THE SIX WIVES OF HENRY VIII TOUR
A ROYAL PROGRESS: An escorted tour led by Alison Weir.
14th to 23rd July 2013
“Henry VIII went on progress almost every summer of his reign. His purpose was not only to see his realm and be seen by his subjects, but also to enjoy the hunting that was had in other parts… In the summer of 1535, the King embarked with Anne Boleyn on one of the most important progresses of his reign…”
(Alison Weir: Henry VIII: King and Court)
Join us as we depart on our own royal progress, following partly in the footsteps of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, visiting the places where they stayed in that distant summer, and other fabulous historic sites connected with Henry’s six wives. Lodge in spendour like kings and queens in castles where they actually slept, and enjoy a luxurious tour enriched with historical insights from expert historians.
The story of Henry VIII and his queens is world-famous. A king marrying six times was as astonishing in Tudor times as it is now, but Henry and his wives continue to fascinate because they were intriguing and dynamic characters whose lives were often dramatic and tragic. Henry was married to pious and faithful Katherine of Aragon for twenty-four years, but her failure to bear him a son, his doubts about the validity of their union, and his passion for Anne Boleyn drove him to pursue one of the most controversial divorce cases in history. Anne Boleyn, the mother of Elizabeth I, was vivacious, clever and determined, but was queen for just a thousand days before she was executed for adultery and treason. Jane Seymour had the makings of a matriarch, but died in childbed after bearing Henry his longed-for son, Edward VI. Henry took one look at Anne of Cleves and was revolted; their marriage lasted six months, but they became such firm friends later that there were rumours they might remarry. Young Katherine Howard had an immoral past, but Henry married her, thinking her virtuous, then had her beheaded after her adultery was discovered. That impacted badly on the ageing King, and by the time he married his sixth wife, Katherine Parr, he was a semi-invalid. Katherine, a learned woman with dangerous religious views, survived him, only to be betrayed by her fourth husband and die in childbed.
On this tour, you will visit many splendid historic locations connected with Henry VIII and his wives, hear their stories, listen to guest speakers and be guided by experts on the period. Forget The Tudors – come and learn the truth!
9 nights with breakfast included:
3 nights at Hever Castle, Kent
3 nights at Thornbury Castle, Gloucestershire
2 nights at The George Hotel of Stamford
1 night at the Bloomsbury Hotel, London
Welcome buffet lunch in London
Welcome dinner in Hever Castle’s Dining Hall, once the Great Hall of the Boleyns
Dinner at the King Henry VIII Inn, Hever
Dinner at the Middle House, Mayfield
Dinner at Thornbury Castle, Gloucestershire
Dinner at The George Hotel of Stamford
Bateaux London dinner cruise on the River Thames
The Tower of London
Gainsborough Old Hall
Lincoln Cathedral and Bishop’s Palace
PRAISE FOR THE SIX WIVES OF HENRY VIII TOUR, JULY 2013
We would like to express our warmest thanks to everyone for the wonderful feedback.
"Alison Weir Tours are superb."
"Having access to such eminent historians is an amazing privilege - still pinching myself - I feel so lucky."
"I've just spent time with Alison on her latest Six Wives Tour. It was a wonderful experience, and I wanted to say to anyone who has thought about coming on one of Alison's tours but hasn't yet - do so if you can, you won't be disappointed! Alison lays on a fabulous list of top notch speakers, performances and guided tours with special privileges, and it's wonderful to immerse yourself in conversations with like minded enthusiasts. And do remember to take an extra bag for all the signed copies of books that you will be given by the various speakers, and other desirable little gifts. Certainly a memorable and stimulating experience that is highly recommended!"
"These are the finest tours available and now the world is finding out and your only problem will be lots of disappointed travelers."
"Everything which I have read comes alive with every step we make!"
"Beyond belief. Dinner in the Great Hall at HeverCastle with David Starkey and Alison was a highlight."
"Wow!!! Having never been on a tour before, I was unsure of what to expect, but Alison's trip exceeded all my expectations. Every moment was packed with information and fun. I doubt any other trip I may make will ever be able to compete... unless, of course, I should be fortunate enough to travel again with Alison. Staying at Hever Castle and Thornbury Castle was an extra thrill. Also sleeping in a four poster bed!!! The accommodation and meals were all excellent. It was wonderful to actually walk in the footsteps of the Tudors. We had well known historians on tour with us and not a moment was wasted in providing us with relevant and interesting information. They gave us interesting talks on on the bus and almost every night there was a talk by a well known historian. Alison has a wonderful team with her and we had every service available provided for us. They were always on hand to assist. If you are interested in Tudor history, don't look any further. Alison Weir Tours have it all!"
"Such a lovely group of people - and a very great tribute to you and John and the team for what was clearly the best organised tour of its kind. Apart from humungous knowledge, you have great integrity, Alison, and in the end it makes all the difference."
"This was beyond our expectations, which were huge! Alison, Siobhan, Sarah, Nicola, et al. were wonderfully knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful. John was exceptional in his patience and hospitality. The sites we visited were such as we’d never see in the U.S. and fascinated us endlessly. If I had a nickel for every time I said wow, gosh, holy smokes, etc., I’d have darn near enough for the next tour! Totally fabulous. [The historical experience of the tour were] beyond excellent. Loved the debates and the obvious scholarship of the historians. Excellent is an understatement. We felt totally welcomed and pampered. The Alison Weir Tour has our highest recommendation for anyone interested in English history, architecture, and culture. Alison and her entire staff went out of their way to make us feel welcome and included, and cheerfully answered all questions. Their pleasantness and good humor made the entire trip a joy, and their scholarship was supreme. Each day filled us with awe and fascination. Best vacation ever, in our opinion."
"I had very high hopes for this tour and knew it would be spectacular. However, I can’t even begin to enumerate in how many ways it exceeded all of my expectations. It was, by far, the most outstanding tour I have ever taken and it was obvious from the very first moment of check in how special it was going to be. Every detail was planned down to perfection. The preplanning was outstanding. Siobhan and John kept us very well informed of any changes taking place and they were very helpful in addressing any questions and providing as much information as possible. It was very helpful to have John make the arrangements for the hotel with my arrival a few days ahead of time and I always looked forward to Siobhan’s emails because I knew there would be something fun in them. What a thrill it was to stay in such fabulous places that you can only dream of getting the chance to stay. Each was a little different than the last, which was lovely – no two places were the same and each had its own special character and loveliness. The opportunity to stay in such historic places as opposed to modern hotels really did add to the experience and feel of the tour and made you feel as if you were living in the past just a bit. Part of the attraction of this tour was having access to other places that otherwise I wouldn’t have had – i.e. Blickling Hall for a personal tour. The selection and variety of historical places and cities was outstanding. Each place was different enough from the last place we visited to make each site visit unique and enjoyable from every perspective. I especially appreciated having free time at each place we stopped during the day. I can’t speak highly enough of Alison and the fabulous selection of historians she chose to speak to us on the tour. I am astonished at the hard work and dedication that went in to every presentation she made. It was clear she thought long and hard about the topics and did her usual careful research and planning. I appreciated the fact that she included historians with varying opinions and it was refreshing to witness a professional ability to have people disagree courteously and with respect and humor. I thoroughly enjoyed the talks on the bus and the after dinner presentations. The accessibility of the historians was one of the highlights of the tour! If there were another level besides excellent, I would mark it. I simply cannot say enough about Alison, Siobhan, John, Jo and Nicola. What an incredible group of people – so professional and capable and yet so approachable and friendly and funny. There was no doubt in my mind that if I had had any trouble at all with anything, someone would be there to help me and with a cheerful spirit. Truly one of the loveliest group of people I have ever had the pleasure and privilege to meet and spend time with. I have never been on a tour where gifts were given to the guests – so very thoughtful and generous and I will treasure all of my books and my gifts. I thought the planning of the itinerary was tremendous and flawless. It was very apparent how much time had gone into planning every detail from the site visits to the hotels to the dinners to the evenings for private time. I thought it was a wonderful balance between group activities and the ability for people to spend their time as they wished. I simply cannot say enough wonderful and glowing things about my time on Alison’s tour of Henry VIII and his Six Wives. I knew it would be a fabulous experience and that it would be a trip of a lifetime for me, but I had no way of knowing just how special it would be. Alison clearly is passionate about her love of history and it resonates in every facet – from her greeting on the day of registration to the farewell evening dinner. She is a genuine, amusing and gracious lady surrounded by a team of professional and lovely people. While I was on this tour, I felt I was in a magical bubble suspended in time for a few days and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute. I would highly recommend Alison Weir Tours for an experience that can’t be replicated elsewhere. I hope to have the opportunity again in the future to join in what I can only say was the best touring experience I have ever had the pleasure to be a part of."
"The chance to travel with and meet so many authors was extraordinary."
"My last trip with Alison Weir Tours was the best trip I have ever been on. Bar none."
"Lovely Nicola (Guide Historian], thank you for being such a fabulous, fabulous informative and brilliantly fun instructor to us."
"Alison Weir, Nicola Tallis, Sarah Gristwood, John and Jo Marston are superstars!"
"It was just an absolutely outstanding tour, thanks so much!"
"The tour was absolutely marvellous in every way! I was very impressed with the pre-tour organisation and care. It was very exciting to receive the emails from AWT. It was a good idea to pre-order our food and I appreciated the reading list. It was great to have the options of extra activities – and I took the opportunity to do the National Portrait Gallery tour with Siobhan, which was fabulous. All of the hotels were sensational and very luxurious. My rooms at Hever Castle and Thornbury Castle in particular were amazing. The itinerary was fabulous and not one site that we visited was disappointing in any way. I enjoyed all of the talks so much and I was surprised at how many there were. Alison in particular has amazing energy. Everyone took such great care of us, it was amazing. I can’t praise you all highly enough. The high level of service that you provided to each and every one of your guests resulted in a highly enjoyable, fun and interesting trip, with lots of laughs. I had such a marvellous time and I have learned so much about the Tudor period. It was certainly a jam-packed itinerary, which was great as we undoubtedly got value for money. What an amazing tour! It is hard to describe just how fabulous this trip has been and how utterly wonderful Alison, John, Nicola, Siobhan and Jo are, as well as the other guest historians. The level of care that we all received was terrific, it resulted in such an enjoyable and completely stress free holiday. I still find it hard to believe that I have stayed in a 500 year old castle and dined in rooms where Henry VIII and his wives once dined. There were many times where I really felt like I was walking in their footsteps. I enjoyed every minute of the trip and it has certainly been an absolute highlight of all of my travels. I would highly recommend any Alison Weir Tour and I hope very much to do another one in the future. I would rate this one as 10 out of 10."
"I was impressed that everything was so meticulously planned and that every effort was taken to ensure that we would have a memorable experience. Siobhan and John were extremely helpful in helping me to make arrangements in advance. I very much appreciated having a driver waiting when we arrived and again, when we needed to return to the airport. Siobhan was very helpful in answering all my questions [and] really added to the pleasure of this magical experience. I thought the accommodations were very luxurious. It was splendid to live in a castle, however briefly. There were so many sites – a veritable surfeit of riches! I was pleased that we saw so many. Clearly a great deal of thought was given when making the selections of where to visit. It is hard to summarize the variety and excellence of the talks from such foremost historians. The experience exceeded my expectations, and made the trip so very memorable. I think John and Jo are tremendous assets, looking after everyone and managing all of the logistics smoothly and efficiently. We relied on them completely, and they were simply terrific. This splendid tour was the trip of a lifetime. Jam-packed with historical sightseeing of the highest order, fine accommodations in period settings, superb dining, and fascinating lectures by Alison Weir and other foremost historians of the day, it exceeded all expectations. For anyone with a strong interest in Tudor history, it was an extraordinary and unmatched experience, one that would be impossible to duplicate elsewhere."
"Words cannot express the wonderful time I shared with all of you (y'all) on the Six Wives of Henry VIII tour. I learned so very, very much. It was truly the trip of a lifetime. Thanks to everyone for all the wonderful memories."
"We had big expectations of the tour, and [it] far exceeded those expectations. The itinerary was excellent, the historians we met on the ttour were interesting and very fun to interact with. Their passion for their subjects was impressive and inspiring. The trip logistics were well done and everything went so smoothly. I felt very well taken care of. We were very impressed at how much effort that Alison and everyone else put in to ensure that everything progressed perfectly. That effort paid off. It was very helpful to get a reading list far in advance, so that we could familiarize ourselves with the subject. It made the trip more valuable and enjoyable. It was also very nice to get some suggestions on what to do in London if we arrived early. We took advantage of Siobhan’s guided tour of the National Portrait Gallery, which was an excellent introduction to the tour. The hotels we stayed at were the best we have ever stayed in. We especially enjoyed Hever and Thornsbury Castles. They were magnificent. The sites were excellent. Standing in some of the locations that I had read about made history really come alive for me. I feel that we had the best authorities available on the subject. I learned an incredible amount on the tour and it has inspired me to learn more on the subject. Again, the passion displayed by the historians was inspiring. I really enjoyed having dinner with the historians and having them switch locations throughout dinner. I very much enjoyed the talks on the bus before arriving at the sites, as the information was fresh in our minds. The level of service was excellent. John and Jo did an outstanding job of handling the logistics as well as any unexpected issues that came up. The historians were very attentive to our questions and interests. It was first rate. We think the balance was perfect. I feel that seeing the sites that we did was more important that having a lot of extra time. We did have free time at the sites to wander around and explore and also some free nights to explore the villages, that was sufficient. This tour was outstanding. The quality of the historians and the information we got from them was amazing. I very much appreciate Alison’s generosity and thoughtfulness. We very much appreciate the books and gifts that she gave us. It made the trip very special. It is obvious that a lot of effort and planning went into this tour, and we very much appreciate it. I would definitely recommend this tour to anyone interested in history and want to have a first rate experience."
"It was truly the best trip of my life thanks to every single person on it but mostly thanks to Alison Weir. We were all so fortunate."
"You create the warm and lively atmosphere Alison - the tour was clearly planned with great attention to history, and pleasure."
"Alison, your attention to every detail of our comfort was astonishing. Upon reflection, I realize that the meticulousness that drove you to stay up writing menus on place cards for tour members by hand is the same peerless thoroughness that pervades your research and analysis. Thank you for sharing the manifold gifts of your head and heart with so many of us all over the world through your books, your support for all who seek knowledge and education, and now through your fabulous tours."
"Thank you all for the team work you all did for our care/concerns, etc. for our pleasure. Alison's presents of books, jewelry, CD, and window ornament went well above, however, it was her presence and all of your coordination that has made it an extraordinary experience. What a trip! - It was grand! Thank you all again."
"All the team is wonderful, truly top people! Siobhan, John, Jo and Julian made everything so easy and delightful. [The hotels] are not just common hotels! They are real life palaces! [The historical experience was] excellent, just not the talks, but the possibility of asking Alison, Sarah, Nicola, Siobhan all kind of questions all the time, 24/7, was really marvelous. They were so accessible, patient and always willing to answer anything that crossed through your mind. It was the experience of a lifetime. Everything was so carefully planned, so meticulously organized that it allowed us as guests to enjoy every second of the tour without any worries. In my particular case, it was the most exciting moment of my life. I have been reading about Henry VIII, his wives and all the characters that surrounded him for so long, that it was just simply beyond words to visit and walk through all the places I have read about accompanied by the brilliant explanations and narrations of Alison and her team of historians. It was as if History came to life with every step we made!"
"So let me express great appreciation and enthusiasm for the "goodies" Alison and friends gave us to while away our idle hours now that we are safely returned to our homes, and plotting our next adventures (like MQS)? The books, the CD's (I am listening to Music for the Six Wives of Henry VIII at the moment), the paper weight - even the wine bottle stopper which will help prolong and emphasize the memories....how good can it get? Thanks to all! We've taken many trips, but none has had such a well deserved profusion of thanks and appreciation as this."
"Words truly can't express how delightful your Six Wives Tour was for us. [We] had done a lot of reading and were hoping the history would come alive while we were on the Tour. It did, and exceeded all our expectations. Firstly, your warm, friendly demeanor—you, the eminent historian!—immediately put us at ease. Then John and Jo seemed instantly to be kind, welcoming, and eager to do anything within their power to make our journey comfortable. From the moment we met the three of you in the Bloomsbury's lobby we felt comfortable and among friends. The Tour just seemed to get better every day, if that's possible—sort of like the fairy tale in which the king's daughters are each more beautiful than the others. Impossible, but it makes sense somehow! The addition of the other historians was a real treat; they were all so varied and interesting that it felt as if we were getting quite a well-rounded view. The discussions between you and Sarah and Nicola were great fun as well as educational. Then, although we were thrilled and fascinated with each moment, you put the icing on the cake with the many gifts you bestowed upon us. At the risk of being hyperbolic may I say that it was already a triple-layer chocolate fudge cake with creme brulee on the side. We will always treasure the lovely mementoes from you, which will bring back fond memories every time we look at them. Please accept my tremendous gratitude for making our Tour the most fulfilling ten days we've ever spent."
"HUUUUUGE thanks for all of the meticulous planning and hard work you put into creating such unforgettable experiences, Alison Weir Tours Team!"