10 Days Wesley Choir Tour
DAY 01: NORTH AMERICA / LONDON. We begin our British Isles Tour by boarding our trans-Atlantic flight to London.
DAY 02: LONDON / SALISBURY / BATH / BRISTOL AREA. Upon arrival at London's Heathrow Airport we are met by our tour escort and motor coach. We will drive swiftly to the market town of Salisbury to visit its Cathedral, which has the tallest spire in England. Then on across Salisbury Plains to mysterious Stonehenge to visit the fascinating collection of ancient monoliths placed there nearly 2000 years before the birth of Christ. They were once used to calculate the eclipses and equinoxes. We continue via the beautiful Georgian town of Bath set upon the River Avon in a natural amphitheatre of steep hills, to Bristol, rich in seafaring tradition and linked with the colonization of America. We will visit the New Room, Wesley's first chapel built in 1739. This is the least changed Methodist shrine. When John and Charles Wesley preached in the New Room during the early years of Methodism, they inspired many people to join them. The New Room was also the center for John's work in the training of lay preachers. Dinner and overnight at our hotel in the area.
DAY 03: BRISTOL AREA / OXFORD / STRATFORD / COVENTRY. Leaving the Bristol area we drive via Gloucester to visit the small church from which Robert Raikes launched the Sunday School movement and where an early Women's Missionary Movement had its beginnings. It is here also that George Whitfield lit the fires of the revival movement. On to the university town of Oxford, where we will visit Lincoln College where you can imagine him as a gowned figure presiding over the Holy Club which consisted of a few fellow students nicknamed "Methodists". See the John Wesley memorial room and College Chapel before also visiting Christ College where John graduated in 1724. We then skirt the picturesque Cotswolds area on our way to Stratford-upon-Avon, birthplace of the Bard William Shakespeare. We will visit his birthplace, see the 16th century Harvard House, theGuildhall and other points of interest in this beautiful old market town with numerous timbered old buildings. A short drive then brings us to Coventry, where we will visit the new cathedral designed by Sir Basil Spence which is situated next to the old one destroyed by the tremendous air raids of World War II. An evening concert is performed here. Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Coventry.
DAY 04: COVENTRY / CHESTER / LAKE DISTRICT. Our journey today takes us swiftly to West Bromwich to visit the childhood home of Francis Asbury, founder of the American Methodist Church. He sailed for America in 1771 and spent his life spreading the Methodist message, travelling more than a quarter of a million miles on horseback and preaching nearly 18,000 sermons; in 1784 he was ordained a Methodist Bishop in America and died in 1816 at the age of71. We then continue to the fascinating old city of Chester, where our sightseeing will include the medieval walls that completely enclose Chester, the "magpie" houses - so called because of their black timbers and white plasters - the 12th century Cathedral and St. John's, an impressive Norman church. Then we travel to the renowned Lake District, favorite area of poets, writers and artists, to Grasmere for dinner and overnight.
DAY 05: LAKE DISTRICT / CARLISLE / EDINBURGH. We have a scenic tour through the Lake District National Park, a lovelyregion of inland water, forests and mountains. We will see Lake Windemere, the largest lake in the area, and then drive through the quaint old town of Ambleside and the picturesque village of Grasmere on the fringe of Lake Grasmere to the pleasant old town of Keswick situated on the wooded shores of Derwentwater. Afterpassing through Carlisle, we depart England at Gretna Green, the village famous for its "runaway" marriage ceremonies, and enter the land of the kilts - Scotland. We head for Edinburgh, the city of Sir Walter Scott, John Knox and Robert Louis Stevenson, amongst many others. Dinner and overnight in Edinburgh.
DAY 06: EDINBURGH. Our morning sightseeing tour of Edinburgh will include a visit to Edinburgh Castle; we also see the Palace of Holyrood House, so tragically associated with the reign of the Stuarts. We drive to the Scott Monument, Princes Street, St. Giles Cathedral (Thistle Chapel), the prestigious Edinburgh University, Greyfriars and the Mound. This afternoon is at leisure for shopping or other independent activities. An evening concert is performed here. Dinner and overnight in Edinburgh.
DAY 07: EDINBURGH / YORK / HARROGATE AREA. Today we drive to Abbotsford, the turreted mansion built by Sir Walter Scott and his home until his death there in 1832. We then continue southward through the wind-swept Cheviot Hills to Newcastle and on across Yorkshire's high open moors to York, founded on Roman and Viking towns. Our sightseeing of York includes a visit to the Minster with its majestic towers and priceless stained glass windows, and a walking tour through medieval streets where the upper storeys of houses lean precariously across the roadway towards each other. The names are fascinating - Stonegate, Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate and Shambles, the old butchers quarter. An afternoon concert is performed here. We then drive the short distance to the floral town of Harrogate for dinner and overnight.
DAY 08: HARROGATE AREA / EPWORTH / LONDON. Today's drive takes us southward through the Midlands to Epworth in Lincolnshire, birthplace of John and Charles Wesley. The Old Rectory was rebuilt in 1709 after a fire (from which the young John Wesley was rescued) has destroyed the earlier house. Here we will visit the Old rectory, Memorial and Parish Churches; it was here in Epworth that the seeds of songwriting were sown in Charles Wesley's mind. Continue to the University city of Cambridge. We will have some time at leisure here to stroll around this beautiful old city, perhaps viewing one of its many colleges, or just strolling along the "Backs", a picturesque area on the River Cam. Continue to London overnight and dinner.
DAY 09: LONDON. Our morning sightseeing tour of England's exciting capital city will include Marble Arch, Mayfair, Piccadilly, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and the Changing of the Guard ceremony (if held). The highlight of our tour will be a visit to Westminster Abbey. The afternoon is dedicated to the Wesley sites - we will visit Wesley's Chapel and house and Museum of World Methodism, the Mother Church of World Methodism and the house where John Wesley lived from 1779 until his death in 1791 and which has been refurbished as it was in Wesley’s day – the Museum tells the story of Methodism from the 18th to 20th centuries. The tomb of John Wesley is in the churchyard. An afternoon recital is performed here. Then wesee Bunhill Fields with the graves of Susanne Wesley, John Bunyan and Daniel Defoe. Our tour concludes with Aldersgate Street, Charter House School that John attended, St. Luke's - Wesley's Parish Church - and Susanna's birthplace. Dinner at a local restaurant and overnight at our hotel.
DAY 10: LONDON / USA. This morning we transfer to the airport for our return flight to the United States at the end of our enjoyable tour.