2024 Mullen United Kingdom Program
January 9, 2024 -
January 18, 2024
Dates are tentative until flights are secured
Airfare not included in program tuition
Review all materials
What to Expect
Please read through all of the information below. More details will be added as your departure draws closer.
We do everything possible to run safe, engaging, and immersive programs for our travelers, but given the unpredictable nature of international travel we must remain flexible in our planning. Changes to a schedule are uncommon but if inclement weather pushes us off course or an unexpected opportunity arises which travelers are excited about, we reserve the right to adjust programming in the best interest of the group.
|January 9||USA||Board your overnight flight across the Atlantic, destination London, England.||Airplane|
|January 10||USA - London||Welcome to London! Your Walking Tree Program Leader will pick you up at the airport. We will start your London walking tour once you are settled and explore The Strand, Trafalgar Square, the Benjamin Franklin House, the Houses of Parliament, and the River Thames. In the afternoon, we'll visit the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery. Opened in 1856, the Portrait Gallery was the first in the world. Of its 195,000 portraits, most famous is the Chandos portrait of William Shakespeare.||Hotel in London|
|January 11||London||Today we will start with a hearty English Breakfast in the hotel to get ready for the day. We'll take a walking tour of Westminster Abbey, Whitehall's mounted horse guards, the Prime Minister's house at 10 Downing Street, Piccadilly Circus, and Buckingham Palace. In mid-morning, we will experience the Changing of the Guard and the beauty of St. Paul's Cathedral. We'll have lunch with the locals at Borough Market, one of the oldest markets in the world - in 2014, it celebrated its 1,000th birthday! This afternoon, we will take acting classes at the Globe Theatre in Southwark, the home of Shakespeare. In the evening, we will enjoy performance by professionals at this world-famous venue!||Hotel in London|
|January 12||London||Today we will visit the Tower of London, entering through thick defensive walls and looking behind the imposing stony facade. Henry Vill banished two of his wives to this former prison, where Guy Fawkes also spent his final days. But the Tower's most famous occupants--the Crown Jewels--still reside here today. On the tour, we will behold this jaw-dropping collection of ornate rings, scepters, swords, and royal vestments. We will venture outside for a walk through the courtyard, where we can admire the four distinctive turrets rising out of the White Tower. Keep an eye out for the Tower's famous ravens: legend states that the kingdom will fall if any of the six resident ravens ever leaves the Tower Grounds. In the afternoon, we will explore Tate Modern, one of the largest art museums in the world and home to the British national collection from 1900 to the present. From there, we will cross Millennium Bridge, admire St. Paul's Cathedral, and the London School of Economies. For dinner, we'll enjoy an authentic meal of fish and chips.||Hotel in London|
|January 13||Oxford, Stafford-Upon-Avon and the Cotswolds Villages||After celebrating an early mass, we depart London for the English countryside. We'll take a bus out to beautiful Oxford, where we'll have time to walk through the oldest university in the English-speaking world. We continue to Stratford-upon-Avon, a small market town on the River Avon, and home :o Shakespeare! We'll visit his birthplace, walk through the home he grew up in, and explore town. Finally, we head to the picturesque Cotswold Villages, where we'll see the quintessential English countryside. In the evening, we return to London.||Hotel in London|
|January 14||London||Today we are off on a literary adventure for the ages. Among the many places we'll explore are the homes of Evelyn Waugh, William Blake, lan Fleming, George Orwell, PL. Travers, Robert Louis Stevenson, M. G. Wells, Sigmund Freud, T. S. Eliot, and more! This afternoon, we will explore the British Museum. An experience unlike any other, we will have the opportunity :o see thousands of the more than 8 million objects in the collection. Most notable are the Rosetta Stone, casting stones from the original Great Pyramid of Giza, and the Parthenon marbles from the Acropolis in Athens. Time permitting, we'll also head to Charing Cross Road, where you can visit Foyles, the world's first purpose-built bookshop, which opened more than 100 years ago||Hotel in London|
|January 15||London - Edinburgh||Say goodbye to England - this morning we board a national rail train in London, and by the time we get off, we're in a whole new country: Scotland! Welcome to Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. Today we'll explore the Royal Mile, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and in the afternoon, we'll head to Calton Hill and the National Monument of Scotland. From here, you can overlook all of this historic city, and out to the North Sea!||Hotel in Edinburgh|
|January 16||Edinburgh||This morning we are in for a treat! Have breakfast at the Elephant House, where J. K Rowling wrote the Harry Potter novels. This cafe still serves up a great meal, and you can see where she got her inspiration when you look through the windows at our next destination: Edinburgh Castle. Sitting atop a huge rock in the center of the city, Edinburgh Castle sits on land occupied since at least the Iron Age. Today, the castle and surrounding buildings date from the 12th century, and overlook the entire city to the sea. We'll see the Scottish Crown Jewels, dungeons that held American POW's from the Revolutionary War, and much more. After lunch, we will visit the National Museum of Scotland, where you'll have time to explore thousands of artifacts spanning millennia.||Hotel in Edinburgh|
|January 17||Stirling||Today, we are off to the Scottish countryside. We'll take a national rail train through lush green fields to the town of Stirling. Stirling is renowned for its unique geographical position - it sits on the River Forth at its lowest bridging point, connecting north and south. As such, it is often noted that "he who holds Stirling, holds Scotland" As such, the Scottish royal family chose Stirling to build Stirling Castle in the late 12th century. Since then, the castle has served as a palace for the royal family, prior to unification with England, and as a military Outpost as well. The Battle of Stirling Bridge took place at the river here, famously depicted in the movie Braveheart. After exploring this ancient castle, we return to Edinburgh for our final evening in the United Kingdom.||Hotel in Edinburgh|
|January 18||Edinburgh - USA||This morning we enjoy our final Scottish breakfast, head to the airport, and depart for home.||Your own bed!|
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In order to provide a safe and memorable experience, we follow strict guidelines when choosing program accommodations. Walking Tree partners with locally-operated, three-star equivalent hotels and guest houses which are centrally located, clean and safe.
Hub by Premier Inn – Royal Mile Hotel
Hub by Premier Inn – Royal Mile Hotel is a clean and modern hotel around the corner from the Royal Mile and Edinburgh Castle. All rooms have air conditioning and free Wi-Fi. Students will be grouped in their rooms according to gender and availability.
Premier Inn Southwark Station
Premier Inn is one of the United Kingdom’s largest hotel groups and this location is close to it all in London. Conveniently located near many metro stops and attractions south of the River Thames, the hotel also has a quiet courtyard and garden combing location, amenities and price in a great option for groups visiting London.
Once your flight has been secured the itinerary will appear here. Walking Tree will secure a seat on the group flight for each participant unless otherwise instructed.
Travelers are responsible for checked baggage fees. Please visit the airline’s baggage webpage to learn if you should expect to pay anything.
We will provide a group manifest – complete with reservation codes and ticket numbers – to the Group Organizer/s before departure, but travelers will need to check in at the airport in order to receive their boarding pass and have documents verified. We recommend arriving no later than three hours prior to the scheduled departure, but contact your Group Organizer for specific details on exactly where and when to meet on the day of departure.
FLIGHT INTERRUPTION DELAY OR CANCELLATION
Air travel is unpredictable, especially in a pandemic. Regardless of proper planning, there may still be instances when a flight is delayed or cancelled due to staffing shortages, weather, mechanical problems, etc. Please note that in such an event, Walking Tree Travel (WTT) is not financially responsible for unanticipated costs incurred by travelers en route. Our programs officially begin and end in the destination country, and because our staff doesn’t fly with the group, Group Organizers (the traveling faculty member/s) become the front-line advocate for the group in the event of a delay. In most cases of cancellations or delays, the airline will be the one who re-books travel or possibly arranges a hotel and food the night. Our primary role will be to keep families updated and provide support to the Group Organizer to reach a quick and effective resolution.
Host Community and Project Details
What follows is a sample packing list but you know yourself better than we do so please adjust accordingly. We recommend you bring a larger piece of luggage like a roller, duffel bag, or backpack, as well as a smaller backpack that you can bring on daily outings, weekend excursions and shorter activities.
“Less is more” is a packing tip we encourage for all our travelers. The list below should cover everything you would need, but know yourself and what you are comfortable traveling with. We suggest bringing only as much as you would be able to carry on your own.
Finally, we recommend consulting a weather forecast for your destination.
Most importantly, be sure to remember your PASSPORT!
CLOTHES (quantities depend on your trip length) :
- Socks (a mixture of good active socks and casual socks)
- T-shirts (some quick dry)
- Long sleeve shirts
- Sweaters or sweatshirts
- Warmer jacket
- Warm hat
- Scarf and Warm gloves (optional)
- Rain jacket
- Travel/athletic shorts that are breathable and light
- Comfortable, everyday pants
- Nice shirt/top to be worn to more formal dinners (girls might want a skirt or something a little nicer for such occasions)
- Durable athletic/walking shoes
- Sandals (optional)
TOILETRIES: BRING THE BASIC TOILETRIES YOU NEED PLUS:
- Sunscreen (you will use a lot)
- Mosquito repellent
- Band Aids and Neosporin
- Hand Sanitizer
- Medication in properly marked original container
- Journal and pen
- Camera (digital, disposable, waterproof)
- Power Converter
- Alarm Clock and watch
- Debit card/US Dollars (we recommend about $50-$150, depending on amount of desired souvenirs, extra items etc.)
- Durable water bottle
- 1 quick-dry towel
- Deck of cards or other portable games
- STUDENT ID
At a minimum, one experienced Program Leader will travel on every trip. In addition to this full time leadership presence, Walking Tree has additional support staff in all destinations and 24/7 support from our headquarters in Denver, Colorado. Below you’ll find a list of the team members involved in the planning, organizing, and leadership of your program.
Juan Pablo “JP” Rabanales
Global Country Operations Manager
Earlham College – B.A. International Studies, Minor in Economics
Born and raised with a big family in Guatemala, JP spent seven years living and studying in the US where he was exposed to highly diverse communities. JP worked as a Wilderness Leader guiding expeditions in the Southwest of the US. After spending two years in New Mexico studying the International Baccalaureate, he moved to Indiana where he spent the next four years at Earlham College. His passion for international affairs brought him to spend a semester in China, and several other Southeast Asian countries. During his time abroad, he spent his summers traveling and backpacking through 15+ different countries, and participating in several service projects. Today JP is based in Costa Rica where he works full time with the Walking Tree team. Juan Pablo also enjoys hosting friends and travelers coming to visit. He’s always down for an exciting road-trip around the country, or even better, around Latin America. He is a long time art and design enthusiast, and a photography aficionado.
Co-Founder of Walking Tree Travel and Business Lead - Denver, CO
Emory University – B.A. Sociology and minor in Latin American History
During college, Luke spent a semester living and traveling in rural Mexico. His experience sparked a fascination with Latin America and a commitment to community service that continues to this day. Upon graduating from college, he joined WorldTeach and lived with a local family in a small village in Costa Rica while teaching elementary English. After this experience, he moved to San José, the capital and largest city of Costa Rica, and wrote for The Tico Times newspaper. Luke has since traveled to over 60 countries on five different continents. Now settled in Denver with his family, he continues to crave massive helpings of rice and beans.
Below is a list of the travelers enrolled on the program.
Blog and Communication
During travel we will work hard to keep families updated as frequently as possible with blogs and photos, giving you peace of mind that your traveler is safe and thriving on their program. Students regularly contribute to these posts, giving parents a great way to vicariously track the progress of the trip. You will receive an email notification when the first blog is posted, after which we recommend you check in regularly via the black “Program Blog” button at the top of this page.
Beyond this proactive approach to communication during the trip, most destinations are wired enough to allow participants semi-regular access to WiFi so you can also expect to communicate with your traveler directly. Ask your Walking Tree representative about the degree of connectivity on your program.
Walking Tree has developed a curriculum of activities meant to help travelers get the most out of their trip before departure, during travel and after they return home. These simple and engaging activities are meant to spark discussion, frame experiences, and prepare participants to travel ethically and effectively both on this trip and on future adventures.
Standards of Behavior
In order to run a safe and successful program, it is important that we create an environment of trust, security and respect. All individuals participating in our programs are required to take responsibility for their actions and adhere to a high standard of behavioral conduct.
- Possessing, consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs.
- Associating with participants while they are in possession of or are consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs.
- Behaving in a way that consistently damages the group dynamic or jeopardizes personal or group safety. This includes consistently displaying a negative attitude, intimidating or excluding other participants, sneaking out, disobeying group leaders, and any other behavior that is not conducive to an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect.
GROUNDS FOR DISMISSAL OR IN-COUNTRY CONSEQUENCE
- Failure to abide by COVID-19 restrictions.
- Stealing, or deliberately damaging or defacing any personal property, buildings or materials.
- Possessing weapons.
- Riding mopeds, motorcycles, or any other type of unauthorized vehicle.
- Getting a piercing or tattoo.
- Being out after curfew.
- Breaking group rules.
These standards of behavior are essential for the successful completion of your program. Please take the time to review these as a family and make sure everyone understands and agrees to them.
Health and Safety
We strongly recommend visiting the CDC United Kingdom website to get the most updated information on health and vaccination considerations in your destination country. In addition, we encourage you to consult with your personal family physician so you can be as informed as possible when making important decisions about vaccinations and other necessary health-related preparations before travel.
Our in-country staff prepare meticulously for all programs. Walking Tree will register our programs and travelers with the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in case of emergency. In country staff also verify the safety records of our partner organizations, vendors, and transportation providers, thoroughly vet homestay families via in depth interviews and home visits, and keep up on important current events in the region.
Program Leaders are seasoned travelers who are CPR and First Aid certified, undergo thorough training in crisis management, and participate in a multi-day leadership training retreat. We do our best to prepare for any eventuality and have detailed emergency protocols for our leaders, in-country staff and U.S.-based staff.
We receive medical disclosures from all participants to ensure we are able to meet every students’ needs during the program. Please inform us immediately of any additional health issues that you did not list during your initial registration process. Program Leaders will also hold an online information session before your departure, as well as an arrival orientation in-country, in order to give participants important instructions on food safety, hygiene and preventing injury and illness. Leaders and in-country staff always respond immediately to any mental, physical or emotional health issues and follow comprehensive emergency protocols.
While we work hard to ensure the safest experience possible for our travelers on program, experience teaches that travel is never without risk. For this reason, we recommend that all travelers consider a travel insurance policy with two additional provisions: Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) and Bed Rest. Detailed explanations of both provisions can be found on the link below.
To provide families with a quality option, Walking Tree has partnered with Travel Insured International, one of the most respected providers in the industry. Begin by getting a quote here.
IMPORTANT NOTE: in order to secure coverage with CFAR included, you must purchase the plan within 21 days of your deposit/first payment. You must also insure 100% of your trip cost, so program tuition + flight.