Garden tours in high style

Times Staff Writer

Stroll through the Chelsea Flower Show, one of the world’s oldest and most popular, during a garden tour of England.

The 10-day May 18 tour will visit formal and classically structured landscape gardens as well as more intimate ones.

May is one of the best times for viewing gardens, said John Bradfield, owner of Lucas & Randall European tours. “The azaleas and rhododendrons are at their peak.”

Some plants, such as those at Leonardslee Garden, in Horsham, are more than 200 years old, he said.


The group will visit Anne Boleyn’s Hever Castle, with its moat and manicured hedge maze; Sissinghurst Castle, most recently owned by Vita Sackville-West and her husband, Harold Nicholson; gardens designed by English architect Edwin Lutyens in 1910; Stourhead, which was created by Henry Hoare II and Henry Flitcroft in the late 18th century; and the 60-acre grounds of Hampton Court Palace, home of Henry VIII.

Cost: $3,495 ($395 single surcharge). Includes hotels, breakfast, most dinners, services of a tour manager, transportation within England, members’ tickets to the Chelsea Flower Show and sightseeing.

Contact: Lucas & Randall European Tours, Sacramento; (800) 505-2505,




Fish, hike on 6-day voyage

HOIST a sail or just relax on a six-day voyage to Channel Islands National Park aboard the 73-foot schooner Dirigo II.

The schooner will carry a maximum of six guests. It will sail June 26 from Long Beach and visit most of the islands in the national park, including the remote Santa Barbara Island. Participants can hike, fish and dive in most areas, including the islands of San Miguel, Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz.

Cost: $845 per person, double occupancy (single berths not available). Includes accommodations in berths and meals aboard ship, guides and crew. Transportation to Long Beach is not included.

Contact: Horizons West Adventures, Long Beach; (562) 799-3880,




2 medieval cities’ charms

DISCOVER the Old World charm of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and Zagreb, Croatia, on an eight-day independent tour of the two Central European cities, available through March 31 from Continental Journeys.

Travelers can tour unusual museums and historical architecture in these medieval cities. They’ll also find sophisticated shops and chic restaurants serving local organic produce.

Cost: $1,574 to $2,004 per person, double occupancy ($359 to $699 single surcharge), depending on hotel. Includes accommodations, round-trip airfare from Los Angeles, train to Zagreb, transfers, guided tours, daily breakfast, hotel service charges and taxes.

Contact: Continental Journeys, Sherman Oaks; (800) 601-4343 or (818) 995-8643,



Famous sites, tiny villages


TAKE an odyssey in Greece for 13 days beginning May 10 with an American art teacher and a Greek archeologist, owners of OPA Tours Greece.

The tour begins in Athens and travels to Delphi, Thessaloniki, the site of many Byzantine churches, and Alexandroupolis, the gateway to Turkey in the region of Thrace. Travelers also visit the island of Samothrace to see the ruins of the Sanctuary of the Great Gods. The “Winged Victory of Samothrace” statue on exhibit in Paris’ Louvre was found there.

Cost: $4,240 per person, double occupancy ($730 single surcharge). Includes accommodations, transportation in Greece, most meals, sightseeing and entrance fees, transfers, taxes and gratuities. Airfare from Los Angeles is not included.

Contact: OPA Tours Greece, Arcadia; (800) 672-7155,


Wildlife tour of the Amazon

VOYAGE through one of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth for nine days aboard the 31-passenger riverboat La Amatista.

The expedition embarks March 5 from Iquitos and travels the Amazon River to Rio Ucayali, where gray and pink Amazon dolphins are often seen. Participants take excursions to Requena and Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, home of the endangered scarlet macaw. They visit villages along the way to Rio Maranon and San Regis and explore the Terra Firma.

Cost: $3,198 per person, double occupancy ($1,650 single surcharge, if space is available). Includes all accommodations, transportation within Peru, airfare from Lima to Iquitos, all meals, transfers and service charges. Airfare from Los Angeles, tips, passport fees and alcoholic beverages are not included.

Contact: The Massachusetts Audubon Society, Lincoln, Mass.; (800) 289-9504,


The Times is not responsible for changes in prices, dates or itineraries. Send information to Tours & Cruises, Los Angeles Times, 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012 or write via e-mail to