Day Tours

Penny Farthing Holidays specialise in wonderful tours, which include all the major historic places, but also spend time exploring quaint rural country lanes, stopping in pretty little villages, small historic towns, interesting churches and pretty gardens, of which we are so blessed with in this country. We like to include the places we enjoy, and are sure you will too.

tour prices

Our tours are informal but informative, friendly and not structured like the bus tours. We like to make you feel that you are – we are told – more in control. We aim for quality and try very hard to deliver the very best!

These are a selection of tours we do, but remember we can put together your preferences, in the same area.

1. Introduction to London: (3 to 4 hours)
2. Windsor Castle, Eton and Hampton Court: (6 to 7 hours)
3. Greenwich: (4 hours)
4. Historic Kent.Chartwell and Hever Castle: (8 to 9 hours)
5. The Cotswolds and Stratford on Avon: (9 to 10 hours)
6. Stonehenge and Bath: (9 to 10 hours)
7. Oxford and Warwick Castle: (9 to 10 hours)
8. Sissinghurst & Heaver Castle: (8 hours)
9. Canterbury & Leeds Castle: (9 to 10 hours)
10. Cambridge & Ely Cathedral: (8 to 9 hours)
11. Oxford & Blenhiem Palace: (9 to 10 hours)

1. Introduction to London: (3 to 4 hours)We start at Buckingham Palace, the London residence of the reigning Monach or Queen, and the changing of the Guards. Then on to Westminster Abbey, which dates back to the 11th century, within its hall every Monarch has been crowned since 1066. Drive through Parliament Square, past the House of Parliament and the famous clock “Big Ben”. Next we cross Trafalgar Square past Nelson’s column, down Fleet Street long associated with the newpapaer industry on to St.Pauls Cathedral, built by Sir Christopher Wren. Then on to the “Infamous” Tower of London where many a person lost their heads. See the famous Beefeaters that guard the tower and the breathtaking crown jewels. Click forĀ Price list
2. Windsor Castle, Eton and Hampton Court: (6 to 7 hours)We first take you to Hampton Court Palace, built for the very wealthy and powerful Cardinal Wolsey. When he fell from grace it was acquired by the most notorious of our Kings, Henry VIII. Visit the State apartments, the Tudor tennis courts, the Tudor Kitchens, and the gardens on the banks of the river Thames. Test your sense of direction in the famous maze, if you are not out by closing time we will send in a search party!!We travel along the banks of the river Thames, past Runnymede, where King John signed the Magna Carta, and a plot of land given to the American people. Then we go to Eton college, the most famous and oldest of our public school, founded by Henry VI in 1440. Both Prince William and Prince Harry went to school here, then take some photographs on the footbridge crossing the Thames, and see the swans gliding along the river, and where your car will be waiting to take you to Windsor Castle, one the largest lived in castles in the world, home to British Kings and Queens for 900 years. Visit the State apartments (When the Queen is not in residence), which has some of the most beautiful and priceless paintings, furniture and armour in the world. See St.Georges chapel, and the Doll’s house. Take a walk through the ancient cobbled stoned streets of Old Windsor. (Price list)
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3. Greenwich: (4 hours)We take you down to this pretty little town of Greenwich, on the banks of the Thames, where there is a wealth of English maritime history. Visit the Queen’s House, the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory, which has been lovingly restored.The Royal Observatory marks the line for the Greenwich meridian, G.M.T.- Greenwich mean time. Why not take a few photographs standing across the line which marks Zero degrees longitude, you will then be standing both in the East and the West! Go aboard the old sea clipper the “Cutty Sark”, one of the fastest sailing ships of her day, sails billowing in the wind bringing back tea and spices from the Far East. In those days it was a hazardous voyage, sailing round the Cape of Africa to bring back to England her very valuable cargo of Tea and other commodities to be sold for great profits.
Have lunch at a charming riverside pub. (Price list)
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4. Historic Kent.Chartwell and Hever Castle: (8 to 9 hours)We drive down to this lovely little village, and visit Chartwell, the family home of Britain’s best-known wartime Prime Minister – Sir Winston Churchill. He lived here for more than 40 years. You will see the rooms as they were in Churchill’s time, down to the daily papers and famous cigars. You can capture the mood of the key moments in the 20th Century, looking through photographs and books spanning his colourful career. With the rise of Fascism in Europe in the 1930’s Churchill passionately argued the case for rearmament, and with his leadership, gift of delivering inspirational speeches that helped us get through the war and shape the free world we now live in. There is a museum and exhibit room, with an impressive display of sound recordings and superb collection of his mementoes, many decorations and uniforms including his famous siren-suit.This is where he wrote the history of the English People. Explore the lovely gardens with its lakes, water garden, Lady Clementine’s Rose Garden, the Golden Rose walk and magnificent views over the Weald of Kent. See dozens of Churchill’s paintings in the garden studio where he worked and the impressive garden walls he built with his own hands. He was widely acknowledged as the greatest living Englishman and Chartwell soon became a shrine to his wartime achievements. A visit to this house and gardens is a must for all fans of Churchill and if you are too young to remember him, then it is still a very pleasant place to visit and learn about the great man, who’s inspired leadership during the war years, are a permanent reminder to all of the people of the free world.
We then take the country lanes to visit a delightful little moated castle with its landscaped gardens. The oldest part of Hever castle, the outer fortified wall and the massive gatehouse dates back to the 13th century. To enter you cross the moat, by a wooden drawbridge and then pass through the large wooden doors and portcullis. In the early 1500’s the Bullen family bought the castle and added the comfortable Tudor apartments within these earlier walls, but it is best known as the childhood home of Anne Boleyn (1507-1536), second wife of Henry VIII, and where Henry courted her. The castle has two magnificent Books of Hours (prayer books), both signed and inscribed by Anne herself.They later passed into the ownership of Henry’s fourth wife, Anne of Cleves. From 1557 onwards the Castle was owned by a number of families. In 1903 the famous and very wealthy American, William Waldorf Astor, later Lord Astor bought the house, and spent large sums from his personal fortune restoring it and filling it with treasures.
Joseph Cheal and son laid out the gardens at Hever Castle between 1904 and 1908. The magnificent Italian Garden was designed to display his impressive collection of Italian sculpture; the 35-acre lake at the far end of the garden took 800 men two years to create. Since 1983 the castle has been by a property company. Unlike most castles this delightful family house has a lovely homely atmosphere, its gardens are planned to provide a display at all times of the year. Well worth a visit. (Price list)
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5. The Cotswolds and Stratford on Avon: (9 to 10 hours)This tour takes in some of the most beautiful English countryside The Cotswolds, which still retains its medieval character. Its people in the middle ages grew prosperous from the production of wool. We take some lovely little country roads, the width of the car to see many other little towns of rare beauty. We also drive along the “Old Fosse Way” which has been around since the Romans. There is time for shopping and a bite to eat. Then visit more of the most beautiful Cotswold villages, many still retaining the feel of the 15th century, places such as Bourton and Stow with its beautiful coaching Inns and numerous antique shops to name but a few.
We take you up to Stratford on Avon, a truly beautiful old market town that has retained a lot of its old world charm. This is the birthplace of our most famous literary figure William Shakespeare. We visit his wife, Ann Hathaway’s cottage, where you will see the chair that young “Will” and Ann did their courting, supposedly ! The garden is also a beautiful photo opportunity, and typifies an English garden. Then on to the house where he was born and his last resting place. We also drive slowly through the main streets to show you Harvard House, Hall’s Place.
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6. Stonehenge and Bath: (9 to 10 hours)We motor out of London down to Stonehenge the mysterious monolithic stone circle standing since pre-historic times. Get closer and you truly appreciate it beauty and marvel at the monumental task these prehistoric people went through to achieve this feat. 20 to 30 tons stones some standing 6 meters (21feet), and 2.5 meters (8 feet) below the ground, dragged here and erected in a circle. This pre dates the Pyramids in Egypt.We then go on to visit a beautiful Stately Manor House, belonging to a Marquis, and in his family’s ownership for 5 hundred years. See the Medieval Banqueting Hall, beautiful paintings and priceless treasures.Taking the country roads we arrive at the elegant and beautiful XVIII century city of Bath, where you have time for a spot of lunch and take in the Roman Baths and the elegant streets and listed crescents. We leave for home on the old coaching route to London. If time permits we visit another ancient stone circle amidst the quaint old village complete with an Elizabethan Manor House. 
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7. Oxford and Warwick Castle: (9 to 10 hours)We drive NW out of London to the town of Warwick dominated by the castle but with its beautiful timber framed houses and grew up around the castle- It is widely regarded as England’s finest medieval castle, and was first fortified in 914 AD. It reflects English history for the last 1000 years. The Earls of Warwick played an important part in England’s development, on the battlefields and in many feuds the power struggle continued, earning them the title of “Warwick the Kingmaker”. We may even see the ” Rat catcher” or an odd minstrel to two. We then head south and taking in some of the most beautiful little villages along the way.In the afternoon we come to Oxford the oldest English-speaking University in the world, it can lay claim to nine centuries of continuous existence. There is no clear date of foundation, but teaching existed at Oxford in some form in 1096 and developed rapidly from 1167, when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris.In the 13th century, rioting between town and gown (townspeople and students) hastened the establishment of primitive halls of residence. These were succeeded by the first of Oxford’s colleges, which began as medieval ‘halls of residence’ under the supervision of a Master. Balliol and Merton Colleges, established between 1249 and 1264, are the oldest.
The thirty-nine Colleges are independent and self-governing.

 

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8. Sissinghurst & Heaver Castle: (8 hours)We drive down to the south east of London into the county of Kent known as the “Garden of England”. Our first stop is Sissinghurst castle last owned by Vita Sackville-West, who with her husband designed and palnted the famous gardens. Now after more than 70 years their vision of a truly English garden is realised, and enjoyed by thousands of visitors every year.
The highlights being the Rose Garden, which is the best known, but is at its peak for little more than the month of June. The White Garden, which due to its careful orchestration is lovely throughout the season. The Lime Walk, which is a spring garden, but designed on classical Italian lines. The Cottage Garden, which was conceived as an enhancement of cottage gardens everywhere in England, but maintains a fairly narrow colour band of yellows, reds and oranges. These together with the other gardens are set off to perfection by the tall tower of pale pink brick that captivated Vita when she first saw Sissinghurst. She wrote some 20 books in the Tower room and it remained her sanctum until her death aged 70. She was also a member of the “Bloomsbury Set”, which included Virginia Wolfe.We then take the country lanes to visit a delightful little moated castle with its landscaped gardens. The oldest part of Hever castle, the outer fortified wall and the massive gatehouse dates back to the 13th century. To enter you cross the moat, by a wooden drawbridge and then pass through the large wooden doors and portcullis. In the early 1500’s the Bullen family bought the castle and added the comfortable Tudor apartments within these earlier walls, but it is best known as the childhood home of Anne Boleyn (1507-1536), second wife of Henry VIII, and where Henry courted her.The castle has two magnificent Books of Hours (prayer books), both signed and inscribed by Anne herself. They later passed into the ownership of Henry’s fourth wife, Anne of Cleves. From 1557 onwards the Castle was owned by a number of families. In 1903 the famous and very wealthy American, William Waldorf Astor, later Lord Astor bought the house, and spent large sums from his personal fortune restoring it and filling it with treasures.Joseph Cheal and son laid out the gardens at Hever Castle between 1904 and 1908. The magnificent Italian Garden was designed to display his impressive collection of Italian sculpture; the 35-acre lake at the far end of the garden took 800 men two years to create. Since 1983 the castle has been by a property company. Unlike most castles this delightful family house has a lovely homely atmosphere, its gardens are planned to provide a display at all times of the year. Well worth a visit.

 

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9. Canterbury & Leeds Castle: (9 to 10 hours)We head south into the county of Kent known as the “Garden of England” and stop at Canterbury Cathedral – The site for the cathedral was important as far back as AD 597 when the missionary St. Augustine converted the Pagan king Ethelbert to Christianity. It became most famous as the location in 1170 where Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered by four knights who mistook King Henry II’s outburst at Becket’s defiance against him as a request for the death of the Archbishop. In 1220 Becket’s shrine was installed in the Cathedral. The shrine became a cult object attracting pilgrims along the Pilgrim’s Way from London. Made famous in the “Canterbury Tales” written by Chaucer. The Cathedral was damaged during the WW II and was restored in 1954, and in 1984 the Altar of the Sword’s Point (Martyrdom) restored. We take in some of the most beautiful little villages.In the afternoon we come to Leeds Castle mentioned in the Doomsday Book, originally a Saxon fortress, built in AD 857, Leeds Castle was rebuilt in stone by the Normans and later converted to a Royal Palace by Henry VIII. This castle has been a Norman stronghold, a royal residence for six of England’s medieval queens, a palace of Henry VIII, and a retreat for the powerful and influential. Shrouded in mist, mystery and legend, Leeds Castle rises from its own lake amidst one of England’s most picturesque counties, and is known a the prettiest castle in the British Isles.It has experienced battles, witnessed intrigue, entertained the G8 summit when Lady Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister, inspired countless artists and now provides a place of fascination and enjoyment to half a million visitors a year. Now lovingly restored, it houses a magnificent collection of furnishings, tapestries and paintings.

 

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10. Cambridge & Ely Cathedral: (8 to 9 hours)We then head northeast out of London arriving in Cambridge, on the banks of the river Cam, is most famous for being a university town and probably second only to Oxford. It is rich in history – its famous Colleges and a University attract visitors from all over the world. It is one of the oldest universities in the world and one of the largest in the United Kingdom. Its reputation for outstanding academic achievement is known worldwide and reflects the intellectual achievement of its students, as well as the world-class original research carried out by the staff of the University and the Colleges. There are 31 Colleges in Cambridge, of which three are for women (New Hall, Newnham and Lucy Cavendish) and two admit only graduates (Clare Hall and Darwin).We then drive to Ely to visit the cathedral. The story of Ely Cathedral begins in Saxon Times with the life of its founder, St. Etheldreda a Saxon princess, was born in AD630 at Exning near Newmarket. She knew that God had called her to the religious life where in 673; she founded a double monastery for monks and nuns on the site of the present Cathedral and was installed as the first Abbess. The monastery flourished for 200 years until the Danes destroyed it. Etheldreda’s shrine was the focus for vast numbers of medieval pilgrims.The Shrine was also destroyed at the Reformation but a slate in the Cathedral marks the spot where it stood. Henry VIII dissolved the monastery at Ely in 1539. Ely suffered less than many other monasteries, but even so, statues were destroyed together with carvings and stained glass. St Etheldreda’s Shrine was destroyed. Architect Sir George Gilbert Scott restored the building to its former glory. A third and most extensive restoration project, was begun in 1986 and was completed in the year 2000.

 

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11. Oxford & Blenheim Palace: (9 to 10 hours)We then head northwest out of London and take in some of the most beautiful little villages. We next enter the ground of Blenheim Palace, the ancestral home of the Dukes of Marlborough; this beautiful Palace was built for the first Duke as thanks for winning the battle of Blindheim, on the banks of the river Danube in the early 18-century. As a reward for his services, Queen Anne granted him the Royal Manor of Woodstock and had the house called Blenheim built for him, at her own expense. Young Winston Churchill was born here and is buried near by in the grounds of the church. The beautiful grounds at Blenheim were laid out by one our most famous landscape designers.In the afternoon we come to Oxford the oldest English-speaking University in the world, it can lay claim to nine centuries of continuous existence. There is no clear date of foundation, but teaching existed at Oxford in some form in 1096 and developed rapidly from 1167, when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris.In the 13th century, rioting between town and gown (townspeople and students) hastened the establishment of primitive halls of residence. These were succeeded by the first of Oxford’s colleges, which began as medieval ‘halls of residence’ under the supervision of a Master. Balliol and Merton Colleges, established between 1249 and 1264, are the oldest.
The thirty-nine Colleges are independent and self-governing. (

 

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Some other Suggestions:Please look at the tariff card for prices.
We do over a 150 other tours of England and can put together numerous combinations of places to visit, to suit your requirements and which would fit into an extended day.We can also include some antique hunting if they are within is the tour. Or take you to famous gardens.
Many of England’s best known Stately Homes are within an easy day’s drive from London-Hatfield House, Woburn Abbey, Waddesdon Manor, Blenhiem Palace to name but a few.We could include a brief visit to Winsdor before catching your flight from Heathrow airport. (Price list) 
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Bed & Breakfast Tours ” in the slow lane”Our tours include all the interesting and Historic places, but also try to show you some of the lovely rural country lanes, stopping in pretty little villages, small historic towns, interesting churches and pretty gardens, which we are so blessed with in this country.
Our tours are conducted in luxury vehicles, at an un-hurried pace and have a relaxed informal and friendly atmosphere. They are not structured as are the bus tours.We use small hotels and B&B’s, and over the last ten years, almost unnoticed, there has been a reniaissance in B&B’s , thus making some better than many **** 4 star Hotels, including en-suite bathrooms, and the hosts offer an informal and warm welcome.We do aim for quality and try very hard to deliver the very best!
We can help to book your accommodation and suggest places to eat along the way. Your driver/guide takes the scenic routes, down little country lanes, stopping where and when you want. Minimum 3 days to one weekThe areas that we cover are: –
  • Cotswolds and Bath
  • Cornwall and Devon
  • Constable Country (East Anglia)
  • Lake District
(Request A Free Quote)
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Terms and conditions

1: Admission fees to Museums and Stately Homes are not included, and are subject to opening hours.
2: Meals are not included.
3: Prices are for the vehicle and driver/guide, and the number of passengers stated.
4: All cars and passengers are fully insured.
5: The Companies driver will travel by the route which in his opinion is the most appropriate for that day, unless specifically instructed by the client. He will drive at reasonable speed
according to the road and traffic conditions, in his judgement.
6: When touring the driver’s over-night accommodation and meal expenses will be borne by the client.
7: All tours booked from abroad must be guaranteed by a credit card, and will only be used if cancelled within 30 days of tour date.
8: All Bed & breakfast accommodation may be charged if cancelled, within 30 days of night booked.