Join Kayleen Asbo PhD and Stephen Carpenter for a ten-day tour to some of the most beautiful corners of England: the city of Bath, famed for its Georgian architecture, Roman Baths and Pittville Pump Room, and the setting for several of Jane Austen's novels; Glastonbury with its Tor steeped in Arthurian legend; the Cotswolds whose many villages are built from the golden limestone that shapes the hills and valleys in which they are nestled; and Oxford, that great "seat of learning" where we will enjoy two concerts at the celebrated Oxford Lieder Festival. Our pilgrimage will weave together history and legend with art, music and the stunning scenery of Somerset, Worcestershire and Oxfordshire. Our journey will begin in the city of Bath which we will explore together and use as a base to visit Glastonbury, before moving on to the Cotswolds and Oxford.
This will be the third tour organised by Kayleen Asbo and Stephen Carpenter who have collaborated on other tours to the UK since 2019. If you would like to join Kayleen and Stephen on this Enchanting England pilgrimage, see details of how "To Book" below.
Please note: for the safety and well-being of our guests, we require testing for Covid the day before we begin, and again if you develop any symptoms during our trip. We will have test kits on hand. Depending on world circumstances and UK policies at the time, it may be a requirement to wear a mask on our bus voyages. We strongly urge you to obtain trip insurance to cover your expenses should you fall ill.
This is a draft itinerary at this stage and may change in some details, but the broad plans will remain the same:
FRI 6 OCT
Independent arrival at the Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel for a four-night stay. Check in from 15h00. Welcome dinner at 19h00.
SAT 7 OCT
Morning visit to the Roman Baths for a private tour of the fascinating Roman Bath Museum and brunch in the elegant and ornate Pump Room so cherished by Georgians and Victorians. We may be in luck to have this accompanied by a string trio. A free afternoon to relax at the hotel, explore Bath on your own or take a guided bus tour. Dinner will be under your own arrangements at one of the many attractive restaurants in the city, details of which will be provided.
SUN 8 OCT
After breakfast at the hotel, we will visit two museums: the Holburne is a short walk away and houses the collection of Sir William Holburne (1793-1874), whose Grand Tour of Europe, visiting Italy, the Alps and the Netherlands, sparked a life-long interest in art and his enthusiasm for collecting. He particularly loved bronze sculptures, silver, porcelain and Dutch landscapes. We then move on to the Jane Austen Centre in the heart of the city. The Centre focuses on the life and works of Jane Austen, as well as the Regency period in which she lived. Lunch and dinner are under your own arrangements in the city and you may wish to attend Choral Evensong at 3.30pm in Bath Abbey.
MON 9 OCT
We travel to Glastonbury, legendary site of Avalon and the final resting place of King Arthur. At the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey, will tour the museum, the Medieval-style herb gardens, then pay homage to the tombs of Arthur and Guinevere amid the ruins of the monastery. We will pause in St Patrick's Chapel (the only building which escaped destruction by Henry VIII in his quest to dissolve the monasteries) and as we gaze at the stained-glass windows of St. Patrick, St. Brighid and Saint Mary Magdalene, we will learn about how Christian monasticism spread from Egyptian Christianity to France, England and Ireland.
After lunch on your own in one of the quaint cafes in a town straight out of Harry Potter, will walk up the land labyrinth to the iconic Tor and then visit Chalice Wells where British legends claim Joseph of Arimathea hid the Holy Grail. We return to Bath for dinner together at the hotel.
TUE 10 OCT
We journey by coach from Bath to the Cotswolds where we will visit the beautiful town of Chipping Campden with its atmospheric 15th-century church. After lunch under your own arrangements in Chipping Campden, we will visit the world-famous Hidcote Gardens created by celebrated horticulturalist and plant collector, Major Lawrence Johnston. We check in at the Lygon Arms Hotel in Broadway in the late afternoon where we will have dinner together.
WED 11 OCT
Today we journey to Bourton-on-the-Water one of the most idyllic Cotswolds villages, before moving on to Kelmscott Manor, described as a ‘Heaven on Earth’ by the designer, William Morris. He loved the Manor house and adjoining farm buildings as a work of true craftmanship, totally unspoilt and unaltered, and in harmony with the surrounding countryside. We will experience the beauty and seclusion that inspired many of William Morris’s most important designs and writings before returning to Broadway where dinner will be under your own arrangments in one of the many restaurants in the town.
THU 12 OCT
After breakfast in the hotel we will walk together to Broadway Tower, an iconic landmark on top of the beautiful Cotswolds escarpment. It was the brainchild of the great 18th century landscape designer, “Capability Brown”. There will be the opportunity to climb to the roof viewing platform, officially the highest point on the Cotswolds, to see breath-taking views spanning 16 counties and 62 miles in each direction. Lunch will be available under your own arrangements in one of the cafes at the Tower. Dinner will be together at the hotel, followed by a private concert.
FRI 13 OCT
En route from the Cotswolds to Oxford we will stop at Blenheim Palace, the vast estate built for the first Duke of Marlborough in the early 18th century as a reward for his successes in the War of the Spanish Succession. It is the only non-royal and non-episcopal country house in England to hold the title of "Palace" and was the birthplace of Winston Churchill. After lunch under your own arrangements at one of the cafes in Blenheim Palace, we will journey on to Oxford to check in to the Randolph Hotel for our final two nights. We will have a pre-concert dinner together followed by a concert at the Sheldonian Theatre.
SAT 14 OCT
Across the road from our hotel is the Ashmolean Museum where we will make a self-guided visit in the morning before moving on to the Bodleian Library for a private tour. Lunch will be under your own arrangements before we join together again for another pre-concert dinner together followed by a concert at the Holywell Music Rooms.
SUN 15 OCT
Independent departure home.
THURSDAY 12 OCT – BROADWAY
String Quartet - programme to be confirmed
FRIDAY 13 OCT – SHELDONIAN THEATRE, OXFORD
Recital by Dame Sarah Connolly, mezzo-soprano, and Dame Imogen Cooper, piano
SATURDAY 14 OCT – HOLYWELL MUSIC ROOM, OXFORD
Recital - programme and artists to be confirmed
Bath is easily accessible by train from London. There are regular trains from London Paddington to Bath Spa and the journey time is approximately 1 hour 20 minutes. The cost of travelling to Bath is not included in the tour price, but if you would like help in booking a train ticket then please get in touch with Stephen Carpenter, and he will be happy to assist. Alternatively, you can book on thetrainline.com but you advised to wait until around 10 weeks before travel before you book, as this is when cheaper tickets become available.
Please also note that you will need to arrange your own travel insurance. It is recommended that you obtain insurance that will cover you in the event of illness or accident before the holiday preventing you from being able to travel, as well as the more usual medical cover whilst you are actually on the trip. It is also a requirement of joining the Camelot tour that all travellers sign a liability waiver confirming that Carpenter Holidays and Mythica LLC shall not be held liable for theft, loss, injury, illness, or damage to person or property during the holiday. A copy of the liability waiver can be downloaded from the "Document(s)" section at the bottom of this page.
For your return journey, there are several trains each day from Oxford to London Paddington from where you can transfer to Heathrow, or into London if you plan to stay longer.
The Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel is a short taxi journey from Bath Spa Station.
Price per person
Tour price per person based on sharing a double or twin room £3,500
Single room supplement £995
Deposit required on booking £2,000
Second instalment of £1,500 (plus £995 if you are a single traveller) due by 30 June 2023
NB for travellers also booking for the Spirit of Scotland pilgrimage (for details, see this website), a discount of £200 is offered on the Enchanting England pilgrimage.
Tour price includes: Accommodation, breakfast daily, six dinners, one lunch, sightseeing trips as described, coach transfers, concerts of music on 12, 13 and 14 October, the services of Kayleen Asbo and Stephen Carpenter as guide and tour manager.
Excluded from the price is the cost of your travel to and from the UK at the beginning and end of the holiday, lunches on all days except 9 October, drinks with dinners, dinners on 7, 8 and 11 October, insurance.
Booking is through Stephen Carpenter, at Carpenter Holidays.
Please complete the Booking form which you can download from the "Document(s)" section below. Once completed, email it to stephen [at] carpenterholidays.com or send it by post to:
67 Stuart Road
Once you have submitted the booking from, you will be sent details of how to pay the deposit for the holiday. This will be payable either via PayPal on the link below, or by bank transfer, details of which will be given to you on completion of the form - NB, we offer a £50 discount if you pay by bank transfer. If you are coming on both the Spirit of Scotland and Enchanting England holidays, please select "Discounted deposit £1,800.00" from the PayPal options. Otherwise, select "Deposit £2,000.00"
If you have any questions about the Camelot tour, please do not hesitate to contact Stephen by email as above, or by phoning him on +44 (0)20 8946 6821 or +44 (0)7730 817891.