St Petersburg has remained almost unchanged since it was built in the 18th and 19th centuries. Conceived by Peter the Great as a 'window to the west', the city became a living exhibit of Russia’s status as an important European nation. Situated on a network of canals, the light reflects off the water to illuminate the colourful buildings and add to the city’s beauty. Designed to impress visitors, St Petersburg is home to sumptuous palaces, impressive cathedrals and numerous museums, including one of the world's largest and finest, the Hermitage.
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Fly from London (regional connections
available) to St Petersburg with British Airways
and transfer to the hotel. After an introductory
lecture and welcome dinner, stay 5 nights at the
centrally located Ambassador Hotel (or similar),
which offers comfortable accommodation in a
historic 19th-century building. (D)
Morning city tour, starting at Peter and Paul’s
Fortress, which is the oldest building in
St Petersburg and contains the tombs of the
tsars and tsarinas from Peter the Great onwards.
Continue to the Church of Our Saviour on
Spilled Blood. Built on the spot where Tsar
Alexander II was assassinated in 1881, the
church is noted for its riot of colour, with more
than 20 types of mineral used in its decoration.
In the afternoon, visit one of Rossi’s finest
neoclassical creations, the Mikhailovsky Palace,
which houses the State Russian Museum, which
in turn contains a magnificent collection of
Russian art. (B)
Full-day visit to the Hermitage, with its
opulent staterooms and unrivalled collection
of European masterpieces and impressionist
paintings. Early access before the museum
is open to the public has been arranged.
During the day, also visit the Treasure Gallery
(Gold Room). Evening lecture. (B)
This morning, visit neoclassical Shuvalov Palace,
home to the newly opened Fabergé Museum,
the largest single collection of Fabergé artefacts.
Continue to the ochre-painted baroque
Menshikov Palace. Afternoon at leisure or revisit
the Hermitage independently. (B)
Drive to Pushkin on the outskirts of the city to
visit Catherine’s Palace (Tsarskoe Selo), including
the Amber Room. Listen to the story of the
room’s restoration and watch amber being
worked in the newly opened workshop while
enjoying a glass of wine. Continue to the Palace
at Pavlovsk, designed by Charles Cameron and
subsequently redesigned by several famous
architects, including Quarenghi and Rossi.
Return to your hotel for a lecture followed by a
farewell dinner. (B, D)
Morning visit to Yusupov Palace, which sits
on a quiet stretch of the Moika river and was
the scene of Rasputin’s murder. At the palace,
a special visit to the private apartments of
Zinaida and Felix has been arranged (subject to
confirmation). Transfer to the airport for a flight
to London with British Airways, or to the railway
station for the Moscow tour*. (B)
As per itinerary – B: Breakfast,
L: Lunch, D: Dinner, N: No meals.
A collection of expert-accompanied tours focusing
on creativity in its many forms. All RA tours
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This tour is fully escorted
throughout by the lecturer, as well as an
experienced local guide where necessary.
Based in 4-star accommodation.
This tour involves some long walks
over uneven ground and therefore requires a
good level of fitness.
Optional opera or ballet performances
can be pre-booked. Please contact Cox & Kings
Please note that due to the fluid
nature of opening and closing times of the
palaces and museums in St Petersburg, the
specified day for each excursion may need to be
altered closer to the departure date.
Lydia Bauman is a Polishborn
art historian and
professional artist with
an MA in art history from
the Courtauld Institute of
Art. She has a permanent
position as a guide and
lecturer at the National Gallery, has wide
experience of teaching the history of
western art and is the author of The Guide to
Great Themes in Art.
Dr Colin Bailey gained
his doctorate in art history
at Nottingham University.
He was assistant keeper
at the Walker Art Gallery
and academic librarian
at the Barber Institute
before establishing a history of art and
design department in Edinburgh. He has led
numerous tours in St Petersburg.
Andrew Spira graduated
from the Courtauld Institute
before working at the Temple
Gallery, London (specialists
in Russian icons), and as
a curator at the Victoria &
Albert museum. He was a programme director
at Christie’s Education for 14 years and has led
numerous cultural tours to Europe and beyond.
An architectural gem from the 19th century, the building which houses the 4-star Ambassador Hotel has been recently restored to its original glory. Only a short walk to St Isaac's Square, St Nicholas Cathedral and Nevsky Prospect, the hotel has a superb location. All 255 rooms have air conditioning and are furnished with all modern comforts. The restaurants are notable for their refined St Petersburg style and the excellent standard of...
Regional air connections are available from within the UK. Please contact your travel consultant for current prices from your nearest city.
We can also arrange flights from overseas, simply give us a call to find out more.
If you choose to take the tour without flights arranged through Cox & Kings, please contact one of our travel consultants prior to booking the flights to ensure that you are aware of the tour timings and all the implications of not booking through us. We strongly advise you not to book flights independently of Cox & Kings if significant charges would apply in case of cancellation.
Flight details may be subject to change prior to departure.
This tour can be booked / reserved online by clicking on one of the coloured links below.
RSP2017: 5 Nights
There were so many highlights it is hard to mention just one. The visit to the gold treasury in the Hermitage was a highlight.Miss Dorothy Betts
The palaces were spectacular.Ms Louise Ross
The highlight of the trip was the visit to the Hermitage and hearing the wonderful descriptions and interpretations of our expert, Colin Bailey. He is so erudite, self-effacing, charming and extremely courteous and caring of all the people in our group.Mrs Penelope Whitney
The tour leader/speaker, Colin Bailey, provided many an inspirational moment. He was truly excellent; knowledgeable, inspiring, passionate, very considerate and helpful at all times. Mr Peter Newman
It's difficult to pick an individual moment. The whole visit was so exceptionally interesting, demanding, informative, thought-provoking... The boat trip on the Neva was dramatic and evocative, the view across St Petersburg (I felt I could see all the way to the Baltic) on the first evening from the hotel restaurant on the 9th floor, the Faberge eggs.... all the places were stunning in different ways.Mrs Barbara Minovi
Created 300 years ago by Peter the Great as his "window on the West" St Petersburg is a...