Cornwall and the Southwest of England
September 4-14, 2018
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 4 Evening flight from Newark Airport.
Sept 5 Arrive early in the morning into Heathrow. Having gone through customs and collecting our luggage, we'll be met by our coach driver and be on our way! Our first visit is 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 Bath Abbey. It is said of the abbey that one can “experience something of God's grace - of earth and heaven meeting.” Choral evensong in Wells Cathedral could likely cap the day...
1st Overnight Wells
Sept 6 The town of Wells gets its name from the springs which can today be found in the gardens of the Bishop's Palace. We can spend some relaxed time here in this charming medieval town, taking the time to meander through the cobblestone streets and the Cathedral close. The gardens surrounding the cathedral are worth the spending some quiet reflective time. Wells Cathedral has been described as ‘a prayer in stone and glass', with ‘shadows and shafts of light beckoning to what lies within…' Glastonbury Abbey, known as one of the oldest Christian ruins in the world, is very nearby. 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. Countless legends tell of the beginnings of Glastonbury Abbey and the mystical kingdom of Avalon.
2nd Overnight Wells
Sept 7 Tintagel, a tiny village set high on the rugged North Cornwall coast is our destination today. This wonderful site offers awesome views and fascinating ruins. Tintagel Castle is steeped in legend and mystery, with many stories about King Arthur leading many to believe this dramatic setting is indeed the birthplace of the legendary Celtic figure. This is truly a ‘thin place' that will stay with you for years… Later in the afternoon before we settle in to our night's lodgings, we'll make a quick visit to the charming town of Port Isaac, also known as Port Wenn from the Doc Martin series on PBS.
Overnight near Port Isaac
Sept 8 Bodmin Moor is the heart of Cornwall, going back thousands of years and rich in heritage, myths and legends. Early Christian and Bronze Age sites abound, forming a landscape that is the heritage of a proud culture. Much of its prehistoric and medieval past remains untouched by the passing of the centuries and is seen all along the way. The town of Bodmin was the medieval Ecclesiastic center of this area. We'll visit 15th c. St Petroc's Church, built on the 6 th c. saint's original foundation. The reliquary and Norman baptismal font are highlights of this revered site. And not too far away, St Neot's Church can be proud of 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.
1st Overnight near St Michael's Mount
Sept 9 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 5 th 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 10 Another day to explore the Penwith Peninsula, an area ringed by high cliffs, surrounded on three sides by the pounding waters of the Atlantic Ocean. It is on these cliffs where the 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 11 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 12 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. Then the afternoon will be free to explore 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.
2nd Overnight Salisbury
Sept 13 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 hope to attend choral evensong at the Queen’s chapel, St George’s, in Windsor.
Overnight near Heathrow
Sept 14 Return flight around 12 noon, arrive Newark mid-afternoon. We hope you can join us on another of our Celtic Journeys! You won’t regret it…
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