The Story

Best time to go: October - April
Best for: Historical, Repeat Visitors

The British arrived in India in the early 17th century, and their legacy remains. You see a bond between India and the British daily, whether it is the countless games of cricket taking place around every street corner or just a love of formality and bureaucracy! The great cities the British established, such as Calcutta, Bombay, New Delhi, and Madras, all reveal echoes of their colonial past. This tour visits three of them, but we can tailor-make any itinerary based on colonial themes. For instance, you might want to trace an ancestors’ movements, which could take you way off the beaten track. We can even give pointers on genealogical research.

This suggested itinerary begins in Bombay and stays at the best address in town, the Taj Mahal. It looks over the Gateway to India, where many people who lived and worked in India docked for the first time on their arrival to the subcontinent. You’ll have a private guide to explore the old city, see much of the architecture that remains to this day and imagine how the town was in the past.

Fly north to Chandigarh and move into the foothills of the Himalayas on the four-hour drive to Shimla, the summer capital of the Raj. You’ll stay at Wildflower Hall, which was once the estate of Lord Kitchener. Take a walking tour through Shimla, starting at Christ Church and making your way down the Mall, visiting colonial-era buildings like the Gaiety Theatre and concluding at the Viceregal Lodge.

Drive back to Kalka and take the train to Delhi to stay in the Imperial, Delhi’s ”Grand Dame”. We have created a specialist colonial tour of Delhi, seeing the Delhi Durbar, Skinner’s Church and more of the old British legacy.

Take the train to Lucknow, famous for the long siege during the Rebellion or Mutiny of 1857. The British Residency has very much been left alone, with its battered walls still showing where cannon and musket balls pummelled the thinly held British positions. Fly to Calcutta, founded by Job Charnock in 1690. The city fell to Siraj Ud-Daulah in 1756, placing many residents in what became known as the ”Black Hole of Calcutta.” Robert Clive led the relief effort and defeated Siraj Ud-Daulah at the battle of Plassey in 1757.

After the Battle of Buxar in 1764, much of Bengal came into the possession of the East India Company, and so began the eventual British control of much of India. Calcutta’s’ remarkable colonial architecture remains, although not much is being done to preserve it properly. Each year, another colonial-era building is torn down to make way for a modern replacement. You will set out on a walking tour around the old British city with a private guide, seeing the churches and cemeteries, such as Park St, which contains memorials to many of those who didn’t make it back and, most harrowingly, to the many children who never grew up.

Fly up to Bagdogra, and spend three nights in a colonial tea bungalow close to Darjeeling. Explore this exciting hill station with a private guide, and enjoy the Himalayan views for a few days. Then, live it up like a planter, enjoying cups of tea on your veranda.

Drive back to Bagdogra and fly to Delhi for a final night before returning home.

Guide Pricing

Starting At

  • £3995
    Price per person including all accommodation, private transfers, unique experiences and excluding international flights. We can arrange international flights should you wish.


    • Specialised colonial itinerary to India
    • Perfect if you want to get a private group together with similar interests
    • Have expert private guides throughout, each with a specialist knowledge in British colonial history
    • Stay in colonial-era hotels of a superb standard
    Days Location Hotel
    Day 1-2 Bombay Taj Mahal Palace
    Day 3-5 Shimla Wildflower Hall
    Day 6-7 Delhi The Imperial Hotel
    Day 8 Lucknow Vivanta by Taj – Gomti Nagar, Lucknow
    Day 9-10 Calcutta The Oberoi Grand
    Day 11-14 Darjeeling Glenburn Tea Estate
    Day 15 Gurgaon The Oberoi Gurgaon

    Suggested Hotels

    Day 1-2

    Taj Mahal Palace

    $ $ $ $ $  

    The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel one of Mumbai’s most iconic buildings, and one of India’s most luxurious hotels. Located right on the harbour next to the Gateway to India, the Taj Mahal is quite simply the best address in town.

    View hotel
    Day 3-5
    Wildflower Hall, Shimla, Oberoi, India

    Wildflower Hall

    $ $ $ $ $  

    Wildflower Hall is located above the colonial hill station of Shimla in the Indian Himalayas and makes for the ultimate luxury mountain retreat.

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    Day 6-7
    Imperial Hotel, Delhi, India

    The Imperial Hotel

    $ $ $ $ $  

    The Imperial Hotel is Delhi’s most iconic luxury hotel and is located in the heart of Connaught Place. Featuring elegant art deco and colonial design, it simply is the best address in town.

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    Day 8
    Vivanta by Taj - Gomti Nagar

    Vivanta by Taj – Gomti Nagar, Lucknow

    $ $ $ $ $  

    Located beside the River Gomti, the imposing Vivanta by Taj – Gomti Nagar in Lucknow is the place to stay in the city, set within 25 acres of landscaped grounds.

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    Day 9-10
    The Oberoi Grand, Calcutta, India

    The Oberoi Grand

    $ $ $ $ $  

    The Oberoi Grand is a luxury colonial city hotels and the Grand Dame of Calcutta, located right in the heart of the city on Chowringhee Road.

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    Day 11-14

    Glenburn Tea Estate

    $ $ $ $ $  

    Glenburn Tea Estate is quite simply the quintessential luxury colonial tea plantation bungalow; flowing with old-world charm, set under the snow-capped mountains of the Himalayas close to Raj-era hill station of Darjeeling.

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    Day 15
    Oberoi Gurgaon, Delhi, India

    The Oberoi Gurgaon

    $ $ $ $ $  

    The Oberoi Gurgaon is a luxury city-resort hotel, located just 15 minutes from Delhi’s International Airport, and has world-class facilities and rooms.

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    Further Itinerary Suggestions

    A Tour of Colonial Sri Lanka

    Colombo - Kandy - Hill Country - Galle  

    Delve into Sri Lanka’s colonial past, exploring the Portuguese, Dutch and British influences that have helped shape modern Sri Lanka.

      £3780 p. p.