I can’t believe that today was our last full day on the tour and that I will soon be saying goodbye to these lovely lords and ladies. We have gelled so much and I know that we have made friendships that will last a lifetime. It’s wonderful that Tudor history can bring us together like this.
After another delicious breakfast, this time at the Doubletree by Hilton near the Tower of London, we headed out for the day. Although it was raining – well, we did have to give our group the true British experience! – we decided to stop off at the Tower Hill scaffold site to explain its relevance, as many people miss this entirely. So many important Tudor personalities lost their lives there, so it was good to visit and remember them. We then made our way down to the River Thames, at Tower Wharf, right where Anne Boleyn disembarked on 2nd May 1536 when she was taken to the Tower to be imprisoned, to catch the Clipper, the river bus service that would take us to Bankside, where Shakespeare’s Globe is located. It was wonderful seeing lots of London sights from the river and in just a few short minutes we were at Bankside. [Read More...]
After another yummy breakfast the Arden Hotel’s veggie cooked breakfast is delicious, by the way – we headed off to spend the morning at Kenilworth Castle.
Kenilworth Castle dates back to the 12th century, but for us Tudor history lovers it’s the link with Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, that gets us excited. Leicester, who was of course Elizabeth I’s good friend and favourite, and, I believe, the love of her life, was granted the castle in 1563. In 1575, the Queen visited Kenilworth Castle for 19 days, the longest visit she made to any courtier, and Leicester made many changes to the castle in anticipation of her visit, including creating a chase, building a gatehouse and bridge over the mere, building a four-storey block of state apartments, and creating a beautiful privy garden. He also commissioned special entertainments for the queen in a last-ditch attempt to woo her. [Read More...]
I grew up near Stratford-upon-Avon so today was a special day for me, seeing my home area through the eyes of others and also seeing places that had been on my doorstep for years but that I’d taken for granted and never visited, or that hadn’t been open when I lived here.
As a huge Shakespeare fan, I had ben waiting for this day of the tour with bated breath and as good luck would have it, it came round quickly. The weather forecast predicted that the day might not be for the faint-hearted, with rain and drizzle forecast, but all’s well that ends well and the day really was such stuff as dreams are made on. Sorry, that’s too much of a good thing and I think I’ll stop the Shakespeare phrases and get on with the diary entry! [Read More...]
Today was our Hampton Court Palace day and although I have been many many times, I always learn something new and I always enjoy my time there. It was a perfect day.
We had a two-hour private guided tour from Siobhan, who focused on the Tudor side of things – the history of the original palace built for Cardinal Wolsey, the Tudor kitchens, the Great Hall, Presence Chamber, Haunted Gallery, the Chapel Royal, the Tudor Garden with Edward VI’s nursery… – and then we had free time to enjoy lunch and to visit other parts of the palace. Philippa and I visited the Young Henry VIII exhibition, the William and Mary State Apartments, the Royal Tennis Court and the Cumberland Art Gallery whose rooms are on the footprint of what was Henry VIII’s apartments (there are still some Tudor doorways, stairs and a tower room). We had a fabulous time. [Read More...]
After a breakfast spent gazing out of the hotel window at Windsor Castle opposite, our group had a guided tour of Windsor Castle. Our guide, Amanda, gave us a Tudor-focused tour, giving us an overview of the castle’s history and then pointing out the parts built by our very favourite dynasty. She also pointed out parts that we all saw on TV back in May when Prince Harry married Meghan – we walked where George Clooney walked – ha!
We couldn’t have asked for a better day as it was lovely and sunny. I think my favourite part was visiting the chapel and saying hello to Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, as well as Charles Brandon, Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, Henry VI and a few others, and also seeing the stall plates of some of my favourite Tudor Knights of the Garter. It really is a jaw-droppingly beautiful place. [Read More...]
As promised, here is my diary entry for day 1 of the Discover the Tudors tour..
I didn’t get much sleep last night as I was buzzing. I was so excited about the tour. I took the train to London early so that I had time to do a bit of shopping and get some lunch before meeting Philippa and the group. I met up with Philippa, my co-leader, for a coffee to catch up and then we headed off to meet the tour group. [Read More...]
Here's a quick video we put together of some of the amazing tour participants who stayed with us at Hever Castle.
We're running a tour along with Philippa from British History Tours in September and there are just a few spaces left... so if you're thinking of joining us for this Tudor-dream-come-true then please book as soon as you can!
This tour visits 12 Historic venues including Windsor Castle, Hampton Court Palace, Hatfield House, Shakespeare's Birthplace, Shakespeare's Schoolroom, New Place, Shakespeare's Grave, Kenilworth Castle, Bosworth Battlefield, Charterhouse, Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and the Tudor Gallery at the National Portrait Museum.
You'll have exclusive talks with Leanda de Lisle, Claire Ridgway and Elizabeth Goldring, AND Claire will be with you the whole trip to answer all your Tudor questions. You'll be staying in amazing hotels and will have the trip of a lifetime.
Tour manager Philippa Lacey Brewell has informed me that there are now just 10 places left on our September 2018 Discover the Tudors tour so do act quickly if you’d like to join us! You can click here to secure your place now and to find out more.
9 days of talking Tudor, 12 stunning historical attractions to visit, accommodation in luxury 4-star hotels, two full-time tour leaders and three expert speakers – what more could you ask for?! I’m very excited about being one of the leaders and I’m looking forward to meeting some of you on it.
The Discover the Tudors tour runs from 16-24 September 2018 and the attractions visited are: [Read More...]
As Philippa and I are visiting Holy Trinity Church, the resting place of William Shakespeare and members of his family, as part of the Discover the Tudors tour in September, I dug out the talk I did on it for the Tudor Society a couple of years ago. New members might not have had a chance to see it as the archives are huge, so here’s the version Tim has just edited up for the tour. I hope you enjoy it. [Read More...]
If you’ve been thinking about coming on the Discover Tudors Tour, now is the time to book your tickets. The last few discount tickets where you can save £300 per person are only available for a few more days – until 7th February – so BOOK NOW! [Read More...]
I posted about this new luxury Tudor tour last month but Philippa has just let me know that there are still some Early Bird tickets available (saving of £300 per person) so I wanted to let you know.
I’m really excited about this tour because it doesn’t just focus on the well-known London Tudor attractions, it also takes participants to Windsor, Hatfield, Stratford-upon-Avon, Kenilworth and Bosworth, all with private guided tours. One of my very favourite historians, Leanda de Lisle, has just confirmed that she’ll be speaking to our group too! [Read More...]
If you haven’t already heard, the Tudor Society has started offering Tudor history tours in association with British History Tours. We’re thrilled about this (any excuse for me to visit historic sites!). Our Anne Boleyn Experience Tour for May 2018 sold out quickly and now we’re offering a longer tour in September 2018: the Discover the Tudors Tour.
As the Tudor Society is involved in this tour, we are sharing the news here first and letting you know about the special Early Bird offer. The first 8 places are £2800 per person, instead of £3100, a saving of £300! The tour is from 16th to 24th September. [Read More...]