Peter the Great was determined to show the world that Russia was not a backward nation rooted in tradition but one that was modern and forward thinking, looking to the West, not the East for its inspiration and ideals. Today, the legacy of his ambitions and achievements is displayed in abundance. Monumental buildings of state, great churches and cathedrals, ornate theatres, legendary art collections, all create one of the most rewarding experiences for modern-day visitors, and our trip coincides with the splendid celebration of the Russian Orthodox Easter. We will be staying at the 4-star Angleterre, a Rocco Forte hotel (pictured below), overlooking St Isaac’s Cathedral. Dinner will be at the hotel or at local restaurants, which are walkable.
DAY 1 – Arrival
Depart London Heathrow 09.20 with BA; arrive St. Petersburg 14.35. Transfer to the centre of the city where we stay for the duration of the holiday.
DAY 2 – Introductory panoramic tour of the city
We will see the Peter & Paul Fortress and Cathedral; the simple log cabin where Peter the Great lived as his city grew around him; the Menshikov Palace; and Peter’s fabulous Kunstkamera, now the Museum of Anthropology & Ethnography and the first museum in Russia. We conclude our day by witnessing the magnificent Orthodox Easter midnight liturgy at the Kazan Cathedral.
DAY 3 – The Hermitage
Today is devoted to the Hermitage, the great Winter Palace which houses one of the world’s greatest collections of paintings and decorative fine arts. Here we find Old Masters, Impressionists, ceramics, porcelain and works by the court jeweller, Fabergé. We will explore the main building in the morning before a break for lunch in the museum café. In the afternoon we will continue to the new buildings in the former General Staff HQ, where works by European Impressionists are exhibited.
DAY 4 – Pavlovsk and the Catherine Palace
Today we visit two sumptuous palaces built for members of the imperial family. Pavlovsk, built for the son of Catherine the Great as a private residence; and the Catherine Palace at Pushkin, which is a baroque showpiece. Lunch is at a traditional Cossack restaurant.
DAY 5 – Mikhailovsky Palace
We visit the wonderful collection of art and icons in the Russian Museum housed in the Mikhailovsky Palace. Our day will also include visits to the Church on Spilled Blood and a visit to the Fabergé Museum in the Shuvalov Palace.
DAY 6 – The Yusupov Palace and heading home
This morning we will visit the Yusupov Palace, a former private mansion which was the site of Rasputin’s assassination. After an early lunch, we will catch the 15.35 BA flight, which lands at London Heathrow at 17.10.
Opera, ballet & concerts in St Petersburg
We will write to you two months before departure with details of optional performances at the historic Mariinsky Theatre and other venues.
Price from £2,789 per personincluding flights, accommodation, all transport, breakfast, all lunches and dinners with wine, all entrance fees and the tour rep. Single supplement: £378
To book: call Patrick on 020 7593 2281 or email firstname.lastname@example.org