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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. 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 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 expert accompanied tours focusing on creativity in its many forms. No prior knowledge of the subject matter is required. All tours can be viewed at our Arts & Culture page.
This tour is fully escorted throughout by the lecturer, as well as an experienced local guide where necessary.
This tour is 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 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 rearranged, please be assured that we will seek alternatives of equal interest.
This itinerary 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 to speak with a Cox & Kings consultant or
Dr Colin Bailey gained his
doctorate in art history at
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.
Lydia Bauman is an art
historian and professional
artist with an MA in art
history from the Courtauld
Institute of Art. She has
lectured at the National
Gallery and has wide
experience of teaching the history of
Andrew Spira graduated
from the Courtauld
Institute of Art before
working at the Temple
Gallery, London, 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.
This tour can be booked / reserved online by clicking on one of the coloured links below.
RSP2019: 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