In 1703 Peter the Great decreed that the city that went on to bear his name be built at a strategic location on marshland near the sea and at the confluence of several rivers. St Petersburg became the Russian capital in 1712 and today remains a byword for sumptuousness and grandeur. Five full days take you to many of the simply stunning historical, architectural and cultural highlights of this incomparable city.
Travel with popular tour leader, Janice Liverseidge, at a truly magical time of year and stay in a beautiful hotel throughout. Along the way enjoy the finest food, wine and vodka offerings in the midst of the winter wonderland that is St Petersburg in December.
Until recently Janice Liverseidge was a Director at The Royal Society of Medicine and is now a full time guide and in her spare time a trustee of both the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund and the London Handel Festival. Earlier in her career she worked for the British Medical Association. She is also a registered Blue Badge tourist guide and regularly leads groups in London on medical history walks, tours of the Wellcome Collection and other healthcare locations plus provides music and art tours for the Foundling Museum and the London Handel Festival. Janice has travelled extensively, including an eight month journey around India, South East Asia and Australia, and has led highly successful RSM tours to Vietnam and Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Cuba, South Africa and China.
Janice has the Visit Britain "Good to Go" Industry standard demonstrating that she has shown her compliance with government and industry COVID-19 guidelines, has a Risk Assessment in place and ensures social distancing including using a phone app when providing tour commentaries.
Day 1: St Petersburg (Sat, 4 Dec) Group coach transfer to Hotel Astoria via the house of Russian chemist, Dmitri Mendeleev, who developed the periodic classification of the elements. Welcome dinner.
Day 2: St Petersburg (Sun, 5 Dec ) Morning visit to the State Hermitage Museum, one of the world’s largest and oldest museums. Set in the magnificent Winter Palace and adjoining buildings, it has over three million items in its collection, a fraction of which are on display in 360 rooms. Lunch at the Hermitage museum café. Visit the Anna Akhmatova Literary and Memorial Museum, a literary museum dedicated to Anna Akhmatova, a a significant poet of the 20th century who was shortlisted for the Nobel Prize in 1965. See inside the lavish interior of St Isaac’s Cathedral. Dinner at a restaurant that contains a vodka museum and enjoy a degustation menu with vodka pairings.
Day 3: St Petersburg (Mon, 6 Dec) Transfer to Pushkin (formerly known as Tsarskoe Selo) to visit the Palace of Catherine the Great, a stunning building with a blue and white facade with a circumference of nearly 1km that contains the famous Amber Room. Enjoy traditional Russian cuisine at Podvorje for lunch followed by optional horse-sledding or horse-carriage riding in the park (this is weather dependant). In the evening there is the option to see opera or ballet.
Day 4: St Petersburg (Tues, 7 Dec) Visit The House of the Book, St Petersburg's most famous bookstore since 1938, built in a beautiful Art Nouveau building that originally housed the Singer Sewing Machine Company. Continue to Kazan Cathedral to hear choral music and then onto the Peter and Paul Fortress, the first building and original citadel of St. Petersburg. Visit the elegant Yeliseev Emporium in Nevsky Prospect for lunch (not included) before visiting Yusupov Palace, one of the two remaining St. Petersburg residences of the monumentally wealthy Yusupov family, and the scene of Grigory Rasputin’s assassination. It is one of the few aristocratic homes in the city to have retained many of its original interiors after the revolution. Dinner at Sadko restaurant.
Day 5: St Petersburg (Wed, 8 December) Visit the Fabergé Museum, a small, elegant museum housed within a beautiful 18th century palace. This lovely private museum houses some of the famous Fabergé eggs, the most expensive Easter eggs in the world, as well as some extraordinary items of Russian goldsmithing from the 19th and early 20th centuries. In the afternoon enjoy a samovar tea with lunch and cakes at Mezonin restaurant. Visit the house museum of the Russian ballet dancer, Matilda Kshesinskaya, which outlines the history of St Petersburg from the early 20th century until the Revolution of 1917. In the evening enjoy a farewell dinner at a restaurant serving traditional Armenian cuisine.
Day 6: St Petersburg (Thurs, 9 December) Depart St Petersburg after breakfast.