Alison Weir Tours






Monday, 1st May 2023 to Wednesday, 10th May 2023

9 nights at Hever Castle, Kent (5*), with breakfast included

AWT’s latest tour encompasses not just the Age of Chivalry and commanding figures such as William the Marshal and the Black Prince, but also the twin cult of courtly love, from the age of Eleanor of Aquitaine and the troubadours to Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, and Elizabeth I and the Earl of Leicester. We’ll be learning about King Arthur, William the Conqueror, King John and Magna Carta, Henry V and the Battle of Agincourt, medieval queens, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Sir Thomas Wyatt and Sir Philip Sidney. We’ll hear about battles, murder, romance and deadly intrigue.

We will be staying at the wonderful Hever Castle throughout and visiting some of south-east England’s most iconic sites. The area is rich in history, and we are offering special interest options as alternatives to the main itinerary. There will be site choices on most days.
Hever Castle, where we are being granted privileged access to areas not open to the public, offers a magnificent setting in which we aim to recreate the country house parties of the gilded age and the early twentieth century. In keeping with that, the subsidiary theme of the tour is literature and society in those periods, and there will be options to visit beautiful key sites connected with the icons of those creative eras.   

You will be accompanied by more full-time tour historians than on previous tours: Alison Weir, Sarah Gristwood, Julian Humphrys, Nicola Tallis and Michael Jones. There will be guest speakers too, including Tracy Borman, Chief Curator of Historic Royal Palaces, who will join the tour on several days.

There will also be more included dinners than on previous tours – eight in total. Details of six of the dinners are below. This is because Hever Castle is not a hotel and does not have a restaurant or room service. On two nights where dinner is listed as being independent, we will be organising dinners at local pubs, but Hever Castle can provide sandwiches (with sufficient notice) in the evening for guests who do not wish to go out; or you can stroll along to the King Henry VIII Inn outside the castle gates for a meal (advance booking essential). For anyone who does want to stay at Hever Castle for the day rather than go out to historical sites, the Moat café and The Guthrie Pavilion Café in the grounds are open at lunchtime and for tea. 

We will be visiting:

Otford Palace

Battle Abbey

The Carr Taylor Vineyard, Sedlescombe
Bodiam Castle

Dover Castle
Rye and Great Dixter

Hampton Court Palace
Chartwell and Sissinghurst Castle

Canterbury (for Canterbury Cathedral and other attractions)
The Tower of London

Winchester Cathedral
Winchester Castle (The Great Hall and the Round Table, Queen Eleanor’s Garden)
Windsor Castle and St George’s Chapel

Scotney Castle Garden, and Allington Castle (by boat from Maidstone)
Ightham Mote and Knole

Leeds Castle
The Kent and East Sussex Railway

Included meals

Buffet lunch at the Royal Horseguards Hotel, London
Welcome dinner in the Long Gallery at Hever Castle
Light lunch and wine tasting at the Carr Taylor Vineyard, Sedlescombe
Dinner at the Brickwall Hotel, Sedlescombe
Dinner at the Plough at Leigh
Dinner at the Leicester Arms, Penshurst
Murder mystery dinner at Hever Castle
Celebration Champagne buffet lunch on Coronation Day
BBQ on the lawn (weather permitting) at Hever Castle
Chef's Table Buffet dinner at Hever Castle
Dinner (and tour) at Penshurst Place
Cream tea on board the Kent and East Sussex Railway
Farewell drinks reception at the Royal Horseguards Hotel, London


"A wonderful trip!'

"IT WAS THE BEST!! I am so lucky to have participated and already am ready to go again!"

"It was such a wonderful trip, with so many great memories!!  I really liked that this tour covered a wide range of eras, from the 11th century onwards, all related to the Chivalry theme.  And so i learned a lot too, from our very knowledgeable historians! The food and service at Hever is always exceptional! And having access to all the historians and guest speakers is really such a highlight!!"

"I loved this tour. It was amazing. I’ve been on many Alison Weir Tours and this was the best one yet. I think staying nine days at Hever made it special. The accomodation was fantastic and the setting of Kent beautiful. What is special for me is that the staff, who feel like friends. They are such fabulous people. Where do you get such knowledge and professionalism on any other tour? Such insight into history, which I then can follow up by reading their books. I also really enjoy the camaraderie of the tour. I am making special friends, both new and old. The messages I get from other guests saying how much they enjoyed my company is special for me. It’s always hard to pinpoint what I liked the best as everything is fantastic and yet this tour kept giving with unusual surprises. Hawking stood out and meeting the kookaburra. Loved being there for the coronation and having the castle to ourselves. What an amazing and quintessentially English event. The stand out surprise was Sissinghurst. What an amazing place. I had no idea about the story of Vita and Virginia Wolf, and the fact that an author could have a tower to herself. Bliss. Chartwell was inspiring. Seeing such gravitas made so much come to life for me. The murder mystery night was such fun along with the quiz night. I loved hearing Melita Thomas speak. Loved hearing Tracey’s Floating wenches speech. I learn something new every tour. Always enjoy it when Alison reads from her latest book."

"I thought the tour was wonderful."

"I had another unforgettable experience on Chivalry. The historians were (as ever) amazing, engaging and so informative. Michael in particular was truly in his element - long live the Black Prince! The Michael and Julian double act was again a lot of fun. Staying in one place was great, and they really looked after us at Hever. My morning walk in the castle grounds was a real highlight." 

"Chivalry was a grand adventure and more than met my expectations!  Please pass on my kudos to all!" 

"Thank you so much for arranging this beautiful experience for us. We have learned so much, but most important has been the pleasure of your company. I will especially treasure the crown pin as a reminder of a day we were able to celebrate a magnificent ceremony with British friends. There is so much to remember!"

"Thank you for sharing your talents with us. You have undoubtedly enlightened our world via the Chivalry tour. We have forged friendships that span the globe. You have helped us create memories that we will truly not forget. The past ten days have been days we have never seen before, thanks to you, Alison."

"This tour was wonderful."

"We had such a lovely time. Of course, the heart of the whole thing is Alison Weir herself, who just adds a special magic to the proceedings. All the historians were engaging and knowledgeable and I have been reading about William the Conqueror ever since we've returned. I loved being at Hever Castle. Definitely made life easier having a base. We loved all our fellow participants. So many fascinating people. We loved it and have many happy memories to share. Thanks for all your hard work."

"[We] thought this was the most amazing tour.  Everything was first rate and ran so smoothly.  All of the historians were so knowledgeable and personable and John and Jo were meticulous in the planning and execution of the trip and in taking care of all of us..  Alison was phenomenal - I don't know where she gets all of her energy. We loved getting to know  the other people on the tour and we understand why people go on Alison's tours year after year.  I think having Hever Castle as our base was lovely and a big draw for us.  We would love to do another one."

"I just returned home from a wonderful Alison Weir Tour. What a grand time! Thank you for all you did to make the fun so extra-special. I am still reeling from it all! I will always have such happy memories of our times together."