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 very much remains to this day in India. There is a bond between India and British that you see on a daily basis, whether it is the countless games of cricket being played around every street corner, or just a love of formality and bureaucracy. The great cities which the British made home very much remain, such as Calcutta, Bombay, New Delhi and Madras. This tour visits three of them, but we can tailor-make any itinerary based along the colonial theme. For instance, you might well want to trace an ancestor’s movements, and that might well take you to way off-the-beaten track, and we can help plan a bespoke tour that includes it. We can even give pointers on genealogical research.

This suggested itinerary begins in Bombay, and staying at the best address in town, the Taj Mahal. It looks out over the Gateway to India, where many of the people who lived and worked in India docked for the first time. You’ll have a private guide to explore the old city, seeing much of the architecture that remains to this day and imagining how the city was in times gone by.

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 up at Wildflower Hall, which was once the estate of Lord Kitchener. You’ll be able to take a walking tour through Shimla starting at Christ Church and making your way down the Mall, past places like the Gaiety Theatre towards 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 locations of 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 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 with Fort William being constructed in 1712. The city fell to Siraj ud-Daulah in 1756, placing many of the 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 control of the whole of India. Calcutta’s remarkable colonial architecture remains, although not much is being done to properly preserve it. Take a walking tour around the old British city with a private guide, seeing the churches and cemeteries, such as Park St, that have memorials to many of those who didn’t make it back.

Fly up to Bagdogra, and spend three nights in a colonial tea bungalow, close to Darjeeling. Explore this interesting hill-station with a private guide, and spend a few days just enjoying the Himalayan views. 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.

Highlights

  • 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
DaysLocationHotel
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.

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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

Colonial Ceylon

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.