The Excalibur Tour
Award winning communicator and author Barrie Doyle has created a riveting series of thriller novels under the general title, The Oak Grove Conspiracies. While the books cover many parts of the world including Washington DC, Venice, Istanbul and various parts of the United States and Canada, a large portion of the story is focused on the small nation of Wales, situated on the western end of the island of Great Britain and forming part of the United Kingdom along with England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Wales is a nation of stunning scenery: the rugged South Wales coast from the capital Cardiff, west to the county of Pembrokeshire; North Wales and the gorgeous mountains of Snowdonia; to the verdant agricultural cornucopia that is Mid Wales It’s an ancient land, home of the early Britons. Wales’ Celtic legacy has led to a rich musical, poetic and writing heritage. It has more castles per square mile than any other nation in Europe. History oozes out of the land from the coast to the mountains. With its history and legends—including the stories of mighty King Arthur—as well as its unique settings, Wales was the ideal place to base the stories of fierce zealot Druids, modern day conspiracies, and struggles to preserve society as we know it.
Yet Wales is a land less known and visited than its Celtic neighbours Ireland and Scotland and its Anglo Saxon neighbour, England. Repeated requests from fans of the books have resulted in our consideration of a tour of Wales with the author.
This is a preliminary outline of the proposed tour of Wales in 2020. It will take guests on a delightful journey through one of Europe’s oldest nations. It will feature history, legend, stunning scenery, friendly and welcoming people and as much as possible, visit some of the locations and features the books of author Barrie Doyle, including places mentioned in The Excalibur Parchment (EP), The Lucifer Scroll (LS) and The Prince Madoc Secret (MS). Throughout the tour the author will be present to discuss the various location chosen and read pertinent excerpts of the books.
The 14-day tour is tentatively scheduled for May 2020.
Please note: This information is preliminary and subject to change.
We’d love to have you join us!
Day 1 Arrive in London after overnight flights from North America. Transfer to a common meeting place in the London area. Travel to Salisbury, then a group get acquainted dinner to meet participants.
Day 2 Tour Salisbury Cathedral. One of the highest spires in Europe. Brief journey to Stonehenge where we visit the ancient mysterious ruins. Travel on to Bath and an afternoon visit to Jane Austen’s house. Overnight in Bath.
Day 3 Visit the Roman Baths and then travel to Chepstow. In the afternoon visit the romantic ruins of Tintern Abbey (model for Cymllyn Abbey in EP) and the town of Monmouth, home to Henry V and Charles Rolls, founder of Rolls-Royce. Travel to Cardiff. (2 nights)
Day 4 Enjoy a city tour of Cardiff, the vibrant capital of Wales with lots of free time to explore the large indoor market and the many shopping arcades and pedestrian areas. In the afternoon, a tour through the famous Vale of Glamorgan. Return to Cardiff for the night.
Day 5 Tour the Welsh Valleys and visit the hilltop village of Llangynydd and the market town of Maesteg (Llanffyron and Maesgwinfi in EP); Travel through the Vale of Neath (LS) and on to the haunting ruins of Carreg Cennen Castle (EP and M). Travel on to the beautiful Gower Peninsula—the UK’s first designated Area of Outstanding Beauty—and overnight at Oxwich Bay.
Day 6 Tour the Gower, taking in the famous Mumbles on Swansea Bay and Worm’s Head (M). Travel on after lunch to Laugharne and visit the Dylan Thomas Boat House where the famous Welsh poet (Child’s Christmas in Wales; Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night) wrote many of his masterpieces. Overnight at Milford Haven on the scenic Pembrokeshire Coast.
Day 7 Enjoy a tour of Pembroke Castle, birthplace of Henry Tudor—founder of the Tudor Royal Dynasty—and the smallest city in Europe, St. David’s to visit St. David’s Cathedral (M) and free time in the village. Then onwards up the Welsh coast to overnight at Aberystwyth. (2 nights)
Day 8 Visit the Old College (M) and the National Library of Wales (M). In the afternoon we ride the quaint Vale of Rheidol Steam Railway—one of the many Little Trains of Wales—to the scenic Devil’s Bridge. Return to Aberystwyth for a second night. Free time in the evening to explore the castle ruins, the shopping precinct or just stroll the seaside promenade.
Day 9 We explore the magnificent mountains of Snowdonia before arriving at the enchanting Portmeirion, a unique Italianate village designed by the eccentric architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis. The afternoon and evening are free to explore the village, magnificent gardens and stunning seaside views. (2 nights)
Day 10 Visit the island of Anglesey, the ancient Yns Mon (EP, LS, M). On the island we also visit the place with the longest town name in Europe: Llanfairpyllgwyngyllgogerichwyndrobwlllantysiliuoogogogoch. (By the time you leave, you’d be able to pronounce it). Then on to the magnificent Caernarfon Castle, built by Edward 1 to contain the rebellious Welsh. After the castle tour it’s a ride on another of the ‘Little Trains’, this time the Welsh Highland Railway before returning to Portmeirion.
Day 11 Before leaving Wales behind, we visit the music festival town of Llangollen then travel to Stratford-on-Avon, home of William Shakespeare. Here we will visit Shakespeare’s birthplace and Ann Hathaway’s cottage with plenty of free time to explore the town.
Day 12 Travel to London (featured in all three books) where we will enjoy a tour of the city. After the tour you are free to explore London on your own with the use of the included ‘Oyster’ card which allows free travel on London buses and the famous Tube. (Sitting on the top deck of the Double Deckers is highly recommended). (2 nights).
Day 13 Free day to explore London using your Oyster Card. Possibilities including attending a West End show, visit Piccadilly, Regent Street, Oxford Street, the Tower of London or watch the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, see St. Paul’s Cathedral or Westminster Abbey.
Day 14 Transfer to airports for return flights to North America
Interested? Please let us know.
At this juncture, there is no obligation. Lots of time to make plans and to save your pennies. We will be sending out updates as the time for commitment and deposits draws near.
Below, you will find basic tentative information on costs and what’s included. Please bear in mind, however, that we will be tailoring some of the tour to the books, so some tweaks may be made to enrich your tour. One idea we are exploring, for example, is that of a musical night with one of the world-famous Welsh male voice choirs.
The cost of the tour includes:
- 13 nights in quality 3 or 4-star hotels.
- four dinners on tour
- one dinner in London
- Driver and Guide for duration of tour (except London)
- All admissions and tours listed in itinerary (including railways)
- Oyster card for travel on London buses and underground services
- Author commentary, readings & discussion throughout tour
Estimated cost approx. $5200 per person (Canadian funds) sharing a room. A single supplement will apply for individuals not wishing to share, Air fare extra.
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