Libraries in England, Part I

The first in our series of specially researched tours of some of the great Libraries of the United Kingdom, for an American alumni association.

This tour is based in the ancient university cities of Cambridge and Oxford and in the delightful 18th-century spa town of Bath, still reminiscent of the world of Jane Austen. From celebrated Libraries to family archives, it includes exclusive access, special visits, and a welcome at a number of private homes, some not generally open to the public.

THE ITINERARY
Day 1
Cambridge
AM
Arrive London Heathrow Airport and transfer by private coach to Ham House, Richmond, which has the earliest library room in the United Kingdom, dating from 1672
PM
Lunch at the café
Continue to a 4* hotel set on the River Cam in Cambridge, a centre of learning since the 12th century
Dinner in the hotel
Day 2
Cambridge
AM
Walking tour to include King’s College Chapel and Trinity College, with the Wren Library
Visit another celebrated college library, subject to special permission Lunch independently
PM
Visit Wimpole Hall, which once housed the largest and most important collection of manuscripts ever assembled by a private individual in England
Return to the hotel
Dinner at one of the colleges
Day 3
Cambridge
AM
Leave for Blickling and visit the house, before it opens to the public, to include a special visit to the Long Gallery, converted to a Library circa 1765
Continue to Holkham
PM
Lunch at the Victoria Inn
Visit the fine Palladian Holkham Hall (The Earl of Leicester) with an exclusive visit to the Library and a short tour of the State Rooms
Return to the hotel
Dinner independently
Day 4
Oxford
AM
Leave to visit Hatfield House (Marquess of Salisbury), to include the Library, which has more than 10,000 volumes
PM
Lunch at a country pub
Continue to visit a magnificent private Library, with the Librarian
Continue to a 4* hotel in Oxford, either traditional or boutique
Dinner at the hotel
Day 5
Oxford
AM
Orientation walk to include the Sheldonian Theatre and a visit to the Bodleian Library, one of the world’s great Libraries, with Duke Humfrey’s Library and the Radcliffe Camera
PM
Lunch at one of the colleges
Visit the historic Library of Merton College and the Chapel
Visit Christ Church, to include the Hall and Cathedral
Option to attend Evensong at one of the college Chapels
Dinner independently
Day 6
Bath
AM
Visit the Ashmolean Museum, with a Curator
Leave for the scenic Cotswolds
PM
Visit and lunch at a delightful riverside home with a contemporary Library pavilion in a garden setting
Continue to a 4* hotel in the elegant spa city of Bath
Dinner independently
Day 7
Bath
AM
Explore Bath to include the Assembly Rooms and the bindery of a famous bookseller’s (by special arrangement)
Lunch independently
Visit Dyrham Park, an handsome 17th-century mansion set in an ancient deer park
Dinner at a restaurant
Day 8
Bath
AM
Leave to visit the Longleat (Marquis of Bath), with its palatial interiors, Old Master paintings and several libraries
PM
Lunch privately at a family country house
Visit Wilton House (Earl of Pembroke), with its fine pictures and furniture and important book collection
Return to Bath
Farewell dinner at the hotel
Day 9
London
AM
Leave for London Heathrow Airport for return flights
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