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Itinerary: Tests 1, 2, & 3 + 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. All tour members will have an outside window in their cabins with private facilities. Tonight we will enjoy a full buffet dinner on board as a group.
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. 
At the conclusion of the tour, we will head to our hotel for check in and then the remainder of the day is yours to further explore one of the world’s most beautiful cities.   
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 – Edinburgh 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:

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:

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 to 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.
Overnight:  
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.
Overnight:   

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.
Overnight: 
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.
Overnight: 
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. 
Overnight:

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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