Southern England: Birds & History: May 08—19, 2018

A Birds, Nature & Culture Tour

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Price: $3,695
Departs: London
Tour Limit: 14
Operations Manager: Margaret Anderson
Download Itinerary: PDF (11.5 MB)

Route Map


Tour Leaders


Phil Jones

Phil Jones grew up in Surrey and now lives in East Sussex, England. He began birding in the ...


Rafael Galvez

Rafael Galvez has been birding and illustrating birds since childhood, a dual passion that d...

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Register for this Tour

Register for this tour by phone (800/328-VENT or 512/328-5221), or by downloading a tour registration form. Signed and completed forms can be faxed, mailed, or scanned and emailed to the VENT office.

Bearded Reedling

The unique Bearded Reedling; closely related to no other living species, it is now in its own monotypic family, Panuridae.— Photo: Andrew Whittaker

A delightful, relaxed, and easy mix of exciting and varied birding plus world-class historical sites in the best area of Britain for both. Combines migration hot spots with splendid castles, palaces, exquisite gardens, and Darwin’s charming house with a very flexible and adaptable well-planned program.

A heady, daily mix of birding at prime wetland nature reserves and migration hot spots, also offers a unique chance to see many migrants in the hand being banded. Our birding will be complemented by visits exploring Britain’s magnificent history from Roman times to World War II. We will be based the entire time at a comfortable hotel set in lovely wooded grounds in the typically English countryside of Kent—the “Garden of England.” We attempt to give equal time to both interests, but aim at flexibility to allow birding in the morning with afternoons at historic sites. Much of Britain’s essential history is found in southeast England, and this short tour gives an unrivaled overview of the thousands of years of history that makes Britain “Great.”

Kent is the richest area for birding in Britain, where many European species reach their northern limits. Its geographical position makes the area a focal point for impressive migrations in spring and attractive for off-course vagrants too. Our leaders know the area and the birds intimately, and we aim to show you everything there is to see! We’ll visit several of the United Kingdom’s top nature reserves with large, comfortable blinds. A trip highlight will be our visit to the UK’s top bird-banding (ringing) station to see birds in the hand for privileged close-up views. The birding hotline and personal contacts will tell us of rarities or big fallouts. We expect to see such European classics as Eurasian Spoonbill; Great Bittern; Red-legged Partridge; Great Crested Grebe; Little Owl; Eurasian Shelduck; Redshank; Eurasian Curlew; Eurasian Hobby; Eurasian Marsh-Harrier; Pied Avocet; Ruff; Black-tailed Godwit; Common Cuckoo; Common Kingfisher; Green and Great Spotted woodpeckers; Eurasian Jay; Yellow and Gray wagtails; Eurasian Bullfinch; Black and Common redstarts; Eurasian Stonechat; Blue, Great, Coal, and Long-tailed tits; Bearded Reedling; Eurasian Nuthatch; European Goldfinch; European Greenfinch; Firecrest; and warblers galore including Dartford Warbler, Yellowhammer, Mandarin Duck, and many more.

Eurasian Jay

Eurasian Jay— Photo: Andrew Whittaker


The history is simply overwhelming! We can only skim the surface of the complex past. There are countless castles, fortifications, churches and cathedrals, stately homes, and museums to choose from—everything from ancient Roman towns to fascinating industrial archaeology. Different themes beckon to be discovered: Chaucer’s medieval Britain; British Naval Glories; King Henry VIII; Invasions and Conquests; and Dickens and Darwin.

This is a unique and exciting European tour ideal for birders with non-birding partners, friends or family, consistently offering a good list of birds and an enthralling insight into the complexities of British history.

A one-center tour in excellent accommodations with good food; perfect for couples with non-birding partners; in general, lovely spring weather which can be variable.