A FULL DAY TOUR TO OXFORD
Richard offers a full day tour to Oxford by train or car. However, since Oxford is a City that must be walked, as opposed to driven around, the car will be redundant for most of the day so, unless you're wishing to go elsewhere (such as Stratford or the Cotswolds), by train is probably the quickest and most cost effective means of travel.
You can travel at speed and in comfort and then enjoy a day spent walking around the streets and colleges of the place that has been dubbed "The City of Dreaming Spires".
Although it is a full day walking tour, it will be done at a very gentle pace to give you plenty of time to take in and photograph the wonderful places and surroundings that you will encounter.
OXFORD AND STRATFORD
It takes a little over an hour to reach Oxford by coach from London. But what a journey!
You head off through the Chiltern Hills and enjoy some spectacular views across the English Countryside.
On arrival in Oxford we will enjoy a walking tour around the town's historic streets and hear of some of the famous people associated with the colleges.
These include Lewis Carol the author of Alice In Wonderland and, of course, Harry Potter - since parts of the films were shot in Oxford.
Having explored Oxford, we then re-board the coach for a picturesque drive through the Cotswolds (glorious countryside to savour!) to arrive in Stratford-Upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare.
You will enjoy a walking tour around the historic streets of Stratford to see the places that featured in the Bards early years.
These will include Holy Trinity Church where he was Christened and where he now lies buried along with his wife, Anne Hathaway. We will ponder the mystery of why Shakespeare only left her his "second best bed" in his will.
You will see the Grammar school where the young Shakespeare, probably, received his education; the site of the house that he bought with the proceeds of his success in London, and which was demolished by a cantankerous clergyman who became somewhat peeved by living in William Shakespeare's house; you will see the house in which William was born and various properties associated with his children, including Hall's Croft where his daughter, Susanna and her husband Dr. John Hall lived.
All in all a lively and enjoyable tour.
About an hour's drive from London is the town of Windsor where is located the largest and oldest inhabited castle in the world - Windsor Castle.
To say that Windsor Castle is impressive is something of an understatement. Windsor Castle is awe inspiring and Richard, being a Windsor accredited Blue Badge Guide can guide you around it and help bring its past to life.
A lot of groups like to combine a morning panoramic tour of London with an afternoon visit to Windsor Castle and Richard has this type of tour down pat.
Starting at 9am you can take in the major sites of London and end the morning with a visit to the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace.
Following a short comfort break we can then hop back onto the coach for the hour or so drive to Windsor where we should arrive at around 1pm.
Having enjoyed a leisurely lunch in Windsor we can then spend the afternoon exploring the magnificent interior of Windsor Castle before returning to London where our arrival time should be around 5.30pm.
SALISBURY AND STONEHENGE
Salisbury is a lovely city and its magnificent Cathedral is justifiably famous throughout the world.
A short distance away from Salisbury is Stonehenge believed to be from 3,500 to 5,000 years old.
This huge circle of lintels and megalithic pillars is Britain's most important prehistoric monument.
Despite its familiarity through photographs, you can't help but be impressed when you actually see Stonehenge, an astonishing engineering feat - the boulders, the bluestones in particular, were moved many miles, possibly from as far away as southern Wales, to this site.
Equally as impressive, though not quite as old, is Salisbury Cathedral.
Construction was begun as early as 1220 and took 38 years to complete; this was rather fast in those days, because it was customary for a cathedral building to take at least 3 centuries to be built.
The soaring spire was completed at the end of the 13th century. Despite an ill-conceived attempt at renovation in the 18th century, the architectural integrity of the cathedral has been retained.
The 13th-century octagonal Chapter House (note the fine sculpture) possesses one of the four surviving original texts of the Magna Carta, along with treasures from the diocese of Salisbury.
The cloisters enhance the beauty of the cathedral, and the exceptionally large close, with at least 75 buildings in its compound (some from the early 18th century and others pre-dating that), sets off the cathedral most effectively.
ROMAN AND GEORGIAN BATH
In 1702, Queen Anne made the trek from London 185km (115 miles) west to the mineral springs of Bath thereby launching a fad that was to make the city England's most celebrated spa.
The most famous personage connected with its popularity was 18th-century dandy Beau Nash. In all the plumage of a bird of paradise, he was carted around in a sedan chair, dispensing (at a price) trinkets to courtiers and aspirant gentlemen.
Eighteenth-century architects John Wood the Elder and his son provided a proper backdrop for Beau Nash's activities. They designed a city of honey-coloured stone from the nearby hills, a feat so substantial and lasting that Bath is England's most harmoniously laid-out city.
Bath has enjoyed two lives. Long before its Georgian and Victorian popularity, it was known to the Romans as Aquae Sulis. The foreign legions founded their baths here (you can visit them today) to ease their rheumatism in the curative mineral springs. Remarkable restoration and planning have ensured that Bath retains its handsome look.