This range of expert-led art tours has been created by us on behalf of the Royal Academy of Arts (RA) and focuses on the art, architecture, archaeology and culture of some of the world’s most fascinating destinations.
The tours are open to anyone with a passion for the arts and will suit enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike, with the aim of enriching the understanding of often complex subjects.
The itineraries have been created by Cox & Kings experts in conjunction with the specialist lecturers who will be accompanying the tours, and often concentrate on specific themes or topics. It is the expertise and enthusiasm of the lecturers combined with the pleasure of travelling with like-minded people that make these tours so fulfilling for lovers of the arts.
In many cases, we have included access to artworks not open to the wider public, or talks by the curators of local exhibitions. There is time set aside on most tours to explore further, independently of the group, though if you would like to increase the amount of time you have for independent exploration, Cox & Kings’ expert tour consultants will be delighted to arrange pre- or post-tour extensions for you.
We hope you are inspired by the array of fascinating tours and that we will be able to welcome you on to one in the coming year.
Cox & Kings pays a fee to the RA for every booking on the art tours programme and any booking on any Cox & Kings holiday from a Friend of the Royal Academy, if the Friend lets us know that this is the basis of their booking at the time of enquiry. These funds contribute to the work of the RA and specifically its Education Department.
For information on exhibitions and events at the RA, please visit the Royal Academy website.
Travel to Albania and Macedonia with
expert Dr William Taylor to discover
a rich variety of archaeological and
historical sites, along with spectacular
mountain scenery. This tour explores
the wonderful Ottoman museum cities
of Berat and Gjirokaster,...
Uncover the riches of Andalucía with
expert Dr George Manginis. Over the
centuries, Moorish Spain has captured
peoples’ imagination thanks to its
strategic location, fertile land, distinctive
culture, unique architecture and the
Explore the spectacular highland
countries of Armenia and Georgia, the
world’s oldest Christian nations, with
expert Dr William Taylor. Both countries
contain a treasure trove of ancient ruins,
churches and monasteries together with
This in-depth tour concentrates on
the history, technical innovations
and influence of the movement of
Catalan modernism and its figurehead
Antoni Gaudí. Travel across the vibrant
city of Barcelona with experts Dr
Anne Anderson and Monica Bohm-
Uncover the mysteries of the Bay of
Naples, once one of the greatest centres
of classical Roman civilisation, with
experts Dr Steve Kershaw or Stephen
Nelson. The excavated remains of
Pompeii, Boscoreale and Villa Oplontis,
entombed in ash in the...
Travel to the Basque country to discover
its distinctive art, architecture and
culture, accompanied by experts Thomas
Abbott or Dr Anne Anderson. Explore
the modern city of Bilbao where you will
see the transformation of the industrial
riverside into a...
Travel to the heart of Emilia-Romagna
with experts Olivia Dobell or Andrew
Spira. Home to the oldest university in
the west and world famous for its cuisine,
Bologna is one the most diverse and
overlooked cities in Italy. Graced with an
Discover Bulgaria's historical monuments
and mountain scenery with experts
Rowena Loverance or John Osborne.
Begin in Sofia, visiting the National
Historical Museum and its prehistoric
Thracian treasures. Continue to Veliko
Tarnovo, with its stunningly...
Explore the paradise discovered by
artists in the south of France at the
beginning of the 20th century with
expert art historians Gerald Deslandes or
Lydia Bauman. Visit Matisse's celebrated
Chapelle du Rosaire and the Fondation
Maeght, which contains ...
The island of Crete was the homeland of
the Minoan civilisation 4,000 years ago.
The Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Venetians
and Ottomans all left behind their legacy
as well. The rich cultural blend that is
Crete today mirrors these past influences.
This tour offers a privileged insight into
the secrets of ancient Egypt. Travel with
expert Egyptologist Jocelyn Gohary to
Cairo, Giza, Luxor and Aswan to uncover
the history of the pyramids, the Sphinx
and the Valley of the Kings, as well...
Uncover the artistic riches of Florence
with experts Siân Walters or Gayna
Pelham. In the 15th century, Florence
was an immensely wealthy and powerful
city state, where the principal Florentine
families were able to commission great
Travel through classical Greece with
experts Dr Steve Kershaw or Dr
Konstantine Politis. This tour focuses
on the classical Greek highlights found
in the mainland, including Delphi, once
home to the renowned oracle; the
fortified palace complex of...
The fantastically rich and varied history
of Iran has left behind an unparalleled
cultural heritage. This tour reveals
the best of that legacy, including the
supreme Islamic architecture of Isfahan
and Shiraz, the ancient Achaemenian
Travel with expert Suzanne Perrin to
experience the celebrated temples,
stunning gardens and traditional crafts
during the beautiful Sakura (cherry
blossom) or Momiji’ (maple) season. See
the scenic views of old Kyoto and Nara,
Hiroshima’s Peace Park...
Jerusalem is considered to be one of
the most spiritual and holy centres
of the world by three major religions:
Christianity, Judaism and Islam. During
its extensive and tumultuous history,
Jerusalem has been home to a number of
faiths and nationalitie...
In the centenary year of the great
Arab revolt, travel with expert lecturer
and archaeologist Dr Faulkner who,
as co-director of a pioneering series
of excavations into TE Lawrence, has
exclusive behind-the-scenes access
to sites not open to the wider...
Accompanied by expert lecturer Denise
Heywood who has lived in the region,
begin your tour in serene Luang Prabang
in Laos, filled with glittering temples.
Cruise on the Mekong river to sacred
caves before flying to Vientiane. End the
tour with a stay...
Discover the impressive cultural heritage
of Lisbon and Sintra through Romantic
palaces, azulejo tiles and outstanding
art collections, travelling with expert
art historian Dr Anne Anderson. Lisbon
was the starting point for voyages of
discovery in the...
Visit Madrid and its Golden Triangle
of Art with expert art historians Dr
Richard Stemp or Gayna Pelham. Tour
the world-renowned Museo del Prado,
an extraordinary gallery with unrivalled
collections by masters such as Goya,
Velázquez, El Greco, Rubens,...
This tour discovers Malta’s rich and
varied historic and artistic legacy with
expert Dr Konstantine Politis. Malta has
preserved all traces of its extraordinary
past, from Neolithic temples dating back
5,000 years to the elegant city of Valetta,
Arts and culture form an integral part
of Mexican society. Influences stretch
back to pre-Columbian times, when the
great cities of the Aztecs, Maya and
many others were created. Themes and
patterns from these ancient cultures
are still visible in the...
Morocco, with its famous medieval
mosques and citadels, is truly the
jewel of North Africa and exudes a
sense of living history. What’s more,
this fascinating destination, set amid
the backdrop of the stunning Atlas
mountains and the shimmering...
In the centenary of the 1917 Russian
revolution, travel to Moscow with
expert art historians Andrew Spira or
Monica Bohm-Duchen to explore the
art inspired by the Bolshevik seizure of
power and the upheaval that followed.
The movement to ensure that...
Explore one of the most beautiful
countries in Arabia with expert Chris
Bradley, author of the Berlitz Guide to
Oman. The Sultanate offers more than
2,000km of coastline facing the Indian
Ocean and Arabian Sea, high mountains,
vast deserts and oases...
Discover Poland’s historical and cultural
attractions with Polish expert and art
historian Lydia Bauman. Start in the
capital, Warsaw, with the principal artistic
and historic sites in this re-emerging city,
including Chopin’s birthplace. Travel...
Explore Puglia and Basilicata, situated
upon the heel of Italy, with experts Dr
Colin Bailey or Stephen Nelson. These
provinces encompass a wide stretch
of the beautiful Adriatic coastline and
offer some of Italy’s best food and
finest wines. Discover ...
Uncover Ravenna's glittering past with
experts Rowena Loverance or Dr Sally
Dormer. In 401AD, the city became the
capital of the western Roman empire
and mosaic-decorated churches were
built. Ravenna flourished during the
early sixth century under the...
Visit Transylvania and Bucovina, two of
the most beautiful areas in Romania,
accompanied by experts John Osborne
or Rowena Loverance. This tour
concentrates on the country’s wonderful
architectural tradition, exemplified in the
baroque town squares,...
Explore Rome's artistic past with experts
Dr Nigel Spivey or Olivia Dobell. When
the papacy returned to Rome in 1420,
after more than a century in exile,
Pope Martin V found the city in ruins.
Humanists, patrons and artists sought to
return Rome to its...
Visit Sicily's fine Greek temples,
exuberant Roman floor mosaics, Arabinspired
gardens and superb Norman
architecture with experts Olivia Dobell
or Thomas Abbott. Visit the island’s
principal sites, including the Valley of
the Temples, the Palatine...
St Petersburg has remained unchanged
since the 18th and 19th centuries.
Conceived by Peter the Great as a 'window
to the west', it is home to sumptuous
palaces, impressive cathedrals and
numerous museums, including one of the
world's largest and finest...
Travelling in the footsteps of
St Francis and the painters of the early
Renaissance, explore and study the
glowing frescoes of Italy’s 14th- and
15th-century painters with experts
Lydia Bauman or Dr Nigel Spivey. From
Simone Martini, Pietro Lorenzetti,...
Visit the most magnificent cities of the
ancient Silk Road with Islamic expert
Diana Driscoll. These include Uzbekistan’s
second largest city, Samarkand, built
by the infamous 14th-century Emperor
Tamerlane; the medieval city of Bukhara,
This tour aims to go behind the scenes
to explore some of Venice’s lesser-known
gems that lie beyond the regular tourist
trail. Much of Venice remains more or
less as it was more than 500 years ago,
with many important works of art still in
We have highlighted the standard of accommodation featured on a tour immediately above the tour itinerary.
In some cases, tours include some departures in one category and some in another: you can see and select the different tour types under ‘tour variations’. For these tours, the itinerary is generally the same and just the standard of accommodation varies. However, if there are any variations in the excursions included, these are shown within the itinerary.
Superior: Most Cox & Kings tours fall under this category and are based in 4- or 5-star accommodation, or the best available.
Luxury: These tours will usually feature 5-star de luxe accommodation throughout.
Standard: Simpler in emphasis, these itineraries typically feature 3- and 4-star accommodation throughout.
Discovery: This type of holiday is best suited to the hardier traveller, as it will typically include some quite basic accommodation, possibly longer and rougher road journeys and, in some cases, more arduous activities, such as trekking.