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Voltaire's library? Prince Charles' garden? Yes, you can get in

April 01, 2013|By Terry Gardner
  • Kensington Elite Tours give visitors special access in places such as Britain's Windsor Castle.
Kensington Elite Tours give visitors special access in places such as Britain's… (Kensington Tours )

If your bucket list includes traipsing through Voltaire's private library or visiting the Vatican after hours, Kensington Tours' new Elite Collection offers a chance to get beyond the standard tourist experience.

"Creating extraordinary experiences, no matter the size of a client's pocketbook, is what Kensington Tours was built on -- and for those with extra means what could be more extraordinary than behind-the-scenes access to the sights, people and cultures that have shaped our world," Phil Sproul, president of Kensington, said in an email.

European Elite tours feature unique experiences in Britain, France, Italy, Spain and Montenegro, in which guests may bed down in ancient fortresses, famous vineyards, private yachts or hotels where Queen Elizabeth, Ernest Hemingway or Oscar Wilde have slept. 

Prices range from $15,487 to $45,185 a person.

The seven-day London Lords of the Manor tour (from $15,487) includes aristocratic home tours and insider experiences at Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and Prince Charles' organic gardens at Highgrove (skipping its current three-year wait list). 

The 14-day Italy Afterhours Vatican, Ferraris & Private Yacht tour (from $45,185) includes visiting the Sistine Chapel after closing, driving a Ferrari in Rome and exploring the Amalfi coast on a private yacht.

The Jewels of the Crown in Moscow & St. Petersburg ($15,487) includes special access to Voltaire's library, a Dostoevski-focused literary tour led by the writier's great-grandson, the Hermitage after hours and snoozes in hotels where Luciano Pavarotti and Tchaikovsky slept.

Info: Kensington Tours Elite Collection, (888) 903-2001

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