The Victorians created Christmas as we know it today, from Christmas cards to decorated trees, a custom introduced to Britain by Prince Albert. Where better to celebrate the festive season than the vibrant capital of London where we discover some of its historical highlights, from the iconic St Paul’s Cathedral to the fascinating home of literary great Charles Dickens where we experience the rich traditions of a Dickensian Christmas. We also explore the world-famous Royal Opera House with a backstage tour and enjoy a spectacular show in the West End in the evening.
Situated on-site at the famous Stamford Bridge, the 4-star Copthorne Hotel at Chelsea FC is perfectly positioned with direct links into central London. The modern rooms have flat-screen TV and complimentary Wi-Fi access while other hotel facilities include two restaurants and a bar/lounge where guests can unwind with a drink.
We check in to the Copthorne Hotel at Chelsea FC in the afternoon. Later, we enjoy a welcome drinks reception hosted by our tour manager followed by a three-course evening meal.
Tuesday: St Paul’s Cathedral, Charles Dickens Museum & Foundling Museum
We start the day with a visit to St Paul’s Cathedral, whose world-famous dome remains an iconic feature of the London skyline. The present cathedral was the masterpiece of famed architect Sir Christopher Wren, built between 1675 and 1710 in Baroque style. The cathedral has long been at the centre of national events from surviving the Blitz to state funerals and royal weddings. We have time to discover the spectacular interiors and the crypt with its tombs of historical figures.
Afterwards we visit the Charles Dickens Museum – the London home where the author wrote Oliver Twist, The Pickwick Papers and Nicholas Nickleby and where he first achieved international fame as one of the world’s greatest storytellers. The museum provides a unique and enchanting glimpse into how the festive season was celebrated by the great Victorian author, with the historic interiors transformed into a true embodiment of Christmas past with holly and ivy and beautiful Victorian decorations.
From here we head to the Foundling Museum which explores the fascinating history of the Foundling Hospital, the UK’s first children’s charity and first public art gallery. Founded in 1739, the hospital aimed to care for babies at risk of abandonment. The museum was established in 2004 to preserve and display the Foundling Hospital Collection, and gives us the chance to explore the lives of the children who grew up at the hospital from 1741 until 1954.
The evening is free to make your own dinner arrangements.
Wednesday: Covent Garden, Royal Opera House, Somerset House & West End Theatre Performance
This morning we head to Covent Garden where we enjoy some free time. The area is a world-class shopping and dining destination and, being situated in the heart of London’s theatreland, is also synonymous with performance.
We then enjoy a fascinating backstage tour of the Royal Opera House, home of the Royal Ballet, the Royal Opera and the ROH Orchestra. The tour includes an introduction to the colourful history of the theatre, an insight into its redevelopment and a look at aspects of current productions.
Please note: as the Royal Opera House is a working theatre, plans may change at short notice and access to the main auditorium is not guaranteed.
Next stop is Somerset House, a spectacular Neo-classical building and a major arts and cultural centre in the heart of London. Here we can view the Courtauld Gallery’s collection of paintings, drawings, sculpture and decorative arts, ranging from the Renaissance to the 21st century. Outside, the beautiful ice rink transforms the Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court into a winter oasis, complete with a 40ft Christmas tree while the Fortnum’s Christmas Arcade is the perfect place to find all your festive gifts.
After an early dinner back at the hotel, we head to London’s theatreland where we enjoy a popular West End show.
After breakfast, we check out of the hotel for our journey home.
You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.
|23-Nov-2020 for 3 Nights||
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