The Six Wives of Henry VIII tour (July 2013) is now sold out.
Mary, Queen of Scots, our 2014 tour, has sold out to guests on the Gloriana and Lancaster and York tours. We regret therefore that we are unable to offer it to our mailing list for priority booking, as we had planned to do (on the day after the last place was taken), but if you would like your name to be added to the waiting list (for cancellations), please contact email@example.com.
We already have a full waiting list for priority booking on our 2015 tour, 'The Lions Rampant Tour' (June, 2015), which focuses on Henry II, Eleanor of Aquitaine and their family in England and France. Booking will open in spring 2014, when the itinerary will be sent out in advance to those who have registered an interest. If you would like to be added to this list, please contact us. AWT give priority to booked guests, then to those who have registered an interest in a specific tour, then to previous guests, then to our mailing list, after which - if places are left - the tour will be advertised on the website.
We are delighted to announce that Red Rose Chain will be putting on a special performance of their acclaimed play, 'Fallen In Love: The Secret Heart of Anne Boleyn' at Hever Castle for our guests on the Six Wives of Henry VIII Tour. (See the itinerary for further details.)
"I cannot commend 'Fallen in Love' highly enough. This is theatre at its best, and history transformed into drama with the highest integrity. Never have I seen such a convincing - or compelling - portrayal of Anne and George Boleyn." (Alison Weir)
"Fail to answer this summons to the Tower at your peril. It's a real coup"
(Dominic Cavendish, The Telegraph, 4* review)
We are delighted to announce that Dr David Starkey O.B.E. will be our guest speaker at Hever Castle on The Six Wives of Henry VIII tour, and will be joining us for drinks and dinner.
Opening doors to history...
“Alison Weir’s Tudor Treasures Tour is all about access. When you arrive with Alison Weir and her guest historians, you are treated like an honoured guest and often given access rarely or never given to the general public. Alison’s enthusiasm for her subject is exhilarating."
(Guest Feedback, The Tudor Treasures Tour)
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the website of Alison Weir Tours Ltd.
Through Alison Weir Tours Ltd., I develop and run a range of exclusive, historical tours that primarily are based around my books. Each tour is designed to be captivating and informative, to enrich your knowledge, to provide you with a unique and highly enjoyable holiday, and to give you an unforgettable experience of the rich landscape of English history.
Each tour is planned and developed personally by me, with the assistance of a highly professional team of historians and travel experts. You can read more about how the tours are organised on the Biography page.
As Study Director, I will travel with you to every historic site on the tours I run, giving lectures, engaging in discussions, answering questions, attending group dinners, and sharing with you my lifelong passion for the extraordinary places and people that are the fabric of English History.
Many of the hotels you stay at will be historic buildings. Travel is by luxury coach. To enhance your experience we include several dinners and a full programme of talks, private guided tours, privileged access to areas of historic interest not normally open to the public, lectures by guest historians, the services of our experienced Guide Lecturers and Tour Director - and some surprise extras!
I and my colleagues at Alison Weir Tours Ltd are pleased to announce our partnership with Connoisseur Travel, who can assist guests with individual travel needs. Connoisseur is a full-service travel agency in Washington, D.C. that has been serving customers for bespoke overseas travel for over twenty years. Connoisseur Travel provides full leisure and corporate services for clients around the world. To contact Connoisseur, email Jean Glock at firstname.lastname@example.org, call her on 202 469 8904, or go to http://www.ctltd.com/. You can read Jean Glock's article about Alison Weir Tours below.
Alison Weir Tours offer an exclusive experience for small groups. For this reason, each residential tour is limited to 30 guests. The minimum enrolment to enable us to run these tours is 15 guests. To avoid disappointment, please email us at email@example.com if you would like to be placed on our mailing list to register your interest in future tours, study breaks and day tours, and for priority booking in advance of a tour being advertised on this website.
I look forward to having the pleasure of journeying back in time with you on one of the Alison Weir Tours.
“Alison Weir has perfected the art of bringing history to life.” (Chicago Tribune)
OUR ENRICHMENT PROGRAMME
Each tour led by Alison Weir includes a comprehensive enrichment programme of talks, guided tours and debates by Alison, eminent guest historians and our specialist guide lecturers. Guests will also receive briefings on all the places visited on the tour, and guided tours at most sites. The talks, which are of varying length, are given either after group dinners, or on the coach, or on site.
ON PROGRESS WITH HENRY VIII AND AUTHOR ALISON WEIR
by Jean Newman Glock, Director, Global Relations, Connoisseur Travel
(From Huff Post Travel, 28th October 2010
Above: Alison Weir dining with guests at Hever Castle; gifts for the ladies!
Henry VIII has always fascinated the American public and never more so than following the Showtime miniseries, The Tudors, starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Filled with lots of drama, quasi-historical accuracy, six wives, great costumes and, yes, soft-porn, this miniseries reignited interest in all things Tudor. While it was airing, I attended a book signing with noted author and historian, Alison Weir, introduced myself and asked if she would consider joining a Smithsonian tour if we created one around Tudor history. To my great surprise, she was not only interested, but helped plan the entire tour and used her connections to offer very exclusive access at every famous site.
After the first "Tudor Treasures" tour, Alison decided that in addition to her very prolific publishing schedule, she also wanted to start her own tour company. Thus was born Alison Weir Tours. I have had the pleasure of joining two of her tours.
Above: The Tudor Roses greeted guests at Hever Castle; Alison with the self-styled 'Tudor Thorns' enjoying a drink after dinner at Hever (Tudor costume was optional); and Siobhan Clarke guiding in the kitchens of Hampton Court.
Henry VIII used to move his court in "Progresses" every summer, to inspect his realm and to avoid sewage problems and plague. So what is it like joining a modern day progress with one of the leading historic authors of our day?
Travel is about access and when you are with Alison and her team your access to the leading authorities in the field and at the sites is unparalleled. Everyone had read all of Alison's books, but the talks and commentary offered extra insight and depth. Discussions went beyond the facts including issues of historical debate and describing the actual craft of writing and researching the Tudor period. Did you know that almost all the primary documents from this period have been digitized and are available online? That it was the growth of literacy and portraiture that give us such a clear picture of the Tudor period?
Above: The Old Palace at Hatfield, to which the group enjoyed privileged access; the magnificent ruins of Kenilworth Castle, where guests revisited the scene of the legendary 'Princely Pleasures' created for Elizabeth I's visit in 1575.
Many of her fellow authors dropped in for chats. One of the most memorable was Dr. Kate Williams, who discussed her biography of Emma Hamilton. We were on a bus winding through the streets of London hearing about Emma throwing her "heaving breasts" at Admiral Nelson when we were surrounded by thousands of naked bicycle riders joining the "Naked Bicycle Ride." Off period for Tudor, but Henry would have approved. I understand that for the The Wives of Henry VIII tour, next year, Dr. David Starkey will be joining the group at Hever.
Alison's carefully planned itineraries focused on historic hotels as well as sites. Staying in Hever Castle, Anne Boleyn's childhood home was one such hotel. No ghosts were sighted, but dining in the Tudor dining room while Alison explained the foods and dining of the period was transporting. Touring the State Apartments and gardens of Hampton Court Palace with Alison and Siobhan Clarke, from the Historic Royal Palaces team, again took our small group behind the scenes and into the period.
Above: The gardens of Chenies Manor, a surprise destination on the tour; the Tower of London, where guests enjoyed privileged access to the crypt of the Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula and the chancel, where Anne Boleyn is buried.
At the Tower of London, as soon as the Head Yeoman Warder recognized Alison, we were ushered into the cell of Sir Thomas More, usually closed to the public. At Harvington Hall, a remarkable Elizabethan home little changed from Tudor times, we met with Michael Hodgetts, the director, and were allowed to crawl into the "priest holes." These are very small enclosures hidden in the house to hide visiting priests in Catholic homes when government troops might drop in searching for closet Catholics. Each day was filled with access I never imagined was available. Every member of each tour now counts Alison and her author friends as their close friends. In all my years of travel I have never experienced this level of access to scholars, sites and documents.
The tour ended with Alison telling us a little about the research for her most recent book -- "Mary Boleyn-the Great and Infamous Whore." Yes, there is a recurring Tudor theme that perhaps Showtime and Mr. Rhys Meyers did not entirely incorrectly portray.
(Special thanks to our tour guests, who gave permission for their pictures to be published.)
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PRAISE FOR THE LANCASTER AND YORK TOUR, MAY 2013
"Words cannot say how much I enjoyed this tour and being with all of you. It was fantastic and I felt so privileged to be on it. The hotels and sites we visited were all great and I loved the itinerary. I gained so much knowledge and insight (yes, Alison, even about.Richard III!). I appreciate your kindness and how considerate you all were. I wanted to send this email to let you know how wonderful it was to be on this tour with you."
"Once again you have put together a tour full of historical perspective, fun, good food, friendship, and so much more. One of our late senators, Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not to their own facts." You hold everyone, including yourself, to that standard. We must always ask, as you do, "Where is the evidence?""
"It was a life time experience for me to experience history and guiding at such a high level. Loved the mix of historians and the differing viewpoints. Their commentary really brought the sites to life for me."
"It was an absolute honor joining you and your staff on this adventure! Thank you!"
"One word, "Superlative!" Thank you!"
"I can't print out the questionnaire so please accept "excellent" and "perfect" throughout. For me, the presentation of the information, lectures and consequent discussions was logical and stimulating. In conjunction with site visits, I built up a thorough understanding of the "Cousins' War." The presence of well informed experts at all sites, at mealtimes and on the coach enabled me to have any questions answered quickly and comprehensively. All the hotels were comfortable, in particular Middlethorpe Hall. A touch of luxury there! The staff and historians on the tour were impeccable in their efforts to ensure everyone enjoyed themselves while learning as much as possible. This was my first tour with Alison Weir, it will not be my last..........."
"We enjoyed all of talks/seminars and loved having Sarah, Nicola and the others with us pretty much all the time. I would recommend Alison Weir Tours to those seriously interested in an in-depth historical experience."
"Fantastic! I would rate it outstanding. The talks and debates on the coach were always lively and informative. The Lancaster & York tour was a wonderful experience for learning and interacting with a lovely group of people, both guests and staff. Alison devises unique itineraries specific to the theme of the tour and gains access to places often not open to the general public. Alison, John, Siobhan, Jo, and Nicola go out of their way to make everyone feel welcome and to see that all runs smoothly. It was a treat to meet and interact with such eminent historians as Alison Weir, Sarah Gristwood, David Baldwin, and others. This was my second tour with AWT, and I look forward to going on many more."
"We both so loved the Lancaster and York tour that we are definitely wanting to do the Lions Rampant tour. Not only did we enjoy the tour but we also appreciated meeting all of you. You are all very kind, generous with your time and knowledge, and simply lovely. What an amazing tour! Thank you most sincerely!!! We look forward to seeing all of you again."
"This is one the best tours that we have taken! All [hotels] were excellent. Really enjoyed the experience of lodging at Middlethorpe Hall! The positive chemistry between all of the historians really enhanced the talks and seminars. Loved the debate and bantering, especially during the discussions on Richard III. Actually, “above-excellent” would be more accurate [than 'excellent' rating]. All members went beyond the call of duty to ensure the success of the tour. As a self-professed medieval English history “geek”, the Lancaster and York tour was a dream come true! Alison and her colleagues made the history come alive with their excellent knowledge of the relevant historical personages and sites. It was a treat to hear lectures given by noted authors specializing in this time period. I can’t say enough good things about this tour! In fact, we are returning for Alison’s Mary Queen of Scots tour."
"We had a wonderful time. Thank you and everyone else who, with all of your boundless energy, made the trip such a joy...really a lifetime experience."
"Fabulous! Had an amazing time. The whole experience was a complete joy from start to finish. The historians' knowledge and friendliness were second to none, and the staff were so well organised. Attention to detail and fabulous hotels meant an amazing tour for all of us, and I can't wait to go on another one!"
"It was a great tour, I enjoyed it so much. You were all so friendly. Alison, Nicola, Sarah, Siobhan, John and Jo were all fantastic. The whiole group of guests were all very nice and cared for each other. As a single and only German guest with English as a foreign language, I did not feel isolated at all. Everyone was very nice and explained very friendly when I had to ask the meaning of words. I learned so much. Alison, Sarah and Nicola all did great jobs. Their talks and lectures were all very instructive, graphic and vivid. The tour was just fantastic."
"As an organised event, this was way out on its own in terms of professionalism. Alison was a wonderful host, so personable and friendly, and her knowledge is enormous. I so enjoyed the other historians, and marvel at the energy that you all, as a group of young women, bring to this discipline. It will be the richer for it. Well done, to all of you....... regards, and sincere thanks."
"My overall experience, despite being unwell for almost all of the trip, was wonderful. Beginning with the pre-tour support, then the very inclusive and friendly hosting by Alison and her co-historians, and then with the sites, daily travel through lovely country, superb hotels and great food, this was an outstanding tour. From day one we were immersed ‘in period’ and stimulated by the continuous flow of knowledge through to the final day. Exceptional to have full access to Alison and the other historians at all times. The talks and debates were very much a bonus, and the exposure to alternative views added a richness to the experience. Knowing that we were hearing the very latest in historical research was very special. For anyone with even a passing interest in mediaeval English history, this tour is a must. It is quite unique in its approach, and allows ‘guests’ to become immersed in, and to almost relive, the particular period of history that is the focus of the tour. Because there is an intellectual journey as well as a physical one, and there is so much information to be absorbed and considered, it is quite a demanding experience. But so very valuable! Congratulations to the whole AWT Team, and particularly Alison for being such a gracious and warm host, sharing her vast knowledge so generously. Thank you."
"Thank you again to you, Alison, Sarah, Nicola, John and Jo for such a wonderful and inspiring experience. I have been raving about this to anyone who asks me about our vacation. We really hope to join you again for the Lions Rampant Tour in 2015. Thank you! We had a fabulous tour experience. Although there was an itinerary, you were also flexible, such as adding on Leicester, and revealing treats like Cheneygates [on] the day. Traffic and road closures were all dealt with equanimity. Even bad weather didn't hold you back, so its commendable that tour talks in bracing winds kept going. As staff, all of you were always available and approachable. As our first time on a tour, and a special historical one at that, we felt very well taken care of and appreciated all the work that went into the tour before and during. A really enriching experience."
"Unbelievable! Still waking up at night remembering bits. Can't wait for next year!"
"I read all the previous raving reviews which made my expectations even higher. The tour did not disappoint. I was pleased with the itinerary, tour personnel, sites, and wonderful company throughout. The opportunity to be allowed access to some of the sites was a treat! Any holiday I would plan on my own would never be as comprehensive.The sites, talks, seminars were all excellent. But the best part was being with other enthusiasts who were also interested in the era."
"This was a trip of a lifetime and I thoroughly enjoyed it and cannot wait for the Lion In Winter tour in 2015. This met or exceeded all of my expectations.Prior to booking, I had written some specific questions about free time to see various sites in St Albans and York and how often Alison would be guiding us. Everything was as she indicated it would be in her personal reply to me. I realize that catering to the needs and expectations of a large group can be difficult, but I do feel that, where appropriate, sufficient choice was given so that those people who needed some down time to relax had that option while those of us approaching indefatigable had lots of other stimulating options. I was pleasantly surprised by the Kingsway. I generally do not like to spend lots of money on London hotels, given that I never see the room, but it was a very nice and tasteful and not too corporate hotel in a great location, again giving guests plenty of options for how to spend their free time. The Shakespeare Mercure Hotel was also very nice, also in a very convenient location. And of course, everyone LOVED Middlethorpe Hall. Everything about that place was perfect. But what I was most pleased about, given that I was travelling as a single, is that I was not “shoved” into an uncomfortable twin bed (especially given the understandable “single upcharge”). In each location I had a very roomy king size bed. Alison herself mentioned this is a pet peeve of hers (small beds for singles) so this was a wonderful surprise and just one way my expectations were exceeded. There was a good mix of the standard and predictable (Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, etc) as well as the wonderful surprises and exclusive access, such as Cheneygates, the private chapel in Lincoln, etc.. I really enjoyed the talks as a wonderfully educational way of passing the time between sites. Clearly a lot of thought went into them, and it was nice that multiple people spoke to us so as not to fatigue either speaker or listener too much. Alison obviously surrounds herself with a wonderfully talented staff and guest historians. Everyone was absolutely wonderful to get to know, especially John and Jo, who literally held my hand during the unfortunate hospital trip. I also liked the variety of guest speakers on the coach and at the included meals. The treatment of guests by AWT was first class all the way. The Lancaster & York tour was the trip of a lifetime and my best vacation ever. I was treated like a member of the extended family by everyone involved with Alison Weir Tours, from Alison herself to the coach drivers. Everyone was completely approachable and seemed to be genuinely enjoying what they were doing. Traveling with Alison through the Wars of the Roses in luxury like an aristocrat - thoroughly enjoyable, educational, and entertaining! Where do I sign up for the next tour? I don’t care if the itinerary hasn’t been started yet, put me on the list! I really cannot praise my experience highly enough. All my expectations were met and almost always exceeded in terms of the quality of the lodging, the delectability of the included meals, the knowledge of the historians, the care taken in choosing appropriate sites of historical interest, and the camaraderie of my fellow guests, who continued to amaze me with their passion, knowledge and interest."
For John Marston, Tour Director:
"I wanted to thank you and your wife for all the work you do to make sure we all have a good time. It is greatly appreciated."
"John Marston was very helpful in booking our airport transfer, extra lodging in London and post tour suggestions."
"John and Jo - lovely, gracious and always helpful. Any ‘blips’ were resolved quietly, calmly and efficiently. Jo’s horticultural knowledge was an added bonus."
For Sarah Gristwood, Guest Historian:
"Thank you very much for making our recent trip with Alison so special. It would not have been the same without you."
For Nicola Tallis, Guide Historian:
"I wanted to extend another warm thank you for the wonderful time I had on the Lancaster and York tour. It was lovely to meet you. You are a natural. I can't wait to see what you will accomplish in the years to come."
For Siobhan Clarke, Guide Historian:
"It was so wonderful to get to meet you on the L&Y tour. I had such a great time that I am already getting my name on the 2015 list. You are a treasure! It was my honor to have met you and the rest of the staff."
"Siobhan kept us well informed as to the necessities—i.e. anticipated weather, attire, menus, lodging etc. Also very happy with the extra options offered
(guided tours with Jackie Clemson and Siobhan)."
"Let me add to my thoughts expressed to you on our final day, this was a wonderful experience which was initially created by the exceptional support you provided to me, and I assume all of us, prior to our embarking on the Tour."
"I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your talk on the bus. Wow! It was wonderful!!! Thanks so much."
"Exceptional pre tour support from Siobhan, way beyond normal expectations of the usual tour. Her friendly and continuing willingness to address a myriad of concerns created a great atmosphere to embark upon a tour that was way out of the ordinary."
PRAISE FOR THE GLORIANA TOUR, SEPTEMBER 2012:
"Thank you SO much Alison; it was excellent all the way around."
"Alison, you are brilliant, passionate and wonderful. What a privilege and joy this has been."
"It was marvellous meeting you. Thank you for all the fabulous gifts, and a truly unforgettable trip."
"Alison is more than an historian, she is a walking encyclopedia. Many of us possess passion for Elizabeth I, the Tudors or other epochs in English History and know a few facts; never have I seen someone pull facts, figures and stories out as if they were all neatly filed! Better than that is the fact that Alison was the first to say that new discoveries can alter her amazingly thorough research. She is a seeker of truth! (Truly Arthurian!) To find all of this in an easygoing, down-to-earth, friendly person was the icing on the cake. Alison is a national treasure. I awoke thinking how wonderful it would be to still be basking in the glow of intellectual stimulation (such lively discussions on the bus!), glorious buildings filled with the spirits of amazing characters, lush accommodations where the ‘inner princess’ can feel at home, terrific like-minded travelling companions and someone to take care of everything (as Alison, Sarah, Siobhan, John and Jo did soooo well)….boy, do I miss it! Travelling with Alison is to touch the 16th century."
"What a delightful idea you had to take us all back into history with you. I had a wonderful time, and am going home with tons of new stories to share."
"I cannot begin to tell you how much I LOVED Gloriana and all you wonderful, beautiful ladies... and John. Without question one of the highlights of my life.
Thank you Alison for all your tireless work. You and Sarah (LOVE that voice!!!) and Siobhan made history come alive!!"
"I, too, send my thanks to all for making our nine days together pure magic. At this point, I am suffering from severe "Gloriana" withdrawal. Although I am physically sitting in my office sipping my Starbucks, my head and heart are still firmly immersed in "Princely Pleasures", hides, and Amy Robsart's mysterious death. Thank you Alison and Siobhan for bringing the 16th century so vividly to life -- and to John and Jo for easing our time travels with gracious efficiency. Without question, when I look back over my life experiences, memories of "Gloriana" will be amongst the most precious."
"Words can't say how wonderful this trip was. Thanks to all who made it possible, those who travelled and were good company, John and Jo for making the trains run on time, and Alison and Siobhan for their passion and presentations."
"I want to thank you for a very wonderful trip, you all offered us such a wonderful experience and were so gracious and hospitable, I was left with the best possible impression of British people. I hope that I can do another tour some other time!"
"Alison, we really had such a wonderful time. Many thanks to you, Siobhan, Sarah, John, and Jo for bringing us a fantastic, fascinating, one-of-a-kind experience! Now, about Mary, Queen of Scots..."
"Alison, you gave us such a wonderful experience. I've been interested/fascinated with Anne Boleyn since I was fifteen. To have walked in her footsteps, to spend time with fellow history geeks, but most of all to know the care and thought that went into the planning of this trip truly makes it the trip of a lifetime for me (and I'm sure with all of the others on the trip.) Words could never express how much I enjoyed myself! Plus spending time with someone whose books I've read and thoroughly enjoyed, that was also a tremendous treat!"
"Alison!!!!!! It was simply the most wonderful trip!!! The trip of a LIFETIME! I can't wait to do the Mary Queen of Scots tour, I've already myself to the waiting list. Thanks again for such a wonderful tour and all the presents and all the hard work you put into it."
"I had so much fun on the tour, and your books have meant so much to me. You are a special lady!"
"Thank you everyone for a series of historical, hysterical, and extraordinary experiences."
"I am finding it a little hard to settle back in to real life. I actually cried on the plane coming home because it had to end. I enjoyed meeting all of you so much. How wonderful it is to meet people who have the same appreciation for Ellizabeth and the Tudors as I do. I think I made some true friends, and hope to see the group together again in the future. Thanks to Alison, Siobahn, John and Jo for taking such good care of us. You made this the Trip of a Lifetime!!!"
"The tour was filled with magic moments. From the detailed knowledge of Alison, Siobhan, Sarah and the other historians to the flawlessly executed logistics by John and Jo to the pure pleasure of meeting and getting to know each, it was a trip full of joy. I too was a little sad at the end and I found myself thinking of many of you and the moments we shared during my remaining three days in London."
"This was truly the trip of a lifetime! I have never had a vacation before where I really did not want to go home at the end . . . until this one!"
"I can’t complain about a single thing. It was truly the time of my life."
"Siobhan was right when she told me last December that we guests would be great friends by the end of the trip. Thank you Alison, Siobhan and guest historians for your knowledge and passion for medieval England. You brought the stories and characters back to life! I'm so happy to have found a group of people who share the same enthusiasm for this time in history. Thank you John and Jo for your tireless work. The logistics were absolutely flawless. You took the worry out of traveling to and in a foreign country by myself. Thank you guests, my new friends, for your many kindnesses. I so enjoyed meeting and talking with you all! And thank you again Alison and Siobhan for your vision of creating such a specialized tour. Honestly, this was a dream come true for me. Back in 2008 when I decided I wanted to visit all the places I had read about, I thought there was no way I'd be able to see all these places or how I'd get there. You took care of it all in one fell swoop and with such first class accommodations! It all was absolutely perfect."
"I don't need to repeat how wonderful the trip was and how often I catch myself thinking about those moments and places. INCREDIBLE! Thank you Alison, Siobhan, John, Joe and Sarah. You were fantastic!"
"It was a lovely time. Wonderful group of people, lots of laughs and lots of learning. Thank you Alison, Siobhan, John, Jo, Sarah, and everyone who worked hard so we could have fun."
"I'm staying in the 1500's. I am. I am. Thank you everyone for a series of historical, hysterical, and extraordinary experiences."
"I want to say what a glorious time I had on our Gloriana tour! Didn't we get the treat seeing the UK at its best, following a royal wedding, the diamond jubilee and the Olympics? I have to say the British people were some of the nicest and gracious hosts, from the waiters to the salesmen to the hotel staff to our own very special tour personnel. Alison, I've been a fan of your books for many years. To meet you is a treat, but to go on a tour of Anne Boleyn and Elizabeth sites was truly a dream come true. Your down-to-earth manner and the thought and care that you put into the planning of this trip made it truly spectacular. And I'm always going to remember you walking with your bag handing out goodies to all of us spoiled kids like you were Father Christmas himself. So many books and treats, it's overwhelming! Siobhan, I so enjoyed getting to meet you and to learn in-depth about Tudor history. Thank you for your kind nature and for all of the research and time you put into preparing lecture materials for our bus lessons. John and Jo, you had perhaps the hardest job of all, to make sure we were where we were supposed to be at all times. Mark and Frank were two of the most patient coach drivers I've ever seen in my life. Mark actually went to the store when we were touring Kenilworth and bought my sister cold medicine when she was down and out. Now that is above and beyond the call of duty! Having Sarah along was a little extra spark of enthusiasm (not that Alison or Siobhan needed it) that just made those debates and discussions a history geek's fantasy come true. That Richard III debate is definitely one of the highlights of my trip. I also loved Chris Skidmore's talk on Amy Robsart's death. To my fellow travellers, I hope that we see each other again on the Mary, Qeen of Scots tour. It was wonderful to meet new friends. I think I'm finally ready to jump back into my regular life. It was so hard because I'm still looking for some VIP treatment. You all spoiled us rotten, but gave us the trip and experience of a lifetime. I truly hope to see you all again in Scotland in 2014. God bless you all!"
"Others have very eloquently stated the obvious, that this was a very special trip indeed and I concur ten-thousand fold. It is a special surprise when one’s (high) expectations are not only met but surpassed! I feel like I have been to “Elizabeth I ..’mecca’”! I so miss the feeling of privilege by having every wish and need handled before even expressed! I have taken many tours to different wonderful places with top notch companies that performed well. Never have I felt so happy with the entire process….from Alison (this is understatement), and Siobhan (a real Tudor lady), Sarah (I loved the discussions), John and Jo (both so lovely)… but it was a joy to be with everyone in the group. Everyone was great."
"This was as close to going back to the time of Elizabeth I as could be. Atmospheric and beautiful surroundings, intellectual stimulation, great care for guests… enthusiasm and professionalism at its zenith. Worth every farthing!"
"I wanted to thank you again for just a really wonderful experience. My mom and I had a fantastic time."
"The entire trip was just lovely. Of course, the intellectual stimulation was so fun. It was a joy to be on the trip! You made it easy for me to be happy! I am still awaiting the rest of my spirit to return from England…"
"Siobhan, thanks for all your help on the tour, finding me a place to sit and answering all my questions. Your lectures on the bus were fabulous and I always enjoyed them. You looked stunning in your beautiful costume, which I’d been looking forward to seeing. Thanks for making the tour so interesting and enjoyable for me."
"When you treat people like they are VIPS, what can you say, we just want more!! You guys seriously take the cake as far as running a tour group. I could never tell you all how wonderful that experience was."
"Siobhan, you, Alison, John, and Jo made everything work effortlessly, and your own amazing amount of knowledge greatly contributed to the success of the tour. AWT provides a top quality product, and I look forward to future tours with you."
"Alison, just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the Gloriana tour. You did such a great job in devising the itinerary, and your command of your subject is astounding. I was already a big fan from your books, but now I am truly in awe! Your entire team made the tour function effortlessly. I appreciated the talks (and books!) provided by the guest historians, and really loved meeting Sarah Gristwood."
"Excellent. The Gloriana Tour will always be amongst my most precious memories. It far exceeded my expectations in every way. Hever was extraordinary. My room was literally jaw-dropping. I loved that it didn’t feel like a hotel at all, but rather… at home with the Boleyns. The historical experience was A+, the talks and seminars were excellent and I find it difficult to rate them individually. Alison and Siobhan’s knowledge and passion are truly extraordinary and I feel blessed to have been able to listen and, hopefully, absorb their knowledge. Sarah was an amazing addition and the energetic debates were a high point – both enlightening and entertaining. Congratulations to all on a job well done."
"The AWT staff are outstanding – charming, helpful, and efficient. I loved this tour and would do little to change it. It was wonderful to be with a group of people with a shared interest, and to be led by experts in the field. I really appreciate the opportunity to hear lectures by a variety of historians. It is so enriching to meet the authors of books that you have read and admired. I enjoyed the many group dinners on the tour, both for the good food and the opportunity to get to know the AWT staff members as well as fellow guests on the tour. As many people have commented, this was the trip of a lifetime. I never thought I would get to see so many of the places about which I have read for so many years. I am really looking forward to future tours."
"I loved every moment of the tour and after filling in all the boxes on the feedback form I thought I would simply say “excellent” to all of them and send you this email. The tour was most beautifully organised and I must congratulate you all."
"Yes, I know we paid for the tour, but it was so unbelievably wonderful - I still can't quite believe what a great time we had. It was just incredible! We had the best time - it truly was the trip of a lifetime. Thanks again for making our trip so very lovely and fun and informative."
"You will just never really understand how much I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED that trip. I have wanted to go to England my entire life and to actually see the things that I've read about for the last forty years was just.. .indescribable and amazing. I know we PAID for it, but THANK YOU AGAIN so much for making it so interesting and so much fun. You are just a fun, fun, interesting person and so knowledgeable.... and so sweet and such a good Santa Claus."
ONE GUEST'S EXPERIENCE:
"One of the most fabulous trips of my life began with a tiny notice in the book section of the Boston Sunday Globe, last January (2012), announcing "ALISON WEIR TOURS" with her website, www.alisonweirtours.com. Recognizing the name of one of my very favorite British royal authors and historians, I was immediately intrigued. Following up, I was informed that the tour was already sold out, but due to the cancellation of two people, I was shortly granted a place.
The tour was called "GLORIANA: IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF QUEEN ELIZABETH I AND ANNE BOLEYN" - two of my favorite people in history. The title alone was one I couldn't resist, and after an interesting summer of Tudor reading, from a booklist sent by Alison Weir herself, I flew to London.
The GLORIANA TOUR began with a welcome luncheon at the Bloomsbury Hotel, where I met Alison Weir for the first time, a very charming woman, with an effusive, out-going manner, who knows EVERYTHING Tudor! At each luncheon place were gifts from her - (the first of many gifts that we were to receive during the tour) - one of her books, and a stained glass Tudor rose ornament. Afterwards, our luxury motor coach took us to Hever Castle in Kent, home of Anne Boleyn, where Henry VIII courted her. Lord Astor renovated the old castle in the 1900s, adding a wing of accomm¬odation, of which we had exclusive use for three nights.
That evening we enjoyed a drinks reception in one of the Tudor rooms, greeted by ladies in Tudor costume, and observed by a fairly benign Henry VIII from his portrait on the wall. A gala dinner was served in the Great Hall, with Tudor music, and one of the twenty-three lectures we were given on the tour by Alison or her colleagues, or one of the several authors who gave us their newest books, signed. Every woman received a replica of Anne Boleyn's neck-lace - the one she is seen wearing in her portraits: a pearl circlet, with a pendant initial "B", from which dangle more pearls. We all immediately put them on! I've been wearing mine Before dinner we had a private guided tour of the castle (no tourists but us!), where we saw authentic portraits of Anne and Henry, and in a glass case Anne's small prayerbook, with words that she had written in it. '
In the following days, we visited Penshurst .-Place, which has a perfectly preserved medieval hall from 1340, and is the home of the Sidney family, whose ancestor was the Elizabethan courtier-poet Sir Philip Sidney, born in the house; Salle Church, burial place of Boleyn ancestors, with an ancient brass of Anne's great-grandfather, Sir Geoffrey Boleyn, in the nave; the lovely old church, turning golden-red in the sunset as we left, has reputedly experienced ghost sightings, namely a white hare which dashed through the church, supposedly the spirit of Anne Boleyn; Blickling Hall, believed to be the birthplace of Anne; Burghley House, England's largest and grandest Elizabethan house, built by William Cecil, 1st Lord Burghley and Secretary of State to Elizabeth I for 40 years; Hatfield House, a Jacobean house built by Robert Cecil, son of William, who also served the Queen; Elizabeth spent her childhood years here; I was able to see the Great Hall in the Old Palace, where the young Queen held her first Council of State after her accession to the throne in 1558; Harvington Hall, a Tudor manor house known for its seven priests' holes; the fabulous ruins of Kenilworth Castle, where the Virgin Queen was entertained by Robert Dudley, the man she might have married; and of course, Hampton Court, where we spent a whole day seeing the huge Tudor kitchens and the beautiful blue and gold chapel No Tudor stone was left unturned, thanks to Alison!
Our final day was given to the Tower of London, admiring the crown jewels in the newly renovated Jewel House, seeking Anne Boleyn's grave in St. Peter ad Vincula (now we know she is NOT in the grave where they say she is, according to Alison!) We gazed at Traitors' gate, through which many condemned souls came to meet their ghastly fate. The execution site, always thronged by tourists, has been completely re-modeled, and is now a modern large glass circle, with a cushion-like center, representing the site. The Jewel House, also newly renovated, had no queue, fortunately, so we went in at leisure, on our own, and could take our time seeing the crowns, swords, and plate, and also films of the Coronation of June 2, 1953. We did the Tower Walk along the ramparts, from one tower into another, overlooking the Thames, and with displays in each. In the Beauchamp Tower are fascinating inscriptions and initials on the walls, carved by various prisoners. We could make out "IANE", for Lady Jane Grey, queen of nine days, executed by Queen Mary.
That evening, for our final event of the tour, we enjoyed a night-time dinner cruise on the Thames, and each lady received a lovely bottle of Queen Elizabeth's scent in a purple velvet bag, with the original recipe engraved on the bottle. Truly an unforgettable trip with excellent authors and lecturers, wonderful sights, 4* hotels (one was an old abbey), superb meals, interesting people - and not a drop of rain for the whole nine days!"
PRAISE FOR THE TUDOR TREASURES TOUR, JUNE 2011:
“This tour effectively brought together the hearts and minds of a group that shared a universal quest to expand its knowledge of familiar historical figures, places and events that changed the course of history. Each member, whether as scholars, staff or guests, contributed unique qualities and gifts that enhanced the human experience of glorious enlightenment, friendship, laughter, tears and wistful longing to cherish the fond memories of one of the best weeks of our lives.”
“Dreams come true. Heart-felt thanks!”
“You underestimate the importance of the environment and ambience that you created not only during the tour, but, importantly, before it, through emails.”
“Thank you! It was so fun – can’t wait till next time!”
“We loved not only meeting Alison, but the other historians were such a treat as well (along with the entire staff of course.) Everyone made us feel very welcome. Sarah spending so much time with us was an unexpected, and much enjoyed treat! I loved not only seeing the sights, but learning about clothing, lifestyle, food, etc.”
“An amazing opportunity to meet the Tudors with a great group, led by outstanding, brilliant tour leaders.”
“Thank you for everything. I couldn’t be happier!”
“Truly a trip of a lifetime. I’d like to say that the attention and care given pre-trip was wonderful. Communication was very good and I felt I knew Siobhan before I even met her.”
“Thanks for an unforgettable experience.”
“Great job provided by the staff - especially John when we had little hiccups along the way! We so appreciate the effort to go the extra mile to make things better!”
“Thank you for a wonderful experience.”
“Most welcoming and exceptional at every level – well above and beyond what was expected – and greatly appreciated.”
“Thank you for the trip of a lifetime!”
“The tour was truly something to cherish for a lifetime! We have been reliving in our hearts many wonderful moments with a chuckle here and a wonderment there. I've been enjoying the music and books so generously given - it's fun now to hear the actual ‘voices’ of the authors as I read their words.”
“Thanks for the ultimate ‘groupie’ experience! It was wonderful…”
“I had very high expectations for the tour, and I was not disappointed in any way. It is a perfect vacation for anyone who loves history. It was a dream come true to visit the Tudor houses and palaces with Alison Weir herself! Before the trip I considered it a once-in-a-lifetime trip, but I am already waiting to see what is planned for next year! The gifts were also wonderful and so appreciated. They were such a surprise and the perfect selections. I will always treasure my signed books and my lovely Anne Boleyn necklace. Thank you!”
“Thank you for everything. You are a gem!”
“I had the most incredible 9 days! We visited wonderful places accompanied by Alison each day! We also met three other historians. We all learned so uch and had a wonderful trip. I would recommend her tours to anyone who loves history!”
“Thank you for the most wonderful trip ever!”
“Superb quality of events, guest support and personal individual attention”
“The tour provided quite a splendid overview of important places and people.”
“I could not have asked for more. Perfect! I also loved the way that Sarah, Kate, Siobhan, and Tracy all added their own touch as a supplement to Alison’s expertise. John is priceless, because he can still smile even while I am asking him for a new hotel room.”
“Perfect - it was an excellent trip.”
“We really enjoyed meeting all of you and thanks so much to Alison, Siobhan, John, Jo and Sarah for making this a beyond fantastic trip!!”
“I loved my AWT experience. If you love history, there is no better way to see England! I hope to do another tour in the future!”
“It is definitely time to start saving up for the next AWT wherever it may take us!”
“Thank you so much for everything! I will always have wonderful memories of my trip with you!”
“A BIG thank you to you. The entire trip was wonderful - and it was such a pleasure being with Alison, Siobhan, Sarah and John. And I love the Royal Treasures book, it already has pride of place in my living room. I look forward to seeing the itineraries for next year, to begin to get excited about coming again! I know your problem will be too many travellers as soon as the word gets out on what you offer. It is truly unique in the marketplace. Can't wait to hear your next steps and I am hoping to join you again next year. Just a note to say that whoever I tell about our wonderful trip wants to know more and how to join. I believe they would go anywhere with you.”
“A most sincere thank you to Alison, Siobhan, Sarah, Kate, Tracy, John and Jo for an excellent tour. It will always be a memory that I will treasure.”
“It was such a wonderful experience. Thanks to you all for making it so very special. It is a first class tour for anyone interested in Tudor history. In my opinion no one can compare to Alison Weir. Her ‘History Girls’ lecturers are all first rate. A truly wonderful experience. I highly recommend it.”
“Alison Weir’s Tudor Treasures Tour is all about access. When you arrive with Alison Weir and her guest historians, you are treated like an honoured guest and often given access rarely or never given to the general public. Alison’s enthusiasm for her subject is exhilarating. Sarah Gristwood is a rock star!”
“As an avid reader of Ms. Weir’s books with a serious interest in Tudor history, I have been searching for a tour of this type for years. To share this experience with an author I admire and others with an academic interest in the period is an amazing opportunity.”
“A wonderful chance to share my love of all things Tudor with a fantastic group of like-minded people – I should say friends, because that’s what they’ve become.”
PRAISE FOR AWT'S DAY TOURS
Hampton Court, July 2012
"I had the most amazing day at Hampton Court on Saturday, courtesy of Alison Weir Tours. Alison and Siobhan where fantastic hosts, so engaging and such a real joy to listen to and engage in conversation with. I absolutely loved talking about historical fiction/non-fiction books and films with Alison over lunch. The only downside was when it ended - I just didn't want it to end. Definitely worth every penny, and I shall be saving up for the Tower day tour in September."
"Thank you both, Siobhan and Alison, for a wonderful day on Saturday. It was a very special Mothers' Day present from my lovely daughter and you both made everyone feel as though they were your own special guest. It will be a day I will always remember and treasure. I learnt so much about a subject I really enjoy reading about, and my experience with you both brought it all to life."
"Thank you so much for such an enjoyable day at Hampton Court, it was absolutely fantastic."
The Tower of London, September 2012
"A moment to reflect, a wonderful day at the Tower; if ever I wanted to hold back time and make one day into three, then Saturday was one of those times."
"I just wanted to thank you and Nicola again for a wonderful day on Saturday. I really enjoyed it. It was extremely interesting and enjoyable."
"Thank you for a wonderful and magical London Tower tour last Saturday, I found it so very interesting and full of information which gave me a short glimpse into the past."
"I just wanted to thank you for a great day at the Tower."
"I couldn't fault the day in any way."
"One of the best days of my life."
"This is by far the most organised, helpful and friendly tour I have ever been on. Thank you all so much."
"Never before had I experienced such great pre-tour care. Siobhan, John and Alison offered very informative and personal help."