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 the State Russian Museum, which contains a magnificent collection of Russian art, beautifully displayed in one of Rossi’s finest neoclassical creations, the Mikhailovsky Palace. (B)
Full-day visit to the Hermitage, with its opulent staterooms and exceptional collection of European masterpieces and impressionist paintings. The visit will include a private tour of the Treasure Gallery (Gold Room), subject to confirmation. (B, D)
Morning visit to the neoclassical Shuvalov Palace, home to the Fabergé Museum, the world's largest single collection of Fabergé artefacts. Continue to the baroque Menshikov Palace, built for Peter the Great’s advisor. 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 while enjoying a glass of wine. Continue to the Palace at Pavlovsk, designed by Charles Cameron and subsequently expanded by several highly accomplished architects, including Quarenghi and Rossi. Return to your hotel for 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. 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. (B)
As per itinerary – B: Breakfast, L: Lunch, D: Dinner, N: No meals.
A collection of expertaccompanied tours focusing on creativity in its many forms. No prior knowledge of the subject matter is required. All tours can be viewed at CoxandKings.co.uk.
This tour is fully escorted throughout by the lecturer, as well as an experienced local guide where necessary.
Based in 4-star accommodation. Please visit this tour on our website to see details of the hotels included.
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 for details.
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.
Please note that the exclusive and individual nature of private visits means
that they are subject to confirmation nearer the time of departure. Also, churches, private houses and other buildings often have fluid opening times. If any visits have to be re-arranged, please be assured that we will seek alternatives of equal interest.
Lydia Bauman is a Polish-born 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.
Watch our video interview with Lydia on Compass Online.
Andrew Spira graduated from the Courtauld Institute of Art 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.
can be taken privately on a date that suits
you, for which guideline prices are shown.
Alternatively, it can be tailored to your exact
requirements. Please call 020 3411 2135 or email Info@CoxandKings.co.uk.
This tour can be booked / reserved online by clicking on one of the coloured links below.
RSP2018: 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...