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Historic Winchester

Winchester College and Hospital of St Cross.
Private lunch at the Royal Yacht Squadron Cowes and Osborne House.
Tour and lunch at Avington Park.
Dinner Rick Stein Winchester.
Bombay Sapphire Distillery at Laverstoke Mill.
From the Mercure Wessex Hotel Winchester.
3 – 6 October 2017 (3 nights)

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An autumn break discovering Hampshire’s secrets and some exclusive places to visit whilst staying for three nights at the 4 star Mercure Wessex Hotel in the heart of Winchester adjacent to the Cathedral.

Tuesday 3 October:  Arrive and check into the hotel and for those that wish a late afternoon visit to Winchester Cathedral or perhaps to attend choral evensong at 5.30 pm.  Welcome drink followed by dinner in the hotel.

Wednesday 4 October: A short visit to “England’s oldest and most perfect medieval alms-house”, the Hospital of St Cross, founded in 1132 by Henry of Blos, Bishop of Winchester together with the beautiful Norman church of St Cross. Then continue out of Winchester to Avington Park.  This historic Georgian mansion with gilded state rooms surrounded by parkland is in an idyllic location beside the River Itchen.  A guided tour followed by lunch in the conservatory.   In the afternoon a short drive to Laverstoke Mill, where the 300 year old paper Mill has been sympathetically renovated into a sustainable distillery that showcases the natural beauty and industrial heritage of the site.  Here in rural Hampshire uncover the secrets of the world-famous Bombay Sapphire.  The tour unveils the care, skill and artistry behind every drop of Bombay Sapphire finishing with a special cocktail before returning to Winchester.  Dinner is early, in order to enjoy dining at the recently opened Rick Stein Restaurant.

Thursday 5 October:  A marginally earlier start in order to cross by ferry from Southampton over to the Isle of Wight to have an exclusive private lunch at the Royal Yacht Squadron before which there will be a tour to see part of the Castle, originally built in 1539 as one of Henry VIII forts and hear the unique history of the RYS within the sailing world.   Founded in 1815 - originally a gentleman could become a member if he was the owner of a vessel not under 10 tons – today it is interpreted as a gentleman “actively interested in yachting”.  Past and present members include kings, princes and prime ministers to mention a few. The Squadron took up residence in Cowes Castle in 1855 and did much to establish the rules of sailing and hosts the most prestigious racing events  from the America’s Cup was first held here in 1851 to Cowes Week, the annual highlight in the yachting world. Lunch will be served in the Pavilion overlooking the entrance to Cowes Harbour.

Then an afternoon visit to Osborne House.  Bought by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1845 as a family residence and where Queen Victoria spent much of her time after Albert died and since her death little has changed at Osborne with many of the royal couple’s possessions, photographs and paintings still in place.  Return by ferry to Southampton and then the hotel.  You are free this evening to dine independently or join up with others to enjoy some of the many local restaurants.

Friday 6 October:  Check out of your rooms before walking over to Winchester College. The college founded in 1382 is believed to be the oldest continuously running school in the country. The guided tours will show the mediaeval heart of the College, the Chamber Court, 14th century Gothic Chapel, College Hall and the original mediaeval cloisters.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
  • 3 nights’ accommodation, breakfast and welcome drink.
  • One dinner at the hotel. One dinner at Rick Stein.
  • Two course lunch RYS and light lunch Avington Park.
  • Tours, entries and refreshments where stated.
  • Coaching and Heritage Touring representative.


Price per person: £580
Single supplement: £45 per night (£135)
Non-refundable deposit: £150  per person

Parking is available the Mercure Wessex (daily fee) Mainline station:  Winchester – short taxi journey

Mercure Wessex Hotel

Each tour, unless stated otherwise in the tour details, includes welcome reception, hotel accommodation, dinner and breakfast, entry fees, guided tours and tickets where appropriate,  lunches and refreshments where stated, professional guide and executive coaching. 

You are asked to make your own travel arrangements to join each break at the hotel listed.  We are happy to give advice and where possible organise shared taxis from a rail station to the hotel and where appropriate the coach will finish a tour at the station. However we cannot take responsibility for individual travel bookings.

We strongly recommend that you take out holiday insurance for protection against any cancellation charges, loss of deposit and other eventualities even for holidays in the United Kingdom and for emergency medical expenses and injury, death, repatriation home if travelling abroad.   Heritage Touring does not offer or sell insurance but can give assistance in locating travel insurance companies. Travel insurance is mandatory for all passengers travelling abroad.