exhibition on the lives of the foundlings. This was the UK’s first children’s charity and first public art gallery.

Afternoon: at leisure. You might like to take the opportunity to visit the Sir John Soane House Museum, filled with his eclectic collection, or the nearby Wallace Collection.

Sir John Soane’s Museum preserves the museum and library of distinguished 19th century architect Sir John Soane. At Soane’s request, the house has been left untouched since his death – almost 180 years ago.

Evening: Performance at the National Theatre. (If there is no appropriate performance, alternative arrangements will be made.)

(B)

Accommodation: London Lodge or similar.

Overview: In the morning  we visit Frederick Leighton’s House, a museum in the Holland Park district of Kensington and Chelsea in London. The former home of the painter Frederic, Lord Leighton, it has been open to the public since 1929. His house is an ornate reflection of his artistic interests and contains a number of his more important works.

The afternoon will include a visit to the Victoria & Albert Museum where it will be possible to purchase lunch in the splendid tea rooms. Here you can spend as much or as little time as you like as you immerse yourself in the museum’s vast collection of decorative arts.

The Victoria & Albert Museum, the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design, houses a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects. It was founded in 1852 and named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

Spend the evening at your leisure.

(B)

Accommodation: London Lodge or similar

Overview: This morning we will travel by public transport to the British Library for a guided tour of the library and its amazing collection of original manuscripts.

From there we will transfer to Trafalgar Square to visit London’s fabulous National Gallery for a highlights tour. There will be time to then explore the gallery in greater depth and to go next door to the Portrait Gallery.

In the afternoon, we enjoy some free time to continue exploring the city.

(B)

Accommodation: London Lodge or similar

Overview: This morning we leave London by private coach and head towards Tunbridge Wells via Rochester and Canterbury.

In Rochester, a local guide will help us to explore. Our tour takes in the main sites associated with Dickens.

In Canterbury, we will have a local guide for a walking tour of the main city sites associated with Geoffrey Chaucer. A visit to the Cathedral and precincts will be included.

Dinner will be in our hotel this evening.

(B)

Accommodation: Royal Wells Hotel or similar

Overview: Today we visit Chartwell House, the principal adulthood home of Sir Winston Churchill. Churchill and his wife Clementine bought the property, located two miles south of Westerham, Kent, England, in 1922. Extensive renovations simplifying and modernising the home were undertaken directly, completely transforming it when complete.

Winston Churchill was one of Britain’s most famous Prime Ministers but he was also a journalist, historian and amateur artist. This morning we visit Chartwell, his home for many years.

In the afternoon we head to Sissinghurst Castle Gardens,  created in the 1930s by Vita Sackville-West, poet and gardening writer, and her husband Harold Nicolson, author and diplomat. Sackville-West was a writer on the fringes of the Bloomsbury group who found her greatest popularity in the weekly columns she contributed as gardening correspondent of The Observer, which incidentally – for she never touted it – made her own garden famous. The garden itself is designed as a series of “rooms”, each with a different character of colour and/or theme, divided by high clipped hedges and pink brick walls.

In the late afternoon, we head back to our hotel in Tunbridge Wells.

(B)

Accommodation: Royal Wells Hotel or similar.

Overview: Today we visit Bateman’s, a 17th-century house located in Burwash, East Sussex, England. Author Rudyard Kipling lived in Bateman’s from 1902 to his death in 1936. His wife bequeathed the house to the National Trust on her death in 1939, and it has since been opened to the public. A local guide gives us an extensive tour of the house, after which we head to Smallhythe.

We visit Smallhythe Place, a half-timbered house built in the late 15th or early 16th century and since 1947 cared for by the National Trust. The house was lived in by the acclaimed Victorian actress Ellen Terry.

We then head to Rye, where we explore Lamb House, owned by novelist Henry James. This house was a regular haunt for  many contemporary English literary figures when Henry James lived there.  (B)

Accommodation: Royal Wells Hotel or similar

Overview: Today we travel to Winchester via Compton.

In Compton, we stop to the visit the G F Watts Mortuary Chapel. G F Watts was another Victorian painter enormously popular in his own day but now often forgotten. His extraordinary Mortuary Chapel is well worth a visit. A visit to his nearby house and gallery may be possible if it is open on the day of our visit.

We then continue on to Winchester, where we enjoy a guided city tour including entrance to Winchester Cathedral, where Jane Austen is buried. We also walk past the house where she died. Jane Austen did not normally live in Winchester but would have visited the city. She spent the last few months of her life here to be close to her doctor. We also explore Winchester Castle. Afterwards, we visit Queen Eleanor’s Garden, before enjoying an evening at leisure.

(B)

Accommodation: Winchester Royal Hotel or similar

Overview: This morning our coach takes us on a tour of Austen country including a visit to her home of 8 years at Chawton. Here she wrote many of her best-known works on the tiny table displayed in the museum created from her former home. An introductory talk on Austen’s life and work will be included. The village of Chewton lies within the South Downs National Park.

In the afternoon, we return to Winchester for some free time to explore the city.

(B)

Accommodation: Winchester Royal Hotel or similar

Overview: Today we explore the region made famous by novelist Thomas Hardy. We leave Winchester and travel south towards Dorchester and onto Lyme Regis.

A specialist guide will take us on a full day literary tour of the area. The morning’s tour will include entrance to Thomas Hardy’s birthplace and to Max Gate House. We explore the house in which Hardy was born, as well as Max Gate – the former home of Thomas Hardy. This is located on the outskirts of Dorchester, Dorset, England. It was designed and built by Thomas Hardy for his own use in 1885 and he lived there until his death in 1928. In 1940 it was bequeathed to the National Trust by Hardy’s sister and is now open to the public.

Our afternoon’s tour will concentrate on Lyme Regis and the region’s connections with Jane Austen and John Fowles. We stop to view the Cobb, the town’s famous harbour wall.

We then head to Exeter for the evening, where we enjoy a group dinner in our hotel.

(B, D)

Accommodation: Mercure Exeter Southgate or similar

Overview: Today we have specialist literary guide for a full day of touring the area. After breakfast, we head to Princetown, where we visit Dartmoor Prison Museum. We enjoy a specialist lecture on the literary history of the Museum, with a special focus on Evelyn Waugh, Agatha Christie, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, before heading to Jamaica Inn, where we enjoy a traditional pub lunch.

Lunch will be at Jamaica Inn made famous by the novel of Daphne du Maurier.

Time permitting there will be an afternoon visit to legendary Tintagel and the castle made famous by Mallory’s King Arthur.

Return to Exeter for the night.

A group dinner is offered this evening.

(B, L, D)

Accommodation: Mercure Exeter Southgate or similar

Overview: Today we travel from Exeter to Bath. On the way we visit Greenway, the home of Agatha Christie. There is an opportunity to lunch in Glastonbury.

From here, we travel on to Bath, where we join a local guide for a walking tour of the city that takes in the main sights. We visit Queen Square, the Royal Crescent, and have the remainder of the day free to explore this gorgeous city.

(B)

Accommodation: Mercure Francis hotel or similar

Overview: This morning, we visit the Holbourne Museum in Bath, which includes a talk on masterwork from the museum’s collection. The Holburne Museum is the city’s first public art gallery, home to fine and decorative arts built around the collection of Sir William Holburne. Artists in the collection include Gainsborough, Guardi, Stubbs, Ramsay and Zoffany.

From Bath, we travel to Stratford-upon-Avon via Tintern Abbey, where we will explore the Abbey’s connections with Wordsworth and Turner.

Dinner tonight will be at our hotel or in a local restaurant.

(B) (D)

Accommodation: Alveston Manor hotel or similar

Overview: Today, we explore Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of Shakespeare. We have a tour of the house where Shakespeare was raised, and stop to view Anne Hathaway’s Cottage. This cottage is a twelve-roomed farmhouse where Anne Hathaway, the wife of William Shakespeare, lived as a child in the village of Shottery, Warwickshire, England. It is located about 1 mile (1.6 km) west of Stratford-upon-Avon. Spacious, and with several bedrooms, it is now set in extensive gardens.

In the afternoon, we explore the Holy Trinity Church, before having some free time to explore the city at our own pace.

We meet in the evening for dinner and a performance by the Royal Shakespeare Company.

(B, D)

Accommodation: Alveston Manor hotel or similar

Overview: After breakfast, we travel to Chatsworth House, with a guided tour of the magnificent grounds, house, and gardens.

Chatsworth House is a stately home in Derbyshire, England. It is in the Derbyshire Dales, about 3.5 miles (5.6 km) north-east of Bakewell and 9 miles (14 km) west of Chesterfield. It is the seat of the Duke of Devonshire and has been home to the Cavendish family since 1549.

Standing on the east bank of the River Derwent, Chatsworth looks across to the low hills that divide the Derwent and Wye valleys. The house, set in expansive parkland and backed by wooded, rocky hills rising to heather moorland, contains an important collection of paintings, furniture, Old Master drawings, neoclassical sculptures, books and other artefacts.

(B)

Accommodation: Novotel Manchester Centre or similar

Overview: This morning we enjoy a specialist lecture on the pre-Raphaelite movement, before taking a guided tour of the Manchester Art Gallery. Later on, we visit the city’s Town Hall, and enjoy lunch at a local cafe.

In the afternoon, we visit the Lowry Centre, a theatre and gallery complex situated on Pier 8 at Salford Quays, in Salford, Greater Manchester, England. It is named after the early 20th century painter L. S. Lowry, known for his paintings of industrial scenes in North West England.

The remainder of the day is at leisure.

(B)

Accommodation: Novotel Manchester Centre or similar

Overview: This morning, after breakfast, we drive to Haworth, where we take a guided tour of the Bronte Parsonage and Museum. The Brontë Parsonage Museum is a writer’s house museum maintained by the Brontë Society in honour of the Brontë sisters – Charlotte, Emily and Anne. The museum is in the former Brontë family home, the parsonage in Haworth, West Yorkshire, England, where the sisters spent most of their lives and wrote their famous novels.

Weather permitting, we can take a walk on the nearby moors to see the landscapes that inspired “Wuthering Heights”.

From Haworth, we drive on to the Lake District with a stop at the Arts and Crafts inspired, Blackwell.

Dinner tonight will be in our hotel.

After learning about the Brontes, we travel to Blackwell, where we enjoy a group dinner.

(B, D)

Accommodation: Skiddaw Hotel or similar

Overview: The Lake District was made popular in the 19th century by the Romantic poets, particularly William Wordsworth, who later came to regret this new popularity. He felt that the tourists rather spoilt the peace of the area.

We will join the tourists as we travel around the area with our specialist literary guide. Our tour will include admission to two of Wordsworth’s homes, Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount.

In the afternoon, we take the National Trust Victorian steam launch across Coniston Water to Brantwood, the home of Victorian art critic (and well-known eccentric), John Ruskin.

(B)

Overview: Today we travel to Cambridge via Lincoln, where we spend a couple of hours visiting the Cathedral with its famous Medieval chained library.

We will arrive in Cambridge in the afternoon.

Dinner will be in the hotel or at a local restaurant.

(B)

Accommodation: Overnight Arundel House Hotel, or similar.

Overview: Today we have a local guide for a full-day literary and arts tour of the area. We’ll drive through the countryside painted by Constable, visit Flatford, and take a walk through evocative Constable Country.

From there we’ll transfer to Sudbury for a visit to the Gainsborough House Museum before continuing to Grantchester. We stop here for tea and scones in the Orchard Tea Garden, which is associated with Rupert Brook and his literary friends.

Our farewell dinner tonight will be at a local restaurant

(B, D)

Accommodation: Overnight Arundel House Hotel, or similar.

Overview: Our tour concludes after breakfast.

Trains from here run frequently to London and then to Heathrow, or you might like to spend a little extra time in Cambridge.

(B)

What’s included in our Tour

  • 21 nights in ensuite accommodation in Britain.
  • 21 breakfasts and 11 dinners.
  • Applicable entry fees and services of local guides.
  • Gratuities and necessary tips.
  • Transport, lectures and field trips as indicated.
  • Touring by comfortable and modern coach.
  • Services of a tour leader.
  • Detailed preparatory information.

What’s not included in our Tour

  • Return economy class international airfare and departure taxes.
  • Comprehensive travel insurance.
  • Meals not specified in the itinerary.
  • Items of a personal nature, such as telephone calls and laundry

Jane-Austen
Bath, Royal Crescent
Art & literature
The Backs, Cambridge
Chartwell House
Coniston, Cumbria, England
Sissinghurst Castle
Discovering Art & Literature
Rochester Cathedral
Jane Austen and literary tours of England
Bronte sisters
Library, Jane Austen books
Library, Shakespeare
Jane Austen grave

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