England Highlights & World War II

Join Brett on his inaugural tour of England that enthusiasts of history and the Second World War will be talking about for years to come.

On this history heavy land-based package we visit 1 restricted military base, 1 Royal Navy cruiser and its nine decks, 1 secreted bunker beneath Westminster, 1 country estate of an iconic prime minister, 1 Ultra Secret facility where Enigma ciphers were cracked, 1 pristine burial ground for fallen US servicemen, 1 last surviving LCT (Landing Craft Tank) from D-Day, 2 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 3 intoxicating pubs, 3 airfields used during WWII, 4 locations featured in a must-see movie or television miniseries, 11 of England’s 48 counties, and much more.

Piggybacking: This package has been designed so you can either sign up for it exclusively or piggyback it with one of Brett’s other tour programs to extend the cultural experience and enlightenment. But, be quick, the tour will sell out as there are only a handful of seats available. (Piggyback this package with another and deduct 20% from the advance payment of that tour, deduct 25% from the advance payment of a third package and 30% for a fourth package.)

Ireland Highlights Top-To-Bottom tour August 5-14, 2024
Scotland Highlights & Whisky Tasting tour August 17-23, 2024
D-Day Beaches & Beyond tour September 3-6, 2024
Belgium Beer & Battlefields tour  September 7-13, 2024
Germany & Austria Highlights tour  September 14-20, 2024
Oktoberfest in Munich tour packages  September 20 — October 6, 2024

Money, details are listed below the package itinerary.


London to Cambridgeshire via Stonehenge, the White Cliffs of Dover & Bletchley Park


TOUR DATES: Message Brett your preferred dates and if open to a second option

May 4 – 12, 2024 — 8 nights, 9 days

May 18 – 26SOLD OUT — 8 nights, 9 days

June 1 – 9SOLD OUT — 8 nights, 9 days

June 15 – 23, 2024 — 8 nights, 9 days

June 29 – July 7SOLD OUT — 8 nights, 9 days

July 13 – 21, 2024 — 8 nights, 9 days

July 27 – August 4, 2024 — 8 nights, 9 days

August 10 – 18, 2024 — 8 nights, 9 days

August 24 – September 1, 2024 — 8 nights, 9 days

October 12 – 20, 2024 — 8 nights, 9 days

October 26 – November 3, 2024 — 8 nights, 9 days

November 9 – 17, 2024 — 8 nights, 9 days


Minimum 3 persons per tour; max 7 persons

Recommended viewing for this tour: “Above & Beyond” (dramatic story of the downed B-17 “Damn Yankee”) — “The Imitation Game” (must-see multi Academy-Award winning movie) — “Darkest Hour” (biopic about Winston Churchill, played by Gary Oldman) — “Band of Brothers” (especially Episode  1: “Currahee” when the boys transfer to Aldbourne) — “Battle of Britain” (movie classic) — “Masters of the Air” (mini-series produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg) — “The Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress” (real war-time footage by Academy-Award winning director William Wyler).

Package itinerary:

LONDON (2 nights): Brett's England tour map

DAY 1 (Saturday), May 4Free Day, Where Royalty Lives & Meet Your Guide

Because guests will be arriving at various times throughout the day, this tour program will begin a little different than Brett’s other traditional packages. For example, arrive in London when you can (preferably before 5 p.m.), check into the hotel then meet your guide for group orientation and (optional) dinner.

DAY 2 (Sunday), May 5Churchill War Rooms, HMS Belfast & Yeoman Warders

After breakfast your first full day of adventure, history, culture, exploration and serendipity begins. Today you will visit the must-see Churchill War Rooms, the subterranean nerve center secreted beneath the streets of Westminster where Britain’s top brass, including one cigar-wielding prime minister, directed the Second World War and defeated Hitler’s fascist armies. Step through once top-secret corridors, seemingly back into time, and explore historic rooms left exactly as they were for a glimpse of life during the tense days and nights of the war.

The drama continues, Brett insists you see another iconic London landmark, the venerated HMS Belfast, a storybook of naval engagements from firing some of the first salvos onto the bunkered shores of Normandy kick-starting Operation Overlord, June 6, 1944, better known as D-Day, to sailing sub-zero waters in the Arctic Circle as well as serving in the Korean War! The Belfast is ideally anchored on the River Thames in front of the picturesque Tower Bridge and Tower of London, home of the priceless Crown Jewels as well as the costumed Yeoman Warders, ceremonial guardians of the Tower, popularly known as Beefeaters. Why the latter name? Well, the rest of your delightful day is free time and Brett recommends you take the Tower tour and your guide, one of the Yeoman Warders, who are very funny by the way, will impart such info in addition to much more. (Note: If you run out of time to visit the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, buy a canvas tote at Daunt Books, or do whatever you fancy, don’t fret, you will have time pre or post-tour. Brett will explain.)

MAIDSTONE (1 night):

DAY 3 (Monday), May 6White Cliffs of Dover, Paris Local Time & Maidens’ Stone

Today is another magnificent day on the calendar. We depart London for Kent, the south-east corner of England, specifically to Dover to marvel its majestic White Cliffs. And if it’s a clear day, you’ll see France! Brett will get you so close to Calais that your phone will pick up French cellular service, send you a “Welcome to France” text followed by forwarding the clock on your phone an hour to correspond with Paris local time. Really! Aside from the telecommunications confusion, we’ll sit down for lunch (optional) at a deliciously scenic restaurant. Hungry?

PORTSMOUTH (2 nights):

DAY 4 (Tuesday), May 7Churchill at Chartwell, D-Day Museum & the Royal Navy

From Maidstone we hop back on our horse and canter over to the Chartwell House, primary residence of Winston Churchill for more than 40 years, from 1922 till shortly before his death in January 1965. It was here at bucolic Chartwell that Churchill composed speeches, penned books, painted in the garden cottage, sought refuge from politics and delighted in family life.

From Chartwell we motor 90 minutes further west to the historic home of the Royal British Navy at Portsmouth, where we visit the wide-ranging D-Day Story museum that takes visitors back to that decisive day via a multitude of exhibits and machinery such as the last surviving LCT (Landing Craft Tank) from D-Day, June 6, 1944. After boarding the LCT, learning its history, and manning its ack-ack guns (excellent photo opp), we will make our way across town to our restful digs for the next two nights.

DAY 5 (Wednesday), May 8Southwick House, Eisenhower & the Historic Dockyards

Another extraordinary day on the ticket, your guide will escort you some 20 minutes north of Portsmouth to the patriotic village of Southwick and onto an active military base. Nestling on the restricted grounds of a Ministry of Defense police training facility is Southwick House, arguably the most sought-after and difficult-to-reach estate in Britain concerning World War II. It was here on June 5, 1944, behind barbed-wire and armed guards that Allied chieftains, principally General Eisenhower, poured over classified intelligence including the latest weather reports and made one of the most consequential decisions of the 20th century: to green light Operation Overlord, the invasion of Hitler’s Europe! Stand in the footsteps of Eisenhower during that historic moment; study the same floor-to-ceiling wall map of the Norman coast in the Map Room; contemplate the colossal nature and possible outcomes of the Supreme Allied Commander’s fateful decision. The next morning on June 6, the first wave of some 130,000 seaborne troops land in France at 7:26 a.m., the minute all clocks stopped at Southwick House, frozen in time to recall h-hour commencing the day of days.

From Southwick, we venture back to Portsmouth where you’ll have free time to do shopping, sightseeing, or a bit of both. Brett recommends you check out the nearby Gunwharf Quays outlet mall on the waterfront as well as the Historic Dockyards, home to the Royal Navy National Museum, managing a menagerie of maritime militaria such as the menacing Mary Rose (Henry VIII’s favorite ship dating from 1510); the Royal Marines Commando Experience; the Royal Navy Submarine Museum; and the HMS Victory – world’s longest serving naval vessel still in commission and scene of Lord Nelson’s death when he was shot by a French sniper during the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 – to name a few of the things to see and do within meters of your accommodating hotel.


DAY 6 (Thursday), May 9Stonehenge, Band of Brothers & the Code Breakers

Today we wend our way north through the charming English countryside seeking a trio of trip highlights en route to our overnight destination, Cambridgeshire.

1) Stonehenge, dating from the third millennium B.C:

First on the dance card is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most identifiable monuments on Earth, Stonehenge, large stone monoliths aligned toward the sunrise on summer solstice and sunset on winter solstice.

2) Band of Brothers”, 506PIR – 101AB:

Next up we swing through the quaint village of Aldbourne, home to Easy Company during World War II.

3) Code Breakers, where it all began:

Our final quest of the day is cracked at Bletchley Park, former home to *Ultra cryptography and its tireless code breakers! It was here the German Enigma cipher was decoded by mathematicians and cryptologists, famously Alan Turing. Both Winston Churchill and General Eisenhower were unanimous post-war in declaring that Ultra intelligence from Bletchley Park was decisive in a timely Allied victory saving countless lives. The war would have ultimately been won just maybe two or three years later. For example, Allied commanders were oft congratulated for victory on the battlefield but in truth it was the cryptologists at Bletchley Park who tipped the scales with their Enigma decrypts that revealed Axis troop movements and front-line strategy. Today you get to see where it all began, turn back the clock and explore the very rooms in which Enigma codes were cracked that not only helped win the war but also led the way to modern computing.

*Before the decryption of Enigma (German cipher machine) in 1941, the highest level of British security intelligence was classified “Most Secret.” Information acquired from Enigma decrypts was deemed so valuable a higher classification had to be established, “Ultra Secret”.

(For more on Bletchley Park and Ultra, Brett recommends you watch the multi Academy-Award winning movie “The Imitation Game” starring Benedict Cumberbatch as mathematician Alan Turing.)

DAY 7 (Friday), May 10 — Spitfires, Battle of Britain & Cambridge American Cemetery

Today is a time for reflection, a day to honor the fallen; the 3,811 heroes who rest peacefully at our first stop: Cambridge American Cemetery — consecrated July 16, 1956, on land donated by the University of Cambridge — it is the only permanent American World War II military cemetery in Britain. Most of these men lost their lives in service of the air war over Hitler’s Europe, 1942-1945. Additionally, there are the names of 5,127 missing comrades engraved on extensive wall tablets to be honored, whose remains were never recovered or identified. Of these names you’ll find Alton G. Miller, famously Glenn Miller, the big-band leader hailed for such mega hits as “In the Mood,” “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” and the dreamy “Moonlight Serenade,” who was never found after his plane went down over the English Channel on his way to entertain the troops in France, December 1944. Another name is that of Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., a handsome bomber pilot and the elder brother of the 35th U.S. President. (It was “Joe” who the family planned to be POTUS.) As we stand amid the sweeping rows of white-marbled headstones, you will undeniably be among the greatest of company, a pantheon of heroes. They died, so that we may live!

The second half of our mission will be to discover historic Duxford Aerodrome, today a branch of the Imperial War Museum and Britain’s largest aviation museum. The site dates from 1917 when the Royal Flying Corps (RFC), precursor to the Royal Air Force (RAF), set up operations in the course of the First World War. In the Second World War Duxford played a considerable role during the Battle of Britain — even a portion of the star-studded 1969 movie “Battle of Britain” was filmed here — and was later used by United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) fighter squadrons in support of daylight bombing raids over Germany.

DAY 8 (Saturday), May 11 — Masters of the Air, Red Feather Club & the Mighty Eighth

Our last full day together will be one to remember as we motor our way to East Anglia, specifically counties Suffolk and Norfolk, to visit former airfields that were home to heavy bomb groups belonging to the (Mighty) Eighth Air Force. From such pristine and pastoral bases the high-altitude air war over Nazi-occupied Europe was waged. Though, astonishingly, before all the bases and bombers and battles, the United States’ inaugural heavy air force began early 1942 as VIII Bomber Command and went from having no airplanes and only 7 men, including its soon-to-be commanding officer General Ira Eacker, to a colossal deployment of 185,000 personnel and 4,000 airplanes by December 1943 that developed into the largest air armada known to mankind. Such a monumental endeavor of moving men and material this fast across the Atlantic had never been achieved before! By autumn 1942, at the same time GIs started pouring into England to drill for the future invasion of Europe, B-17 crews were immediately thrown into the bloody madness of aerial combat. Training for the 10-man bomber crews was far different above the friendly sands of the Mojave Desert than the flak-filled skies over the steelworks of Germany. Every day was a different mission and a new aeronautical experiment at 25,000 feet in the frozen stratosphere. Airmen were pumped with myriad lectures concerning air-combat theory but they had little to no practical experience. Even senior planners were learning on the fly, thus it was baptism by fire. The conflict was so brutal and mentally exhausting most airmen suffered from flying fatigue, oft predicting their own death before every mission that ultimately led many to temporary insanity. Crew members had reason to be anxious, the Germans exacted an enormous toll on the nascent Eighth that saw its number suffer more fatalities – 26,000+ –  than the entire U.S. Marine Corps in the Pacific during World War II. One such example, the Hundredth Bomb Group comprised of 36 fortresses and 140 flying officers when it landed in England June 1943. After the catastrophic Münster raid a mere 4 months later that saw all of its B-17s sent up that day destroyed but one, the Hundredth had only 3 of its aforesaid 140 officers available to fly. Today we have the opportunity to honor the courage and sacrifices of these young men who selfishly took to the sky from farmers’ fields of East Anglia against hellish odds to help liberate a continent from dictatorship and became titans of aviation history!

(For more on the Eighth Air Force, Brett recommends you watch the gripping Apple TV mini-series “Masters of the Air” produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg.)

DAY 9 (Sunday), May 12 — Reveille, Breakfast, Time To Say Goodbye

Of England’s 48 counties, we drove through 11 of them on this tour (listed in order of visitation): Greater London, Kent, Surrey, Hampshire, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Norfolk. It’s been a heck of a journey. Regrettably, it’s time to say goodbye to the friends we’ve made. Our tour is over, unless you’ve chosen to continue with Brett on the next program for more culture and cuisine. (Let Brett know your plans so he can best assist with your itinerary.)

Feel free to contact Brett with any questions you may have.



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Money, package details:

    • The land-only price for this exclusive package is 2,0951,795 pounds (payable in England) + US$300 (advance payment) per person (double occupancy) — which includes your accommodations (3/4-star hotels), breakfast, all transportation and attractions we do together as a group, and Brett Harriman or his seasoned travel partner as your personal guide. You will be hard-pressed to find a more enthralling, educating English tour program, anywhere!
    • The price for this 9-day (8-night) package is approximately US$282 per person per day (1,795 pounds x $US1.25 = $2,244 + $300 advance = $2,544 / 9 = $282), which is hard to beat when considering the exclusive hand-held nature of the package, accommodations with breakfast, as well as transportation within 11 counties and the umpteen sites visited.
    • The price does not cover lunch, dinner, and of course personal expenses, such as whatever you buy and do on your free time.
    • Transportation for this tour will be a 9-seater mini van piloted by Brett Harriman or his seasoned travel partner.
    • Walking & picnic lunches: Expect to do a lot of walking. We will explore former WWII airfields and historic sites, tour museums and stroll cobbled streets. On the food front, we’ll plan picnic lunches at select locations when possible that will not only save us money but also time for more sightseeing.
    • Packing & souvenirs: As always, pack light, but do allow a little extra room for souvenirs and whatnot you may pick up along the way.
    • Single supplement: The package price is based on double occupancy — a supplement of US$400 will be added to the price for solo travelers but who are welcome to room together to save the supplement; (notify Brett if this is you and he will do his best to make compatible room assignments).
    • Payment: To reserve your place an advance payment of US$300 per person is required and the remaining 1,795 pounds is due in England upon meeting your group leader. After the advance payment is made Brett will contact you to confirm your reservation. (Note: Since seating is limited to 7 guests per tour, reserve your place soon before the package is sold out!)
    • Cancellation: The advance payment is fully refundable 75 days prior to tour departure. Within 75 days, however, your advance payment will be forfeited (sorry!) unless your spot can be filled or you’d like to transfer the reservation to another of Brett’s tours this year or next.
    • Piggyback Brett’s tour with another and deduct 20% from the advance payment of that tour, deduct 25% from the advance payment of a third package and 30% for a fourth package.

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