• Constantine the Great proclaimed Roman Emperor in York 306AD driver tour
  • Clapper bridge on Dartmoor driver tour
  • Winchester Cathedral driver tour
  • Thomas Hardy birthplace driver tour

Overnight tours

Explore Britain in more depth by taking a car tour with your own private tour guide. It might be a tour to Cornwall to explore places associated with King Arthur, or Devon and Dorset following in literary footsteps, or the Lake District for its wonderful scenery. Tell the guide your interests, then sit back and enjoy your holiday.

King Arthur's Cornwall

On your way from London to Cornwall, stop at Glastonbury, which is the legendary burial place of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere. Cadbury Castle is a contender for Camelot, along with Camelford. Slaughter Bridge may be near the site of the Battle of Camlann. Dozmary Pool or the Loe Pool is where Sir Bedivere threw Excalibur. The most important place is Tintagel, legendary birthplace of King Arthur and where he was given to the magician Merlin. On the return from Cornwall you could stop at Winchester to view the Round Table in the castle.

Devon and Dorset

The south of England has produced some famous authors. Follow in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia, Thomas Hardy and Agatha Christie. Thomas Hardy is always associated with Dorchester in the heart of Wessex. See some of his personal possessions in the museum at Dorchester, visit his home at Max Gate and see where his heart is buried. Agatha Christie was born in Torquay and later came to live at Greenway. Dartmoor is said to be the setting for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘Hound of the Baskervilles’. R D Blackmore wrote ‘Lorna Doone’ set around Exmoor. The area around the Chesil Beach was the setting for the smuggling tale ‘Moonfleet’. Dartmouth and Clovelly are charming seaside villages.

Literary Cornwall

Daphne du Maurier spent much of her life in Fowey, Cornwall and ‘Jamaica Inn’ still exists on Bodmin Moor. ‘Frenchman’s Creek’ was based on the Helford area. Rosamund Pilcher set ‘The Shell Seekers’ in St Ives and part of it was filmed at Prideaux Place in Cornwall. The story of King Arthur is based on his traditional birthplace at Tintagel, and there are many other sites in Cornwall associated with him. The Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman is buried at St Enodoc. D H Lawrence lived for a bit at Zennor and wrote ‘Women in Love’.

Roman Britain

West of London are the walls and amphitheatre at Silchester, the major Roman town of Calleva Atrebatum. Bath is famous for its springs and Roman bathing establishment, plus it has some lovely Georgian architecture. En route north stop in Cirencester to see the Corinium museum and the Roman villa at Chedworth. Chester still has much of its Roman city walls and a good museum. Hadrian’s Wall is still visible across much of northern England and there are many forts, bath houses and museums to explore. York was a Roman city, Eboracum, settled by the 9th Legion in AD71. St Albans was Verulamium and part of the amphitheatre is still visible, plus a good local museum.

Charles Dickens Museum driver tour

© Fred Rockwood

Follow in the footsteps of Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens was born in Portsmouth and the house is now a museum. His father then moved to Chatham and finally London. Dicken’s father was imprisoned for debt and the young Charles was sent out to work. There are several places in Southwark associated with young Charles. Only one of his houses still exists, in Doughty Street in London, which is now the Dickens museum. He lived for a time near Rochester and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

Walk with William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564. His father was on the town council and William was sent to the local school. He made his way to London and became an actor and playwright. The recreated Globe Theatre in London gives a good idea of Elizabethan theatre. There are many places associated with Shakespeare in Stratford and he is buried in Holy Trinity Church.

Dove Cottage where William Wordsworth lived driver tour

© Danie van der Merwe

The Lake District

The mountain and lakeland scenery of the Lake District is what inspired many writers. Best known is William Wordsworth, who was born 1770 in Cockermouth, Cumbria and spent most of his life in the Lake District. You can visit his homes at Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount and see his grave in Grasmere. Thomas de Quincey stayed with the Wordsworth family. Samuel Taylor Coleridge came to stay in Keswick in 1800, after staying with the Wordsworths near Grasmere. Robert Southey (Poet Laureate 1813) also lived in Keswick and is buried at Crossthwaite. Brantwood, on the shore of Coniston Water, was the home of John Ruskin and is open to the public. The Coniston Museum has a permanent exhibition on Ruskin. Beatrix Potter first visited the Lake District on holiday from London with her family. She later bought property in the area and married a local solicitor from Hawkshead. Hill Top is open to the public and many of the rooms will be recognisable to visitors from her books.

Arthur Ransome wrote ‘Swallows and the Amazons’ which is based on Coniston Water.

Mirehouse is a private house with many literary associations, because John Spedding knew Tennyson and Thomas Carlyle. Sir Hugh Walpole set ‘The Herries Chronicle’ in Borrowdale.

Prehistoric England

The country is full of stone circles, burial mounds, long barrows, standing stones, Celtic crosses and the remains of old villages. Stonehenge and Avebury are both well-known, but what about the Hurlers, the Merry Maidens or the Rollright Stones. Chysauster and Carn Euny in Cornwall are the remains of ancient villages. You can travel all over Britain and find prehistoric remains.

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