• Hever Castle driver tour
  • Thames Valley driver guide
  • Knole driver guide

Half day tours from London up to 5 hours

This gives you a chance to go a bit further afield or cover a site in more depth.  You could include Eton and Runnymede with Windsor Castle, explore the valley of the River Thames or visit the RHS gardens at Wisley. In the county of Kent you could see Knole, Chartwell or Rochester.

Thames Valley guided tour

© Natural England/Catherine Tonge

Thames Valley

For anyone short of time, this is an easy way to get a feel for the English countryside. The drive follows the River Thames, which flows east from the Cotswold Hills. Charming little villages include Eton, Bray and Cookham. Cliveden provides a wonderful place to have lunch or tea.

The Thames Valley can be combined with Windsor or Oxford for a full day tour.

Wisley guided tour

© Gareth Williams

Wisley

The 240 acre gardens of the Royal Horticultural Society. Planting ideas, glasshouses and Model Gardens.

Knole guided tour

© Ben Sutherland

Knole

Knole was built in 1400s by an Archbishop of Canterbury. It was later given to the Sackville family by Queen Elizabeth in 1566. It is said to be the largest private house in England, with 365 rooms. It has a wonderful collection of furniture and paintings from 1600s. Vita’s father was the 6th Baron Sackville, but only sons could inherit, so Vita was left out. She lived locally after her marriage to Harold Nicolson, first at Long Barn and then at Sissinghurst.

Hever Castle guided tour

© Steve Slater

Hever Castle

Anne Boleyn's family home with parts dating from 1270. Visited by King Henry VIII. The estate was bought in 1903 by the American William Waldorf Astor, who restored the house and grounds.

Chartwell guided tour

© Paul Simpson

Chartwell

Chartwell was the home of Sir Winston Churchill and was where his children were brought up. He even built a brick wall here while out of office as a Member of Parliament. The house is full of memorabilia, and his paintings are on show in his studio. Come and see where he sat by the pond and fed his golden orfe fish.

Chartwell and Hever Castle can be combined to make a day tour from London.

Rochester

Rochester is sited on the River Medway about an hour’s drive from London. It holds a Dickens Festival at the end of May, where people dress up as Dickens characters. Rochester also has a Norman castle and cathedral.

Down House guided tour

© Glen

Down House

The family home of Charles Darwin for over 40 years. See where he wrote 'On the Origin of Species'.

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle is about an hour’s drive west of London, situated beside the River Thames. It is the place where the Queen spends most of her time, so see if her standard is flying. It contains a world-class collection of furniture and paintings, plus St George’s Chapel which is the burial place of many of our famous English kings and queens, including Queen Elizabeth’s parents. St George’s Chapel is where, in 2018, Prince Harry marries Meghan Markle and Princess Eugenie marries Jack Brooksbank. Also, view Eton College, on the other side of the River Thames, where Princes William and Harry went to school.

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace is a massive mansion built in two different centuries - firstly for Cardinal Wolsey in 1500s and secondly for King William III in 1600s. King Henry VIII took the palace from Wolsey and brought some of his wives here. You often find “King Henry” walking around as you explore. King William’s apartments are grander and definitely designed to impress. The gardens are a riot of colour in summer, and there is even a maze where the children can get lost.

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