21 days
Duration
British Isles
Destination
Level 2 - Moderate
Activity

Queen Victoria's Great Britain; small group tour.

This small group educational tour takes the mature and senior traveller with an interest in political, social environmental and technological history on a journey though Victorian Britain. It follows the journey of life, leisure & love that developed and emerged from Victoria's Britain.

This was an era of enormous change, change which occurred in almost all areas of life. Developments in technology, science, medicine, politics, social life, the arrival of leisure time, art and architecture, with an examination of Gothic Revival and the iconic Arts and Crafts movement including works by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Queen Victoria's Britain changed the way people of all classes lived, and laid the foundations for the way we live today.

Victoria came to the throne in 1837 and remained there until 1901. During this period the British Empire expanded to its greatest extent. Goods poured into the country from across the globe. Railway tracks criss-crossed the country. Gas lighting for domestic purposes was introduced and then superseded by electricity. Charles Darwin wrote his revolutionary “On the Origin of Species” and the right to vote was extended to all male householders, though women in England had to wait quite a bit longer.

By the time Victoria died there were bicycles, motor cars and even aeroplanes, the telephone was in use and photography had become part of everyday life. Clean water and new sanitation methods dramatically increased life expectancy. Florence Nightingale did her bit to improve hospital conditions and the introduction of anaesthetics increased life expectancy during operations. Even the queen accepted the use of chloroform during the delivery of her last two children.

Queen Victoria did not necessarily approve of all these changes but change went on with or without her approval. Our small group tour of Queen Victoria's Great Britain takes us from London to Glasgow as we travel the country in search of the people who helped to bring about this change, and the places in which they lived. During our travels we will come to a greater understanding of what made this one of the most amazing periods of Great Britain's history and a realisation of what this change means for us in the twenty first century.

About this tour of Queen Victoria's Great Britain.

This program over 21 days visits 23 contributing locations that provide participants with a understanding of Queen Victoria's Great Britain. This small group tour visits some 30+ places and enjoys talks and short lectures from a collection of knowledgeable guides on Victorian Britain. The tour commences in London and concludes in Glasgow.

The tour provides a learning platform that complements Odyssey's program Britain's history through it canals & railways. On this program visit some of the great cities and inspirational landscapes to learn about the way people lived and worked in Victorian Britain across all classes, from the townhouse, to brave new factory towns at Port Sunlight & New Lanark. We explore landscapes that inspire, we learn about the gift of philanthropists that continue to benefit today and the design that emerged from the first great wave of change. If you have enjoyed Canals & Railways, then this continues your learning about this unique period in British history and the world.

Queen Victoria's Great Britain: Highlights of the tour:

  • Visit Queen Victoria’s holiday home on the Isle of Wight.
  • Take a Victorian steam yacht to Ruskin’s home on Coniston Waters.
  • Be amazed by the Victorian Pugin redecoration at Cardiff Cathedral.
  • See where Darwin wrote “On the Origin of Species”.
  • Visit the Arts and Crafts inspired model town of Port Sunlight as well as iconic homes of the movement across Britain.

 


PDF of Tour

1
Learn about the life of Queen Victoria on the Isle of Wight.
2
Study Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the design evolution of the Arts & Crafts movement.
3
Appreciate the philanthropic funded public buildings of Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow.
4
Understand the visual romance inspired by the Lake district in art and & literature.
5
Consolidate your knowledge of social change & leisure ensuing from Industrialisation.

Overview: We meet in afternoon of Day one for an introductory talk and welcome dinner.

Accommodation: Copthorn Tara or similar

Overview: Our day commences with a tour of the Houses of Parliament. Our interest is the competition to design Westminster, the story of it’s design and construction. We cross the river to St Thomas’s hospital and the Florence Nightingale museum. We learn about the major breakthrough in medical care and treatment of the sick in hospitals in Victorian Britain.

Sanitation was also crucial in the development of the cities as industrialization gathered pace. The Crossness pumping station is visited in the afternoon. This building represents Victorian municipal architecture, engineering and sanitation all within this one building. Like the hospital and the approach of Florence Nightingale, sanitation improvements brought disease under control, substantially lifting life expectancy in the cities of Victorian Britain.

Accommodation: Copthorn Tara or similar

Overview: The group visits the restored theatre at Alexandra palace. Soane House, The Foundling museum & Dickens house. Today is about Victorian life and the emergence of leisure time.

There is a talk about Victorian Housing on our way to Alexandra Palace. The people palace was opened in 1875. The story of The Alexandra Palace Theatre is truly unique. The Theatre accommodated audiences of up to 3,000 people who were entertained by pantomime, opera, drama and ballet. Victorian engineering enabled stage machinery to allow performers to appear, fly into the air and disappear through the stage floor.

On our return we explore Soane house, a time capsule left as though Sir John Soane had just left the building. The Foundling museum raises our awareness of children in Victorian Britain. Charles Dickens also drew the public’s attention to the plight of children through many of his stories, and our final visit of the day is to one of his houses, now a museum.

Accommodation: Copthorn Tara or similar

Overview: On our last day in London we continue the program with the group learning about how the Victorians lived particularly in London. The group visits Sambourne House & Museum. We also visit Sir Fredrick Leighton’s House and the Victoria & Albert museum.

Accommodation: Copthorn Tara or similar

Overview: Our small group heads south today to Portsmouth.

We break at Downe to visit Charles Darwin’s house. From here we travel towards Guildford to the museum. Guildford is where the Victorian garden designer, Gertrude Jekyll, the artist John Russell, and the author, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known to many as Lewis Carroll, all lived and worked. We learn about their influence on Victorian Britain during the industrial revolution.

We arrive at Portsmouth, our base for the next 3 nights. There is a group dinner this evening.

Accommodation: Holiday Inn Portsmouth or similar.

Overview: Today we travel to Osborne house on the Isle of Wight. Here we explore Queen Victoria favourite holiday home, and learn about her family and gain an insight into her private life.

Accommodation: Holiday Inn Portsmouth or similar.

Overview: Today is a free day allowing you the opportunity to explore the maritime naval history of this city or perhaps take the train to Winchester or further afield to explore at your leisure.

Accommodation: Holiday Inn Portsmouth or similar.

Overview: Today we travel to Bristol. We stop to explore Tyntesfield House, this national trust house is one of the best examples of Gothic Revival stately homes in Britain. Our guide provides an insight into the property.

Tonight, we enjoy a group dinner.

Accommodation: Hampton by Hilton Centre or similar

Overview: Today we spend the morning learning about the work of Brunel, of one the great engineers during the reign of Victoria.

We visit the Clifton Suspension bridge and SS Great Britain and museum.

In the afternoon we travel to Selsey to visit All Saints church. This is our first introduction to the Arts and Crafts movement in design. W. M. Morris’s design is a place of beauty, an icon in the Arts and Crafts movement.

Accommodation: Hampton by Hilton Centre or similar

Overview: Today we enjoy a day excursion to Cardiff, where we continue exploring Victorian architecture by visiting the sights of this city and its shopping arcades. We also visit Cardiff Cathedral known for it’s Gothic Revival style. Designed by Victorian architects Pugin & Pugin, this Roman Catholic church is unique!

Time permitting, before returning to Bristol we spend time in the National Gallery with a guided tour about pre-Raphelite works. The National gallery also includes the largest collection of impressionist works outside London and there will be time to view these works as well.

Accommodation: Hampton by Hilton Centre or similar

Overview: Today we visit Port Sunlight. Port Sunlight is the utopian vision of the Quaker Lever Brothers. As industrialisation gathered pace, industrialists could see that attracting and retaining labour would be crucial. We also visit the Lever gallery, established after the death of Lord & Lady Lever, a public display of their collected artworks.

In the evening we enjoy a group dinner at our hotel.

Accommodation: Novotel Liverpool or similar

Overview: We start the day with a tour of Liverpool to gain an oversight of the role played by Victorian philanthropists in providing Liverpool with a edge in status over neighbouring rival cities.

The Walker Gallery and the Picton Gallery are examples of Victorian philanthropy which we explore today.

Accommodation: Novotel Liverpool or similar

Overview: Today we continue to learn about the philanthropy of industrialists in Victoria’s Northern England. Our guide for the day provides an overview of Victorian Manchester and its history during that period. We view key locations where events occurred and visit the main sights including the art gallery. At the Manchester gallery we view its Victorian galleries to discover more about the Pre-Raphaelites including William Holman Hunt, Ford Madox Brown and John Everett Millais.

Accommodation: Jury’s Inn or similar

Overview: Today is a free day to explore on your own. You may take the opportunity to explore nearby Preston or Bradford or consolidate your appreciation of Manchester.

Accommodation: Jury’s Inn or similar

Overview: We travel to the Lake District via the Yorkshire Dales. We ride the train to Settle, a popular market town before going on to Dent.

We continue our journey to Ambleside on the edge of Lake Windemere where we stop at Blackwell to visit one of the great Arts and Crafts houses, considered one of the greatest examples of late 19th century design.

The Lake District was an inspiration for Victorian poets, writers and painters. Train travel opened this region up to enable Victorians to escape from the industrial cities and be inspired by nature.

There is group meal this evening at our hotel.

Accommodation: Lakes Lodge or similar

Overview: We begin the day by taking the Victorian steamer across Coniston Water to Brantwood, to the home of Sir John Ruskin.

Brantwood offers a fascinating insight into Ruskin’s world and the last 28 years of his life spent at Coniston. Filled with many fine paintings, beautiful furniture and Ruskin’s personal treasures, the house retains the character of its famous resident.

Ruskin is famous as a writer, artist and social reformer and many great thinkers have been influenced by his ideas. Brantwood remains a place of inspiration. Ruskin’s legacy – from the Pre-Raphaelites and the Arts and Crafts movement to the founding of the National Trust and the Welfare State is studied today.

After Brantwood we visit Rydal. This village was home to the poet William Wordsworth and we visit his home and explore the village.

We enjoy a group dinner this evening at the hotel.

Accommodation: Lakes Lodge or similar

Overview: Today we travel to Glasgow via Abbostford and New Lanark.

In Abbotsford we stop to visit Sir Walter Scott’s House, a Gothic Revival castle. Scott described Abbotsford as a conundrum.

Scott built Abbotsford over many years as a place of inspiration, providing the foundations for his research and writing. It was also as a home for his family, a place for entertaining his many guests and displaying his growing collections of books (over 7,000 of them), as well as armour, weapons and artefacts.

From here we travel to the UNESCO world heritage village of New Lanark.

New Lanark is an an exceptional example of a purpose-built 18th century cotton mill village on the banks of the River Clyde. Robert Owen applied his form of benevolent paternalism in industry and formulated his Utopian vision of a society without crime, poverty, and misery. The village was founded in 1785, and the cotton mills, powered by water-wheels, were operational from 1786 to 1968. By 1799, New Lanark was the biggest cotton mill in Scotland and formed one of the largest factory sites in the world. Over 2,000 people lived or worked in the village.

New Lanark was a milestone in social and industrial history. The moral, social and environmental values have had lasting influences on society. The nature and layout of New Lanark was a model for other industrialists to follow. Ebenezer Howard adopted the concept for the (Welwyn) Garden City.

The social and economic systems that Owen developed were considered radical in his own time but are now widely accepted in modern society.

From here we travel to Glasgow and have a group dinner this evening.

Accommodation: Apex City of Glasgow or similar

Overview: We we have a full day tour of the city with a focus on the Victorian history of the city with our local guide.

Our first place of interest is the Tenement House. Whilst more Edwardian than Victorian it is a time capsule of life, a regular terrace house in Garnethill, providing an educational window on its previous inhabitants.

The People Palace Museum that follows, enables the group to see how the city of Glasgow evolved during the Victorian period. From here we travel across to Holmwood House designed by Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson, so named for his love of Greek architecture. Holmwood is a family home like no other in Glasgow. Thompson designed the house for paper magnate James Couper and his wife in 1857–8, and it is widely regarded as this Scottish architect’s finest domestic creation. His stunning design legacy impresses at every turn. After years as a convent it is now in a restoration phase, carefully revealing the works that the nuns covered up.

Finally, we visit Hill House designed by one of Scotland’s favourite architects and inspiration for the Arts and Crafts movement, Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Thomson & Mackintosh where contemporaries, the decision on style preference in Victorian Britain is yours.

Accommodation: Apex City of Glasgow or similar

Overview: Today we have a full day excursion to the island of Bute. From Glasgow we travel by coach to Weymss Bay to catch a ferry to Bute, the ferry journey takes approximately 35 minutes.

At Bute we head to the Mt. Stuart House, a Gothic Revival wonderland. A feat of Victorian engineering, this neo-gothic mansion was one of the most technologically advanced houses of its age. The house contains, through the family’s patronage to the art and design community, one of the largest private art and book collections in Great Britain. As we leave Bute, we will, time permitting, spend a penny at the still-working Victorian public toilets at Rothesay harbour.

Accommodation: Apex City of Glasgow or similar

Overview: On our final day in Glasgow, we we visit the Hunterian Museum and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

The Hunterian Museum is Scotland’s oldest public museum and houses the greatest collection of work by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, including the Makintosh House.

The Mackintosh House is a meticulous re-build of the principal interiors from the Mackintoshes’ Glasgow home. The principal interiors were decorated in his distinctive style, remarkable then, and now, for the disciplined austerity of the furnishings and decoration.

The house was demolished in the early 1960s but the original fixtures were preserved and reassembled, complete with the contents, as an integral part of the Hunterian Art Gallery. The architects took pains to ensure that the sequence of rooms exactly reflected the original. Virtually the same views and effects of natural light are enjoyed as the original house.

We then make our way to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum to view the Mackintosh and Glasgow Style  and Glasgow Boys galleries. The museum’s building is a magnificent example of Victorian municipal architecture.

Tonight there is a farewell evening dinner.

Accommodation: Apex City of Glasgow or similar

Overview: The tour concludes after breakfast.

What’s included in our Tour

  • 20 nights hotel accommodation.
  • 20 breakfasts and 9 dinners.
  • Guided tours and entrances as per itinerary.
  • Transport by coach.
  • Tipping and gratuities.
  • Odyssey Program Leader.
  • Detailed Preparatory Information.

What’s not included in our Tour

  • Return international airfares and departure taxes.
  • Comprehensive travel insurance.
  • Items of personal nature such as laundry and phone calls.
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Queen Victoria's Great Britain, Leadenhall arcade

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