Explore Europe Tours LLC is an international travel company for adults which specializes in small group travel. It has grown out of many cultural tours we have hosted for years to explore new regions. You are warmly invited to join us on our 2023 tour to the Netherlands and England.
Day 1: Friday, July 14: Depart
We will gather at the St. Louis airport at 9 a.m. Our first flight is AA 702 departing St. Louis at 12:06 PM and arriving in Dallas at 2:00 PM. Our second flight AA 220 departs from Dallas at 3:45 PM. Please note that flight times and numbers are subject to change. (IF)
Day 2: Saturday, July 15: Amsterdam
On arrival at 8 a.m., we will be welcomed by our driver and tour director, who will transfer us to the city center. The capital of Holland exists out of 70 islands, which are separated by nearly 50 miles of canals and connected by more than 1000 bridges. We will begin with a narrated canal excursion, passing gabled warehouses, noble mansions, arched bridges, and colorful houseboats. We will then check-in to our hotel, Room Mate Aitana (4+*) and have free time before the Welcome Dinner. (IF/D)
Day 3: Sunday, July 16: Amsterdam
After breakfast we will enjoy a guided walking tour through old Amsterdam. The city was founded in the Middle Ages and has many historical buildings. We’ll see the Dam Square, with the impressive Royal Palace and New Church, the canals, the Begijnhof, and the floating Flower market. We will also see “Waterlooplein” (Waterloo Square) with its famous market, the Rembrandt House, and the Portuguese Synagogue. After free time for lunch, we will have a guided tour of the Rijksmuseum, which has an unrivaled collection of Dutch art. This vast museum opened in 1885 and houses art by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Van Huysum. The rest of the day is free to explore Amsterdam independently. For those interested in this option, we will arrange tickets to the Ann Frank House (not guaranteed). (B)
Day 4: Monday, July 17: Utrecht
This morning we will visit De Haar, the Netherlands’ largest castle and considered the most luxurious. We will also explore the Dom Under, where we’ll discover 2000 years of history. We’ll end the morning with a guided tour of a brewery including tasting 2-3 beers. The afternoon is at leisure, with options including a Botanical Garden, Railway Museum, canal ride, bike tours, shopping, (B)
Option to attend a 3-course Dutch Cooking Course, at De Kookfabriek. After a glass of prosecco, you will receive an explanation of the menu that you will prepare together. You will then work in groups under expert supervision. Each team prepares the entire menu. While cooking, there is plenty of time to chat, drink wine or beer, and look at each other's dishes. Then, you’ll enjoy your culinary delights. In between, you briefly go into the kitchen for the final actions in the next corridor. The program will be concluded with coffee and tea with homemade sweets. We will also have a vinologist who will offer wine tasting.
Day 5: Tuesday, July 18: Delft
Today’s day trip is to Delft, the city with its historic city center. We will tour the Royal Delft’s factory, ‘the Porceleyne Fles’ where we will discover the complete history and production process of Delft’s Blue Porcelain. We’ll have a workshop to paint our own piece of porcelain. In the afternoon we will get out into the fresh air with a bicycle ride through the nearby countryside. We will check-in to the stunning Grand Hotel Amrâth Kurhaus this evening. (B/L)
Day 6: Wednesday, July 19: The Hague
After breakfast, we will visit The Hague and see the Houses of Parliament, Palace Noordeinde, the King’s working palace, and Carnegie’s Peace Palace (the International Court of Justice). We’ll visit Panorama Mesdag and in the afternoon, visit the Mauritshuis to see works, such as The Girl with a Pearl Earring. Visit one of the world’s most beautiful piers (according to CNN) with a ferris wheel, restaurants etc. (B)
Day 7: Thursday, July 20: Aalsmeer, Gouda, The Hague
After an early breakfast departure to the World’s largest flower Auction in Aalsmeer where flowers and plants are auctioned and then packaged for distribution to all corners of the world. The next stop is Gouda where we will have a guided walking tour, including the famous Cheese Market. We will also visit the Old Weigh House which also houses a small cheese museum and shop. Tucked away in the city center is the factory making famous Dutch Treacle Waffles. We will enjoy a Treacle Waffle baking workshop and tasting and continue to Scheningen, the Netherland’s most popular seaside resort located close to The Hague. We will dine in our hotel this evening. (B/D)
Day 8: Friday, July 21: Kinderdijk, Ferry
Today, we will visit Kinderdijk, a Unesco World Cultural site. Built around 1740, 19 windmills are situated on dykes and once kept the surrounding land dry. We will sail to Rotterdam on the waterbus past beautiful countryside. On arrival in Rotterdam, we will have a walking food tour that will go to the famous Market and cafés where we can try lots of local specialties. Before boarding our ferry, we will make a stop in Delfshaven to see the departure point of the Mayflower Pilgrims on the Speedwell. We will bid farewell to our Dutch driver and tour director and board the ferry for our overnight sailing to Harwich. We’ll dine on the ship and sleep onboard. (B/L/D)
Day 9: Saturday, July 22: Harwich, Colchester
After breakfast on board the ship, we will disembark in Harwich and board our UK bus. Harwich (pronounced “Harridge”) is the UK’s 2nd busiest port. The Mayflower was built in Harwich by Christopher Jones and his home is now open to the public. One of England’s earlier cinemas, the Electric Palace Cinema was recently featured in the new Downton Abbey movie, and still shows the latest releases. We will have lunch in Otley Hall, a charming, moated Tudor Hall dating back to the 15th century. This was once home to Bartholomew Gosnold, who planned his voyages to the United States, where he helped to found Jamestown. We will spend the afternoon in Dedham, with a gentle stroll to Flatford Mill, famously painted by Constable. Dedham has a good selection of tea rooms and craft shops. We will end our day in Colchester, Britain’s oldest recorded city, and stay in the GreyFriars Hotel. (B/L)
Day 10: Sunday, July 23: Colchester and London
Colchester was the first major city in Roman Britain and was known as Camulodunum, although it actually dates back to prehistoric times. One of the most famous historical figures was Queen Boudica, a Celtic Iceni Queen, who defeated the Romans and burned the city to the ground. Our tour will also include Colchester Castle, built on the site of the Temple of Claudius by the Normans. After a traditional Sunday Lunch, we’ll drive up to London and visit the Imperial War Museum in Lambeth. We will check-into our centrally located hotel and the evening is at leisure. This is a great opportunity to see a London Show. (B/L)
Day 11: Monday, July 24: London
Today is a free day to enjoy London at your leisure. You will have travel cards for public transport and the opportunity to pre-book excursions if you wish. (B)
Windsor Castle (Queen’s resting place).
Westminster Abbey, the King’s coronation.
Visit Churchill War Rooms
Check out the art at the National Gallery
Visit Royal Albert Hall and take a tour.
ABBA EXPERIENCE: take in a concert
Day 12: Tuesday, July 25: London
You will transfer to Heathrow this morning for your return home. Post-tour nights in London are available. (B & I/F).
Regardless of reason, cancellations are costly. All cancellations must be in writing, and the date of postmark will determine the amount of refund due. For flight changes or cancellations, revision fees and/or airline cancellation charges will apply. Roommates canceling can result in a single supplement charge for the roommate. The Participant who cancels will be responsible for that charge if a substitute roommate cannot be found. Cancellation and Interruption Insurance is strongly recommended.
From time of deposit to Februrary 26, 2023: $350 cancellation penalty plus any non-refundable deposits.
From March 27, 2023 – April 10, 2023: $1,000 cancellation penalty plus any non-refundable deposits
From April 11-June 12, 2023: $1,350 cancellation penalty plus any non-refundable deposits
From June 13, 2023 onwards: No refund