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20 Day European Gardens, Castles and Quilts Tour 2019 (Tour code: EQT)

Day 01, 06 August: Australia – Guangzhou – London   
Depart Australia on China Southern Airlines in the evening and arrive at Guangzhou the following morning.  

Day 02, 07 August: Guangzhou – London (D)
Connect your China Southern Airlines flight to London in the morning. Arrive in London Heathrow airport in the afternoon. Have your dinner at hotel or local restaurant.

Day 03, 08 August: London (B.D)
Enjoy an orientation tour of London by bus. Stop off at various famous sights for photo shoots. Sightseeing Houses of parliament, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Horse Guards Parade, Pall Mall etc. In the afternoon free time to explore the Victorian & Albert Museum, Harrods, Madame Tussauds at your own choice. Have lunch at your own cost. Have your dinner at hotel or local restaurant.   

Day 04, 09 August: London (B.D)
Today you will first visit Hampton Court. Explore the palace, the gardens, the maze, the tennis court, the kitchens etc. (Entry cost Hampton Court included, all other entry costs at your own expense). Take short bus drive to Kew Gardens (only entrance cost included and mini train fee at your own cost). View the Gardens. Then enjoy a visit to Tikki Patchwork in the town of Kew. Have your dinner at hotel or local restaurant. 

Day 05, 10 August: London – Windsor Castle – Bristols (B.D)
After breakfast we will travel by coach to visit the largest castle in the world Windsor Castle.  This is the stately home of the Queen. Afterwards we will travel by coach to the historic city of Bath. Visit the Royal Crescent and the Circus, Queen Square, Abbey Churchyard, Abbey Green or the Cross Bath tucked away down Bath Street. Also visit the “Fashion Museum”, Pulteney Bridge and the Weir, along with the colourful Parade Gardens. If we still have energy, walk up Lansdown Hill and turn into Camden Crescent for some of the best views of Bath. Stay overnight in Bristols.

Day 06, 11 August: Bristols – Roman (B.D)
Enjoy a guided tour around Bath. Leave Bath to visit the American Quilt Museum and grounds (request a special viewing). Our personal tour guide will give you some time to study the wonderful quilt collection they have on display. After this visit, have your lunch at your own cost. Visit a quilt shop and do some shopping. Have your dinner at hotel or local restaurant. At your free time, you may wish to visit Jane Austen House.

Day 07, 12 August: Bristols – Birmingham (B.D)
After breakfast, you are transferred by coach to Birmingham, where we will book into our hotel for the next two nights and then transfer to the Exhibition Hall for the first day of the FESTIVAL OF THE QUILTS. Return to the hotel for dinner.

Day 08, 13 August: Quilt Show in Birmingham (B.D)
After breakfast at the hotel we make our way back for the 2nd day of the FESTIVAL OF THE QUILTS. Return to the hotel for dinner. 

Day 09, 14 August: Birmingham – Kent – Sissinghurst Gardens – Dover (B.D)
After breakfast, travel to Kent where we will visit Sissinghurst Garden today. It is close to landscape designated of outstanding natural beauty. The garden was created by Vita Sackville – West & Harold Nicolson in the 1930's. A stone manor surrounded by a moat was built in the Middle Ages. Two legs of the moat survive - a third leg originally ran where the 'Moat Walk' lawn is now. The original building was replaced in the 15th century by a large manor built by the Baker family - related by marriage to the Sackvilles of Knowle. The garden is in fact a series of some ten separate gardens, all delightfully different. Walls and hedges separate the gardens, giving the visitor the impression of peace and seclusion. On a sunny day there is almost nowhere better to be. Stay overnight in Dover.

Day 10, 15 August: Dover – Canterbury – Calais Area (B.D)
Head southwest to Canterbury and have a guided tour of Canterbury Cathedral. Have your free time to wander the city and visit the local quilts shop. In the late afternoon, we leave for France.

Day 11, 16 August: Calais Area – Bruges – Brussels (B.D)
After breakfast, you are transferred to the Belgian countryside to medieval Bruges where we can walk along the cobbled streets beside the peaceful canals. Then travel on to Brussels where orientation includes the Royal Palaces and a walk to see the Manneken Pis.

Day 12, 17 August: Brussels – Rhine River – Heidelberg (B.D)
Drive through Belgium into Germany. Stop in Cologne, visit the Cathedral and local shops. Then continue to enjoy a Rhine River cruise from Boppard to St. Goar. Take bus to Heidelberg Castle. Have lunch at your own cost. Have your dinner at hotel or local restaurant.

Day 13, 18 August: Heidelberg – Colmar (B.D)
Drive into the charm of the Black Forest. Home of the cuckoo clock, the Schwarzwald (Black Forest) gets its name from its dark, slightly sinister canopy of evergreens: this is where Hansel and Gretel encountered the wicked witch. The vast expanse of hills, valleys, rivers and forests stretch from the swish spa town of Baden-Baden to the Swiss border, and from the Rhine almost to Lake Constance. You will see Drubba Cuckoo clog works. Continue to travel to Colmar.

Day 14, 19 August: Colmar – Strasbourg – Troyes (B.D)
A short drive to Strasbourg after breakfast. Upon arrival, tour the old town with a local expert, starting with the baroque style Rohan Palace and ending with the Carousel and Petite France - you will enjoy the aroma of French sightseeing down the streets of this beautiful UNESCO city. After that, we continue to drive to Troyes, France. Troyes has been in existence since the Roman era. Of the Gallo-Roman city of the early Empire, some scattered remains have been found, but no public monuments, other than traces of an aqueduct. The city was the seat of a bishop from the fourth century – the legend of its bishop Lupus (Loup). Dinner at hotel or local restaurant. This is a hidden gem with many associations with fabric making.

Day 15, 20 August: Troyes – Paris (B.D)
In the morning, visit old town of Troyes where you can see many half-timbered houses (mainly of the 16th century) survived in the old town, the Hôtels Particuliers (palaces) of the old town and so on. Have your lunch at your own cost. Afterward, we will continue to drive to Paris.  Finally we arrive in romantic Paris, one of the most glamorous cities in the world. Have your dinner at hotel or local restaurant.

Day 16, 21 August: Paris – the Chateau of Vaux Le Vicomte (B.D)
Today we will pay a visit to the Chateau of Vaux le Vicomte, one of best-kept secrets of the Paris region. The Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte is a baroque French château located in Maincy, near Melun, 55 km southeast of Paris. It was built from 1658 to 1661 for Nicolas Fouquet, Marquis de Belle Île, Viscount of Melun and Vaux, the superintendent of finances of Louis XIV. The house and gardens are spectacular and worth a visit. Afternoon is free for you.

Day 17, 22 August: Paris (B.D)
We drop off at the Louvre in Paris (Entrance fee is paid on the spot by yourselves if you wish to enter to visit it; the entrance fee you pay is around 13.50 Euro). After that, we will take you to Claude Monet’s house and gardens at Giverny.

Day 18, 23 August: Paris Sightseeing & Quilts Shop Visit (B.D)
Our trusty tour manager is ready to show you first hand this exciting city today. The tour reveals the splendour and historical events of the jewel city. We see Notre Dame, one of the most beautiful churches in the world and a masterpiece of medieval art. The Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Elysees, Place de la Concorde, Trocadero Gardens, the Opera House and the Grande Dame of Paris - Eiffel. You will be also taken to Le Rouvray, a very well known quilts shop in Paris. In the later part of the day, why not hop on the Bateaux Mouche, for a cruise on the river belt of Paris - River Seine (at your own expense). Paris is a city of lights, it is indeed a city that never sleeps, so why should you?

Day 19, 24 August: Paris – Guangzhou – Australia (B)
You are at leisure until transfer to airport for your flight to Australia via Guangzhou on China Southern Airlines and fly overnight.

Day 20, 25 August: Australia
You arrive in Australia in the evening. Your unforgettable European Gardens, Castles and Quilts tour ends.

Tour Price: $8,980

Single Supplement: $1,580

1. China Southern Airlines economy class air-ticket: Sydney – Guangzhou – London//Paris – Guangzhou – Sydney.
2. International airport taxes, fuel surcharge and airlines levy (currently $850, subject to change).
3. First class hotels with daily breakfasts.
4. Entrance fees for all sightseeing spots, special dinners, entertainment and quilt shows as indicated in the itinerary.
5. All the meals mentioned in the schedule.
6. All transfers and transportation by air-conditioned coach.
7. All programmes and sightseeing tours with English-speaking tour manager.
8. A tour leader and quilter from Australia. 

1. Travel insurance.
2. Tips to guide and driver.
3. Personal expenses.
4. Any meals and services not mentioned in the itinerary.

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