Alison Weir Tours




16th to 24th May 2013

An exclusive, fully escorted tour led by Alison Weir as Study Director - SOLD OUT

In the late fifteenth century, England was torn by dynastic wars between the Royal Houses of Lancaster and York, rival claimants for the throne. This conflict – once called ‘the Cousins’ Wars’ - is now known as the Wars of the Roses, and it ended with the bloody overthrow of the Plantagenet dynasty, which had ruled England for over three hundred years, and the usurpation of the House of Tudor. It was a period of battles and family strife, and witnessed the emergence of some of the most charismatic and controversial royal figures in history. Among them were the weak and pious Henry VI, of the House of Lancaster; his energetic Queen, Margaret of Anjou; his rivals, Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York, and the charismatic, lascivious Edward IV; Edward’s brother, the enigmatic Richard III; his sons, the lost Princes in the Tower; and his daughter, Elizabeth of York, whose marriage to Henry VII united the rival dynasties. The story of Lancaster and York also incorporates the earlier history of these royal houses, embracing John of Gaunt, ‘time honour’d Lancaster’, and his beautiful mistress (and, later, wife), Katherine Swynford, mother of his Beaufort bastards. 

In this comprehensive tour, Alison Weir will tell the stories of these fascinating historical characters as she escorts you to many important historic sites connected with the Wars of the Roses and the royal Houses of Lancaster and York, taking you to some of the most beautiful and scenic parts of England.     

8 nights with breakfast included:

3 nights' bed and breakfast at the Kingsway Hall Hotel, London 4*
2 nights' bed and breakfast at the Mercure Shakespeare Hotel, Stratford-upon-Avon 4*
3 nights' bed and breakfast at Middlethorpe Hall near York 4*

Welcome dinner in London
Dinner at Middlethorpe Hall
Lunch at the Falcon Inn, Fotheringhay
Farewell dinner in London.


*    The Tower of London
*    Westminster Abbey
*    Shakespeare's Birthplace and Stratford-upon-Avon
*    Ludlow Castle
*    Tewkesbury Abbey
*    Kenilworth Castle
*    Leicester
*    Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre and Country Park
*    Middleham Castle
*    Barley Hall, York
*    York
*    Gainsborough Old Hall
*    Kettlethorpe
*    Lincoln and Lincoln Cathedral
*    Fotheringhay Castle and Church
*    St Albans and the site of the Battles of Barnet
*    Windsor Castle and St George’s Chapel


"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."

"I'm still on a high from the L&Y tour. Thank you Alison, Nicola, Siobhan and John. You looked after us so well. Now I have your fantastic books by my bedside to keep the dream alive for the months to come. How lucky was I to be in the company of such clever talented people. I miss you all."

"These trips have become a big part of my life as they nourish my soul! Thank you for always sharing the best of you with me. I am excited to know such an amazing author but more blessed to know such an amazing person. Looking forward to Mary, Queen of Scots! I'll be the one in the front of the bus."

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."

"There was something very special about the Lancaster and York trip."