Some of the best England has to offer

By Joan L. Welch
This item appears on page 48 of the September 2013 issue.
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My husband, Harry, and I took a 3-part holiday in England in April-May ’13 that was so successful, we’d like to recommend it to ITN readers. 

ITN subscribers who have traveled with Midway Motor Travel (Southerwicks, Corsham, Wiltshire, England, SN13 9NH; phone +44 [0] 1249 716757 or, toll free from the US, 800/214-8738) will relate to the first part of our trip, a 10-day, individually tailored drive through south-central England, April 24-May 3, 2013.

Longtime advertisers in ITN’s The Mart classifieds, Midway has been around since 1981. We’ve traveled numerous times with them, visiting England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. This tour, designed by Midway for our interest in aviation and WWII, included museums and airfields related to airplanes, tanks, trains and the war. 

Our accommodations were in historic B&Bs, country houses and manors. One has to give up some luxuries in exchange for ambiance. If you are of a “certain age,” as we are, you might request properties with an elevator, as not all stairways in very old houses would qualify under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

We had great timing; during the three weeks we were in England, spring arrived — flowers popping up and new leaves on the trees and hedges. It was a treat for transplanted folks who live in Florida but came from the Northeast and miss the seasons.

For the two of us, the base price of our 10-day, 9-night trip was $10,872, but a 3% foreign transaction fee added another $326. (We’ve been traveling internationally for 40-plus years, and this was the first time we had to pay a foreign transaction fee. Midway Motor Travel does not accept AmEx, which does not charge this fee, nor travelers’ checks, so we were compelled to use Visa.)

The $11,198 covered our accommodations, breakfasts and a driver/guide with a car. Meals, wines and entrance fees were additional. 

• After the motor tour, we spent a few luxurious days in London being pampered in one of our favorite hotels, the elegant London Marriott Hotel Park Lane (140 Park Lane, London, England, W1K 7AA, U.K.; phone +44 20 7493 7000 or, in the US, 888/236-2427), overlooking Marble Arch in Hyde Park. The cost per night was £315 (near $482). 

After years of visits to London, we have favorite spots to revisit, like The Wallace Collection (Hertford House, Manchester Square, London, W1U 3BN, U.K.; phone +44 [0] 207 563 9500. Open 10-5 daily; free admission — 25 galleries of 18th-century French art, furniture and porcelain and an armory).

The best part was playing tourist, finally catching up on emails, reveling in gourmet meals and sleeping in each morning.

• The final part of our holiday was a 7-day, 6-night hotel barge cruise, “Classic England,” on the Thames River. We sailed on the Magna Carta (phone +44 [0] 7836 551 912), May 5-11. 

We first met with the boat’s staff in London’s Stafford Hotel (the meals and service are wonderful there, by the way), where we were treated to afternoon tea before being driven to Hampton Court Palace to board the barge.

For six passengers, the Magna Carta has three air-conditioned cabins with facilities en suite. A staff of four assures terrific service. It is such a comfortable boat, having a lounge, library, dining room, 24-hour open bar and a split-level deck with a Jacuzzi, deck chairs and a table for meals (when weather permits). They provided a car and driver for daily excursions. 

We couldn’t decide whether the wonderful meals, the actual sailing or the excursions were our favorite part. The cruise-tour ended in Henley-on-Thames. 

With no additional expenses, the cost for the two of us was $9,980, which included all meals, unlimited wines, open bar, excursions, entrance fees and transfers back to London or Heathrow. We are going to do this cruise again. 

Our England trip this year had a little bit of everything.

JOAN L. WELCH

St. Petersburg, FL

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

My husband, Harry, and I took a 3-part holiday in England in April-May ’13 that was so successful, we’d like to recommend it to ITN readers. 

ITN subscribers who have traveled with Midway Motor Travel (Southerwicks, Corsham, Wiltshire, England, SN13 9NH; phone +44 [0] 1249 716757 or, toll free from the US, 800/214-8738) will relate to the first part of our trip, a 10-day, individually tailored drive through south-central England, April 24-May 3, 2013.

Longtime advertisers in ITN’s The Mart classifieds, Midway has been around since 1981. We’ve traveled numerous times with them, visiting England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. This tour, designed by Midway for our interest in aviation and WWII, included museums and airfields related to airplanes, tanks, trains and the war. 

Our accommodations were in historic B&Bs, country houses and manors. One has to give up some luxuries in exchange for ambiance. If you are of a “certain age,” as we are, you might request properties with an elevator, as not all stairways in very old houses would qualify under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

We had great timing; during the three weeks we were in England, spring arrived — flowers popping up and new leaves on the trees and hedges. It was a treat for transplanted folks who live in Florida but came from the Northeast and miss the seasons.

For the two of us, the base price of our 10-day, 9-night trip was $10,872, but a 3% foreign transaction fee added another $326. (We’ve been traveling internationally for 40-plus years, and this was the first time we had to pay a foreign transaction fee. Midway Motor Travel does not accept AmEx, which does not charge this fee, nor travelers’ checks, so we were compelled to use Visa.)

The $11,198 covered our accommodations, breakfasts and a driver/guide with a car. Meals, wines and entrance fees were additional. 

• After the motor tour, we spent a few luxurious days in London being pampered in one of our favorite hotels, the elegant London Marriott Hotel Park Lane (140 Park Lane, London, England, W1K 7AA, U.K.; phone +44 20 7493 7000 or, in the US, 888/236-2427), overlooking Marble Arch in Hyde Park. The cost per night was £315 (near $482). 

After years of visits to London, we have favorite spots to revisit, like The Wallace Collection (Hertford House, Manchester Square, London, W1U 3BN, U.K.; phone +44 [0] 207 563 9500. Open 10-5 daily; free admission — 25 galleries of 18th-century French art, furniture and porcelain and an armory).

The best part was playing tourist, finally catching up on emails, reveling in gourmet meals and sleeping in each morning.

• The final part of our holiday was a 7-day, 6-night hotel barge cruise, “Classic England,” on the Thames River. We sailed on the Magna Carta (phone +44 [0] 7836 551 912), May 5-11. 

We first met with the boat’s staff in London’s Stafford Hotel (the meals and service are wonderful there, by the way), where we were treated to afternoon tea before being driven to Hampton Court Palace to board the barge.

For six passengers, the Magna Carta has three air-conditioned cabins with facilities en suite. A staff of four assures terrific service. It is such a comfortable boat, having a lounge, library, dining room, 24-hour open bar and a split-level deck with a Jacuzzi, deck chairs and a table for meals (when weather permits). They provided a car and driver for daily excursions. 

We couldn’t decide whether the wonderful meals, the actual sailing or the excursions were our favorite part. The cruise-tour ended in Henley-on-Thames. 

With no additional expenses, the cost for the two of us was $9,980, which included all meals, unlimited wines, open bar, excursions, entrance fees and transfers back to London or Heathrow. We are going to do this cruise again. 

Our England trip this year had a little bit of everything.

JOAN L. WELCH

St. Petersburg, FL