Cornwall and England's Southwest
September 5-15, 2023
The Southwest of England has a flavor all its own, an area of legend, of craggy cliffs, high moorlands, and secluded wooded valleys; it is a land that in many areas is conscious of, and proud of, it’s Celtic past. And Cornwall was once known as the Celtic Kingdom of Belerion, or ‘shining lands’ for the magical quality of its light…
Sept 5 Evening flight from Newark to the UK.
Sept 6 Arrive London Heathrow early in the morning. Having gone through customs and collecting our luggage, we’ll be met by our coach driver. Once on the road, we’ll visit the village of Avebury, the site of a large henge and several stone circles. It is one of the finest and largest Neolithic monuments in Europe dating to around 5,000 years ago, and older than Stonehenge. Then on to the ancient city of Bath, and lovely Bath Abbey. It is said of the abbey that one can “experience something of God's grace – where heaven and earth meet.”
1st Overnight Wells
Sept 7 The town of Wells gets its name from the springs which can today be found in the gardens of the Bishop's Palace. We will spend an entire day here in this charming medieval town, taking the time to meander through the cobblestone streets and the Cathedral close. Wells Cathedral has been described as ‘a prayer in stone and glass’, with ‘shadows and shafts of light beckoning to what lies within…’ Services are ongoing throughout the day, and hopefully we will be able to attend Choral Evensong.
2nd Overnight Wells
Sept 8 Reluctantly we have to leave Wells behind today, as there is still so much to see and experience. Glastonbury Abbey is known as one of the oldest Christian ruins in the world. Legend has it that Glastonbury is the cradle of British Christianity, being the first place on the island visited by the missionary "apostle", Joseph of Arimathea. Many legends tell of the beginnings of Glastonbury Abbey and the mystical kingdom of Avalon. Then on to Tintagel, a village located on north Cornwall's rugged Atlantic coast. Countless stories about King Arthur have led many to believe this dramatic setting is indeed the birthplace of the legendary Celtic figure.
Overnight Near Tintagel
Sept 9 As we begin our southward route into the heart of Cornwall, we shall stop and visit the charming town of Port Isaac, also known as Port Wenn from the Doc Martin series on PBS. Then on to Bodmin Moor, an area reaching back thousands of years, rich in heritage, myths and legends. Early Christian stone crosses and other ancient sites richly adorn the countryside. Andrew Langdon, a well-known authority on stone crosses, will be our guide for the next three days while in Cornwall. We’ll visit St Neot’s Church, with its medieval stained glass windows and its ancient high crosses. St Keynes Holy Well is within a short walking distance, tucked away into the side of a hillside. Then on to Bodmin and 15th c. St Petroc’s Church, built on the 6th c. saint’s original foundation. St Petroc’s reliquary and Norman baptismal font are highlights of this revered site.
1st Overnight near St Michael’s Mount
Sept 10 St Michael's Mount is the jewel in Cornwall's crown. Originally the site of a Benedictine Chapel, the spectacular castle on the rock dates from the 14th Century, although countless legends and folklore date as far back as the 5th century. For those of you who are stable on your feet, a climb up to this famous site will be very worth your time. But for some, a leisurely afternoon spent in town overlooking the castle might be just your cup of tea… and perhaps with freshly baked scones?
2nd Overnight near St Michael’s Mount
Sept 11 Another day to explore the Penwith Peninsula, an area ringed by high cliffs and surrounded on three sides by the pounding waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Penwith has been inhabited for thousands of years. The area is positively littered with prehistoric monuments, holy wells and henges. And for many years in the more recent past, the county relied on its lucrative mining industry: it was once the mining capital of the world. Look out for the ruins of engine houses lining the coastline, including Botallack, managed by the National Trust. It is on these cliffs where the popular Poldark series was filmed, both the original series in 1975 and the recent PBS broadcasts. The views are spectacular!
3rd Overnight near St Michael’s Mount
Sept 12 Sadly, we must leave Cornwall behind this morning, but the memories of this very special part of the United Kingdom will stay with you… Exeter Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter at Exeter, is an Anglican cathedral, and the seat of the Bishop of Exeter. This magnificent building is one of the great cathedrals of England and an extraordinary example of Gothic architecture in all of Europe. But Salisbury Cathedral awaits us, a favorite destination for pilgrims and visitors for 800 years or more. Here the past merges with the present, as one enjoys the delights of the medieval city and beautiful English countryside. The first glimpse of the majestic cathedral spire is almost breathtaking. Perhaps Choral Evensong will be just the perfect way to close the day?
1st Overnight Salisbury
Sept 13 The morning and early afternoon will be free to explore the medieval town of Salisbury on your own. Some of the places you might want to see are the Queen Elizabeth Gardens, the Wardrobe, Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum... or you may just want some quiet, perhaps lingering around the cathedral, or meandering through the charming town. But what visit to the Southwest of England would be complete without experiencing Stonehenge, the iconic World Heritage site that has mystified and amazed people for thousands of years? It is only 20 minutes away.
2nd Overnight Salisbury
Sept 14 Our time in the Southwest of England is soon to come to a close. But our last day will certainly not be wasted! As our coach heads in the direction of the airport, let’s take the time to visit the charming town of Winchester and its formidable cathedral, Europe’s longest Gothic church, considered one of the finest in medieval architecture. And finally, as a lovely ending to our trip, we may have the opportunity to attend evensong at the Queen’s chapel, St George’s, in Windsor.
Overnight near Heathrow Airport
Sept 15 A mid-day flight out of Heathrow will take us back to the states, arriving into Newark mid afternoon. Join us for another one of our Celtic Journeys. You will not regret it...
COST OF TRIP: $2940 including air
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