Explorations of Roman and Prehistoric Britain
7 DAY TOUR ~ July 14, 2014 to July 20, 2014
- 6 nights accommodations in 3-4 star hotels
- 5 lectures/discussions with Dr. Jeff Fynn
- Coach transportation
- 6 full-English breakfasts
- 3 group lunches
- 5 group dinners
- Priceless memories!
Double Occupancy* (double/twin)
*excluding flight arrangements
*price is per person in USD
Londinium (London) ~ British Museum ~ Kentish ~ Bignor ~ Fishbourne Roman Palace ~ Portsmouth ~ Portchester Roman Fort ~ British Naval Museum ~ Stonehenge ~ Old Sarum ~ Roman Baths ~ Avebury Stone Circle ~ Weyland's Smithy ~ White Horse ~ Hadrian's Wall ~ Cotswalds Region ~ Corinium Museum ~ Carlisle ~ Vindolandia Fort ~ Housesteads Fort ~ York ~ Eboracum ~ York Minster ~ Jorvik Viking Centre
Land of Mystery and Grandeur
Steeped in mystery and ancient grandeur, England is the home to some of the most evocative Prehistoric and Roman monuments found anywhere in the world. Auld Country Tours will help you to experience firsthand what life in ancient Britain was actually like - all the while allowing you to enjoy the many pleasures and some of the most beautiful countryside of modern Britain. The Celts, the Druids, Roman slaves, soldiers, and nobles, and fierce Germanic invaders, all come to life on this tour through visiting the places they lived, and experiencing the objects they created - or destroyed. The time period we focus on in this tour is from the stone age until the collapse of Roman Britain under the Germanic onslaught of the fifth and sixth centuries: that is, a period of several thousand years.
During our 7-day tour, our guide, Dr. Jeff Fynn will offer optional 30-minute lectures for those interested in digging a little deeper into Britain's past. The five lectures will provide a chronological outline of the main periods of ancient Britain, at a level that all can enjoy. Questions and discussion are encouraged.
~ Your Tour Itinerary ~
Day 1 ~ Welcome to Londinium
July 14, 2014 - The tour begins in Londinium (London), which for several centuries was a Celtic capital. While there are few ancient monuments left in the city itself, London is home to what is one of the world's greatest collections of historical artifacts: the British Museum. We will meet after lunch at the grand front entrance, and Dr. Fynn will then host a guided tour of the relevant sections of the museum. Silver, gold, and all manner of surprising artifacts abound; after taking our fill and pausing for a coffee break, Dr. Fynn will offer the first of the lectures, this one on 'Celts and Druids in Prehistoric Britain.' You are then encouraged to explore London on your own, and to find a place for dinner. In the evening, those interested will meet for a "Welcome to London" drink at a pre-arranged spot close to the hotel.
Day 2 ~ Villas and the Saxon Shore
July 15, 2014 - After a full-English breakfast at our London hotel, we head to the Kentish countryside where we will visit two of the most well-preserved Roman villas in England. For centuries, villas were the centres of rural life in Roman Britain. Our first stop, Bignor, has some of the best mosaics in Britain, while our second stop, Fishbourne Roman Palace, was built on a far larger scale, and began as a Roman supply base, and the home of a Celtic chieftain. From here we will travel to Portsmouth, our base from which we will tour Portchester Roman Fort. This amazing castle was built as a shore fort against Germanic raiders of the third century. Its Roman walls and towers were largely intact in medieval times, when the Norman developed it into a castle. Many of the stones are the same ones placed there by the Romans some 1,700 years ago. An optional lecture on the 'Roman Invasion of Britain' will be offered. After a period of free time, we dine together near the British Naval Museum in the old port town.
Day 3 ~ Giants of Prehistory
July 16, 2014 - We now delve further into the mists of time, to visit some of the most thought-provoking prehistoric sites in the world. After breakfast, we bus to Stonehenge, where Professor Fynn will share many of the theories, outlandish and otherwise, which have been proposed to explain this striking monument. After our visit, we have lunch in Old Sarum, which itself is an ancient site of enduring mystery. In the afternoon we arrive in the important Roman centre of Bath where an optional lecture on 'Daily life in Roman Britain' will be offered. For the balance of the evening, everyone will have free time to relax, find dinner, and explore the delights of this surprising city.
Day 4 ~ Baths and Barrows
July 17, 2014 - After a leisurely breakfast, we tour the Roman Baths themselves. One of the highlights are the lead tablets which were found by archaeologists in the waters; they were cast there by the ancient citizens, hoping that the spirit of the waters might grant their prayers. The wishes, hopes, and indeed, the curses found on the tablets show how little has changed in human nature over the past two millenia. After touring the Baths, we bus out into the countryside to visit Avebury Stone Circle, often considered more mysterious than its famous cousin, Stonehenge. This will be followed by visits to "Weyland's Smithy" which was long held to be the forge of the God Odin himself; and the mysterious "White Horse," cut into the hillside by ancient peoples for a still-unknown purpose. After our full day, we return to Bath for free time and dinner together, over which we can ponder the wonders of the day.
Day 5 ~ To the Wall!
July 18, 2014 - Probably the most spectacular remains of ancient Britain are located in the wild north of England, along Hadrian's Wall. This 70-mile wall was built during the second century to keep the still-unconquered Scots and Picts from ravaging the civilized lands to the south. After breakfast in Bath, we journey through the western hills of England. We will make a stop along the way in the lovely Cotswalds Region, at the Corinium Museum, which houses a unique collection of Roman inscriptions and artifacts. On the bus, an optional lecture will be provided on "The Roman Army in Britain". Those who wish to relax with headphones on instead are welcome to do so. At last, we will reach Carlisle, once the western anchor of Hadrian's Wall, where you can enjoy the late afternoon and evening exploring on your own.
Day 6 ~ Keeping Vigil
July 19, 2014 - Today provides a rich payoff for yesterday's day of travel. The northern English borderlands remain largely wild and unspoiled since much of the land is now protected parkland. The beautiful setting of Vindolandia Fort, the imposing site of Housesteads Fort, and walking along some of the most preserved sections of the Wall, all bring a sense of immediacy to Roman Britain. An optional lecture on "The Fall of Roman Britain" is delivered amongst the picturesque ruins of the wall, and the day includes lunch in a country pub, and plenty of time to amble amongst the fields and stones. In the afternoon, we head to our hotel in York, where we will enjoy our final dinner of the tour together.
Day 7 ~ Valete!
July 20, 2014 - No tour of ancient Britain would be complete without a tour of Eboracum (York), from which Constantine the Great, the first Christian emperor of Rome, launched his bid to unify the empire under his rule. York later became an important capital under the Vikings, who renamed the city Jorvik. Dr. Fynn will guide the group on a morning walk that will include the beautiful York Minster. We will also have several hours to further explore, have lunch on our own, and perhaps visit the Jorvik Viking Centre. Finally, we head back to London, where we will part company in the early evening. Valete!
2014 British Open Add-On
We love a testimonial...
"Catherine and I wanted to send you a quick note to thank you for our Vacation of a lifetime. We had such a great time. Thank you for organizing the British Open tickets and the extra golf game in Gullane. What a treat. Your knowledge of the country and historic sites was amazing. We really enjoyed all of the stops, ie. the Cliffs, the Giant's Causeway, the castles, seeing Nessie live and in person, the distilleries & Guinness tour (my favourite), Irish pubs & music. Speaking of songs, it took me a week to stop humming Irish tunes! The trip was very well organized, and we appreciated being able to be flexible with places and times. I can say that I'm not a fan of black pudding and haggis, but I can check these off the list of things I need to try. Guinness is another story! We cannot wait to go back!"
Pat & Catherine - Vancouver, Canada