I’m so excited about next year’s Anne Boleyn Experience Tour! It’s such a magical experience that I quite literally count the days between tours. And now I’m even more excited because one of my very favourite experts has agreed to speak on it!
Yes, Dr Jonathan Foyle, former Curator of Historic Buildings at Hampton Court, an expert on Tudor architecture, AND presenter of TV series such as “Henry VIII: Patron or Plunderer?” will be sharing his expertise with our tour group on the Anne Boleyn Experience 2020 – squeal! I’m going to have to work seriously hard on my talk for the group now – how can I follow Jonathan Foyle?!
Here’s a YouTube video of Jonathan talking about a bed that once belonged to Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, just to give you a taster of this historian’s mind-blowing expertise! [Read More...]
Today was our final full day on the Anne Boleyn Experience tour 201 – sob!
After a delicious breakfast (Full Hever Breakfast plus a naughty Danish pastry!), it was time to hit the road. Our luxury coach, driven by the very friendly Alan, took us from Hever, which is nestled in the Kent coutryside, up to London and the incredible building that is Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London. [Read More...]
I started Day 3 of the Anne Boleyn Experience 2019 off well with a Full Hever Breakfast – yum! And then it was time to head off to nearby Penshurst Place, home of Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, before it was seized by the crown after his execution and its keepership granted to Thomas Boleyn. In Edward VI’s reign, it was granted to the Sidney family and has been in that family ever since. [Read More...]
Apologies for not writing this sooner but I was travelling. So, what did day 5 bring?
The day started with the usual delicious Hever Castle breakfast. I haven’t mentioned the food, I don’t think, but it was out of this world. The chef at Hever went out of his way to help with our dietary requirements (vegetarians, vegans and some serious food allergies) and every dish was divine. There was so much choice for breakfast (hot and cold) that I am finding it very hard to come back down to earth here at home. I want my halloumi and avocado on a toasted English muffin with grilled tomato! Where is it? Oh dear!
Over breakfast, we took the opportunity to pass around our special Anne Boleyn Experience books which had pages at the back for autographs, messages and addresses. Whenever I feel blue, I will take out my book and read the special messages from people who I now count as good friends. Then, unfortunately, it was time to do last minute packing and to have a last wander around the gardens. [Read More...]
The Anne Boleyn Experience Day 4 tied in with the anniversary of the execution of Queen Anne Boleyn on 19th May 1536 and it was a fitting day to spend at the Tower of London and to be staying at Hever Castle, the Boleyn family home.
On arrival at the Tower of London, we split into two groups and were then guided around the Tower by two fantastic Blue Badge Guides. After that, we had free time to grab lunch, see the White Tower, Beauchamp Tower, shop etc. Most of us also watched the performance on the South Lawn called “The Last Days of Anne Boleyn”, which was excellent. I’ll tell you more when I get home. We also laid roses with a card on the glass memorial. I decided to do this rather than have a Yeoman Warder lay them on Anne’s tile because I wanted tourists who didn’t know the importance of the date to see them and read it. [Read More...]
Hello! Apologies for not posting this yesterday, but it was a very busy day and I was just too tired to write this in the early hours of this morning.
We are having a fantastic time. Lots of “pinch me, am I really here?” moments. Yesterday, after a delicious breakfast, we made our way by coach to Hampton Court Palace, that stunning Renaissance-style palace that Henry VIII pretty much stole from Cardinal Wolsey. OK, Wolsey gave it to him, but what do you say when the king notices that your palace is way better than any of his?! [Read More...]
After a night of not much sleep at all – I was too excited to sleep! – we enjoyed a lovely breakfast in the Astor Wing of Hever Castle before having free time to enjoy the gardens and castle. I love walking through the gardens before the public arrives because I can pretend that I am the lady of the manor.
The gardens just cannot be described in words. I cannot do them justice. They are breathtakingly beautiful. I did a couple of Facebook Live videos from the gardens and I hope my excitement and pure joy shone through, I was very excited. Then, I got even more excited because I visited the Hever Castle gift shop to find a display of my books. The staff were kind enough to allow me to take lots of selfies with my books. I also signed the copies they had so that they could sell them as signed copies. Seeing my books on sale in the shop of the Boleyn family home was truly a dream come true, one of those “pinch me” moments. [Read More...]
It’s 1.15am as I write this, that’s how much fun I’m having. I’m buzzing! Let me tell you all about my day.
I travelled to London Victoria this morning and after having a Marks and Spencer’s lunch, I met up with my fellow tour guide, Philippa, and tour participant, Jodee, before meeting the rest of the group near Victoria. We then had fun [sarcasm] fighting our way through London traffic on the coach before reaching the lovely tree-lined lanes of Kent, aptly named the Garden of England. I would not want to be a coach driver navigating my way down those lanes!
We arrived at Hever Castle [a squeal of excitement might have come out of my mouth at this point] and were shown to our beautiful rooms, each one uniquely furnished and decorated. They are lovely. You can just see the upper part of the castle through my leaded windows. We had time to freshen up before meeting for pre-dinner drinks. We then had a delicious barbecue. I’m a vegetarian and my quinoa burgers were to die for, so good! And the salad bar was great. [Read More...]
Hello everyone, I hope you’ve had a good start to the week. I’m just taking a break from running around the house like a headless chicken to write this. I’m trying to pack while leaving Tim and the kids instructions for what to do while I’m away, and trying to prevent dogs and cats from curling up in my suitcase! Aaaaggghhh!
Anyway, I leave home tomorrow as I’m meeting up with Philippa, from British History Tours, and our group of Anne Boleyn Experience participants in London on Wednesday afternoon. This tour is running in association with the Tudor Society, so each day of the tour (16th-20th May) – WiFi willing! – I’m going to post a diary entry here on the Tudor Society. I know that for some of you visiting the UK is a real bucket list item, so you can live vicariously through me!
As well as the diary entries, I’m hoping to share photos on Instagram (tudor.society) and to also do some Facebook Live videos on the Tudor Society Facebook page, so do keep an eye on our social media too.
I’m so very excited. I love Hever Castle and to be staying there again will be wonderful. [Read More...]
British History Tours will soon be publicising its 2018 “Anne Boleyn Experience” tour which will run from 16-20 May 2018.
The tour will be led by Philippa Lacey Brewell of British History Tours and Claire Ridgway (me!) and will be based at Hever Castle, childhood home of Queen Anne Boleyn. Participants will stay in a luxury private wing at Hever Castle and there will be tours of the castle, Hampton Court Palace and the Tower of London. We’ll actually be visiting the Tower of London on 19th May, the anniversary of Anne Boleyn’s execution. [Read More...]