Relyance Bank’s Crown Club members were recently on holiday in the United Kingdom. After checking in at the Leonardo Royal Hotel, a number in the group set off to explore London’s castle, the Tower of London.
The tower, a secure fortress, royal palace and infamous prison still intrigues people today. The group started with a Yeoman Warder tour. Yeoman Warders are a detachment of the “Yeomen of the Guard” and have formed the Royal Bodyguard since 1509.
The traditions as well as the ghost stories and terrible tales of torture and executions continue today, according to a news release.
Another day, the group took off on a guided city tour to see the quintessential sights such as Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace. That afternoon the travelers toured Kensington Palace. They caught a glimpse into the lives of royalty as they found themselves surrounded by opulence in the magnificent King’s and Queen’s State apartments and the beautiful Palace gardens. They spent some time in the two exhibits dedicated to the lives of the palace’s most famous inhabitants: Princess Diana and Queen Victoria, according to the release.
Sunday morning, half of the group headed to the train station to board up for York, the others took the scenic coach ride. All took a guided walking tour upon arrival in York, a city with Roman roots and Viking past. That evening some took the optional “Flavors of Yorkshire dinner,” those remaining had free time to explore this ancient walled city on their own.
The Crown Clubbers departed for Scotland the next morning. They stopped at Hadrian’s Wall for photos, followed by a little retail therapy at a woolen mill in the border town of Jedburgh.
The group had dinner at Stac Polly Restaurant after checking into the Apex Grassmarket Hotel at Edinburg. Edinburgh, nicknamed “The Athens of the North,” is a city of high culture of art and literature, philosophy and science. It hosts the world’s biggest arts festivals.
After a Scottish breakfast, the group toured Edinburg. They began the Royal Mile at the palace. The palace developed from a guesthouse attached to Holyrood Abbey that was extended by James IV in 1501.
The group ended their guided tour at Edinburgh Castle. The castle has played a pivotal role in Scottish history, both as a royal residence – King Malcolm Canmore (r 1058–93) and Queen Margaret first made their home here in the 11th century – and as a military stronghold.
The tours finished in early afternoon which gave everyone a little free time before their “Scottish Night Out.” The Crown Clubbers had an evening filled with tastes, sights and sounds that were classically Scottish. They feasted on local recipes. The entertainment filled with Scottish music, song and dance transported them to another time. One of the highlights of the evening was the Ceremony of the Haggis, it was pure fun, not to mention that the Haggis was really very tasty, according to the release.
The following morning the travelers were up on the road again. Their final stop in Scotland was at the border town of Gretna Green, where generations of runaway couples came to be married.
With Gretna Green being so close to the English border and the toll road built running through the village in the 1770s, it became the destination for eloping couples. Crown Club even had a wedding ceremony while they were there.
The group then traveled on to Grasmere, a tourist destination in the center of the English Lake District. William Wordsworth described it as “the loveliest spot that man hath ever found.”
The day ended with the Crown Clubbers having dinner and an overnight stay at Ruthin Castle, in the north of Wales. Before and after dinner, they had time to explore the huge castle, the beautiful landscaped grounds and the peacocks on their own.
The next two nights were spent at Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare, England’s most famous playwright. The first afternoon, the group had a choice of a visit to Anne Hathaway’s childhood thatch-roofed cottage or a serene cruise on the Avon river.
The second day, they headed to the mystical Stonehenge. They traveled through some of England’s most beautiful countryside and stopped to explore a few of the picturesque villages in the Cotswolds region.
The tour concluded with a farewell dinner including Shakespeare performances. Those enjoying this English holiday were Beth and Ricky Cook, Kim Coker, Amanda Menotti, Jo Stanfield, Kay and John Garrison, Inez Green, Bertha Williams, Barbara Miller, Donna Barnhart, Vicki Neal, Deannie Felts, Kitty and Bill Rubenstein, Linda and Doug Banks.
Cindy Cullins, Crown Club director, escorted the tour and reminded them of all the fantastic tours that are filling up for 2020, such as The Kentucky Derby, A Caribbean cruise, Peru and Machu Picchu, a fantastic Scandinavian cruise and a coach tour to the Island of Coudres, Canada.