- St Petersburg's Church on Spilled Blood
- The Hermitage Museum
- The Russian Ballet
- The Faberge Museum
- Peterhof Palace
Art and Ballet in St Petersburg
- New holiday
- Small Group 25 or less
- VIP door to door
"At first, art imitates life. Then life will imitate art. Then life will find its very existence from the arts." Fyodor Dostoevsky
St Petersburg’s opulent surroundings provide the perfect backdrop for this fascinating tour exploring the city’s rich artistic heritage. Go behind-the-scenes of prestigious theatres and museums, and witness the timeless beauty of the Russian ballet as you immerse yourself in the city.
Accompanying you will be a specialist Art Historian, who will provide a series of insightful lectures.
- Included travel insurance
- Return flights and transfers
- 12 meals: 7 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner at your hotel and 3 dinners in local restaurants
- A glass of wine with all included dinners
- Specialist lecturer
- Saga Tour Manager
- Local guide
- All excursions and visits listed
- Two ballet performances
- Porterage at your hotel
Professor Rosalind Polly Blakesley FSA
Professor of Russian and European Art and a Fellow of Pembroke College at the University of Cambridge, Professor Blakesley is also co-founder of the Cambridge Courtauld Russian Art Centre.
As a Syndic of the Fitzwilliam Museum, she has curated exhibitions in London, Moscow and Washington DC, and served as a Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery where she curated the exhibition ‘Russia and the Arts’. Professor Blakesley’s book, ‘The Russian Canvas: Painting in Imperial Russia 1757-1881’, was awarded the Pushkin House Russian Book Prize and the Art Newspaper Russia Best Book Award. In 2017 she was awarded the Pushkin Medal by the Russian Federation for services to Anglo-Russian relations and Russian art.
Joining you on May, 2022 departure.
- Eating Restoration Glue to Stay Alive: the History of the Hermitage
- Painting in Imperial Russia
- Russia’s Glittering Silver Age
Dr Maria Mileeva
An Associate lecturer at The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, Maria is a specialist in 20th and 21st century art and visual culture of Russia and the former Soviet Union. Maria has received a BA in History of Art at the University of Cambridge, and her PhD at The Courtauld. She has also co-edited and contributed to the book, ‘Utopian Reality: Reconstructing Culture in Revolutionary Russia and Beyond’. Maria is currently working on a research project focusing on the practices of Soviet socialist realism and its reception in the former Soviet Republics, Middle East, Asia and Africa. Together with Professor Blakesley, she serves as the Co-director of the Cambridge Courtauld Russian Art Centre (CCRAC).
Joining you on September, 2022 departure.
- The Fate of Russian Art Collectors and Collections after the October Revolution
- Amazons of the Russian Avant-Garde
- Russia’s Glittering Silver Age
Day 1 UK to St Petersburg
On arrival in St Petersburg, you’ll transfer to the Angleterre Hotel (4Q+) where you will stay for the duration of your tour.
A welcome drink and dinner will be served at the hotel tonight, providing an excellent opportunity to meet the other members of your group. D
Day 2 Introduction to St Petersburg
Your first full day in St Petersburg introduces you to some of the city’s sights, including The Alexander Lavra Monastery and Cemetery, where a number of notable figures from Russia’s political and artistic history are laid to rest. Among those buried here are Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky and Dostoevsky.
You will also visit Menshikov Palace and The Peter and Paul Fortress – the latter is the oldest structure in the in the city and its Cathedral houses the remains of the Tsars from the Romanov Dynasty.
The highlight today will be a backstage visit to the 19th century Mikhailovsky Theatre, one of the oldest and most prestigious opera and ballet theatres in Russia. B, D
Day 3 Catherine Palace and Pavlovsk Palace
The following day you’ll have a private tour to the Amber workshops of Catherine Palace, where you’ll be able to see specialists at work and gain further insight into the history of the opulent Amber Room.
You’ll continue to the Rococo-style palace itself, which was built for Peter the Great’s wife, Catherine and became the lavish summer residence of the Russian Tsars.
Lunch will be included at Podvorie, where you can enjoy a traditional Russian tasting menu accompanied with drinks and entertainment, before an afternoon visit to Pavlosk Palace. Created by architects Cameron, Voronikhin and Rossi, it is the former residence of Tsar Paul I, and houses an impressive collection of paintings and sculptures by a variety of Russian artists, such as Levitsky, Shubin and Martynov. B, L
Day 4 Hermitage Museum
On your fourth day you’ll enjoy a full day tour with early access to the Hermitage Museum, allowing you to explore the exhibits before the museum opens to the public. The second largest art museum in the world, its opulent state rooms house an incredible collection of art and artefacts, including Egyptian antiquities, pieces from the Italian Renaissance and works by Renoir, Monet, Gaugin and Picasso, to name but a few.
You will also visit the Treasure Galleries, which feature the Gold Rooms and Diamond Rooms showcasing bejewelled treasures dating from the 4th century BC up to the early 20th century.
Later you’ll visit the General Staff building across Palace Square, which houses a vast collection of French Impressionist pieces and later works. B
Day 5 Hermitage Restoration and Storage Facility
The following day your tour continues with a visit to the Hermitage Restoration and Storage Facility at Staraya Derevnya. This is an exciting opportunity to take a look behind the scenes and see some of the items that are not currently exhibited.
Afterwards, you’ll return to central St Petersburg where you can visit the ornate Church on Spilled Blood, and the State Russian Museum housed in the Mikhailovsky Palace. The museum features a unique exhibition that traces the history of Russian art from the 10th to 20th century.
You will also have the rare opportunity to attend a rehearsal at a prestigious ballet school in the city. B, D
Day 6 Peterhof Park and Gardens
The next morning you’ll head 18 miles from St Petersburg to visit the park and gardens of Peterhof Palace. Set on the shores of the Baltic, this impressive Imperial palace – complete with gilded fountains and lush parks – was once the summer residence of the Tsars.
You will have the afternoon at leisure. B
Day 7 Faberge Museum
Your final full day in St Petersburg features a visit to The Fabergé Museum located in the Shuvalov Palace. It is home to the largest privately-owned collection of Fabergé eggs in the world, with an incredible 4,000 exhibits, including nine Imperial Easter eggs created by Fabergé for the last two Russian Tsars, Alexander III and Nicholas II.
After exploring the museum you’ll head to The State Museum of Theatre and Music housed in the building of the former Imperial Theatres Management. Here you can see a small display of costumes, set designs and playbills featuring some of the greatest names to grace Russian ballet and drama, including Anna Pavlova, Rudolf Nureyev, Vsevolod Meyerhold and Kazemir Malevitch.
You’ll finally visit the Yusupov Palace, home to one of Russia’s oldest noble families and where Rasputin was murdered. You’ll also have the opportunity to see backstage at the delightful private theatre.
This evening there will be a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. B, D
Day 8 St Petersburg to UK
Fly back to the UK this afternoon. B
Exploring the Hermitage
Your full day exploring the Hermitage Museum will be followed with the unique opportunity to visit the vaults of The Hermitage Restoration and Storage Facility. This is where a plethora of impressive exhibits are kept, either to be restored by the professionally skilled staff, or because they are too cumbersome to be displayed.
Pieces include dresses that belonged to Russia’s last Tsarinas, imperial carriages, sculptures, more than 3500 canvases by Russian artists, as well as frescoes and icons, such as the 19th-century piece The Virgin of Smolensk by Andrey Leontyev.
Included on 7 nights itinerary
Backstage visit to the Mikhailovsky Theatre
Founded in 1833 by Alexander Brullov, the Mikhailovsky Theatre is the oldest and one of the most culturally important theatres in St Petersburg and remains at the forefront of contemporary world theatre. Concert performances with guest artists such as Johann Strauss, were performed here when the theatre originally opened, and it has also hosted some well-known premiers including Vsevolod Meyerhold's renowned production of Tchaikovsky's Queen of Spades.
Backstage, there is a small museum located on the second circle of the theatre that contains 180-years’ worth of fascinating musical history, costumes, photographs, original models and set designs.
Included on 7 nights itinerary
Experience two ballet performances
Russia is the epicentre of ballet with three out of the top five ballets coming from this country: Swan Lake, The Nutcracker and Romeo and Juliet by Prokofiev. The first Russian ballet school, founded by French choreographer Jean-Baptiste Landé, opened in St Petersburg in the 18th century, and ballet rose in prominence during the 19th century when aristocrats supported the construction of theatres. Attending the ballet became an important social occasion and, today, Russia delivers the highest quality of ballet.
You will experience two included ballet performances during your tour. The specific ballet and dates you will attend will be confirmed when the theatre schedules are officially released.
Included on 7 nights itinerary
Located on St Isaac’s Square in the historic heart of the city, this 5-star hotel is a short walk from the Hermitage Museum, Palace Square and the Mariinsky Theatre. The hotel’s central location makes it ideal for dining out in local restaurants on days when dinners are not included.
Facilities include the Borsalino Restaurant, Angleterre Cinema Lounge and a fitness centre and spa with a gym, sauna and indoor pool.
The 192 bedrooms were designed by Olga Polizzi, and are modern with classic nuances. All are equipped with air conditioning, television, minibar, safe and tea facilities. There is also free Wi-Fi available.
Early access to the Hermitage Museum will be confirmed prior to your visit. As theatre schedules are only released three to six months in advance, specific details of ballets, theatres and days of performances will be confirmed nearer to your departures. Days and timings of lectures and included dinner may therefore vary.