St Petersburg at Christmas
Tsar Peter the Great founded St Petersburg in 1703 on the marshes at the mouth of the Neva River where the Rus Vikings, the founders of ‘Russia’, had passed through centuries earlier. Peter’s city of timber, mud and stone was transformed by the Tsarina Catherine into a Baroque fantasy. This glorious 18th century city is characterised by elegant and extravagant architecture: St Peter and Paul fortress and Cathedral, where Peter the Great is buried along with many of his descendants; the fabulous Winter Palace which now forms part of the Hermitage, one of the largest collections of art, furniture, and historical and archaeological artefacts in the world. Uniquely, a day of the tour will also be given to visiting the archaeological excavations at Staraja Lodge where over 100 Viking dwellings and workshops have been uncovered.
Deposit: £500 Single supplement: £530
Day 1 - London - St Petersburg
Fly to St Petersburg and transfer to our hotel
|Hotel||Kempinski Hotel Moika 22|
|Meals included||Lunch, Dinner|
Day 2 - St Petersburg
Visit some of the iconic buildings of the city centre, beginning with St Peter and Paul Fortress, standing on an island beside the wide River Neva, before moving to Vasilievsky Ostrov to explore the carefully designed town plan of this new city. After lunch, visit the Yussupov Palace, where the shadowy Grigori Rasputin was murdered in 1916. End the day with a cruise down the Neva to view the city from the water.
Day 3 - St Petersburg
A full day at the Hermitage, one of the largest collections of art, furniture, and historical and archaeological artefacts in the world, housed in Catherine the Great’s Winter Palace. A highlight is the Pazyryk carpet, woven around 500 BC and preserved under the Siberian permafrost. A magnificent piece of craftmanship, almost two metres square, decorated with griffins, stags, horsemen and lotus buds.
Day 4 - St Petersburg
Drive south-east to Catherine Palace, famous for its ‘whipped cream’ Rococo facades, gilded with over 100kg of gold. The Amber Room is decorated floor to ceiling with shimmering panels of amber, gold leaf and mirrored glass. It was designed and built in Germany before being given to Peter the Great by the Emperor of Prussia. Stroll in Pavlovsk Palace gardens, another imperial residence, set in large ‘English’ style Palladian landscaped gardens – follies, neo classical temples and sculpted slopes.
Day 5 - St Petersburg
We explore the first capital of the Rus Viking state, Staraja Ladoga. Excavations have examined impressive Viking era burial mounds and over 100 dwellings and workshops. A medieval stone kremlin now dominates the bank of the Volkhov.
Day 6 - St Petersburg
This morning we visit Peterhof, arguably the most impressive of the estates that surround St Petersburg with its lavish gardens , famous for the use of hydraulics to drive a series of cascades and fountains and ‘surprise’ installations, before visiting the more intimate Monplaisir Palace. After lunch we continue to Alexander Nevsky Lavra, a monastery that incorporates two Baroque churches and the cemetery where many famous Russians are buried, including Tchaikovsky. Later there will be some free time in St Petersburg, an opportunity to visit the Church of the Spilled Blood, the Russian Museum or the Piskariovskoye Memorial Cemetery.
Day 7 - St Petersburg - London
We transfer to the airport for our flight home.
Tour dates & prices
Included in your cost:
- Expert Guide Lecturer
- Professional Tour Manager
- Meals as per the itinerary, tea or coffee with dinner
- Entries to all sites as per the itinerary
- All taxes & gratuities
|Tour Departure||Tour ID||Departure date||Return Date||Guided by||Price||Deposit||Single Supp.||Availability|
|21 December 2020||ASPX201221||21 December 2020 (Monday)||27 December 2020 (Sunday)||John Oxley||£3,895
|£500||£530||Call for availability|