Southern England Tour: London, Bath and Jurassic Coast

5-night England vacation package with luxurious 1st night in central London. Visit 3 UNESCO World Heritage sites, on this small group tour of Southern England.

Highlights

  • Explore three UNESCO World Heritage sites: the Roman and Georgian city of Bath, Avebury Ring (the world’s largest prehistoric stone circle), and the Jurassic Coast, riddled with fossils and tales of discovery.
  • Peek behind-the-scenes of some of Southern England’s most beautiful and historic places. You could glimpse behind the usually locked doors of an 800-year-old abbey, a Gothic cathedral, or somewhere else that our guides have discovered.
  • Along the Jurassic Coast, see the geological marvels of Lulworth Cove, Durdle Door and Chesil Beach, and follow in the footsteps of pioneering Victorian palaeontologist Mary Anning as you hunt for fossils in Lyme Regis.
  • Start and end your tour in London and stay in 4-star hotels and a centuries-old inn – places that encapsulate the spirit of their many-storied surroundings.
  • Your expert, local guides will introduce you to the history, culture, people and flavours of Southern England, and tailor their suggestions to your interests.
  • The activity level is easy/moderate with some optional walks of up to 1.5 miles.

Overview

Get to know the heritage, natural beauty and landmarks of Southern England on this 6-day, 5-night tour from London. This is a part of the world where the past feels like it walks alongside you. You can practically reach out and touch it.

You’ll travel through the counties of Wiltshire, Somerset and Dorset, jumping from deep time and pre-history to the Neolithic period to medieval, Georgian and Victorian times. Your friendly guides will help you experience it all through the eyes of important and fascinating figures, such as the pioneering 19th-century fossil hunter Mary Anning and novelists Thomas Hardy and Jane Austen.

Peel back the Roman and Georgian layers of the city of Bath, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Skip crowded Stonehenge in favour of its older, bigger UNESCO-listed sibling, Avebury stone circle. See castles, cathedrals and abbeys with links to conquering kings and enchanted poets. And soak up the natural beauty of the Jurassic Coast.

In addition, you will have a chance to go fossil hunting at a location selected by our expert, where you can be the first to release fossils from millions of years of burial! This tour also includes a visit to the Etches Collection museum, to see its newly-displayed giant pliosaur skull, which featured on a David Attenborough documentary.

Your guides, Jonathan Evans and Seren Welch, are full of thoughtful recommendations tailored to your interests. They can’t wait to meet you and show you the architectural, geological and cultural marvels of Southern England.

Read two customers' reviews of this tour from September 2023

  • Activity level: Easy/Moderate (view our activity level definitions).
  • Transport: Getting there and around: Air-conditioned people carrier or small coach, depending on the final group size and return travel to London by train.
  • Accommodation: One night at Covent Garden Hotel, Soho; two nights at The Queensberry Hotel, one of Bath’s most stylish four-star boutique establishments; and two nights in The Acorn Inn, an atmospheric 16th-century coaching inn in Dorset.
  • Weather: Late spring in this southern nook of England typically brings daytime highs of 14-21°C (57-70°F) and night-time lows of 10-13°C (50-55°F). September weather is similar. Rain is always possible, so please be prepared. Bring warm and waterproof clothing and sturdy footwear.

Other Tours you may be interested in :-

Jurassic Coast 2 nights in June for a short break , or 4 nights Island hopping on the Isles of Scilly in August or 5 nights in September, or 5 nights in Wales on our Charles Darwin focused tour in May or September 

 

Tour Map

T013 Tour Map

Day 1 – Explore London

Check into your hotel, wander one of London’s most celebrated neighbourhoods, and meet your group.

Brasserie at the Covent Garden Hotel

In the late afternoon, we’ll gather in our centrally located hotel, in the heart of Covent Garden. 

  • Overnight in Covent Garden Hotel, central London . Think design-led, super cool and bursting with delightful details
  • Group dinner in the hotel

Day 2 – Avebury, Lacock and Bath: stone circles and Georgian splendour

Travel to Bath via an enormous stone circle, an ancient burial site and a quintessentially English village.

Avebury Village

After breakfast we set off for our first UNESCO site of the tour. A less-crowded – and therefore more enjoyable – part of the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site, Avebury is the largest prehistoric stone circle in the world. This Neolithic site features three stone circles that weave in and around a pretty Wiltshire village. We’ll also stop at the nearby West Kennet Long Barrow, one of the biggest Neolithic chambered tombs in Britain.

After lunch, we visit Lacock, a quintessentially English village with an 800-year-old abbey guarding its secret treasures.

When we arrive in Bath, take a moment to relax and enjoy your hotel – a lively place with a quiet courtyard garden close to the famous Bath Assembly Rooms – then spend the rest of the afternoon and evening exploring Bath’s honey-hued streets. Where and when you go is up to you.

  • Overnight at The Queensberry, a four-star boutique hotel in an 18th-century townhouse. This desirable establishment blends noble Georgian décor with 21st-century trappings
  • Free evening – eat in a restaurant of your choice

 

Day 3 – Roman, Georgian and 21st-century Bath

Get to know the many layers of Bath, from its Roman origins and Georgian architecture to its creative modern-day residents.

Ancient Roman Baths

After breakfast, we tour the World Heritage Site of the City of Bath, including the Roman Baths in the morning, and after lunch, the best of Georgian Bath. You’ll see some of the most famous architecture of this majestic city, including the Royal Crescent, the Circus and the unmissable Bath Abbey. You’ll also hear the surprisingly human-centred story behind the characteristic, buff-coloured Bath Stone that defines the city.

If you prefer, you can skip the tour to browse Bath’s many historical buildings, independent shops – the shopping here is top notch – or visit your choice of museum, gallery or artist studio. Many of these places are no more than a 10- or 15-minute walk from The Queensbury Hotel. Seren, your guide for these first few days, is happy to make suggestions based on your interests.

  • Overnight at The Queensberry, Bath
  • Group dinner in an acclaimed independent restaurant nearby

Day 4 – Wells and Lyme Regis: cathedral and coast

Say goodbye to Bath and head to Lyme Regis, the heart of the Jurassic Coast, via Wells’s soul-stirring cathedral.

Wells Cathedral

Start the day with an optional private tour of the Museum of Bath Stone. It’s a chance to see where the stone from which much of Bath was built came from – and hear more about the entrepreneurial personality behind it.

After, we travel to the little city of Wells in the bucolic county of Somerset. Its cathedral is described as "unquestionably one of the most beautiful" and "most poetic" of English Gothic cathedrals. It’s also home to one of the few chained libraries in Britain. This remarkable library is filled with books published before 1800 and accessed by a stone spiral staircase.

After lunch, we head to Lyme Regis, Dorset. This historic seaside town has been the setting for many famous films, novels, and TV dramas. The tide will be right for an exclusive fossil hunt on the beach. Find out all about the fascinating geology from your local guide who will also show you the famous Blue Lias rocks, with their distinct limestone bands alternating with blue-black clays formed in deep time, 200 million years ago.

From there, walk into the town as your guide talks you through the extraordinary life of Mary Anning, discoverer of dinosaur fossils and subject of the recent film Ammonite. Then, take a stroll along The Cobb, Lyme Regis’s striking harbour wall made famous by Meryl Streep in The French Lieutenant’s Woman, and by Jane Austen’s novel Persuasion, which was recently made into a film by Netflix (2022).

  • Overnight at The Acorn Inn, an historic 16th-century coaching inn and restaurant in Thomas Hardy’s village of Evershot. The inn even featured in Hardy’s novel, Tess of the D’Urbervilles
  • Group dinner

Day 5 – Chesil Beach, Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove: landmarks of the Jurassic Coast

A day of remarkable natural and manmade coastal landmarks, pretty villages and pubs.

The Cobb

Start the day in the charming village of Abbotsbury. We’ll walk half a mile to take in sweeping views of vast Chesil Beach and see the medieval chapel of St Catherine’s.

Chesil Beach is some 18 miles (29 km) long, running all the way from Portland to West Bay. It is the location of a large Iron Age Fort and the beautiful backdrop for many films, including The Dam Busters and On Chesil Beach.

We then drive east along the coast to see the iconic Durdle Door rock arch and take a short walk around Stair Hole. After a pub lunch, our final stop is Lulworth Cove, as picturesque as it is dramatic.

  • Overnight at The Acorn Inn, where we’ll also have a group dinner

Day 6 – From Dorset to London: a castle, a church, a capital collection

Explore a picture-perfect castle, a poetry-inspiring church and perhaps a detour or two before travelling back to London.

Lulworth Cove

Start your last day of the tour with a private guided walk around Corfe Castle and the village at its feet. Built by William the Conqueror, Corfe was one of the first castles in England to be built from stone. It’s positioned to defend one of the few gaps in the steep-sided Purbeck ridge, which extends across Dorset.

Then, we’ll make the short journey to Kingston Church, nicknamed ‘the Cathedral of Purbeck’. According to poet John Betjeman, it “gleams with Purbeck marble”. We'll finish off with a visit to the Etches Collection museum, which houses the spectacular fossil skull of a pliosaur, carefully extracted from the cliffs above Kimmeridge Bay in 2023. If the weather is fine, there may be time for a walk to see Old Harry’s Rocks or some famous dinosaur footprints.

After a traditional pub lunch, we travel back to London by train, arriving in central London by late afternoon to say a fond farewell.

Note: this provisional itinerary is subject to change as specific locations and places of interest release more information regarding access for the coming year.

Single Supplement

There is a charge of £540 / $675 for solo travellers.

Activity Level and Transport

Q: How much walking is involved?

A: Our tours are aimed at people of all ages who enjoy being out of doors and like walking, but we do not describe them as walking holidays.

This tour will include optional walks of up to 3km (1.5 miles) in London and in Bath city centre. The Jurassic Coast days involve walks of up to 3km (1.5 miles) and takes in a few coastal sections with rocky foreshores, and occasionally steps to reach the beach. Sturdy waterproof footwear is essential for these days. The weather in late spring generally brings daytime highs between 14-21°C (57-70°F) and night-time lows of 10-13°C (50-55°F). September weather is similar. Rain is always possible, so please be prepared. You should bring warm and waterproof clothing.

If walking is an issue, alternative arrangements can be made during the scheduled walks, so please let GeoCultura know in advance.

Q: How does the group travel?

A: Participants will travel by air-conditioned people carrier or small coach, depending on the final group size.

Q: How much travelling in the coach is planned for each day?

A: The journey from London to Bath takes between two and a half and three hours, but there will be a short stop/stops to break up the journey and for light refreshments. Travel times between locations is kept to a minimum with only the occasional journey of 1hr and that is usually to return to the hotel at the end of the day.

Q: What happens if the weather is bad, or it rains?

A: We build flexibility into our itineraries and watch the weather forecast closely. Where possible, we will adjust the itinerary to ensure we take full advantage of good weather for the outdoor locations in the schedule. We always have plenty of alternative indoor places to visit and great cafes and pubs for a pit-stop if needed. Our tour manager liaises with the tour leader (and the driver) to ensure time in the coach is minimized, and there is maximum time to enjoy the stunning Jurassic coastal walks and views.

The Tour Includes/Excludes

The Tour Includes:

  • The services of your Tour Leaders, who will be with the group throughout the tour.
  • Local expert guides at certain locations during the tour.
  • All transportation costs from the start to the end of the tour, including the services of a professional coach driver.
  • All accommodation costs for the nights stated, based on two people sharing. Solo travellers are welcome. Please go to ‘Need to know’ section and click ‘Single Supplement’ for details of the single supplement.
  • All breakfasts, four lunches, and four dinners for the duration of the tour.
  • Entry fees, local guide fees and activity fees, where arranged as part of the tour.
  • All service charges and most gratuities.

The Tour Excludes:

  • Travel Insurance. Participants are required to carry their own health and travel insurance in case of accident or unforeseen circumstances.
  • Transport to the start point of the tour. However, we can arrange pick-up from a local train station or airport at extra cost. Please contact us for details.
  • Alcoholic drinks with meals are not included.
  • One free evening in Bath, so no dinner included that day.
  • Personal expenditures at each hotel, such as laundry and bar bills and any other extras.
  • Extra or optional activities not described in the tour.
  • Passport and visa fees.

Alternative Activities

The tour leaders can provide suggestions for alternative activities for individuals who prefer not to participate in any of the tour walks or visits.

Accommodation

Night 1: Covent Garden Hotel, Soho.

The drawing room at the Covent Garden Hotel

Firmdale group’s excellent central London hotel, known for its bright, confident décor, attention to detail and restaurants and bars that are just as popular with non-residents. 

 

Nights 2 and 3: The Queensberry Hotel, Russel Street, Bath. 

The Queensbury Hotel bar

A quirky combination of four exquisite townhouses, The Queensberry is one of the most sought-after hotels in Bath. It’s bold, independent, and slap-bang in the middle of the city. As if that wasn’t enough, it’s also home to Bath’s only Michelin-starred restaurant.

 

Nights 4 and 5:  The Acorn Inn, 28 Fore Street, Evershot, Dorset.

The Acorn Inn, Dorset

The Acorn Inn manages to be a popular village pub, a foodie favourite and a comfortable place to stay. This 16th-century coaching inn is packed to the rafters with character – and has an enviable literary heritage too.

Note: If required for reasons beyond our control, GeoCultura reserves the right to substitute alternate accommodations of equal or higher quality.

Deposit and Payment Terms

Deposit: A deposit of 10% of the tour price is due upon registration for a tour.

Final payment: Full payment is due 60 days before a tour begins, or upon registration if within the 60-day window.

Cancellation by participant: A participant may cancel a registration after securing a confirmed place on a tour for any reason. The following refund terms will apply:

  • Greater than 60 days before tour begins: Any monies paid plus half of the deposit will be refunded
  • 30 to 59 days before tour begins: 35% of tour price will be refunded
  • 15 to 29 days before tour begins: 25% of tour price will be refunded
  • Within 14 days of tour or during the tour: No monies will be refunded

Cancellation by GeoCultura: GeoCultura reserves the right to cancel any tour due to low enrolment, inability to run the tour or concerns about the safety, health or welfare of participants. If a tour is cancelled before it begins, all monies paid will be refunded (including any deposit).

Please refer to our Terms and Conditions page for additional details.

 Jonathan Evans

 Jonathan Evans

Jonathan Evans currently resides in Dorset, England, close to Corfe Castle. He has guided many groups along the Dorset and Devon coasts, both for geoscientists and individuals from other backgrounds. 

Jonathan has spent his career in the petroleum industry, initially in technical roles and then in management roles in India, Pakistan and Oman and, finally, global leadership roles from the UK. More recently, Jonathan elected to retire from industry to pursue other interests. 

He was involved in supporting the application for the Jurassic Coast to be recognized with UNESCO World Heritage Site status.  

Jonathan’s interests include sailing, beekeeping and organic vegetable gardening.

 

Seren Welch

Seren Welch

Seren has a passion for sharing the ver best travel experiences Britain has to offer.

After graduating from Exeter Uni with a Masters in Tourism and Social Responsibility, Seren has worked in the industry for over 25 years. During her time with the National Tourist Board, she ran numerous campaigns promoting the UK’s heritage, culture and countryside from hidden treasures and royal history to Britain’s stunning gardens, national parks and famous film and TV locations.

In 2012 she assisted the Mayor of London’s team to tell London’s cultural story to the international media during the London Olympics, showcasing contemporary culture and culinary delights and flying the flag for London’s fashion.

For the past 10 years, she has been a consultant to WGBH Masterpiece in the US, helping them to tell the location story behind some of the best loved British period dramas, from Downton Abbey to All Creatures Great and Small.

As a lover of ‘off the beaten track’ travel gems, Seren has worked with Geocultura to shape elements of our tours to deliver those extra special experiences to our customers, such as the South of England Tour.

 Away from travel and tourism, Seren’s interests include sculpture which she now teaches on her farm in Kent.

Upcoming tours
15 - 20 Sep 2024
Prices from GBP £3,195.00
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