August 7 – August 12, 2013
Join me on a Culinary Trip to
‘Royal London’ and Downton Abbey.
Become Lord and Lady Grantham for the day and follow in the footsteps of a great British period drama. Learn about ‘life below stairs’ and become ‘Daisy Mason’ for the day with a cooking class from Darren “Patmore” McGrady, former chef to The Queen at Buckingham Palace. “No frolicking !”
Scroll down the page for the full itinerary and see how to reserve your place on this trip.
The Full Itinerary
Arrive in London – transfers
At 3:30pm we will meet in the hotel for introductions and a glass of sherry. How Victorian British is that? Then it’s time to shimmer in your tweed, faux fur, sequins and silk as we partake in the quintessentially British tradition and epitome of daytime indulgence with afternoon tea. Chef Darren has chosen The Goring Hotel for our afternoon tea. The Goring was just voted best afternoon tea in London.
Carson has been ordered to chill Champagne for our arrival as we feast on a selection of sandwiches like Isobel Crawley’s Smoked Salmon Tea Sandwiches, O’Brien’s Crumpets, scones with clotted cream and a selection of tea pastries and just like the Countess of Grantham and the Dowager Countess we will “scheme to return the entail to Mary.”
Up early today as we head out of London through the beautiful English countryside of Berkshire and Oxfordshire. On the journey we will enjoy episodes of Downton Abbey, pausing to wave to Her Majesty The Queen as we pass Windsor Castle where Chef Darren cooked for President Reagan.
First stop, the ancient market town of Bampton, featured as Downton Village. Here we will get a guided tour of the locations such as Downton hospital, ”Nurse Crawley, I may not be your equal in a Mayfair ballroom, but in this hospital I am in charge!” The village pub, the home of Matthew Crawley “ Edith dear, stop fascinating that young man and come make a four at bridge.” and the local church.
Having explored the village we will then travel to Highclere Castle (Home of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, that Chef Darren cooked for at Buckingham Palace) Highclere is used as the main Downton Abbey set. On the way we learn about the 1000 year history of Highclere and life ‘above and below stairs’.
At Highclere we will wander around the ‘Above Stairs’ rooms of the property used as Downton Abbey including the drawing room, “Last night! He looked so well. Of course it would happen to a foreigner. No Englishman would dream of dying in someone else’s house.” The main hall and library “I’m a woman, Mary. I can be as contrary as I choose.” where many of the dramatic scenes involving the Crawley family were filmed. Then out into the garden where as you wander around the estate you will be able to imagine life as it was over 100 years ago and enter the world of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants.
Today is your chance to be ‘Daisy Mason’ with a hands-on cooking class under the watchful eye of the Royal Chef Darren McGrady… So no frolicking ! We will be using recipes from the Downton Abbey cookbook and dishes Mrs Patmore prepared in the show. “Wine Jelly? Treacle Tart anyone?” Be on the look out for a surprise visitor to the kitchen as we enjoy our spoils with a glass of wine… with Mr. Carson’s permission of course.
After lunch we head to Kensington Palace where Chef Darren spent four years as personal chef to Princess Diana and Princes’ William and Harry. With the royal baby due any day we may catch a glimpse of William and Kate heading to the hospital or be there for the celebrations. Darren will share stories from the palace, showing us where Princess Diana used to live and also the new home of William and Kate.
The afternoon is free for a little more sightseeing or shopping.
Branson will bring the car to the front door at 7:00pm with instructions to whisk you off into London’s West End and The Queens Theater that opened in 1907. You’ve probably seen the Oscar winning movie already; now compare it to the original musical… at the place it all began. Tonight we enjoy the musical “Les Miserable.”
We start the day with a tour of the State Apartments at Buckingham Palace. Chef Darren spent eleven years rattling pans in the royal kitchens and will be our personal tour guide. Want to know who gave the Queen the Ruben painting in the drawing room? Put on the headset. Want to know where that secret doorway leads to in the Grand Ballroom? Stay close to Chef Darren. Shh !
The afternoon is free for a little shopping or watching a Season 4 Downton Abbey episode in your hotel room.
This evening we will pass Westminster Abbey and Big Ben on our way to boarding our dinner cruise with a live band, on the river Thames. Bring an appetite for delicious food and wine and a camera for the memories and spectacular views of Victorian London by night.
Today, another day trip. Just an hour south of London is the seaside city of Brighton and the breathtaking Royal Pavilion. Victorian Londoners would take the train to Brighton for a therapeutic ‘bath’ in the sea. Prince Regent (later King George IV) after his first visit in 1783 spent much of his leisure time in the town and constructed the Royal Pavilion. We too, will arrive by train and then tour the pavilion.
The Great Kitchen was designed to be innovative and modern for its day. Its facilities offered the latest steam heating technology, a constant supply of water pumped from a nearby well into the Royal Pavilion’s own water tower.
It’s not difficult to imagine the kitchen today as it was then: a working kitchen full of life; chefs and kitchen hands springing into action as Carême barked out his orders. The kitchen was used as an operating theatre during the First World War because like Downton Abbey…. The Pavilion became a military hospital. “But if there are relapses. What then? Amputation in the dining room? Rescuscitation in the pantry?”
After the tour, lunch will be a very British “Fish and Chips” on the pier and a little time for sightseeing before we head ‘first class’ back to London.
On returning to the hotel, perhaps have ‘O’Brien, Anna or Bates’ run a bath and bring warm towels and help you dress into fine dining attire. Carriages will be at 6:30pm to The Savoy Hotel for our finale dinner.
The Savoy opened in 1889 and was the first luxury hotel in Britain, introducing electric lights throughout the building, electric lifts, bathrooms in most of the lavishly furnished rooms, constant hot and cold running water. “I couldn’t have electricity in the house, I wouldn’t sleep a wink. All those vapors floating about.
The kitchen was run by French chef Auguste Escoffier, who established an unprecedented standard of quality in elegant dining inventing ‘the partie system’ which Chef Darren trained under for over two years to become ‘Chef de partie saucier’ During our four course dinner with wine we will share our favorite memories of the trip. My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen… “Dinner is served”
T h e D e t a i l s
Start: London, England
Finish: London, England
- All accommodations on a shared twin/double room basis
- Daily breakfast at hotel
- Entrance tickets to Buckingham Palace and Pavilion Palace
- Round-trip transfers from London Heathrow Airport
- Hands-on Cooking class with The Royal Chef
- Round-trip train from London to Brighton
- Two lunches and two dinners
- Afternoon Tea at The Ritz Hotel
- Theatre ticket in London
- Day tour to Downton Abbey including Highclere Castle
- Farewell celebration dinner at The Savoy Hotel
Nota Bene: We build all of our itineraries as exhaustively as possible; however, we
also leave room for the spontaneity of the group, the creativity of the guide, and the
unpredictability of the elements. Thus, all itineraries are subject to modest modification,
dependent on local weather, new opportunities, and the desires of the group.
D a t e s & P r i c e s
DURATION: 5 NIGHTS / 6 DAYS
DATES: August 7 – 12, 2013
PRICES: $ 3999.00 USD (Per Person sharing ) *
SGL SUPP: $ 598.00 USD
Final price will be adjusted on April 20, 2013
For the convenience of our travelers, we would be happy to assist you with flights to get to and from the trip. If you require assistance beyond the flights (i.e. if you wish to extend your stay or arrive earlier), or if you wish to make private or custom travel arrangements, please call us to discuss your needs. Please note that a service transaction of $ 50.00 will be charged for areas such as flights, transfers and hotel rooms that are outside the planned itinerary
A highly-personalized travel concierge service that arranges memorable trips, cruises, exotic vacations and travel for those with discriminating taste. So, whether you’re looking for a private jet to Paris, a villa in Tuscany, tickets to the Grand Prix in Monaco, golfing at St. Andrews or an island escape to the Caribbean, we can arrange every detail.
This exclusive culinary tour with The Royal Chef will be limited to 13 participants; with a minimum of 10. To avoid disappointment (and the inevitable wait list), please book early.
BOOK YOUR TRIP
Contact Karen M. Dawson
630 E. Southlake Blvd., Ste 50
PAYMENTS & DEPOSITS
$1000 per person non-refundable deposit at time of booking (to guarantee events & hotels). Deposit must be received immediately. Final payment will be due on May 15, 2013.
Click below to enjoy previous culinary trips with The Royal Chef