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To ask more questions about the tour or to book your tour (spaces are limited), please call our agent, Karen Gerlach, toll free: 866-277-0900 or Utah Local: 801-483-6152.
Do you want to have the time of your life in the land of your forefathers? Come join Scot and Maurine Proctor for the Ultimate British Isles Church History and Literary Tour this July 5 – 16, 2016. This is slated to become a never-to-be-forgotten experience. The Proctors have been traveling and researching in the British Isles for the past 23 years. Now we have joined with renowned British expert Peter Fagg in bringing you the most amazing tour offered for LDS Church History and Literary Treasures.
The best way to see if you want to join us on this incredible journey is to give you a day-by-day itinerary with some beautiful photographs and then let you naturally decide for yourself. We are offering the following tour first to you Meridian readers, and then to others in the Morris Murdock traveling family. Carefully look over this experience. We think you will want to join us—and we’d love to have you. Pricing and add-on details will be included at the end.
Day 1 – Tue July 5
Today we will depart the U.S and fly overnight to Edinburgh, Scotland.
Day 2 – Wed July 6
Welcome to Scotland. After clearing customs we will embark on our adventures in the United Kingdom and to the various LDS British Church History sights.
Edinburgh, the ‘Athens of the North’, is the second most visited destination in Britain after London and we spend three nights here enjoying its many splendors. We begin our adventure with a visit to Calton Hill. We see impressive monuments and important government buildings, learn of fire festivals, “Edinburgh’s shame”, and Old Observatories but best of all we gain a great outlook over Edinburgh, Leith & Firth of Forth.
We begin our first LDS segment of the tour with a climb to Arthur’s Seat to relive Orson Pratt’s Scottish mission and learn of the first Scottish missionary efforts of Alexander Wright and Samuel Mulliner. We fill our lungs with fresh Scottish air to share some ‘Scottish’ hymns and learn why this is the birthplace of the Articles of Faith. After booking into our hotel we venture out on foot to take our first venture into the Old Town.
Weaving in and out of the Royal Mile we get our first taste of Britain’s literary greatness with a visit to the Writer’s Museum to view artifacts belonging to the great Scottish writers Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson. We also find the humble beginnings of the Harry Potter phenomena and the charm of Greyfriars Bobby. Later on in the evening, dinner will be on your own. Overnight in Edinburgh.
Day 3 – Thu July 7
After breakfast we begin today by exploring the imposing Edinburgh Castle with its Crown Jewels, Stone of Scone, prisons, war memorials, State Rooms and King James Bible beginnings. Lunch will be on your own. You may want to shop for some kilts, bagpipes and tartan galore!
In the afternoon, we will walk down the Royal Mile, pass St Giles Cathedral and learn of Covenanters, John Knox and the Scottish Reformation. You get to spit on the pavement (should you feel the urge), puzzle over the Scottish Parliament building, and then run for sanctuary. Our afternoon ends with a visit to Holyrood Palace – still a Royal Palace and full of royal splendor, intrigue and scandal! We also get to grips with all those Queen Mary’s and the Scottish monarchy. This evening we descend with our costumed guide underneath the streets of Edinburgh to find a warren of hidden streets frozen in time since the 17th Century – a mysterious and fascinating adventure. Dinner is included tonight.
Day 4 – Fri July 8
This morning we will have breakfast and then take the scenic 1 hour drive to visit Stirling Castle. Its striking location was the constant battle ground between England and Scotland for centuries.
We learn of the exploits of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce in the Battle of Stirling Bridge and the Battle of Bannockburn. Witness how James V changed the Royal Palace into a public relations masterpiece with carvings and the Stirling Heads showing his divine right to rule. We also discover the story of the unicorn tapestries, the lost football and even why Scot Proctor’s ancestor was locked away in this castle – an event that changed the course of their history.
Next we will visit Roslyn Chapel – a “medieval treasure in stone”. Founded in 1446 this quaint little church, with intricate carvings and intriguing legends, came to the mass public’s attention due to Dan Brown’s book – The Da Vinci Code. The mystery of what is in those sealed crypts continues to create speculation, but the pure skill of these master masons is what keeps people coming back.
For dinner this evening we will enjoy a Taste of Scotland – a not-to-be-missed evening of Scottish music, costume, bagpipes, fiddles and dance in the magically historic setting of Prestonfield House. Enjoy exceptional entertainment with a gourmet dinner served by kilted waiters. Try some Angus beef or Orkney Salmon or even a wee taste of Haggis, neeps and tatties.
Day 5 – Sat July 9
This morning we say good-bye to Scotland as we make your way into England. Today we will embark on a day of scenery and inspiration driving through the famous Lake District.
We learn about the saving of the Doctrine and Covenants, the contribution of Shakers & Quakers, the Romney connection, William Wordsworth’s attack, and Ruskin’s words of wisdom. Our first stop is Dove Cottage where Britain’s best loved poet William Wordsworth began his married life, where three of his children were born, and where some of his best poetry was written. The museum next door is full of original artifacts and manuscripts. We also find a link with Goldilocks and the three bears and a recital that will change the way you see that story forever.
After lunch (on your own) our next stop is Hill Top Farm – the home of Beatrix Potter. This tiny farmhouse is a delightful time capsule particularly when you start to match the drawings from her stories with actual locations. We then take a cruise on Lake Windermere, the largest of all the Lakes, followed by a trip on a steam train – a romantic reminder of bygone times. As we head south we pass through the John Taylor sites where he was born, christened, worked and lived and get to see their last home before the whole family immigrated to Canada. We finish the day with a surprising American connection. We will enjoy dinner at a delightful country pub and will overnight in Chorley.
Day 6 – Sat July 10
Today we will follow in the footsteps of the first LDS missionaries to Britain and discover Joseph Smith’s dentist, the cursed stone, the 1842 riot, the powerful Reverend Wilson, Heber C. Kimball’s amazing prophecy, LDS shorthand, and the Deseret Alphabet.
We visit all of the well-known sites including their lodgings (where a host of evil spirits attacked them), the River Ribble (where the first British baptisms took place, the Vauxhall Chapel Site (where they first preached) and the cockpit site (where the first British Conference was held in 1837). We will enjoy dinner near the hotel and overnight in Chorley.
Day 7 – Mon July 11
After breakfast we will continue on to Liverpool. Liverpool served as the arrival point for hundreds of missionaries and the departure point for thousands of emigrants as they gathered to Zion throughout the 19th century.
We take a tour around this famous city which, besides its LDS history, has had a long association with America (including slaves, cotton, Beatles and the claim that the first and final acts of the American Civil War took place here!). We visit the beautifully restored Albert Docks where we learn more about the life of an emigrant, see the Sea Trek monument and discover a host of famous LDS names.
Next we drive through the beautiful English countryside and visit the Roman settlement of Ribchester where, on the banks of the River Ribble we hear of secret baptisms and a raging bull. We visit tiny villages and a castle town – all of which have LDS tales to tell. We find the delightful villages of Chatburn and Downham and relive one of the most touching encounters of Heber C. Kimball’s missionary labours.
We even have time to go Hobbit hunting and find out the origin of Sherlock Holmes. Tonight we dine in the shadow of Pendle Hill at The Calf’s Head with a traditional English Roast Dinner and desserts to die for. The Calf’s Head has 400 years of history as farmhouse, Country House and much loved watering hole.
Day 8 – Tue July 12
In the heart of the Potteries we visit Gladstone Pottery Museum. Experience how bone china was made with working workshops and giant bottle kilns – the last complete Victorian Pottery factory in the country. Experts give live demonstrations of bone china flower making, pot throwing, and hand painting. We learn how Wilford Woodruff’s china gift for his Phoebe was not quite as perfect as he had hoped, and how this area was the springboard for the United Brethren story we experience tomorrow.
Visit William Shakespeare’s birthplace & Ann Hathaway’s Cottage to capture the life and times of the Great Bard. We drive through the Cotswolds – famous for its rural nature and warm, limestone buildings – to find the historic village of Broadway. For dinner, we will dine at the Great Hall Restaurant in the Lygon Arms – one of England’s most celebrated inns. This is a 17th century hall with open fire and barrel-vaulted ceiling. Overnight at Broadway.
Day 9 – Wed July 13
We begin the day with a Broadway “fox and hounds” experience before we head out tracing the footsteps of the United Brethren. This hound event will make your day.
Later, we discover sites made famous by Wilford Woodruff and the United Brethren. We visit Benbow’s farm, Castle Frome, and Ledbury to meet the likes of the pioneers John & Jane Benbow, and William Carter – Utah’s first ploughman. This is a tale of miracle after miracle. We will have lunch (on your own) in the medieval market town of Ledbury. During our visit we will learn of a Civil War battleground, wattle and daub, the Dymock Poets and the strained family relations of Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
We follow in the footsteps of Wilford Woodruff, Willard Richards and Brigham Young to the top of the Herefordshire Beacon for a very important meeting. Plus we get a sense of the influence of these early converts after they emigrate to join the saints in Nauvoo. We meet up with the likes of Thomas Kington – the head of the United Brethren, William Pitt, the musical convert, James Palmer, a remarkable missionary, and many others.
The stories on this tour demonstrate the faith of these early converts as they witness miracles and persecutions unfold in their tiny villages. Included is a special visit to the restored Gadfield Elm chapel – Britain’s first LDS owned meeting place and an iconic symbol of the United Brethren’s story. We cross over the border into Wales and take the beautiful Wye Valley and learn about Offa’s Dyke and briefly stop at Tintern Abbey immortalised in Wordsworth’s poem. The next two nights we stay at the Celtic Manor. This five star resort is set in 2,000 acres of panoramic parkland and the perfect place for our exploration of Wales.
Day 10 – Thu July 14
Today we venture into Wales to experience beautiful Welsh valleys, coal mines and a walk through centuries of Welsh history.
We also experience the impressive missionary activities of Dan Jones as he fulfills Joseph Smith’s final prophecy that he would live to fulfill his mission to his homeland. Here in South Wales thousands of Welsh families converted and emigrated bringing with them their love of the Gospel and powerful singing voices. We will visit Big Pit National Coal Museum – a World Heritage Site. Descend 300 feet underground to experience a real coal mine with a real coal miner. South Wales was once a massive coal producing area, and the scars of that industry are only gradually starting to fade. This was the backdrop for “How Green Was my Valley”.
We will continue one to St Fagins National History Museum. Visit the whole of Welsh history in one spot! Over 40 original buildings from throughout the nation has been carefully reconstructed and preserved allowing us to walk through the wide spectrum of Welsh history. One of Europe’s leading open-air museums and Wale’s most popular heritage attraction. We will have dinner at one of the Celtic Manor Restaurants and overnight in Newport.
Day 11 – Fri July 15
This morning after breakfast at the hotel we will visit Blenheim Palace.
This home is the absolute pinnacle of an English stately home – includes an exhibition on Winston Churchill who was born here. Includes a short stroll in their magnificent gardens to see where Winston proposed to Clementine! In the Afternoon we will make a stop in Oxford. This tour winds its way through the streets of Oxford, through stately colleges and grassy meadows, to discover some of the Noble and Great Ones. We track the history back to the beginnings of Oxford, to the time of the miraculous Frideswide, and then build layer upon layer of famous name after famous names including Henry VIII, Cardinal Wolsey, Lewis Caroll, C.S. Lewis, John Ruskin, Thomas More, Samuel Johnson and many more. We learn the history behind the iconic images of the Radcliffe Camera, the Divinity School, Bodleian Library, and the Ashmolean Museum and discover the influential John Wycliffe and his nemesis Richard Fleming, the tragic ending of the Oxford Martyrs, and the founding of Wesley’s Holy Club.
Throw in some Hobbits and Orcs, Lions and Wardrobes, Green Eggs and Ham, and tons of pilchard; mix in a plethora of Prime Ministers, a remarkable balloon flight, a penicillin breakthrough, a four minute mile, the King James Bible, Halley’s Comet, My Fair Lady and you have the beginnings of a splendid stroll through the city! For dinner, we will eat in Café Below – the atmospheric thousand year old crypt of St Mary le Bow in the City of London. We dine beneath the famous Bow Bells which have a tale or two to share about Cockney’s and Dick Whittington. Tonight, we will spend our land night in England at a hotel in London.
Day 12 – Mon July 16
After breakfast we will travel the Heathrow Airport. After having a wonderful experience in the United Kingdom we will return to the U.S.
Price of the Ultimate British Isles LDS Church History and Literary Tour:
$3435 per person plus air.
An add-on tour of London is available at the end of the trip. Please call for details.
To ask more questions or to book your tour (spaces are limited), please call our agent, Karen Gerlach, toll free: 866-277-0900 or Utah Local: 801-483-6152. Air can be purchased through Morris Murdock or through your own sources, but you must be schedule to arrive approximately the same time as the main group arrival. You may also use frequent flyer miles for air if you desire. Please let Karen know what you desire to do.
(Itinerary is subject to change)