From the secrets of pre-historic Stonehenge, to the fabulous Georgian city of Bath with its Roman historic treasures, there are ruins, castles, great houses and beautiful countryside to visit in this part of the UK.
Stonehenge and Salisbury
Visit the awe inspiring prehistoric stone circle of Stonehenge which dates back 5,000 years. Salisbury's graceful cathedral with the tallest spire in England is nearby. The city's mother town Sarum inspired Edward Rutherfurd to create his epic novel of the same name. Other sites in the area include Old Sarum and Wilton House, famous for its beautiful proportions and outstanding art collection.
New Forest and Beaulieu
Former hunting terrain of heath and forest, 144 square miles where ponies, cattle and deer live wild. Lovely setting for Beaulieu, once an important mediaeval abbey now famous for the National Motor Museum, a fine collection of vintage and veteran cars. Palace House can be visited and an exhibition of Cistercian Monastic life in the remaining abbey buildings.
Nelson's flagship "The Victory" is highly recommended with vivid descriptions of life at sea below decks in the 18th C. The mighty HMS Warrior, Henry VIII's Mary Rose, HMS Alliance Submarine and D Day Museum are alternative attractions in this impressive naval port.
Jane Austen tour including Chawton House
The Jane Austen Museum in Chawton was once her home and has many personal mementoes. She grew up the village of Steventon and there are sites in Winchester, where she spent her last weeks, including the cathedral where she is buried
Bath and Stonehenge
The hot spring which was held sacred still gushes forth at the fascinating Roman Baths Museum. Elegant terraced rows, squares and crescents where Georgian society paraded, and excellent boutiques and shops make this tour a favourite. Stonehenge can be visited en route.
Glastonbury and Wells
Arthurian legends about Glastonbury are rife... the mystical ruined abbey is said to have been his burial place. Glastonbury is supposed to have been visited by Joseph of Arimethea and possibly, Jesus. The Chalice Well is where some people believe the chalice used at the Last Supper is buried. The energetic can climb the Tor for a great view. Wells has an outstanding gothic cathedral and moated bishop's palace.
Brighton and Arundel
Brighton is famous for the Prince Regent's exotic palace the Royal Pavilion with its onion-domed roofs. The interior is equally amazing. Wander through the narrow "Lanes" for bargains and bric-a brac in little boutiques. Return through Arundel where the splendid fortress, ancestral home of the Duke of Norfolk looms above us.
Isle of Wight
Through the New Forest to Lymington and a half hour's ferry journey to the Isle of Wight. Visit Queen Victoria's Osborne House, the imposing Norman fortress of Carisbrooke and enjoy an extraordinary variety of scenery.
Thomas Hardy Tour
To Dorchester, "Casterbridge" in many of Hardy's novels set in Wessex. See the cottage in the woods where he was born, and a host of other sites connected with the stories such as Tess of the D'Urbervilles, flexible to include your favourites!