The IEEE History Center's Milestones celebrate technological breakthroughs or turning points, around a number of which the IEEE Life Members Committee (LMC) organizes technology themed tours. The second tour was to the United Kingdom in May 2011, as described on this page. The information on this page is presented as it was before the tour occurred. It includes a detailed day-by-day itinerary; general travel and tour information; further information about the hotels, local airports, and transportation to and from the major airports; the Sub-Committee members who planned and led the tour; and can also be downloaded as a PDF format brochure (PDF, 81 KB).

View photo gallery from 2011 IEEE Technical Tour to United Kingdom

Day 1 [Arrival Day]: Monday, 16 May

Arrange your own air transportation to London, England; and your own transfer via taxi, tube, or train, from the airport to the The Kensington Close Hotel.  No events scheduled, meals on your own - time to get acquainted with the hotel and the surrounding area.

Day 2: Tuesday, 17 May - Welcome, Panoramic Tour of London, Science Museum
  • Assemble for the private Tour breakfast at 8 a.m. Time to Welcome everyone to the Tour and conduct introductions.  During this breakfast, the complete Tour will be reviewed, and any last minute changes provided. At 10 a.m., you will board our private bus for the day's events. Lunch is provided. Dinner is on your own. Overview of London and Science Museum Visit, includes:
  • Panoramic Tour of London: an overview of all the main attractions of the city. The tour will pass the most significant sites and areas (Westminster Abbey, Tower of London, St Paul's Cathedral, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Bank, Embankment, London Eye, etc.) and will offer plenty of photo stop opportunities; the idea is to cover as much ground as possible in minimum time and to give you an opportunity to "understand  the City," both in terms of history and geography. 
  • Visit to Science Museum is one of the three major museums on Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. It is part of the National Museum of Science and Industry. The museum is a major London tourist attraction
  • Optional Evening Theater Show: includes dinner and ticket to a London Theater. Cost not included in Tour but will be shown on the Registration Form as an optional item.
Day 3: Wednesday, 18 May - Time, Flood Control, Pumping Stations and War Rooms
  • Royal Observatory: home of Greenwich Mean Time and the Prime Meridian line, is one of the most important historic scientific sites in the world.  The National Maritime Museum comprises three sites: the Maritime Galleries, the Royal Observatory and the Queen's House. Together these constitute one museum working to illustrate for everyone the importance of the sea, ships, time and the stars and their relationship with people. 
  • Thames Barrier: the world's second largest movable flood barrier and is located downstream of central London. Its purpose is to prevent London from being flooded by exceptionally high tides and storm surges moving up from the sea. 
  • Crossness Pumping Station (time permitting): built as part of Victorian London's urgently needed main sewerage system. It was officially opened by the Prince of Wales in April 1865. The Beam Engine House is a Grade 1 Listed Industrial Building constructed in the Romanesque style and features some of the most spectacular ornamental Victorian cast ironwork to be found today. It also contains the four original pumping engines which are possibly the largest remaining rotative beam engines in the world, with 52 ton flywheels and 47 ton beams.
  • The Cabinet War Rooms, viewing and reception: The museum comprises the Cabinet War Rooms, a historic underground complex that housed a British government command centre throughout the Second World War, and the Churchill Museum, a biographical museum exploring the life of British statesman Winston Churchill.
  • Royal Institution: where science meets the world. At the RI you can explore two centuries of great scientific breakthroughs, and discover the newest big ideas about our universe and everything in it. Its a museum, an events space, a place to eat and drink, and much more. 
  • IET Archives: THE INSTITUTION OF ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY Archives - IET Savoy Place, - Anne Lockyer (IET Archivist): Visit to the Archives, books and documents and the Savoy Place building itself. The archives are a unique collection of material promoting and preserving the history of science, engineering and technology.  Included are biographies, featured articles, online exhibitions, research guides, information about the IET's history. 
  • Ben Franklin House (IEEE Milestone): In the heart of London, just steps from famed Trafalgar Square, is Benjamin Franklin House, the world's only remaining Franklin home. For nearly sixteen years between 1757 and 1775, Dr Benjamin Franklin - scientist, diplomat, philosopher, inventor, Founding Father of the United States and more, lived behind its doors. Benjamin Franklin House, built circa 1730, is now open to the public as a dynamic museum. 
  • National Gallery: Houses the national collection of Western European paintings from the 13th to the 19th centuries. It is on show 361 days a year, free of charge.
  • Dinner at Criterion Restaurant: The Criterion Restaurant is the only culinary destination in the capital blessed with the romance, grandeur and charisma of a neo-Byzantine design. Few would argue that it is one of the most enchanting and, indeed, memorable restaurants in London.  Perhaps even the world? They would certainly remember the celebrations at the Royal College of Science's First Annual Dinner.  The Chairman that night was none other than H.G.  Wells, the pioneer of science fiction.
Day 5: Friday, 20 May - Country Side Visits
  • Oxford: A city and county town of Oxfordshire, in South East England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000.  The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through Oxford. 
  • Blenheim Palace: Home to the 11th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough and birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill.  Set in 2100 acres of beautiful parkland, the magnificent Palace is surrounded by sweeping lawns, award-winning formal gardens and the great Lake, offering an unforgettable visit. Blenheim Palace is a unique example of English Baroque architecture that is situated in Woodstock, 8 miles from Oxford. 
  • Cheltenham: Home of GCHQ (IEEE Milestone): One of the three UK Intelligence Agencies and a part of the UK's National Intelligence Machinery.  GCHQ works in partnership with the Security Service (also known as MI5) and the Secret Intelligence Service (also known as MI6) to protect the UK's national security interests. Currently the Tour does not include any visits inside their buildings.
  • Dinner at a Country Tavern: Taverns, typical description, with a stylish, upbeat social environment, lounges of a cosmopolitan tone, with both casual & more formal dining areas decked out in wood paneling, chandeliers & framed photographs. Menus include a populist course: substantial mains include grilled lemon sole with parsley & anchovy butter, and there’s a separate bar menu (think pub classics such as sausages, mash & fine beans).
Day 6: Saturday, 21 May - WWII Code Breaking and Aircraft Museum
  • Bletchley Park (IEEE Milestone): On this site during the 1939-45 World War, 12,000 men and women broke the German Lorenz and Enigma ciphers, as well as Japanese and Italian codes and ciphers. They used innovative mathematical analysis and were assisted by two computing machines developed here by teams led by Alan Turing: the electro-mechanical Bombe developed with Gordon Welchman, and the electronic Colossus designed by Tommy Flowers. These achievements greatly shortened the war, thereby saving countless lives. 
  • de Haviland Heritage Centre: formerly the Mosquito Aircraft Museum, is a volunteer-run aviation museum in London Colney, Hertfordshire.
  • Dinner at a Country Tavern: Another dinner at a local country tavern. Site to be selected.
Day 7: Sunday, 22 May - Travel by Train, City of York, Train to Edinburgh Scotland
  • Breakfast at leisure at the hotel, then check out; your baggage will be collected by truck to be taken directly to the hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland.  You will then board our private bus to Kings Cross Station to board the train (first Class reserved seats) to journey to the City of York.  At York, you will have the opportunity to walk the medieval city, with lunch included. 
  • Visit City of York: a walled city. The city has a rich heritage and was founded by the Romans in 71 AD.  At the end of Roman rule in 415 AD the settlement was taken over by the Angles.  The Vikings captured the city in 866 AD, and for the period between 866 and the final incorporation of Northumbria into the Kingdom of England in 954  York is sometimes referred to by modern writers by its Scandinavianised form, Jórvík.  The name in its modern form "York" was first used in the 13th century. In the Middle Ages York grew as a major wool trading centre and the ecclesiastical capital of the northern province of England. In 2009 it was the 7th most visited city by UK residents and the 13th most visited by overseas visitors. 
  • At 4 p.m., after visiting the City, re-board the train for the continuing journey to Edinburgh. Check into the IBIS Hotel. 
  • Evening Reception: There will an informal welcoming reception at a local Edinburgh pub or in the hotel bar. However, dinner will be on your own.
Day 8: Monday, 23 May - Maxwell's Home/Workshop, World Heritage Site & Scottish Whiskey
  • Breakfast at leisure at the hotel, then board our private bus for visiting Glenlair, Scotland (home of James Clerk Maxwell), the New Lanark (World Heritage Site), and possibly other sites. Lunch and dinner are included.
  • Glenlair: Visiting James Clerk Maxwell's Home (IEEE Milestone). Glenlair House, near Corsock in Dumfries & Galloway, is famous as the home of the eminent scientist, Professor James Clerk Maxwell. His importance in the history of scientific thought is comparable to Einstein’s (whom he inspired) and to Newton’s (whose influence he curtailed)”. Between 1860 and 1871, at his family home Glenlair and at King’s College London, where he was Professor of Natural Philosophy, James Clerk Maxwell conceived and developed his unified theory of electricity, magnetism and light. A cornerstone of classical physics, the Theory of Electromagnetism is summarized in four key equations that now bear his name. 
  • New Lanark: World Heritage Site - An award winning Visitor Centre. Beautifully restored 18th century cotton mill village nestled in the spectacular south Lanarkshire valley in southern Scotland, close to the Falls of Clyde and less than an hour from Edinburgh and Glasgow. 
  • Dinner: visit and dinner at a Malt Whisky Society facility.
Day 9: Tuesday, 24 May - Edinburgh, Scotland Sightseeing
  • Breakfast at leisure at the hotel, then board our private bus for visiting the City of Edinburgh. 
  • City Tour: Bus tour of the City that includes stops at the following locations: 
  • Edinburgh Castle: perched on an extinct volcano, this instantly recognizable fortress is a powerful national symbol and part of Old and New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage Site. Its story is Scotland's story. 
  • Rosslyn Chapel: properly named the Collegiate Chapel of St Matthew, was founded on a small hill above Roslin Glen as a Roman Catholic collegiate church in the mid-15th century. Rosslyn Chapel and the nearby Roslin Castle are located at the village of Roslin, Midlothian, Scotland. In later years the Chapel has featured in speculative theories regarding Freemasonry and the Knights Templar.
  • James Clark Maxwell Foundation: formed in Scotland in 1977 to honor one of the greatest scientists who has ever lived. In 1993 the Foundation acquired Maxwell's birthplace. This elegant Georgian house, after period restoration, is now in active use as an international centre for mathematical sciences. On display is a growing collection of heritage material associated with James Clerk Maxwell, his associates and family circle. 
  • Farewell Dinner and party: a group reception and farewell dinner at a local unique and quaint tavern or restaurant.
Day 10 [Arrival Day]: Wednesday, 25 May
  • End of Tour after breakfast, Bon Voyage! Breakfast at leisure at the hotel. After breakfast, the Tour is officially complete. Travel from this point is at your pleasure. Additional nights at the hotel are optional. Hotel rates will be extended for those wishing to stay a few more days in Scotland. Depart Edinburgh on your own.
Tour inclusions

This Tour includes the following:

  • transportation in accordance with the itinerary as described by luxury touring coach, with forced air heating/ventilation system, panoramic windows and full public address system (supplementary charges will apply if a vehicle with bathroom facilities is requested);
  • qualified guide lecturers to accompany the group throughout all organized activities (London based and Edinburgh based);
  • 2-course luncheons including soft drink and coffee as specified daily (days 2-9) at venues mentioned, or similar;
  • 3-course dinners including a third of a bottle of house wine, mineral water, and coffee on days 4, 5, 6, 9 at venues mentioned, or similar;
  • use of a private area at Kensington Close Hotel for breakfast and tour briefing on day 2;
  • private drinks reception for one hour at the Cabinet War Rooms on day 2, including canapés;
  • private docent-hosted tour of the Cabinet War Rooms during the reception;
  • open bar drinks reception with dry snacks, for 30 minutes on arrival at the Ibis Hotel, Edinburgh on day 7;
  • private 3-course dinner at the Malt Whisky Society on day 8, including a third of a bottle of house wine, mineral water, and coffee;
  • optional malt whisky tasting at the Malt Whisky Society (supplementary cost);
  • trip by passenger boat on the River Thames between Greenwich and Westminster on day 3;
  • First class tickets for train journey from London to York and from York to Edinburgh on day 7;
  • Separate baggage truck to take baggage directly from London to Edinburgh on day 7;
  • Admission fees/donations/expenses in connection with visits to places of interest, including: Science Museum; Thames Barrier; Royal Observatory; IET; Ben Franklin House; Royal Institution; National Gallery; an Oxford University college; Blenheim Palace; Bletchley Park; de Havilland Heritage Centre; Glenlair; Maxwell’s grave; New Lanark; Edinburgh Castle; Rosslyn Chapel; James Clark Maxwell foundation;
  • ll gratuities and out-of-pocket expenses incurred by guides and drivers;
  • VAT at 20%.
Optional activities

Sterling Travel Ltd will be pleased to take advance reservations for optional activities that will be available at individual guests’ choice, and at supplementary cost, as follows:

  • Day 2: Attendance at a hit London musical show, including pre-show dinner.  Details of this event cannot be determined yet, pending publication of London theatre listings for next May.  Individuals expressing interest in this event during registration will be contacted for a final determination and associated extra cost.
  • Day 8: Tutored malt whisky sampling during the dinner event at the Malt Whisky Society; Supplementary cost of $55 per person is listed in the Registration Form.