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Itinerary: Tests 1 & 2 + Helsinki, St Petersburg & Moscow with Terry Alderman

NOTE: RUSSIAN TOURIST VISA REQUIRED (applications open 3 months prior to entry into Russia) 

Wednesday 31st July – Arrive Birmingham / Pre Match Function

We arrive into Birmingham today in readiness for tomorrow’s 1st Test Match at Edgbaston. The once drab, industrial city and UK’s second largest has spectacularly reinvented itself as a vibrant, cultural hotspot. Huge regeneration projects have breathed life into the industrial landscapes and canals that crisscross the city; now there are more glamorous shops, buzzing pubs and jumping nightclubs than you can wish for.
Overnight: Hilton Garden Inn Birmingham

Thursday 1st to Monday 5th August – 1st Ashes Test Match @ Edgbaston, Birmingham

Today sees the official start of the 2019 Ashes Series as Edgbaston plays host to the first Test. It could be a new look Australia team taking the field for the match and one that will be looking to improve on our recent trips here. Each morning before the day’s play our Tour Hosts Merv Hughes & Geoff Marsh will conduct their pre-match briefing’s dissecting the previous day’s play and offering up their insights into what to expect for the day ahead.

In 2015, we made a terrible start by making a paltry 136 runs with only Chris Rogers defying the bowlers with 52 runs of his own. In reply, England asserted their authority getting out to a 145-run lead at the half way point with Lyon and Hazelwood being our best bowlers with three wickets apiece. From there we never got back into the game forcing England to only chase down 124 in their 2nd innings which they did with the loss of just two wickets.
Overnight: Hilton Garden Inn Birmingham

Tuesday 6th August: Birmingham to Helsinki

Following the excitement of the 1st Test Match, we fly to Helsinki for the start of a week of fantastic touring. 

We coach to London today before flying out to Helsinki. The capital city of Finland is home to approx. 600,000 people who live in a vibrant seaside city of beautiful islands and amazing parks. The city has a very laid-back vibe, yet at the same time can be refreshingly active with intriguing dining and drinking venues coming to life at night. It is known around the world for its electrifying design scene whether it be architecture design or homewares.

This evening is a great opportunity to enjoy the locally sourced, seasonal and sustainably farmed ingredients that make up dishes at its fantastic restaurants.
Overnight:

Wednesday 7th August: Helsinki City Tour / Overnight Ferry to St Petersburg 

This morning we will embark on a guided sightseeing tour of Helsinki. We get to experience one of Europe’s largest Old Towns in its Russian Empire style along with other local sites such as Senate Square, National Library, Market Place, the Rock Church and the Wold Heritage Site Suomenlinna Fortress.

This evening we take a different approach to making our way to St Petersburg as we board our overnight ferry with a scheduled morning arrival into Russia.
Overnight:

Thursday 8th August: Arrive St Petersburg / City Tour

Before we arrive and disembark at St Petersburg breakfast will be served on board our ferry. St Petersburg has all the ingredients for an unforgettable travel experience – lavish architecture, high art, an extraordinary history, rich cultural traditions and a wild nightlife.

Upon arrival into the city, we will be joined by a local guide who will show us around their home town taking in the city’s major highlights – the Admiralty, St Nicolas Cathedral, Palace Square, St Isaacs Cathedral and a visit to Peter and Paul Fortress.   
Overnight:

Friday 9th August: Hermitage Museum Tour

Following breakfast today we will be taking on a guided tour of the Hermitage Museum which is the 2nd largest art museum in the world. The Hermitage recently celebrated its 250th anniversary and from its humble beginnings now houses over 3 million works of art and world culture artefacts. Set throughout five separate buildings, they contain the largest collection of paintings in the world, graphic works, sculptures, works of applied art and archaeological artefacts from all over the world. 

This afternoon is yours to further explore St Petersburg or sample some local fare such as the good old Beef Stroganoff washed down with a shot of ice-cold vodka.
Overnight:

Saturday 10th August: Peterhof Palace Tour

One of St Petersburg’s most famous and popular visitor attractions, the palace and park at Peterhof are often referred to as the Russian Versailles. We’ll have a tour of this grand and majestic estate today that was originally was all put together by Peter the Great. Peter’s daughter, Empress Elizabeth, ordered the expansion of the Grand Palace and greatly extended the park and famous system of fountains that we see today. Many more rulers have left their mark on the estate over the centuries and following the 1917 Revolution, this former Summer residence of the Tsars was nationalised and turned into a public museum.
Overnight:

Sunday 11th August: St Petersburg to Moscow

Today we board the high speed train bound for Moscow covering the journey in approx 4 hours.

Upon arrival into Moscow, we will enjoy a guided walking tour of the nation’s capital from a local Moscovite. Covering all of the well known sites such as the Kremlin, Red Square, the former KGB building, Christ the Savior Cathedral, Seven Sisters and New Maidens Convent. 

During our stay in Moscow, we will be surrounded by history. Whether it be fallen monuments, the beautiful architecture or thrilling performing arts that have entertained people for centuries, Moscow is one of the world’s great cities.
Overnight:

Monday 12th August: The Kremlin & Red Square Tour

We’re in for a treat today as we are taken on a guided tour of Red Square and the Kremlin. 

A beautiful fortress and the very founding site of the city, the Kremlin and Red Square are still at the heart of Moscow. The once residence of Russian tsars and communist leaders, is now a working place of the Russian president.  Behind the medieval walls we will discover the oldest square of Moscow and amazing cathedrals such as St Basil’s Cathedral, where Russian rulers have been married, crowned and buried. 
Overnight:

Tuesday 13th August – Moscow to London / Pre Match Function

This morning we take the flight from Moscow to London in anticipation for the start of tomorrow’s 2nd Test match at Lord’s.

London is an iconic city and everywhere you look there is a monument or building that you have seen in a book or on television. From Trafalgar Square to Tower Bridge, Big Ben to Buckingham Palace, there is something for everyone in London.

Tonight, following our arrival into London, we will be guests at the Cricket Australia Pre Match Function which includes a 3 course dinner, a drinks package and special guest appearances.
Overnight: Doubletree by Hilton Westminster

Wednesday 14th to Sunday 18th August – 2nd Ashes Test Match @ Lord’s, London

An Ashes Test Match at Lord’s is something that all Australian cricket fans want to tick off their bucket list and today we get to experience it for ourselves. Whether it’s your first or tenth trip here it is always a special feeling.

Each morning before the day’s play our Tour Hosts Merv Hughes, Geoff Marsh & Terry Alderman will conduct their pre-match briefing’s dissecting the previous day’s play and offering up their insights into what to expect for the day ahead.

Australia will be hoping to draw some inspiration from their last Test here at Lord’s where they crushed England by 405 runs to tie the 2015 Series at 1-1. Batting first Australia declared on 8/566 with skipper Steve Smith making a classic double century (215) and Chris Rogers assisting greatly with 173. In reply, our bowlers did a great job restricting England’s batsmen to 312 with Hazlewood and Johnson both taking three wickets. Our 2nd innings was about building a lead big enough to defend with all batsmen contributing to the 2/254 declared total, then England were bundled out for 103 thanks to another great bowling display from all five bowlers.

Overnight: Doubletree by Hilton Westminster

Monday 19th August – Tour Concludes

Today we say goodbye as our wonderful time in the UK comes to a close. If you have purchased your international flights with AST, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home. 

 


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