12-Days: A Benedictine Journey to England

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DAY 1: DEPART USA

We depart USA en route to London, with complimentary meals and beverages served aloft.

DAY 2: ARRIVE LONDON

We arrive in London and are met by our Catholic Travel Centre tour manager, who will accompany us throughout our stay in the United Kingdom. We will take some time viewing the city while our rooms are prepared at our hotel. After check-in, the balance of the evening is at leisure.

DAY 3: LONDON: EXCURSION TO CANTERBURY

This morning after breakfast, we drive out of London and through the Kentish countryside to Canterbury, the most important ancient city in England and traditional home of the Archbishop of Canterbury. In 1170, Thomas a Beckett was murdered in his own cathedral by the Knights of Henry II; he was canonized shortly after and for centuries pilgrims have flocked to his shrine. As well as a detailed visit to the Cathedral, we will also see the fine medieval walls of the city before returning to London for the evening. (B)

DAY 4: LONDON / NORWICH / PETERBOROUGH

After breakfast we depart for Norwich. Our visit begins at the Cathedral with its magnificent cloisters and the cell of Dame Julian, the great 14th century mystic. We also see some of the wonderful old and interesting buildings and gabled houses with their crooked timbers and color-washed plasterwork. Next we visit Peterborough, an ancient city of Saxon origin. We visit the Norman Cathedral of St. Peter, destroyed in 870 and rebuilt as a Benedictine foundation in 972. The present Cathedral was built by the Normans between 1118 and 1238. Katherine of Aragon, the first wife of Henry VIII, is buried in the north isle of the presbytery. Overnight is in Peterborough. (B)

DAY 5: PETERBOROUGH / OXFORD: VISIT OF TOWN

After breakfast this morning we travel to Oxford, “city of dreaming spires”, centre of scholarship for over 1000 years. We visit the ancient university and hear about its history and traditions. Although there is no clear date

of foundation, Oxford is the oldest English speaking university in the world, with teaching known to exist in 1096, and today Oxford has achieved eminence above every other seat of learning. Overnight is in Oxford. (B)

DAY 6: OXFORD / WORCESTER / GLOUCESTER / STRATFORD

After breakfast we board our motor coach for Worcester and Stanbrook Abbey. The Abbey, founded in 1625 by nine young English women and led by the great great granddaughter of St. Thomas More, is dedicated to Our Lady of Consolation. The Abbey nuns survived imprisoment during the French Revolution and a permanent home was found at Stanbrook in 1838.

Next we travel to Gloucester and Prinknash Abbey situated on the edge of the Cotswolds. For nearly nine hundred years the land known as Prinknash Park has been associated with Benedictine monks. In 1096 the Giffard family, who had come to England with William the Conqueror, made a gift of the land to Serlo, Abbot of St. Peter’s, Gloucester. A large part of the present building was constructed around the year 1520.
This afternoon we travel to Shakespeare’s hometown, Stratford-upon-Avon. Upon arrival, your guide will take you on an informative tour of the main sights, including the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Your tour will include visits to Shakespeare’s birthplace, where Shakespeare was born in 1564. The home allows you to re-enter the Tudor world. This evening there is an optional theatre performance. Overnight is in Stratford. (B)

DAY 7: STRATFORD / BATH / LEISURE

This morning, after breakfast, we visit Downside Monastery in the beautiful Georgian town of Bath. Monks from the monastery of St. Gregory’s, Douai came to Downside in 1814. The Monastery was completed in 1876 and the Abbey Church in 1925. Some of the community are employed outside the Monastery with parish work, as well as the school for boys connected with the Monastery. We continue with a city tour of Bath, including the ancient Roman baths. The balance of the afternoon is at leisure to shop and explore this historic town. Overnight is in Bath (B)

DAY 8: BATH / GLASTONBURY / SALISBURY

After breakfast we travel to Glastonbury Abbey, traditionally the oldest above-ground Christian church in the world. Beginning in the 7th Century and surviving invasions, fire and the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the Abbey today continues as a living church. Next we visit Salisbury Cathedral, one of the finest medieval cathedrals in Britain. Built “For the Glory of God and as a sign of His Kingdom in the World”, the Cathedral has been a majestic and awe-inspiring church for over 775 years. Our evening is in Salisbury. (B)

DAY 9: SALISBURY: EXCURSION TO WINCHESTER / STONEHENGE

Today, after breakfast, we board our motor coach for an excursion to Winchester Cathedral. One of the largest cathedrals in England, Winchester is part of a former monastic settlement originally founded by the Benedictines in 642. Elements of the monastic buildings may still be traced throughout the Cathedral Close.

This afternoon we cross the Salisbury Plain to Stonehenge to visit the ancient monoliths placed in position nearly 2000 years before the birth of Christ and which were once used to calculate the eclipses and equinoxes. We return to Salisbury for the evening. (B)

DAY 10: SALISBURY / LONDON

Today we return to London, stopping first at St. Alban’s Cathedral. St. Alban was Britain’s first Christian martyr and worship has continued at the site of his execution for over 1700 years. A Benedictine monastery was founded here in 793. The present Abbey Church was begun in 1077, using bricks from the nearby ruined Roman city of Verulamium. The balance of the afternoon is at leisure in London. Overnight in London (B)

DAY 11: LONDON: LEISURE DAY

After breakfast, today is at leisure in England’s exciting capital, for exploring on our own or last minute shopping. Tonight we gather for a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. (B, D)

DAY 12: RETURN USA

We transfer to the London airport for our return flight to the USA. (B)

NOTE: While no changes are anticipated, there might be occasions when certain alterations become necessary to this itinerary due to changes in airline schedules or for other reasons. All Masses are subject to final church schedules.