Alison Weir Tours





Join Alison Weir and Sarah Gristwood for AWT's most ambitious and luxurious tour yet, an 11-night royal progress visiting some of Britain's greatest historic houses and castles as we trace the footsteps of England's queens from the Norman Conquest of 1066 to our present sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II. Their life stories are fascinating, vivid and stirring, packed with tragedy, human interest, high drama and even comedy. Love and hate, betrayal, murder, war, ambition, adultery and mystery - they are all part of the saga that will unfold during the tour. In the course of a comprehensive enrichment programme of site tours and talks, Alison and her team of historians will strip away centuries of romantic mythology and legends that obscure the truth about these queens, and delve beyond the prejudice and credulity in contemporary sources to achieve a more balanced and authentic view of these royal women.

Guests will stay in luxury hotels and historic, beautifully apppointed inns, dine like royalty in historic houses and castles, and enjoy the privileged access for which AWT have become renowned. Please note that the tour is nearly sold out.

Saturday 6th June to Wednesday 17th June 2015 - SOLD OUT

This tour will be led by Alison Weir, who will be accompanied throughout by guest historian Sarah Gristwood. Our assistant historian Nicola Tallis will accompany the tour throughout. Full details of tour personnel and other guest historians will be announced later on.  

11 nights, staying:
3 nights at South Lodge Hotel, Horsham, West Sussex 5*
2 nights at Bailiffscourt Hotel, Arundel, West Sussex 4*
2 nights at the White Swan, Stratford-upon-Avon 4*
2 nights at the George Inn, Stamford, Lincs. 4*
2 nights at Chilston Park Hotel, Kent 4*
Included meals:
Welcome buffet lunch at the Kingsway Hall Hotel, London
Welcome dinner at Penshurst Place
Dinner at South Lodge Hotel
Dinner at the Spread Eagle Hotel, Midhurst
Dinner at Bailiffscourt Hotel
Dinner at the White Swan Hotel, Stratford-upon-Avon
Light lunch at the Saye and Sele Arms, by Broughton Castle
Dinner at the George Inn, Stamford
Light lunch at Burghley House
Dinner at Chilston Park Hotel
Farewell dinner at Leeds Castle
Afternoon tea at the Kingsway Hall Hotel, London
Penshurst Place
Ightham Mote 
Hever Castle
Kew Palace and Queen Charlotte’s Cottage
Ham House
Arundel Castle
Osborne House, Isle of Wight
Blenheim Palace
Hellens Manor 
Sulgrave Manor
Broughton Castle
Sandringham House  
Castle Rising
Burghley House
Geddington Eleanor Cross
Dover Castle
Leeds Castle
Kensington Palace
Marlborough House


"Flying home tomorrow after my fourth Alison Weir Tour. Love sharing all that English history with my tribe and some truly wonderful historians."

"Thank you for all the fascinating talks that you gave and for providing us with the opportunity to visit so many wonderful historical sites. The fabulous dinner at Leeds Castle last night will stay long in the memory."

"AWT certainly knows how to put on a tour!  All pre-tour information was very clear and it was easy to contact you.  Especially appreciated John's arrangement of the driver to pick us up and take us to the airport in London.  It was one less thing for us to worry about!  Great variety [of meals] and well prepared. Loved the drinks receptions before dinner, felt so special. The Baron of Beef was like Christmas dinner. Great variety of sites. The presentations were very informative. I liked having many different historians as they had varied ways of presenting (nice to have some slide shows; Marilyn Roberts was great). Loved when the historians had "discussions" with differences of opinions that proves that history is very much alive. I was very impressed with the care and concern all on the staff had for the tour goers.  You were always concerned for our well-being, comfort and enjoyment.  We felt like we were your friends and that you really cared about us.  It was special to share meals with you and the way you rotated among the tables so we all got to visit with you.  And the gifts--what a special touch! What a special tour!  Everything ran smoothly and was so well organized and even little problems were handled efficiently. The Alison Weir group was wonderful in taking care of us and presenting fascinating information on the Great Queens. The guest historians also added their own personalities and facts to the presentation.  And the grand finale, Charles Spencer at the banqueting hall of Henry VIII was an evening never to be forgotten. Again, thank you all for a wonderful tour full of special memories of special historians and fascinating locations that I would recommend to anyone who wants to know the real history of England."

"Thank you all for the most magnificent time."

"The Great Queens Tour was a truly fabulous experience. Everyone at AWT should be very proud – it was an ambitious itinerary and you delivered it all and more. The pre-tour care was perfect. I enjoyed all of the meals and I was looked after as a vegetarian. The sites were all fabulous. It is amazing how many we managed to see. The guided tours prior to the sites being open to the public were great. Prowling around the attics at Kew (not usually open to the public) was a highlight. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the talks and now have many more books that I want to read. The talks and seminars heightened the whole experience.
You are all truly amazing and deserve huge amounts of credit for what you achieved. The level of service could not have been higher. This was my second AWT tour and it lived up completely to my very high expectations. It was an amazing 11 day progress around England, guided by experts. The AWT team could not have done more to ensure their guests had a trip of a lifetime. We had lots of laughs, we stayed at amazing hotels and enjoyed superb dinners. We saw so many fabulous sites and heard fascinating talks and seminars – it was a truly wonderful tour."

"Thank you is so inadequate. How do you end a 10-day "Royal Progress" when travelling with author and historian Alison Weir? Dinner in the Henry VIII Hall at the exquisite Leeds Castle of course. With Charles, 9th Earl Spencer."

"A truly amazing tour - only Alison could come up with an itinerary and access like that."

"Alison Weir Tours are a wonderful combination of interesting topics, expert historical commentary, good fellowship and surperior arrangements. They are a history buff's dream vacation."

"The whole experience was just as fabulous as I hoped!  The AWT staff was amazing—they were on the same intense schedule as us but also working hard to make it wonderful for us.  They were consistently cheerful, personable, and helpful. Especially with a larger group with varied abilities and interests such as we were, it was quite a feat to balance all of our needs and make us feel special."

"I think so fondly of The Great Queens Tour and of all the wonderful expeditions and lectures we had and, especially, of all the friendships that were forged on tour. Isn’t it so uplifting that a whole bunch - as the Americans would say - of strangers can come together and so enjoy each other’s company."

"Thanks Alison Weir and Sarah Gristwood; every day has been astounding with access I never dreamed possible. I will be writing about this journey for many years."

"It was another amazing tour with Alison and her exceptional team of professionals.  It was everything I hoped it would be and more!  I simply can’t say enough good things about the itinerary and the level of preparation and planning I know was involved.  Alison and her team always makes it look so effortless but I certainly know it isn’t! As always, the level of communication prior to the tour was exceptional. I have never been part of a tour group where so much information was given ahead of time and it really does go a long way to already make you feel like you are part of a special group and event. The service that exists pre-, during and post trip is unequalled. I felt the variety of sites we visited was excellent – they were all distinctly different from one another and had their unique attributes which provided a wonderful overview of the topic of Great Queens.  I feel like I received a terrific sampling of historic places of significance that were truly a pleasure to visit. The talks are exceptional and are always so well prepared and delivered that I feel like I am in a living history class.  I always look forward to the talks because I not only learn something new about a topic I am familiar with but to have new topics brought to my attention that I don’t know anything about is wonderful, too, and encourages me to do my own reading on the topics separately.  Absolutely amazing!!!  {Overall level of service:] A first class act!!! Simply outstanding from start to finish.  Everyone is so professional but at the same time it feels like I am traveling with my family and I know that if I needed assistance with anything I would receive it not only promptly but also with a true desire to be helpful. This is one of the many things that sets Alison’s tours apart from any other I have been on.  I am not just with a group of people but I am with close friends and family when I am on Alison’s tours!  The other thing that is so refreshing is no one feels intimidated when they need to ask for help or that they are putting anyone out.  Alison and her team genuinely care about their guests and what a lovely feeling that is. The trip was everything I had hoped it would be [and] it exceeded my expectations in every way imaginable.  It was wonderful to reconnect with my old friends but it was lovely to make new friends, too, who share the same interests and enthusiasm.  Alison’s tours are unparalleled – not only because of the unique perspective she brings but because of the exceptional team she works with to bring such memorable experiences to people who share her love of history. I very much look forward to my next tour and can’t possibly recommend her tours highly enough.  They are, without a doubt, exceptional from every aspect but the best part is the people who make it not only a fun and pleasurable experience but who also become part of your family."

"It is a real privilege to travel with these amazing historians! They bring history fully alive!"

"I loved the tour. Looking forward to Richard III next spring. I can't say enough about how wonderful John is in making arrangements. I loved every bit of this tour. The selection of historians was outstanding. I can't say enough about the staff. John and Jo handle everything so very well. And it is such a treat to be in such close proximity to all of you - truly I am in awe that I can rub elbows with such eminent historians and hear your insights." 

"Thank you Alison Weir for this wonderful experience, for all the memories, for all the new acquired learning and specially for your infinite kindness in looking after us always for it to be an amazing exciting adventure."

"I have been on two previous Alison Weir tours; each one has been an amazing experience. Alison is such a caring and enthusiastic host, which greatly enhances the experience. I love the charming gifts she gives us. They are all over my house and are a reminder of the great experiences I have had on these wonderful tours. The pre-tour care is very good. The reading list is very good so I know I am getting the best sources. If we have any questions about the area we are visiting,  we get very thorough and timely replies. I have very much enjoyed the hotels we stayed at during the trip. The thing I love the best is that they are all different in style and feel, so it makes for a very interesting trip. They all have a lot of character and the contrast is very enjoyable.  The meals are all delicious and healthy.  The elegant settings that we dined in made the experience unforgettable.  Being able to dine on delicious food in such beautiful settings as Leeds Castle makes me feel like royalty.  I enjoyed all the sites we visited on this tour. It was especially nice to have some tours before the sites
were officially open. I felt very privileged to visit Marlborough House. Sites like these are very difficult to visit on one's own. The fact that I can spend time with the historians whose books I had been reading in preparation for the trip is very exciting to me. The historians are very gracious and enjoyable to be with, as well as giving me a glimpse into history that I would not ordinarily see. The knowledge of the historians and their passion for their subjects is very impressive and makes the trip so memorable. I have learned more about British history in the past several years than I have in all the years I spent in school and reading on my own.I really enjoy the talks on the bus as we travel to the sites. They are very interesting and make our visits even more meaningful. I particularly enjoyed the talks by Marilyn Roberts. Her knowledge and perspective as well as her great sense of humour were very enjoyable. The practical aspects of the tour are handled very professionally and efficiently. We can just relax and enjoy the trip knowing that everything is going to go smoothly. John did an amazing job of coordinating the hotels, luggage, and anything that might inadvertently pop up. When there is a problem, a solution is always found very quickly.  I always feed comfortable knowing the Jo is there making sure that the bus won’t leave without me!  She is also always around during the site visits to make sure everything goes smoothly. I thought it was good that you provided for leisure time to those who only wanted to visit one site, while still providing more activities for those who were up for it. I tended to want to participate in everything, but it was nice to know that I had the option of a rest when and if  I wanted it. Every time I think that an Alison Weir Tour can’t get any better, I go on another one and find that it does. If you love history, enjoy talking with brilliant historians and enjoy traveling in style, this is the tour for you."

"Thank you [Nicola Tallis] for all your insightful talks and company throughout the tour. I have no doubt that you will become a hugely successful historian."

"I arrived home exhausted but so excited to have experienced all this tour had to offer. It was exhilaratingly good. Hotels - excellet. Included meals - excellent, super, superb, superlative. Thank you! I spent a lot of money to go on this tour, so I expected and received a lot in return. There is no point travelling to the other side to the world to spend time alone in a hotel room. Bring it on I say!  Special thanks to Nicola for going out of her way to Woodstock to get my specs repaired. This was above and beyond. VERYgrateful. I am still buzzing about the tour. I have my stack of books given and bought ready to read through the long winter nights and I am inspired to learn so much more. Thank you to you all for being such great hosts. I cannot recommend you highly enough. To all those who think this sounds like a nice gentle way to spend a week or so... think again. You need physical and mental stamina to get the maximum back. These tours require good legs for all those stairs and gardens and a sharp mind to absorb all the gems of info imparted."

"What a truly fabulous tour!"

"Absolutely loved the tour and am so pleased that I was able to be part of the group. Cannot praise the tour highly enough – just loved it. The sites were excellent and I enjoyed them all. Having a variety of speakers was excellent. Loved the discussion between historians with differing views, eg Alison and Sarah on Richard III – we could have more of this. Loved the gifts that were handed out – more than I ever expected. Service by the team was excellent – could not fault it. Alison, Sarah, Nicola and Siobhan were so energetic, positive and knowledgeable it was really astounding. John was fantastic in organising everything – he really put in 110% to make sure everything went smoothly and it did. We always knew what we had to do and the check-in process worked smoothly. Jo was great to make sure that we were all on board – we never lost anyone despite the large group. Guest speakers worked in really well. Fantastic effort by a great team. I have just returned home from my very first Alison Weir tour and I am absolutely hooked. I did read some of the guest comments before I left so I had high expectations, but these expectations were exceeded in every way. Not only have I learned so much more about a period of history that I find fascinating, but I have learned it in a fun and very enjoyable way. We were treated to wonderful hotels, very interesting site visits, great food – but even more than this we had wonderful company to share it with. Alison and her team were so knowledgeable and were 110% committed to ensure that every guest got as much out of the tour as possible – their preparation, energy and willingness to share their knowledge was incredible. The guests mixed very well – we all have common interests which you rarely get on a tour.  I was travelling on my own but I felt like I was part of a group straight away. The tour organisation was brilliant – everything worked so smoothly. I would highly recommend this tour to anyone who is interested in history and wanting to have an absolutely fabulous time. I can’t wait to travel again with Alison and her team."

"Wondering how I will ever adjust back to reality. You are all a "Dream Team". And Alison, you are an inspiration."

"The tour was wonderful! Well organised, everything on time, kindly staff, excellent lectures, superb food."

"Fabulous journey with unbelievable access to so many sites I have only read about. All thanks to the amazing author and historian Alison Weir."

"Fantastic tour as always. Loved every second and can’t wait for the next one. All communication from everyone in the team has been superb, even down to the smallest detail. All meals excellent and diets catered for. Always too much food and quality fantastic. No complaints except as usual we ate too much! [Historical experience:] Always fabulous. It is such a pleasure to enjoy such a range of well known and knowledgable historians, and I really appreciate the effort that must go into making this happen. Can’t speak highly enough of the experience and how welcoming the whole team is. It is like coming home to family. Big thanks for once again providing Dave as our bus driver – what a star!"

"The tour was fabulous as always and it was a pleasure to see you again and to reconnect with so many wonderful friends."

"The pre-tour care and communication was excellent. I applaud the effort that AWT makes in choosing hotels that contribute to the experience and are usually historic in nature. AWT puts a big effort into making memorable dinners. I enjoy the quality of sites chosen for dinner experiences (Leeds, Penshurst). This makes the tour stand out from taking a standard tour to see sights. The effort in choosing high-quality good and drink is evident and much appreciated. The historical experience and access cannot be beat.  What I pay for is the access to historians, their expertise, and the talks. Everyone is so wonderful. You already know how great the staff and historians are.  We love Jo, John, Dave the driver, etc etc.  I can gush on for days.  Everyone is professional and personable."

"The tour was excellent with top experiences and full access to sites, and people that help create a whole historic experience. South Lodge Hotel was excellent. I enjoyed Chilston Park a lot too and the White Swan because of its location. Food as always was over the top and dining experience was fantastic!
Almost all of the sites were spectacular. As usual the talks and seminars of the historians of the tour were FANTASTIC. It was a real privilege and experience to meet historians such as Kate Williams, Helen Rappaport or Christopher Warwick, to put some examples. All guest historians were absolutely interesting, and enjoyable. Obviously, the historians of AWT, Alison, Sarah, Nicola, Siobhan, were also beyond expectations and I can’t describe how much I enjoy traveling with them and hear them teach us about history, which I love so much, and have the opportunity to ask them any question at any time and having them answer everything always with a very interesting answer. The staff are fantastic. They do much more than what their job requires them to do and this is what helps make AWT absolutely the best experience of travel. John and Jo are the best.  Alison Weir Tours are the ultimate historic experience for history enthusiasts. The access you get to have with these tours to sites, places, people and experiences is unique. Like I always said, AWT bring history alive with every step during your journey."

Excellent overall tour.  Good balance of intellectual stimulation, gustatorial gratification, passionate people. Excellent pre-tour care: periodic updates and schedule tweaks, plus the comprehensive reading list etc all kept our enthusiasm stimulated. A first class operation catering to folks who are also appreciate better things in life.  After a demanding daily schedule we deserved something special - and we got it.  Excellent service, amenities, views, ambience, bed comfort and the like. I like the fact that we mix well at table; having staff relocate during the meal is stimulating. I liked the richness of our historical talks and seminars;  many queens have been long forgotten yet have fascinating biographies and roles to play. The attention and concern manifest by each of you is wondrous to behold.  You know each of us by name; you know who needs to be prodded and who needs a little TLC; your good humour is always evident; and you are always eager to do/offer that extra little something that makes each of us feel special.  (John gets an extra star for this.)"

"It was a wonderful and memorable tour. Prior to arrival in London the many emails that were sent were informative and very helpful. The hotels were very good especially South Lodge and Chilston Park with amazingly comfortable beds. I was very happy with the meals provided but maybe more evening meals could be built into the program. The final dinner at Leeds Castle was a fantastic experience. Such a beautifully set table! I thought the talks and seminars were outstanding. There was so much information, detail and scholarship contained in all the presentations. It was something I looked forward to every day and the speakers conveyed their depth of knowledge and research, enthusiasm and great passion for history. I also enjoyed all the sites (Including the gardens and the English countryside) we visited and wondered at some of the splendours and art work contained in the palaces, castles etc. The guides at these sites seemed very professional in their presentations. I found the AWT team most helpful, friendly and obliging. It was a magnificent tour and so well planned and organized."

"I had a wonderful time on Great Queens."

"I had looked so forward to this trip and, needless to say, I was not disappointed in any way!  I very much appreciated having such a detailed itinerary from the very beginning.  It very much helped in my planning and made the learning experience much easier! I loved the food!  I am a definite "foodie".  My motto is:  "If I have a good meal, you can do anything to me but, if I have a bad one - watch out" because I am not happy no matter what happens!  Needless to say, on this trip, I was always happy! So, thank you for all the good food and, even better, all the good times! I was not disappointed with any of the sites! Each was unique in its own way!  I especially enjoyed being able to visit the smaller sites where people do really live! I still am reminiscing on the entire experience!  It was all just a wonderful experience!  I still cannot believe how you all managed to tie it all together! Even the talks and seminars did  not come across as strict learning experiences but, rather as part of the fabric of the perfectly woven tapestry which I have come to expect from an Alison Weir "Progress".  I do love that word and the image which which it leaves in my mind! I cannot sing your praises enough!  You all are definitely a well oiled machine which always managed to know our needs and wishes often before we did!  And, that is an incredible gift! Plus, you are all so nice that I always knew it was done from the heart!  Which definitely added to the overall camaraderie and the  feel of being at a "house party". When I think of an Alison Weir  tour, I think of it as an opportunity for  interesting people to come together  and, in the process,  become  even more interesting!  And, I can hardly wait for next April and Richard III when we get to meet again!  Here's to the next progress!!!!"     

"I must say, AWT has truly topped itself this time.  I am über impressed and everyone involved in the planning should really be congratulated."