Arizona Desert Adventure 2020

  • 6 Days | 11 Meals
  • Multiple Dates
  • $1577

Join Olbrich Botanical Garden Horticulturist Erin Presley in the Southwest

England Mystery Writers 2019

Discover the Settings, Sites and Stories That Inspired Some of England’s Greatest Authors

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Sep 15 - Sep 25, 2019
11 days | 10 nights • 18 meals
Starting at $4797

Looking for our September 20-30, 2020 England Mystery Writers tour? Click here.

Austen. Christie. Conan Doyle...Join Annie’s Publishing and Country Travel DISCOVERIES as we go undercover in search of the stories and places that stirred the imaginations of some of Great Britain’s most beloved authors. From 221b Baker Street to the Agatha Christie home, go behind the scenes to tour the worlds of favorite classic and contemporary sleuths, including Sherlock Holmes, Inspector Morse, Miss Marple, DCI John Barnaby and others. En route, experience iconic British sites from the Tower of London and Oxford to the World Heritage Sites of Stonehenge and Bath. See England’s longest-running play, Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, ride the famed Dartmouth Steam Train, visit the last true cheesemaker in Cheddar, and more.

  • Round-trip air from U.S. included 
  • City tour of London, including the Tower of London
  • Tour the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace
  • Walk the haunts of Sherlock Holmes
  • See sites made famous by Agatha Christie
  • Take in The Mousetrap, the world’s longest-running play
  • Enjoy a Midsomer Murders Tour in Oxford
  • Visit the ancient Roman Baths & Pump Room
  • Visit Jane Austen Center in Bath
  • Tour Greenway House, summer home of Agatha Christie
  • Ride the Dartmouth Steam Train
  • Stand in awe at prehistoric Stonehenge 
  • Bag handling (1 per person) at hotels
  • Entrance fees for included attractions and gratuities for included meals
  • Welcome dinner, 24-hour emergency call service

Our group flies from Chicago O’Hare to London Heathrow Airport, where we’ll meet our professional Tour Director and motorcoach driver. A panoramic tour of London gives us an introduction to this amazing city. D

The game is afoot, as we start the morning with an Agatha Christie Walking Tour in London’s West End, where many of her characters enjoy the high life. We’ll explore two areas very well known to Agatha: London’s vibrant Theatreland and the affluent districts of Mayfair and St James’s.We’ll also see the home of Agatha’s world’s longest running stage play, The Mousetrap, along with her beautiful book-shaped memorial. And, we’ll take a look at some of the luxury hotels immortalized in her novels. Later, a visit to the Tower of London is in order. Located on the northern bank of the River Thames, this internationally famous monument is one of England’s most iconic structures. It is a 900-year-old castle and fortress notable for housing the crown jewels which are under armed guard in the Jewel House. These gems are a unique working collection of royal regalia and are still regularly used by The Queen for important national ceremonies, such as the State Opening of Parliament. B, D

Elementary, my dear Watson! Grab your deerstalker as we embark on a Sherlock Holmes Tour of London, exploring sites that inspired Arthur Conan Doyle, as well as locations featured in film and TV adaptations of the detective’s great adventures. The tour starts at the very place where Holmes and Watson first meet and then takes in literary sites from gentlemen’s clubs to grand hotels and, of course, 221b Baker Street. We’ll also visit locations featured in screen adaptations starring Jeremy Brett, Benedict Cumberbatch and Robert Downey Jr. This afternoon, tour the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace. Open to the public when the Queen is on holiday. You’ll marvel at the opulence of the rooms where The Queen and members of the Royal Family receive and entertain their guests on State, ceremonial and official occasions. We’ll enjoy a pre-theater dinner before attending The Mousetrap in London’s West End. This murder mystery is the longest running play in the UK and the world. Agatha Christie herself stipulated that this thriller must not be made into a film—that still holds true today. B, D

Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap

A group of people gathered in a country house cut off by the snow discover, to their horror, that there is a murderer in their midst. The suspicious characters reveal their disreputable pasts until the final, suspenseful moment when the identity and motive are revealed! In November of 2017, The Mousetrap will celebrate its 65th Birthday. Agatha Christie’s great play has been thrilling audiences from around the world for as long as HRH Queen Elizabeth II has been on the throne. During this phenomenal run there have been no fewer than 442 actors and actresses appearing in the play. Some cast members are in the Guinness Book of Records, such as David Raven as the ‘Most Durable Actor’ for 4,575 performances as Major Metcalf, and the late Nancy Seabrooke for a record-breaking 15 years as an understudy. The Mousetrap first entered the record books many years ago in 1958 when it became the longest-running show of any kind in the history of British Theatre. In 2000 the set was replaced for the first time during the run at St Martin’s Theatre, still to the same design as the original. This task was completed over a weekend without the loss of a performance. We’ll see The Mousetrap at St. Martin’s Theatre, its home for the last 42 years.

Today we journey to Oxford. The Midsomer Murders Tour of Oxfordshire will transport you into the charming yet sinister world familiar to DCI John and Tom Barnaby, and uncover the locations that give the show its distinct character since it was first broadcast in 1997. Along the way, we will head to the towns and villages of Midsomer, situated across several English counties (including Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire) that have played a role in more than 250 suspicious deaths over the years. The tour will visit fairy tale houses, ancient churches, cozy pubs, charming village greens, quaint stores and grand estates that appear prominently in the magical but rather deadly county of Midsomer. We’ll get behind–the–scenes information about the show, Midsomer Murders, and discover fascinating details about historical places that have appeared in numerous episodes. B, D

After breakfast, we join the Inspector Morse Tour in Oxford, where we’ll take a close look into the world of author Colin Dexter’s famous detective, Endeavour Morse. With Oxford being the setting for both the books and the TV series you will visit many settings familiar to Morse, Lewis and Hathaway. On this two hour guided walk, you will hear about the colleges and other places known to Morse and also get the inside track on the enigmatic detective. We’ll visit the actual locations from the series, explore the old city of Oxford, and go behind the scenes of Inspector Morse. Then, this afternoon in Oxford is at your leisure. B, D

In Bath, we enjoy an audio walking tour spotlighting author Jane Austen. She is one of Bath’s most famous residents, and two of her novels are set here: Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. The tour includes extracts from Austen’s novels and letters, which describe Bath as it would have been in its Georgian heyday. Next, visit the Jane Austen Centre, which offers a snapshot of life during Regency times and explores how living in this magnificent city affected Jane Austen’s life and writing. If you wish, you may visit the Regency–themed Tea Rooms on the 2nd floor to enjoy a cup of tea and homemade cake. Afterwards, we’ll see Number One Royal Crescent, a Georgian townhouse that creates a wonderfully vivid picture of life in Georgian Bath. Built between 1767 – 1774 to the designs of the architect John Wood the Younger, the Royal Crescent is justly considered one of the finest achievements of 18th century urban architecture and represents the highest point of Palladian architecture in Bath. We overnight in Bath this evening. B, D

This morning before leaving Bath, we’ll visit the Roman Baths and Pump Room. Bath was founded upon natural hot springs with its steaming water playing a key role. The Roman Baths were constructed around 70 AD as a grand bathing and socialising complex, and are one of the finest historic sites in Northern Europe. You’ll want to visit The Great Bath, the magnificent epicenter to the complex, and walk on the ancient cobbled pathways as the Romans did 2,000 years ago. En route to Exeter, we’ll stop at the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company, the only cheesemakers left in Cheddar – the home of Cheddar cheese. We’ll watch the cheesemakers during the various stages as they transform their rich, local milk into award–winning, authentic Cheddar Cheese. Upon arrival in Exeter, we’ll spend the afternoon at leisure before checking into our hotel for the next two nights. B, D

Torquay Museum houses the Agatha Christie Gallery—our first call this morning. You can trace the eventful life of the best-selling author of all time in this gallery dedicated solely to Agatha Christie, and her life, novels and plays. Visitors can step inside Poirot’s study and lounge, reconstructed in the Agatha Christie Gallery—it even includes items from his beautiful London Art Deco apartment. And, keep an eye out for the beautiful walking stick that David Suchet famously carried as Poirot. Afterwards, we’ll take the Dartmouth Steam Train to Greenway Halt to visit the beloved holiday home of Christie and her family for a further glimpse into their lives. This relaxed and atmospheric house is set in the 1950s, when Agatha and her family would spend summers and Christmases here with friends, relaxing by the river, playing croquet and clock golf, and reading her latest mystery to their guests. Also there is Christie’s walled garden, home to a restored peach house and vinery, as well as an allotment cared for by local school children. A visit to Greenway isn’t complete without seeing the Boathouse, scene of the crime in Dead Man’s Folly, and the battery complete with cannon. B, L

En route to London, we’ll make a stop at Stonehenge, the world famous prehistoric monument in Wiltshire. Stonehenge is the remains of a ring of standing stones set within earthworks. Archaeologists believe it was built anywhere from 3000 BC to 2000 BC. Archaeological evidence suggests that Stonehenge could have been a burial ground from its earliest beginnings as the dating of cremated remains found on the site indicate that deposits contain human bone from as early as 3000 BC…we’ll hear other theories during our visit. Back in London, we’ll have a relaxing and delicious farewell dinner and reminisce about our travels with your new friends. B, D

After breakfast transfer to London Heathrow Airport for your flight home carrying memories of the sites and haunts of mysterious England and its authors. B

Quality Accommodations:

Nights 2-4: Holiday Inn London West
Nights 5-6:
Best Western Linton Lodge, Oxford
Night 7:
Apex City of Bath Hotel, Bath
Nights 8-9:
Mercure Exeter Southgate Hotel, Exeter
Night 10:
Heston Hyde Hotel, London Airport

Sep 15-25, 2019

Price Per Person:
Double $4,797; Single $5,495

Pre-/Post-Tour Hotel: Please call.

Depart/Return: Chicago, IL
Wish to fly from another city? We can arrange that for you. Land-only pricing also available. Please call.

Moderate to extensive walking is required to fully enjoy this tour.

Average Temperatures high 65°/low 53°

Time Zone +6 hours from Central Time

Arrival Time: Schedule your arrival into Chicago O'Hare Airport to arrive by 2:00 p.m. on Day 1 for our 5:10 p.m. flight to London Heathrow Airport.

Departure Time: Schedule your return flight home to depart Chicago O'Hare Airport any time after 3:00 p.m. on Day 11.

Airport Info: Pre/Post Hotel offers complimentary shuttle service.

Vehicle Parking: Free parking is offered during the tour at our hotel in Chicago with a Pre or Post tour night booked.

Walking Distance:Moderate to extensive walking is required to fully enjoy this tour. Some walking will be on uneven paths.

Currency: England – British Pound Sterling

Hotel Amenities Include Hair dryers, TV/cable, telephone, internet access, and spa services available at hotels.

Optional Excursions/Extensions N/A

Additional Information Flight time from Chicago to London is 7.5 hours, London to Chicago 9.5 hours. Dress on tour is casual. Land Tours begin one day later. Airport transfers not included with Land Only Tours. Air & Land Tours include government imposed taxes, fees and airline fuel surcharges at time of printing.

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