Arrive in London and transfer to your hotel.
Those who are not too jet-lagged might like to take a leisurely stroll around the historical streets and parks of the local area.
In the evening, meet your fellow travellers before we head off for our first dinner together.
This morning you will need comfortable walking shoes as we begin exploring London in earnest. Our route takes us through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, past Buckingham Palace, The Mall, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. We then cross Westminster Bridge and follow the south bank of the Thames (passing the National Theatre, London Eye and Tate Modern) and head towards Shakespeare's end of town. At Southwark we spend some time sampling the tempting array of food on offer at the Borough Market, which dates back to 1014 and is London's oldest food market. Weather permitting, we will enjoy a picnic lunch in the grounds of nearby Southwark Cathedral (Shakespeare's 'local church' in London). Alternatively, we may drop in to the George Inn (the only remaining galleried coaching inn in London) for some hearty pub food. In the afternoon, explore the Globe Theatre and Exhibition under the guidance of a local expert.
This evening you are at leisure to enjoy London as you wish. You may choose to continue your walk from Southwark towards London's tallest building, The Shard, and experience the view from its 52nd floor. Tower Bridge and the Tower of London are also only a short walk away, as is St Paul's Cathedral (although it may be too late to actually tour the cathedral, an Evensong service is held each day at 5:00pm under its beautiful stained-glass dome). There are also many last-minute ticket sellers in the theatre district if you decide to finish the day with a show in the West End.
(You will be provided with maps of the tube and bus networks as well as a prepaid Oyster Card, so it will be very easy to find your way around.)
After breakfast, take the Tube to the 'once village' of Hampstead (now a London suburb). Immerse yourself in one of the most picturesque areas of London while learning interesting facts and gossip about some of the famous writers and other colourful characters who have lived here.
You are at leisure to continue exploring London at your own pace throughout the afternoon. However, if you are interested in poetry, we suggest that you remain in Hampstead and spend some time at the John Keats' House Museum. The National Portrait Gallery (where you will find the only likenesses of Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters); Westminster Abbey and the British Library also have fascinating literary associations and are well worth a visit.
We will then meet for an early dinner at The Swan Restaurant (the gourmet pub next to the Globe) before attending a performance in the theatre.
This morning we depart London from Kings Cross Station and head to Keighley in Yorkshire. Here, we will change trains and experience a little bit of 19th century travel as we complete our journey to Haworth on the fully restored Keighley and Worth Valley Steam Railway.
After transferring to our accommodation, there will have some time to relax and wander around this historic town before we meet again for dinner.
This morning we explore the village of Haworth and its immediate surrounds with our personal guide from Brontë Walks. After lunch, we will visit the Brontë Parsonage Museum as well as Haworth Parish Church and the adjoining graveyard.
There are no planned activities for this evening; however, you may like to return to one of the village's atmospheric little pubs for dinner.
This morning we don our daypacks and set off on a walking tour of the surrounding moors. In the company of an experienced, well-informed guide, we will follow in the Brontë sisters' footsteps, visiting a number of their familiar haunts. These include; the ruins of Top Withens (believed to be the inspiration for Wuthering Heights), the Brontë Waterfall and Ponden Hall (the model for Thrushcross Grange).
After a picnic lunch on the moors we will return to the village.
You are at leisure until the evening when we meet at the famous Haworth Steam Brewery for dinner.
This morning we leave Haworth and travel south by private coach to Stratford-upon-Avon.
After transferring to our accommodation, you are free to spend your day exploring the historic town centre, parts of which still resemble the Tudor market town of Shakespeare's era.
This evening we meet for dinner and compare our many adventures from this day.
STRATFORD UPON AVON
This morning we meet our guide for a private walking tour of the main sites of Stratford upon Avon.
This afternoon, you are free to enjoy the local sights at your own pace. We strongly suggest that you take the time to explore the Shakespeare Houses before wandering along the river to Holy Trinity Church, one of the most beautiful parish churches in England, to visit Shakespeare's grave. Your tour leader will be very happy to accompany you on either, or both, of these excursions.
This evening you are at leisure. You may choose to relax, but you also have the option of joining us on a very entertaining and informative 'Stratford Town Ghost Tour', conducted by professional actors.
STRATFORD UPON AVON
After breakfast we head to the Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre for a private backstage tour. We will also go to the top of its landmark tower for a wonderful view of the town and surrounding countryside
After lunch, we meet by the river to board a traditional Edwardian (electric powered) motorboat for a short cruise on the beautiful Avon River. This peaceful sightseeing tour allows you to enjoy the tranquillity of the countryside while providing unique views of the RSC theatres, Holy Trinity Church and the 15th century Clopton Bridge.
This evening you will enjoy a pre-theatre meal at the RSC Tower Restaurant
before attending a performance by the Royal Shakespeare Company in the theatre below.
STRATFORD UPON AVON
Today you are at leisure. However, you also have the option of joining us for a full day excursion to nearby Warwick Castle, one of England's most famous medieval attractions and well worth a visit.
This morning we travel to Bath by private coach.
On arrival you will have several hours to wander Bath's Georgian streets on your own and begin to appreciate how this stunningly beautiful town earned its National Heritage listing.
This afternoon we meet at Bath Spa for a relaxed, self-guided tour of the Roman treasures, baths and temple complex. We will then join our guide at the Great Bath for a tour of the 2,000-year-old suite of bathing pools.
Today we gain some true insights into Jane Austen's Regency town of Bath as we explore the streets that feature as backdrops in both Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. Highlights of our guided walk include: the exterior of No. 4 Sydney Place (the house in which Jane lived from 1801 to 1804); the spectacular Georgian terraces of the Royal Crescent and the Circus and the Bath Assembly Rooms.
After lunch you may choose to return to some locations that are definitely worth a closer look. These include; No. 1 the Royal Crescent (a restored Georgian house now a museum), the Jane Austen Centre, the Fashion Museum beneath the Assembly Rooms and Bath Abbey (the view from the tower is worth climbing up its 212 stairs!). History buffs might also like to see the house in which Governor Arthur Phillip lived after returning from NSW (he died here in 1814 and his memorial is in Bath Abbey). Alternatively, you may enjoy a relaxing visit to Thermae Bath Spa or afternoon tea in the famous Pump Room.
This evening you are at leisure.
WINCHESTER & CHAWTON
Today we travel by private coach to Winchester for a tour of the famous Cathedral in which Jane Austen is buried. On our way, we stop briefly in the tiny village of Laycock – the setting for Meryton in the 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice.
From Winchester we head to Jane Austen's House at Chawton, her home from 1809 until her death in 1817. It was during these years that she finally became a published novelist.
Later, as we walk up the drive to see the library and museum at nearby Chawton House (once owned and occupied by Jane's brother, Edward Knight) we will literally be following in the author's footsteps, as she was a regular visitor here.
This afternoon we return to London by private coach and transfer to our hotel.
There will be a farewell dinner this evening.
Our literary tour concludes after breakfast.