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Itinerary: Tests 1, 2, & 3 + Munich, Salzburg, Vienna & Prague with Geoff Marsh

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 and 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 Munich 

This morning we depart Birmingham and take our flight to Munich. The capital city of Bavaria is famous for many things – beautiful architecture, fine culture and of course Oktoberfest amongst others. 
This evening following checking in at our hotel, why not experience the beer tradition this city is famous for, and enjoy dinner at one of Munich’s Bavarian Beer Halls. Pork Knuckles, sauerkraut, oompah bands and 1 litre tankards will fill your memorable night out.

Wednesday 7th August – Munich City Tour 

This morning’s city tour will show you why Munich was voted the “Most Liveable City” in 2010. From the Frauenkirche, Marienplatz and the outdoor markets at Viktualien Platz, to the beer gardens in the English Garden, Munich is perhaps the most beautiful city in all of Germany.

Thursday 8th August – Munich to Salzburg via Eagle’s Nest 

We depart Munich this morning and on our way to Salzburg, we make a stop at a famous tourist site close to Salzburg – The Kehlsteinhaus or Eagles Nest. Originally built by the Nazi Party as a gift for Adolf Hitler to mark his 50th birthday, the unique building that sits high upon Obersalzberg Mountain, offers stunning views of up to 200kms away.
Following our day of sightseeing, we finish up at our hotel in Salzburg where the evening is a great chance to enjoy one of the fantastic cafes or restaurants in the Old Town.

Friday 9th August – Salzburg to Vienna 

There is much more to Salzburg than its two most famous exports – Mozart and the Sound of Music, and you can discover it all this morning before we depart bound for Vienna. Whether its wandering through the quiet side streets or through manicured parks, you will see firsthand the beauty of this city.
This afternoon we make our way to Austria’s imperial capital – Vienna. With its rambling palaces, winding cobbled lanes, elegant Kaffeehäuser (coffee houses) and cosy wood-panelled Beisln, Vienna is steeped in history. Yet it's also at the cutting edge of design, architecture, contemporary art, and new directions in drinking and dining.   

Saturday 10th August – Vienna Sightseeing 

Today we’ll enjoy an orientation tour of this beautiful city. Home to the Habsburg monarchy for more than six centuries, much of the city’s grandeur is thanks to their legacy – the Imperial Chapel (where the Vienna Boy’s Choir performs) , the Imperial Apartments, the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Schloss Belvedere and the Schloss Schonbrunn are just a few examples of their contributions.
Following the tour you can either retreat back to the hotel or make the most of your time to wander along narrow, medieval alleyways or explore the sights of Vienna including Schonbrunn Palace, the Imperial Palace and the majestic architecture along the Ring Boulevard.  

Sunday 11th August – Vienna to Prague 

This morning after breakfast we travel to Prague, the magical city of bridges, cathedrals and gold tipped towers, Queen of Music and the world’s finest beers. It is regarded by many as one of Europe’s most charming and beautiful cities, with millions of tourists visiting every year.  
Prague escaped WWII almost unscathed – the city centre is a smorgasbord of stunning architecture, from Gothic, Renaissance and baroque to neoclassical, Art Nouveau and Cubist. There’s a maze of medieval lanes to explore, riverside parks for picnics, lively bars and beer gardens, jazz clubs, rock venues, museums and art galleries galore.
This afternoon is free to wander through the Old Town, or sit back and relax in one of the local eateries. Enjoy a glass of the locally produced beer, and tempt your taste buds with traditional Czech cuisine such as the classical Bohemian dish; kneldo-zelo-vepro – bread dumplings, sauerkraut and roast pork.   

Monday 12th August – Prague Sightseeing 

The best way to see Prague is none other than on foot.  The city centre of Prague is divided into five areas, spanning both banks of the Vltava River. Charles Bridge is the main pedestrian connection between the two.   
On one side of the Vltava River is the Old Town, with the Old Town Square at its heart; the New Town, Wenceslas Square, and the Jewish Quarter.  On the other side of the river is the Lesser Town, and the Castle District, with Prague Castle at its heart.  
The walking tour will visit sights such as the Old Town Square, the Astronomical Clock, the old Jewish town, Charles Bridge, Prague Castle and offer a wide range of stories & history spanning from Prague’s medieval, renaissance, WWII, and Communist eras whilst divulging Prague’s best kept secrets.  
Following the walking tour, spend the afternoon visiting the grounds & gardens of The Prague Castle, the number one tourist attraction. Set on a hill, it boasts spectacular views over the whole city.   


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

This morning we take the flight from Prague 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.


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.


Monday 19th to Wednesday 21st August – Berlin or Amsterdam or London City Break

Today is the start of the two nights of choice - either travelling to Amsterdam or Berlin or staying in London

Amsterdam Itinerary 

Day 1: Today we fly  the wonderfully laid back bohemian city of Amsterdam in The Netherlands. Home to a stunning network of canals and a famously liberal lifestyle, this afternoon you will have the opportunity to explore the city and take in some of the many cultural delights on offer including the Van Gogh Museum and Rembrandt’s House before enjoying the treats and temptations of the famous cafés or the plethora of great restaurants and bars.
Day 2: Today you will be treated to a guided walking and canal boat tour of Amsterdam where the extraordinary history of this unique European city comes alive along its cobbled streets and tree lined canals. Some of the city’s most renowned cultural and historic landmarks will be on display including Rembrandt’s House, Anne Frank’s House (whose diaries of WW2 have been published worldwide) the Royal Palace, the National Monument, 'Skinny Bridge', Albert Cuyp Flower Market and the famous merchant houses that line the network of canals..
The afternoon and evening are yours to experience life as a bottle of beer at the interactive Heineken Factory, or to take a walk in the infamous Red Light District.

Day 3: This morning we depart Amsterdam and take our flight back to Manchester in readiness for the first day's play in tomorrow's 3rd Test match at Headingley. Tonight we will be guests at the Cricket Australia Pre Match Function which includes finger food, a drinks package and special guest appearances.


Berlin Itinerary

Day 1:  This morning is a short flight to Berlin, a city that has disproportionately shaped the the destiny of Europe and one frantically on the move since the demise of its famous wall in 1989. Today Germany and Berlin continue to play the lead role in steering the European Union through economically uncertain times thanks to its strong social structures and influences in science, technology, commerce, architecture and the arts. Take a walk this afternoon and explore some of the city's galleries, cafés and classic courtyards, or if you would prefer, visit one of the world famous beer halls and experience German hospitality at its best.
Day 2: The coach departs on a panoramic sightseeing tour of Berlin this morning, taking in such famous sites as the Brandenburg Gate, Charlottenburg Palace and the Reichstag with it's iconic glass dome designed by Norman Foster. You'll see the remnants of the Berlin Wall that divided the communist East from the capitalist West and the legendary border post Checkpoint Charlie that controlled all movement between the two. The afternoon is yours to spend at leisure enjoying a local stein or perhaps taking one of the many themed walking tours of this fascinating city.
Day 3: This morning we depart Berlin and take our flight back to Manchester in readiness for the first day's play in tomorrow's 3rd Test match at Headingley. Tonight we will be guests at the Cricket Australia Pre Match Function which includes finger food, a drinks package and special guest appearances. 

London Itinerary 

The next two days you have the opportunity to explore on of the world's great cities.

The possibilities are endless - Cruise the Thames, see the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London, or visit the prime meridian and Greenwich Royal Observatory. If museums are your thing, try the Tate Modern, the National History Museum, the Science Museum, or Churchill's War Rooms just for a start. For sports fans, why not take a tour of Wimbledon, the new London 2012 Olympic sites, or state of the art Premier League Football facilities at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge or Arsenal's Emirates Stadium? For the more adventurous, there are also some great day trips from London, including Oxford, Brighton and Windsor Castle.

Or now that the Test match is completed why not take to a guided tour of Lord’s - 'the traditional home of cricket'. Visit the famous old Long Room and the state of the art media centre, plus see the original Ashes Urn in the Lord’s Museum. This is a rare chance to see behind the scenes and marvel at the immense history of one of the world's most revered sporting venues.

The evenings are great times to visit some of the city’s many bars and restaurants or perhaps enjoy a visit to the London Eye for simply amazing views of the London skyline.

Accommodation: Doubletree by Hilton Westminster
On the 21st August, you can get yourself from London to Leeds via train or bus in readiness for the first day's play in tomorrow's 3rd Test match at Headingley. Tonight we will be guests at the Cricket Australia Pre Match Function which includes finger food, a drinks package and special guest appearances. 
Overnight: Crowne Plaza Leeds

Thursday 22nd to Monday 26th August – 3rd Ashes Test Match @ Headingley, Leeds

We reach the pivotal 3rd Test at Headingley, Leeds which is back on the Ashes fixture for the first time since 2009, and the visiting Aussies will be hoping for a repeat of that match where they dominated England winning by an innings and 80 runs.
Each morning before the day’s play our Tour Host Merv Hughes will conduct his pre-match briefing’s dissecting the previous day’s play and offering up his insight into what to expect for the day ahead. 
Australia's bowlers set up the Test win with a fantastic performance in the 1st innings where they dismissed England for only 102 runs on the back of 5-21 from Peter Siddle and 3-18 from Stuart Clark. Australia only needed to bat once and compiled 445 with Marcus North scoring a century, before our bowlers again did the job rolling England for 263 with Mitchell Johnson claiming 5-59 and Ben Hilfenhaus taking 4-60

Overnight: Crowne Plaza Leeds  

Tuesday 27th 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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