Jan 18 - 30, 2018
13 days
$9,150per person, twin share (land content only). $2,380 supplement for sole use of a hotel room.

Tour Leader

Dr Tom Ford
Jan 18 - 30, 2018

Tour Leader

Dr Tom Ford$9,150per person, twin share (land content only). $2,380 supplement for sole use of a hotel room.
  • Tour Info
  • Itinerary
  • Tour Leader
  • Hotels
  • Inclusions


For lovers of music, theatre and art, January is a great time to visit London. Yes, it’s cold, but the concert and opera season is in full swing, theatre companies have launched new productions and the major galleries are featuring exhibitions by leading contemporary artists and old masters. Best of all, the city is not at all crowded. Our 13-day program is packed with a range of musical and theatrical performances, including all the major London orchestras.


  • Ten performances of the highest quality opera, ballet, stage drama and orchestral music, including all four major London orchestras
  • Historic performance venues, including Covent Garden and Wigmore Hall
  • Visits to some of London’s best galleries and historic houses
  • Background talks on all performances and post-performance discussions
  • Accommodation in historic Bloomsbury


Ten performances of opera, orchestral music, chamber music and drama are included. Details of opera and orchestral concerts will be available from May 2017. Details of plays will be available in July 2017.

  • The London Philharmonic Orchestra brings the power of Wagner’s Das Rheingold to Royal Festival Hall, conducted by Vladimir Jurowski to mark his 10th anniversary as Principal Conductor
  • The Orchestra of La Scala, Milan, makes its first appearance at the Barbican under new music director Riccardo Chailly
  • The Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Julius Caesar, the epic political drama, by seasoned director Angus Jackson
  • British playwright Peter Shaffer’s award-winning play Amadeus at the National Theatre, flowing its sell out run in 2016
  • Piano Recital by renown musician Paul Lewis at Royal Festival Hall
  • Monteverdi’s Return of Ulysses and Strauss’ Salome at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
  • At least two performances by London’s leading orchestras, such as the London Symphony, the BBC Symphony and the Philharmonia
  • One or two major west end plays or musicals – new productions selected from the current season. Past productions have included Harley Granville Baker’s powerful play Waste at the National Theatre
  • One or two recitals at the iconic Wigmore Hall, a favourite London recital venue with superb acoustics

Itinerary Overview

Day 1: Arrive in London.

Days 2–4: Visit the Tate Britain, the Wallace Collection and the Handel House Museum. Attend a West End play, opera at Covent Garden and the London Symphony Orchestra.

Days 5–8: Visit the Royal Academy of Arts and Kenwood House, day trip to Oxford and enjoy the Royal Ballet and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Days 9–12: Visit the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Tate Modern. Hear performances by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia and a recital at Wigmore Hall.

Day 13: Visit the British Museum.

A detailed itinerary for this tour is available. Click on the link above to view or download.

Getting There

Emirates flies to London daily. Contact us for competitive quotes and bookings.

Detailed Itinerary

Thursday January 18: Arrival

Most flights arrive at London’s Heathrow airport in the morning or early afternoon. If you have booked your air travel through Academy Travel we will organise a transfer from Heathrow to our hotel. Please note that hotel rooms may not be available until early afternoon. In the early evening, we gather in the Seamus Heaney Library at the hotel for welcome drinks and canapés. (C)

Friday January 19: Portrait Gallery and Covent Garden – Performance 1

After a morning talk, we visit the National Portrait Gallery which contains an astonishing survey of British portraiture from the Tudor period to the present. The gallery is a short walk from our hotel. Afterwards we enjoy a welcome lunch at the gallery’s fine restaurant. The later afternoon is free to relax before this evening’s performance at the world-famous theatre Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, which is within easy walking distance of our hotel, weather permitting. (B, L)

Performance details

Venue: Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Program: Monteverdi’s Return of Ulysses

Performers: To be announced

Saturday January 20: Handel House and Shakespeare – Performance II

This morning there is a talk on this evening’s play. We then walk along to Mayfair to visit the delightful Handel House Museum, London’s only museum dedicated to a composer. Handel lived here from 1723 until his death in 1759. This evening we travel to the Barbican Centre for The Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of the epic political tragedy, Julius Caesar.  Season Director Angus Jackson steers the thrilling action of the story that continues to define all political backstabbing, with spin and betrayal turning to violence.

Performance details

Venue: Barbican Hall

Program: Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar

Performers: Andrew Woodall (Julius Caesar), Alex Waldmann (Brutus), Martin Hutson (Cassius), Angus Jackson (Director)

Sunday January 21: Oxford museums and Evensong

This morning we travel out of London to Oxford, a historic university town with a fine musical history. Our visit, with an architectural guide, includes the Ashmolean Museum and Christopher Wren’s superb Sheldonian Theatre. After high tea at a local restaurant, we attend evensong at Christ Church College before returning to London. (B, High Tea)

Monday January 22: Amadeus – Performance III

After a talk on today’s performance, the day is at leisure to explore London independently. This evening we travel by coach to the National Theatre for British playwright Peter Shaffer’s Olivier and Tony award-winning play Amadeus. A powerful play about the life of the young musical prodigy Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. (B)

Performance details

Venue: National Theatre

Program: Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus

Performers: Adam Gillen (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart), Lucian Msamati (Salieri)

Tuesday January 23: Kenwood House – Performance IV

This morning we visit Kenwood House on the edge of Hampstead Heath. Kenwood was brilliantly remodelled and extended by Robert Adam from 1764 to 1779. The Adam interiors include some of his finest surviving schemes, particularly the magnificent ‘Great Room’ or library. The house contains an outstanding collection of paintings by Rembrandt, Vermeer and Gainsborough among others. The afternoon is free before we head to Royal Festival Hall for the piano recital by Paul Lewis, one of today’s most celebrated interpreters of Classical repertoire. (B)

Performance details

Venue: Royal Festival Hall

Program: Haydn: Piano Sonata in C, Hob.XVI/50; Beethoven: 6 Bagatelles, Op.126 interval; Brahms: 6 Pieces for piano, Op.118; Haydn: Piano Sonata in G, Hob.XVI/40

Performer: Paul Lewis (piano)

Wednesday January 24: National gallery and Orchestra of La Scala – Performance V

This morning, after a talk in our hotel, we walk down to Trafalgar Square. The entire morning is dedicated to the National Gallery and its impressive collection of European art from the Middle Ages to the 20th Century. The afternoon is free for you to relax before this evening’s performance. The Orchestra of La Scala makes its first Barbican appearance under new music director Riccardo Chailly, with Benjamin Grosvenor as soloist piano. The Orchestra of La Scala, Milan, is synonymous with drama, even when it leaves the opera pit and takes to the concert platform. For this evening’s performance Chailly and his new orchestra will no doubt give those instincts full rein in Liszt, Rossini, and Tchaikovsky’s volcanic Fourth Symphony. (B)

Performance details

Venue: Barbican Hall

Program: Rossini Overture from Semiramide; Liszt Piano Concerto No 2; Tchaikovsky Symphony No 4

Performers: Orchestra of La Scala, Riccardo Chailly (conductor),

Benjamin Grosvenor (piano)

Thursday January 25: The Wallace Collection & Wigmore Hall – Performance VI

This morning we visit The Wallace Collection, a world-famous museum of 15th- to 18th-century art, housed in the former residence of the Marquesses of Hertford. The collection surveys European fine and decorative art from the Renaissance to the 19th century. It has a fine collection of Italian art and some exquisite ceramics, but the most famous work in the collection is undoubtedly Frans Hals’ The Laughing Cavalier. Afterwards, we attend a lunchtime concert at Wigmore Hall, a leading international recital venue that specialises in performances of chamber music and song, for lunchtime chamber music or vocal concert. (B)

Performance details

Venue: Wigmore Hall

Program: to be announced

Performers: to be announced

Friday January 26: V&A and the Royal Opera – Performance VII

After a talk on this evening’s opera, we travel to Kensington to visit the Victoria & Albert Museum. This important institution holds major exhibitions of fine and decorative arts, and our visit includes an introduction by a museum curator and the exhibition itself. Today we see the exhibition Opera: Passion, Power and Politics, a collaboration with the Royal Opera House, presenting key moments in the story of opera from its origins in late-Renaissance Italy to the present day. We return to our hotel mid-afternoon with plenty of time to relax before our second evening at Covent Garden. (B)

Performance details

Venue: Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Program: Strauss’ Salome

Performers: to be announced

Saturday January 27: British Museum and the London Philharmonic Orchestra – Performance VIII

After a morning talk on this evening’s concert, we walk a hundred yards or so along Great Russell Street to the British Museum where we spend the remainder of the morning exploring its treasures. Each year, the museum hosts a dazzling array of special exhibitions and we will have a timed entry to the current one. The afternoon is at leisure before we head off for this evenings performance. The London Philharmonic Orchestra brings the power of Das Rheingold, the first of the four music dramas that constitute Wagner’s ‘The Ring of the Nibelung’, to Royal Festival Hall, conducted by Vladimir Jurowski to mark his 10th anniversary as Principal Conductor. (B)

Performance details

Venue: Royal Festival Hall

Program: A Golden Gala Evening: Wagner’s Das Rheingold

Performers: London Philharmonic Orchestra, Vladimir Jurowski (conductor), Sofia Fomina (Woglinde), Rowan Hellier (Wellgunde)

Sunday January 28: Philharmonia Matinee – Performance IX

The morning is free after a talk on this evening’s concert. In the early afternoon, we head back to the Southbank Centre for one of its regular Sunday afternoon matinee orchestral concerts. (B)

Performance details

Venue: Royal Festival Hall, Southbank

Program: to be announced

Performers: to be announced

Monday January 29: The Royal Academy and evening performance – Performance X

In the late morning, we walk to Piccadilly to visit the Royal Academy, one of London’s leading exhibition spaces. Each winter the RA hosts a major exhibition (details announced mid-2014). Afterwards, we share a farewell lunch at The Delaunay Rooms on Aldwych. This evening we head back to Southbank by coach for our evening performance. (B, L)

Performance details

Venue: Southbank

Program: to be announced

Performers: To be announced

Tuesday 30 January: Tate modern – Departure

This morning we transfer by coach to Tate Britain home to the largest collection of works by Turner. In the mid-afternoon, there is a transfer to Heathrow for evening flights to Australia. (B)

Dr Tom Ford

Holds a PhD in history and has written extensively on classical music. Tom is currently PR and media manager (classics / jazz) for Universal Music Australia.

He has written extensively on classical music, specifically Mozart. He has been a broadcaster on 5MBS Adelaide and 3MBS Fine Music in Melbourne, where he now works.

View Bio & Upcoming Tours


The Bloomsbury Hotel (12 nights)

This elegant four-star hotel is housed in a heritage building designed by the famous English architect Sir Edwin Lutyens. It has tastefully appointed public areas and comfortable well-sized rooms. But its best feature is the location on a quiet part of Great Russell Street in Bloomsbury. The British Museum is only 100 metres from the front door, and the theatres of the West End, Covent Garden Opera House and the galleries of Trafalgar Square are all within easy walking distance.


Tour Inclusions

What is included in the tour price? 
Unless otherwise stated in the itinerary, our tours include the following:

  • Any flights mentioned in the itinerary that take place during a tour
  • Land travel by private air-conditioned coach. Where appropriate public transport is also used for short distance travel on some tours
  • All accommodation in hotels or apartments as stated in the itinerary
  • Breakfasts, lunches and dinners specifically stated as included in the itinerary
  • Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included
  • Background talks on tour, site notes and online resources
  • Services of tour leader throughout tour
  • All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
  • Local guides at some sites
  • Tips for drivers, local guides and restaurants for included meals

Airport Transfers

Tours begin either at the arrival airport or the first hotel, depending on the itinerary. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel and arrive before the tour commences, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers.

What is not included in the tour price?
Open-age tours do not include the following:

  • Return international/domestic air travel unless those flights take place during the tour
  • Special taxes and airport levies that can only be paid in cash at the destination. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart
  • Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required
  • Travel insurance. We require all participants to have comprehensive travel insurance. A typical policy for one of our tours will cost from $160 upwards, depending on your age, pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the overall length of your trip
  • Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary
  • Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
  • Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity

Booking conditions

You will be asked to sign an acknowledgement of these conditions when you book a place on a tour.


A deposit of $500 per person is required to confirm your booking on a tour. Final payment of the tour fee, insurance and any additional travel will be due 60 days before departure.

Cancellation Fees

If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:

  • More than 60 days before departure: $500*
  • 60-45 days before tour start: 25% of total amount due
  • 44-15 days before tour start: 75% of total amount due
  • 14 days or less before departure: 100% of total amount due

*This amount may be credited to another Academy Travel tour within 12 months of the original tour you booked.

Unused Portions of the tour

We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions of the tour, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.

Travel Insurance

Academy Travel requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. We offer a comprehensive policy with a reputable insurer if required.

Passport and Visa

A valid passport is required for all international travel. If you do not hold an Australian passport you may require a re-entry permit. Some countries require a visa to be issued before you depart Australia. We will advise you of all passport and visa requirements, but it is your responsibility to ensure that you meet passport and visa requirements before you depart.

Will the tour price change?

If the number of participants in a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates Academy Travel reserves the right to amend the advertised price. If this occurs you will be given the option of cancelling your booking and obtaining a full refund. If an Academy Travel tour is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all monies paid.

Will the itinerary change?

Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of Academy Travel make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make slight amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes as soon as they occur.

Final Payment

Full and final payment for the tour, airfare travel, insurance and any additional travel you book is due 60 days before departure. Payment may be made by bank deposit, cheque, cash or credit card. Please note there is a surcharge for payments made by credit card.

Academy Travel reserves the right to decline the booking or terminate the holiday of any traveller.

Fitness rating

Grade 1

A Grade 1 tour is appropriate for travellers in good health with good mobility, who can comfortably participate in up to 3 hours of physical activity per day on most days.
More Details


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Speak to a consultant

For further information or to secure a place on this tour please contact:
Frederick Steyn 02 9235 0023 or 1800 639 699
(outside Sydney)

Detailed Itinerary

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