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Woburn Abbey, Bletchley Park, The Shuttleworth Collection
Swiss Garden and Mansion House, Wrest Park and St Paul’s Walden Bury
Staying at the Swan Hotel, Bedford
23 – 26 April 2018 (3 nights)

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Bedfordshire has a number of hidden treasures and this tour presents a wonderful opportunity to explore historic houses, iconic history and of course the much heralded secrets of the last war.  Stay at the 4 star Bedford Swan Hotel located in a stunning location overlooking the Great Ouse River in Bedford’s town centre. This 18th century historic hotel was transformed after an extensive refurbishment but still comes complete with a Roman-style swimming pool and spa!

Woburn Abbey one of the treasure houses of England includes one of the most important private art collections in the world.  There will be guided tour of the Abbey and time to see the gardens before light lunch in their restaurant.  Wrest Park is like a French chateau in miniature surrounded by three centuries of landscaped grounds adorned with flower gardens, statues and follies.   The house and grounds are undergoing a massive rejuvenation by English Heritage – some of the state rooms can be viewed along with the temples and follies.

The Shuttleworth Collection and Swiss Garden.  The former is an aeronautical and automotive museum located at the Old Warden Aerodrome.  It is one of the most prestigious in the world due to the variety of old and well-preserved aircraft houses in vast hangars.  The 19th C Swiss Garden also part of the collection was created by a wealthy young man who wanted the “mountainous” effect of an alpine scene in the flat Bedfordshire countryside.  Clever earthworks, paths, little lakes and follies transformed the garden into a fairyland.  The afternoon will finish with a tour and tea in The Mansion House now part of the Shuttleworth Collection.  Built in 1875, many of the interior furnishings by Gillows of Lancaster and several magnificent 19th century paintings.

St Paul’s Walden Bury  - a  spectacular formal spring woodland garden leading from the house that was the birthplace and childhood home of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.  The Bowes Lyon family have lived here since the garden was laid out about 1720. The garden was improved and restored by Geoffrey Jellicoe in the 1930s.  Tour of the house and time to enjoy the grounds where the rhododendrons,  magnolias, woodland peonies and bluebells should be at their peak.

Bletchley Park, maybe for some a second time but with so much more now open to see it is well worth a return visit.  Home of the British codebreakers during World War II it housed the Government Code and Cypher School. The iconic Codebreaking Huts and Blocks set within an atmospheric Victorian estate - Britain’s best kept secret is now a vibrant heritage place to visit.

Monday 23 April – check into the Bedford Swan Hotel before welcome drink and dinner.

Tuesday 24 April:  Woburn Abbey  tour, light lunch in the restaurant  afternoon at  St Paul’s Walden Bury.

Wednesday 25 April – Wrest Park in the morning, lunch can be purchased at Wrest Park/Shuttleworth tbc – in the afternoon the Shuttleworth Collection, Swiss Garden  and House tour with  cream tea served in the house.

Thursday 26 April – Check out of the hotel before visit to Bletchley Park. This is free flow with audio guides but also on-going timed tours to join if preferred.  Coach returns to Bedford to station and hotel by 2.30 pm.

Strongly recommend before leaving Bedford you visit the Cecil Higgins Bedford Art Gallery behind the hotel.

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 dinner, accommodation and breakfast, welcome drink and lunch on one day and a cream tea.
  • All tours, entries, coaching and Heritage Touring representative.


Price per person: £567
Non-refundable deposit: £150 pp
Single supplement: £45 per night (£135)
(double room for sole occupancy)

Car parking available: £5 per day
Nearest station: Bedford (East Midlands/ St Pancras)

The Bedford Swan 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.