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Winchester Downton & Jane Austen's Hampshire

Winchester Downton & Jane Austen's Hampshire

A 5 day tour taking in Highclere Castle, the Kennet & Avon Canal & The Watercress Steam Railway


A 5 day tour taking in Highclere Castle, the Kennet & Avon Canal & The Watercress Steam Railway

Winchester is a historic cathedral city and former capital city of England. It is the county town of Hampshire. The city lies at the heart of the wider , a local government district, and is located at the western end of the South Downs, along the course of the River Itchen. 


The Kennet and Avon Canal is a has an overall length of 87 miles, made up of two lengths of navigable river linked by a canal. The name is commonly used to refer to the entire length of the navigation rather than solely to the central canal section. In all, the waterway incorporates 105 locks. The canal section was constructed between 1794 and 1810. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the canal gradually fell into disuse after the opening of the Great Western Railway. In the latter half of the 20th century the canal was restored in stages, largely by volunteers. After decades of dereliction and much restoration work, it was fully reopened in 1990. The Kennet and Avon Canal has been developed as a popular heritage tourism destination for boating, canoeing, fishing, walking and cycling, and is also important for wildlife conservation.


The Watercress Line is the marketing name of the Mid-Hants Railway, a heritage railway in Hampshire, running 10 miles from New Alresford to Alton where it connects to the National Rail network. The line gained its popular name in the days that it was used to transport locally grown watercress to markets in London. The railway currently operates regular scheduled services, along with dining trains and numerous special events throughout the year. The line is also well known for its extensive facilities, friendly staff and the quality of restoration work.


Jane Austen Around early 1809, Austen's brother Edward offered his mother and sisters the use of a large cottage in Chawton village that was part of Edward's nearby estate, Chawton House. Jane, Cassandra, and their mother moved into Chawton cottage on 7 July 1809. In Chawton, life was quiet. The Austens did not socialise with the neighbouring gentry and entertained only when family visited. Austen's niece Anna described the Austen family's life in Chawton: "It was a very quiet life, according to our ideas, but they were great readers, and besides the housekeeping our aunts occupied themselves in working with the poor and in teaching some girl or boy to read or write." Austen wrote almost daily, but privately, and seems to have been relieved of some household responsibilities to give her more opportunity to write. In this setting, she was able to be productive as a writer once more.


Highclere Castle is a country house in the Jacobethan style, with park designed by Capability Brown. The 1,000 acre estate is in the county of Hampshire, about 5 miles south of Newbury. Since 1679 the castle has been home to the Carnarvon family and is the country seat of the Earl of Carnarvon. It is the main setting for the British television period drama Downton Abbey. The castle is home to an Egyptian Exhibition, which was founded by the 5th Earl who, along with his archaeological colleague Howard Carter, discovered the tomb of the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun in 1922. The 5th Earl was an enthusiastic amateur Egyptologist, undertaking in 1907 to sponsor the excavation of nobles' tombs in Deir el-Bahari (Thebes).

Day 1

We leave Cumbria and travel south to Warwick, where we have some time at leisure for lunch before continuing on to Winchester and our hotel the Norton Park. Dinner in the hotel.


Day 2

Our first visit today is to Kintbury, where we join a traditional horse drawn barge for a nostalgic trip on the Kennet & Avon canal. Time for lunch in Newbury before heading via Basingstoke to Chawton and a visit to Jane Austens House and Museum. Dinner at the Norton Park Hotel.

B, D

Day 3

Today we visit Highclere Castle, the setting for the hugely popular TV period drama, Downton Abbey. Tour the elegant castle interior before spending time in the gardens. The Castle’s history also includes a fascinating connection with ancient Egypt, as the 5th Earl, with Howard Carter, discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings in 1922. The Castle now houses an exhibition that commemorates this historic event, including some rare antiquities from the 5th Earl’s earlier Egyptian excavations. We return to our hotel via the picturesque North Wessex Downs and Marlborough, the market town that has the second widest main street in Britain. Dinner in the Norton Park tonight.

B, D

Day 4

This morning we travel the short distance to Alresford where we board the Watercress steam railway for a 10 mile ride through the Hampshire countryside to Alton. We rejoin our coach for the journey into Winchester, time for lunch before exploring King Alfred's ancient capital of England with its famous cathedral, home to Jane Austen's tomb. Dinner on our return to the hotel.

B, D

Day 5

We leave the Norton Park Hotel after breakfast and make our return journey to Cumbria, stopping off en route for lunch.


B=Breakfast Included, D=Dinner Included

Norton Park Hotel


On the outskirts of Winchester the 4*Norton Park hotel blends beautiful contemporary chic with historical elegance all set within 54 acres of beautiful landscaped gardens to stroll around.


The hotel has 175 modern bedrooms offering contemporary elegance with en-suite facilities including shower and/or bath, comfy Sealy beds, laptop safes, free internet usage, trouser press & ironing facilities, tea & coffee making facilities, hairdryer, remote control flat screen LCD TV, direct dial telephone. The hotel also has 6 purpose built disabled rooms, 3 on the Ground floor and 3 on the First floor. These bedrooms interconnect to a twin room for use by a carer or family member if needed. The bathrooms are designed with an accessible wheel-in shower / wall mounted drop down seat and appropriate grab rails. Emergency pull cords link directly to staff phones from both the bedroom and bathroom. Horizontal and vertical grab rails are positioned at the side of the toilet.


The warm and welcoming atmosphere of Scene Restaurant provides the perfect setting to enjoy breakfast and evening meals. The chefs at Norton Park have created a contemporary menu of flavoursome dishes and where possible use locally sourced produce.

Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.

Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.

Name Address Contact Details
Appleby The Sands Appleby
Aspatria Car Park beside Spar Aspatria
Brough Monument Bus Shelter Brough
Carlisle Entrance to Sands Centre Car Park Carlisle
Cockermouth Monument Main Street Cockermouth
Dearham Commercial Corner Dearham
Distington Outside Prospect Works Distington
Egremont Conservative Club Egremont
Flimby Railway Station Flimby
Harrington Galloping Horse bus stop Harrington
Keswick Bell Close Car Park Keswick
Kirkby Stephen Market Square Kirkby Stephen
Maryport Outside Coop Maryport
Penrith Sandgate Bus Station Penrith
Shap Village Hall Shap
Tebay Old Services Car Park Tebay
Thursby Bus Stop Thursby
Waverton Bus Stop Waverton
Whitehaven Bus Stop Tangier Street Whitehaven
Wigton Old Bus Station Wigton
Workington Lay By opposite Grahams Travel Jane St. Workington
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07 Aug 2022 £479.00 Loading
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