We are particularly excited about the latest gluten free itinerary crafted by gluten free travel specialist Ellen Morse of Gluten Free Travel-Us. She has chosen to unveil this particular tour, based on the perpetual popularity of London as a destination and the relative ease of dining gluten free amongst all the amazing global cuisines offered throughout the city. During your trip, you'll stay in the heart of London with an itinerary created to delight travelers of all ages. Having traveled to London many years ago with our own sons, I can attest to its appeal to children.
You'll even get to take part in a unique and engaging hi-tech scavenger hunt activity for the family, as well as take a ride in the massive London Eye, giving you a true 360-degree view of the city. You'll enjoy visiting the city's signature sights with a private guide, and be treated to a theatrical performance of Matilda. Other highlights include a visit to the Warner Brothers studios for Harry Potter, where you will get an insightful behind-the-scenes perspective on this thrilling series. Since castles and the English countryside are not to be missed, you'll be taken on a full day, privately guided excursion to Warwick Castle and the charming Cotswolds. With family-friendly accommodations and daily fun, you're bound to have a family adventure full of lasting memories.
Ellen has once again partnered with the very reputable Kensington Tours to create this itinerary that's the perfect mix of private and group tours. Guides are always chosen based on their experience with kids and families. Hotels are 4 or 5-star, depending on one's budget. This is not a group tour and can be taken at any time. The following sample itinerary can also be considered a "jumping off point," with the ability to customize or lengthen the trip, according to your family's interests, budget, and desired length of stay. As always, pricing depends on point of departure, dates of travel, length of stay, and number of travelers.
Most importantly, there's no need to be concerned about sticking to your gluten free diet. Ellen will handle all the details, suggesting multiple options near all the tourist sites so any gluten free members of your family will stay food-safe. A gluten free breakfast will be provided at your hotel, and Ellen has even arranged for you to enjoy afternoon high-tea, English style, at one of the city's best and most historic spots. In addition to the guided tours, private drivers will ensure you get to and from the airport, as well as to the theater.
Day 1: London
A Meet & Greet assistant will be waiting for you in the Arrivals Hall of the airport after you pass through customs. You'll have private transportation to your hotel and will be assisted in the hotel check-in process. You'll receive a welcome package with a city map, train tickets (if relevant), and other tourist information that will be useful.
Once you're settled at your hotel, you'll head over to the London Eye, where you'll skip the largest part of the line with your exclusive Fast Track admission, and take to the skies for a unique perspective over the city of London below. At a height of 443 feet, The London Eye is the largest cantilevered observation wheel in Europe, and receives over three million visitors each year. Your nearly 30-minute ride will complete after one full rotation of the wheel, allowing for a pleasurable pace as you ascend and descend, with plenty of opportunity to spot several iconic landmarks from an elevated vantage point on the south bank of the River Thames.
Day 2: London
Departing with a private guide and driver, you’ll set out on a half-day tour to experience the highlights of London, with opportunities to see many of the iconic sights of this global metropolis. Discover the West End, home to some of the world’s most prolific theaters, and pass by the renowned Royal Albert Hall before traveling through the City of Westminster and the City of London, the oldest part of the capital, and home to the financial district. See Marble Arch, historically used for royal processions, as well as the serene Hyde Park, with its lively Speakers’ Corner. Stop at Buckingham Palace, home of the Queen and site of the daily "changing of the guards," an icon of British pageantry. View Harrods in Knightsbridge, and renowned squares like Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square with Nelson’s Column. You’re welcome to discuss with your guide if there’s a sight of particular interest that you’d like to view during your tour.
Later in the day, you'll visit Fortnum & Mason, known for sourcing and selling superb quality tea for over 300 years. In 1926, this famous grocery store was transformed into a unique department store with a restaurant that offered afternoon tea to its customers. The tradition of taking tea and that “little bit of something” between lunch and dinner had long been a feature of smart households. In the Roaring Twenties at Fortnum’s, it was defined by a menu featuring the finest teas, delicate sandwiches, and exquisite cakes. The fourth floor was made home to the much loved St. James’s Restaurant in time for the 250th anniversary in 1957, showcasing superb dining and fine afternoon tea. On March 1, 2012, with enormous joy and excitement, the refurbished St James’s restaurant were opened by HM the Queen, accompanied by Their Royal Highnesses the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge, and renamed The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon. You will be treated to this wonderful tradition, complete with the finest homemade gluten free sandwiches, scones, and pastries.
Day 3: Harry Potter at the Warner Brothers Studio
Depart with a private driver and vehicle on an excursion where you'll discover the Making of Harry Potter exhibit at the Warner Bros Studio London, providing an incredible opportunity to explore the magic of the most successful film series ever. With your included admission, enjoy previously unheard anecdotes from the expert staff members before setting off on your own self-guided, behind-the-scenes discovery, exploring a huge array of beautiful sets, costumes, and props. You may also unearth some closely guarded secrets, including facts about the special effects and animatronics that made these films so hugely popular all over the world. Here are just some of the things you can expect to see and do: Step inside and discover the actual Great Hall. Explore Dumbledore’s office and discover never-before-seen treasures. Step onto the famous cobbles of Diagon Alley, featuring the shop fronts of Ollivanders wand shop, Flourish and Blotts, the Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, Gringotts Wizarding Bank, and Eeylops Owl Emporium. See iconic props from the films, including Harry’s Nimbus 2000 and Hagrid’s motorcycle. Learn how creatures were brought to life with green screen effects, animatronics and life-sized models. Rediscover other memorable sets from the film series, including the Gryffindor common room, the boys’ dormitory, Hagrid’s hut, Potion’s classroom and Professor Umbridge’s office at the Ministry of Magic. A perfect day for any Harry Potter fan!
Day 4: Warwick Castle and the Cotswolds
Set out with a private guide, vehicle, and driver for a full-day tour to medieval Warwick Castle and the Cotswolds. Approximately 2.5 hours outside of London, you'll arrive at the magnificent Warwick Castle, an 11th century relic from William the Conqueror, set in the beautiful rolling Warwickshire hills. With your guide, step through its 1,000-year history as you enter over the footbridge to a bygone world of banquets, battles and ceremony.
You'll see the magnificent interiors of the Great Hall & State Rooms, climb the Towers and Ramparts for an archer’s view of the historic town of Warwick, and enter the multi-sensory Kingmaker attraction, journeying back to 1471 as Richard Neville prepares his army for battle. After you tour the castle, spend the next few hours journeying through the Cotswolds, with stops en route via Moreton in March, Chipping Camden, Stow on the Wold, Bourton on the Water, and Burford, before returning to London. The Cotswolds are one of England's most picturesque and scenic rural areas, with rolling hills dotted with thatched medieval villages highlighted with historic markets and strips of cottages built of a distinctive yellowish limestone.
Day 5: London
Your professional cabbie will come to your hotel and take you on a 3 hour tour of fun, seeing the film sites of London. Notting Hill, Bridget Jones Diary, Batman, Harry Potter, The Da Vinci Code, and Four Weddings and a Funeral were all filmed in London. Your Black Cab will return you to your hotel or drop you at your most convenient location in Central London after your tour.
In the evening, you'll meet your private driver who will take you to the theater to see Matilda the Musical. They will also pick you up and take you back to your hotel after the show. Matilda The Musical is a family-friendly, multi-award winning musical from the Royal Shakespeare Company, inspired by the beloved book by the incomparable Roald Dahl. Matilda The Musical is the story of Matilda Wormwood, a child with an incredible talent for learning. Despite being hampered by unscrupulous, uncaring parents who care neither for their daughter or for education, she excels intellectually and even discovers a rather unique talent. Each time her parents treat her badly, the young Matilda teaches them a lesson.
Day 6: London
Meet your private driver and vehicle for transport to the airport. (Again, you can extend your stay if you wish to add on more sightseeing either in or outside of London.)
To get in touch with Ellen about this or any other desired gluten free travel itinerary, call her at 312-337-9235 or email her at [email protected]
Photos provided by Karen Broussard and Pixabay.