Alison Weir Tours




Day 1 – Wednesday, 30th April/Wednesday, 17th September

9am onwards: Check in.

Welcome buffet lunch at The Grand Hotel, York, for those guests who have arrived in York.

Afternoon (2 options):
Visit Beningborough Hall.

Following a two-year hiatus, Beningbrough Hall, one of the most remarkable baroque houses in England, has reopened with brighter interiors and even more fascinating stories to tell. Beningbrough Hall is an elegant red brick mansion overlooking the River Ouse, eight miles north-west of York. It boasts one of Britain's finest baroque interiors and an attractive walled garden, as well as being home to over 100 portraits on loan from the National Portrait Gallery. There is a pleasant coffee house. The eight-acre garden is currently undergoing its own renaissance thanks to award-winning designer Andy Sturgeon, and is surrounded by 380 acres of parkland.


Guided walk in York, led by Alison Weir, including a visit to York Minster.

Renowned for its exquisite architecture, tangle of quaint cobbled streets and the magnificence of York Minster, York is a city of contrasts and exciting discoveries, a place where the old encompasses the new. There is much to see, including the city walls and bars (gates), including the famous Micklegate Bar, the old royal entrance.
York offers numerous sites of interest, among them the fascinating Castle Museum, Clifford’s Tower (the remains of York Castle), the Jorvik Viking Centre and the famous Shambles, a 900-year-old street with 15th-century buildings. Guests may also wish to visit St William’s College or the Yorkshire Museum, where the famous Middleham Jewel is on display.

4.30pm: Welcome briefing.

7.30pm: Welcome drinks and dinner at The Grand Hotel, York.

Day 2 – Thursday, 1st May/Thursday, 18th September


Visit Fountains Abbey.

The ancient abbey ruins are a World Heritage Site and the most extensive monastic ruins in the country. The abbey was founded in 1132 by 13 Benedictine monks from St Mary’s in York. They'd grown tired of the extravagant and rowdy way that the monks lived in York and so they escaped, seeking to live a devout and simple lifestyle elsewhere. This was how they came to Fountains. Three years later, the foundation was admitted to the austere Cistercian Order. The abbey was abruptly closed in 1539 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII. The estate was sold by the Crown to a merchant, Sir Richard Gresham. It remained in private hands until the 1960s. The National Trust bought the estate from the West Riding County Council in 1983.

Visit Ripon Cathedral.

Ripon Cathedral has a history stretching back almost fourteen centuries. It was founded by St Wilfrid in A.D. 672. The only part of his church to survive is the ancient Saxon crypt which is arguably the oldest church building in England to have remained in continuous use. Much of the church you see today dates from the 12th century, though most of the nave was substantially rebuilt in the 15th and 16th centuries. For this reason, the Cathedral contains a variety of architectural styles. With is beautifully carved misericords in the choir stalls and its stonework grotesques and gargoyles, it inspired such luminaries as Lewis Carroll and Wilfred Owen.

Independent lunch in Ripon.

Ripon is a hidden gem.  An unspoilt cathedral city, its rich history goes back over 1,300 years. Georgian and medieval buildings surround the ancient market place.


Visit Newby Hall.

Newby Hall, the family home of Mr & Mrs Richard Compton, is one of England’s finest houses, an exceptional example of 18th century interior decoration. Built in the 1690s in the style of Sir Christopher Wren, the house was later enlarged and adapted by John Carr and subsequently Robert Adam. Its superb contents, collected by an ancestor of the Compton family on the Grand Tour, include a rare set of Gobelin Tapestries, a gallery of classical statuary and some of Chippendale’s finest furniture.
Visitors to Newby Hall can also enjoy 25 acres of award winning gardens full of rare and beautiful plants. The famous double herbaceous borders are flanked by numerous compartmented gardens such as the rose and autumn gardens and the water garden.


Independent dinner.

Day 3 – Friday, 2nd May/Friday, 19th September


Visit Whitby Abbey.

Whitby Abbey is spectacular cliff-top landmark. Generations have been drawn to these famous ruins, which have been a site of literary inspiration, religious devotion and pilgrimage. It is also one of the most atmospheric visitor attractions along the Yorkshire coastline. Whitby Abbey was founded in 657 A.D. by Oswy, the Saxon King of Northumbria. He appointed Lady Hilda, niece of Edwin, the first Christian King of Northumbria, as Abbess. The double monastery of Benedictine monks and nuns was also home to the great Saxon poet Caedmon. In 664, the abbey was the site of the Synod of Whitby, at which the Northumbrian Celtic church was reconciled to Rome. In 867, Whitby Abbey fell to a Viking attack and was abandoned until 1078, when it was re-founded by Regenfrith, a soldier monk, under the orders of his protector, the Norman, William de Percy. The second monastery lasted until it was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1540. In 1890, Bram Stoker was inspired by the Abbey’s Gothic splendour to create the world-famous novel Dracula. The Interactive Visitor Centre has displays and digital reconstructions of the lives of the monastic community who lived here. You can also listen to an audio tour when wandering around the ancient ruins and taking in the stunning views all around.

1pm: Lunch on the North York Moors Railway (tbc).

The North Yorkshire Moors Railway is one of the world’s greatest heritage railway experiences with thrills and family fun at its heart. Climb onboard a steam or heritage diesel train and experience 24 miles of Yorkshire’s amazing scenery at this must-see visitor attraction. Restored to their former glory, the Heritage Pullman carriages transport guests back in time to the golden age of train travel by steam or heritage diesel. Enjoy an unforgettable dining experience through the stunning North York Moors National Park. With years of catering experience, they offer the highest quality of service and seasonal menus featuring the best locally sourced food and drink.


Independent dinner.

Day 4 – Saturday, 3rd May/Saturday, 20th September


Visit the City of Durham and Durham Cathedral.

Founded by William the Conqueror, Durham City, with its magnificent Cathedral, has been a place of pilgrimage over a millennium. And with its superb artisan food and drink scene, first-class galleries and award-winning museums, it’s not hard to see why visitors continue to flock to this is captivating historic city. Durham’s scenic skyline is one of the most stunning city panoramas in Europe, and includes Durham Castle and iconic Durham Cathedral, recently named the UK’s number one landmark. Together they form Durham’s incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Considered to be one of the largest and finest examples of Norman architecture in England, and one of Europe’s greatest medieval buildings, Durham Cathedral, built in 1093 to house the relics of St Cuthbert, sits proudly overlooking the River Wear at the heart of Durham’s World Heritage Site. It offers a world-class visitor experience in which you can discover over 2,000 years of history and some of the most intact surviving medieval monastic architecture in England.

Independent lunch in Durham.


Visit Raby Castle

Raby is without doubt one of the most impressive intact castles in the north of England. Built in the fourteenth century by the powerful Neville family, it has a long history. Birthplace of Cecily Neville, mother of Edward IV and Richard III, it was also the scene of the plotting of the Rising of the North, and a Parliamentary stronghold during the Civil War. The castle has superb collections, forbidding towers, tall crenellated walls. It’s an incredible medieval fortress, set within  picturesque parkland where both red and fallow deer roam. With a cafe, shop, and new adventure woodland playground, it’s the perfect place for a day out.

Visit St Mary’s Church, Staindrop.

St Mary's Church in Staindrop, County Durham, dates to around A.D. 771 and retains Saxon windows and stonework. Historical highlights include a 14th-century screen, late-medieval choir stalls, and tombs of the powerful Neville family of nearby Raby Castle, one of which bears the effigy of Joan Beaufort, daughter of John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford.


Independent dinner.

DAY 5 – Sunday, 4th May/Sunday, 21st September


Visit Hovingham Hall for private guided tour.

This attractive family home, with its stunning architecture, was designed and built by Thomas Worsley between 1750 and 1770. The house was the childhood home of Katharine Worsley, Duchess of Kent, who was married from here in 1961 with a reception attended by many of the crowned heads of Europe. The house is unique in being entered through an enormous Riding School which is approached through a large stone arch from the village street. There are wonderful vaulted ceilings on the ground floor and the principal rooms have different architectural styles and are gracefully decorated and furnished. The house has an important collection of pictures and furniture. Cricket has been played in front of the house since the 1830s and the ground has been played on by many of the Yorkshire greats. Music festivals have taken place since 1887.

12.30pm: Lunch at Burton Agnes Hall

Burton Agnes Hall is a house of immense charm and character. It has many unusual features and is fortunate in having suffered so little from alterations or additions over the centuries. The family stress that it is a 'lived-in' home and this welcome quality is perhaps its most appealing asset. Since the adjacent Manor House was built by Roger de Stuteville in 1173, the property has never changed hands by sale, though it has at times passed from family to family. The beautiful proportions of the Hall and its adherence to the principles of Tudor Renaissance architecture (‘Commodity, firmness and delight’) reveal the professional hand of the architect Robert Smythson, Master Mason to Queen Elizabeth I and builder of other glorious houses such as Longleat, Wollaton and Hardwick. It is the only Smythson house where the plan still exists, in the RIBA collection. In his definitive book on the Smythsons, Mark Girouard called Burton Agnes a 'spendid and glittering composition'. Here, you will learn about the ghost of Anne Griffith and her screaming skull.

the lower chamber of which still remains today. Since then the property has never changed hands by sale, though it has passed from family to family on occasions when the male line has ended. One of his daughters was named Agnes and she may have been responsible for the name Burton Agnes, which was first recorded in a deed witnessed about 1175.

The Norman Manor House is a rare survival from the period, but was encased in brick during the seventeenth century, when it was used as a laundry block. The lower chamber still survives in all its gloomy Norman splendour, with massive piers supporting a groined and vaulted roof, reinforced with heavy chamfered ribs. The upper room is thought to have been the Great Hall of Sir Walter Griffith, constructed in the mid-fifteenth century (the timber roof put up then is still in place). Behind the building is a rare example of an old water wheel worked by a donkey, which drew up water from the well.


Visit Burton Agnes Hall.


Visit Castle Howard for drinks, a tour and dinner in the Great Hall. 

Castle Howard is an architectural masterpiece set within the breathtaking North Yorkshire countryside. The house stands within extensive parkland and formal gardens, where peacocks roam. The setting is idyllic, but it is the house itself that draws the eye. Castle Howard is centred on a striking dome, with two wings enclosing a courtyard. It is the family home of the Howard family, descended from Lord William Howard the youngest son of Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk. 
Although the building work for the house began in 1699, the construction of Castle Howard took over 100 years to complete, spanning the lifetimes of three Earls. It houses some fascinating exhibitions and displays giving a glimpse the rich and varied history of Castle Howard. The house with its Chapel sits in 1000 acres of gardens a parkland, with woodland walks, temples, lakes and fountains to explore.
To the north, the ground falls away to a large lake, to the south, formal gardens share space with more water features and several glorious follies. In 1982, Castle Howard was chosen as the setting for the television production of Evelyn Waugh's novel Brideshead Revisited. A permanent exhibition relating to the filming of the television series can be seen by visitors to the house.

Day 6 – Monday, 5th May/Monday, 22nd September


Check out of The Grand Hotel, York, and travel north tods Northumberland.

Visit. Hexham Abbey.

Hexham Abbey is one of the earliest seats of Christianity in England. Since its beginning, it has witnessed periods of immense turmoil and change, across the region and within the English Church itself. Many of these are reflected in the very fabric of the building we see today. There has been a church on the site for over 1300 years since Etheldreda, Queen of Northumbria, granted land to St Wilfrid, Bishop of York, in 674, on which he built a Benedictine Abbey. Only a crypt and apse remain of the original abbey. The current church was an Augustinian priory built between 1170 and 1250; the east end was rebuilt in 1860. St Wilrfid's Chapel was added in 1996. After the Dissolution, the abbey became the parish church of Hexham.

Independent lunch in Hexham.

The picturesque market town of Hexham lies just a few miles from Hadrian's Wall. It has a huge amount to offer and many historical and cultural attractions. Stroll along the cobbled streets and enjoy the atmosphere of the bustling marketplace and the galleries and art centres that showcase a thriving artistic community.

Visit Hadrian’s Wall at Vindolanda.

Hadrian's Wall is an epic World Heritage Site, marching 73 miles from sea to sea across some of the wildest and most dramatic country in England. A World Heritage Site since 1987, it is an astounding feat of engineering, and also the best-known and best-preserved frontier of the Roman Empire. On becoming Roman Emperor in 117 A.D., Hadrian set about making the Empire more secure, separating Roman and Barbarian territories. The most spectacular example of this is the great Wall he ordered his army to build to define the north-west frontier of the Roman Empire. It was a gargantuan task which he came to inspect in A.D. 122 while work was in progress. When the Emperor Hadrian’s men set out to construct the Wall, they were faced with a relentlessly challenging and variable landscape to conquer. Nor did the fierce torrents of fast rivers, the hard rock of the Whin Sill, nor mile upon mile of rolling hills defeat them. The Wall is Britain’s most impressive and most important Roman monument. Together with the Antonine Wall and the Upper German Raetian Limes, it forms part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site ‘Frontiers of the Roman Empire.’

The fort of Vindolanda lies just to the south of Hadrian's Wall, in a stunning landscape. Although first built by the Roman army before Hadrian’s Wall, Vindolanda became an important construction and garrison base for the Wall, a fort in its own right. It was demolished and completely re-built no fewer than nine times. Each re-build, each community, left their own distinctive mark on the landscape and archaeology of the site. Vindolanda’s story is ever-evolving: each summer a team of archaeologists and volunteers uncover more of the fort, discovering buried structures and artefacts that continue to enrich our knowledge of this amazing site.  The most precious of all things found at Vindolanda – miraculously preserved due to the damp nature of much of the site – are the little wooden tablets with their written accounts of life on the Roman Empire’s northernmost frontier.

Visit Aydon Castle.

Aydon Castle is a superb example of a fortified manor house, and a reminder of the stark realities of life along the Anglo-Scottish border during medieval times.  An intact 13th-century English manor house, it is situated in a naturally defensive position two miles to the northeast of the town of Corbridge. Aydon Castle is of historic significance as very few changes were made in the succeeding centuries, meaning that the basic structure, layout and medieval features of the building remain. These include a solar wing with original fireplace, latrine block and crenellated parapet with arrow slits.

Check into Matfen Hall Hotel, Northumberland.

Drinks, followed by dinner in the Emerald Restaurant at Matfen Hall.

Day 7 – Tuesday, 6th May/Tuesday, 23rd September


Visit Flodden Battlefield.
The farm fields near Flodden, on the border between Scotland and England, incorporate the site of one of the most fateful battles in the long history of conflict between the Scots and English in this part of Northumberland. The Battle of Flodden, also known as the Battle of Branxton Moor, took place on 9 September 1513, and saw the forces of James IV of Scotland crushed by an English army under the command of the Earl of Surrey. A large memorial cross marks the battlefield site, and there are interpretive panels at several places around the perimeter, telling the tale of how the battle unfolded.

Visit Lady Waterford Hall.

The construction of Ford Village School was commissioned in 1860 by Louisa Anne, Marchioness of Waterford, the owner of Ford Estate. To aid the village children’s religious education, Louisa spent 21 years painting a series of huge watercolour murals of Bible stories to adorn the walls, using her tenants as models. Despite being a Pre-Raphaelite artist of some repute her achievements, like those of so many other female artists, have been overlooked. Yet here in Ford she created something entirely unique; the only school in Britain to have its walls embellished with Pre-Raphaelite art.  The building remained in use as a village school until 1957 and despite having as many as 134 local children in attendance in its heyday, the remarkable paintings somehow remained intact. Today, they are carefully preserved and you can marvel at Lady Waterford’s astonishing feat, study her sketches and other paintings, learn about her life and how she developed Ford as a ‘model’ village. School furniture has also been preserved, so you can experience something of day-to-day life in a Victorian schoolroom.

Visit Etal Castle.

Etal Castle is a ruined medieval fortification in the village of Etal, Northumberland. It was built around 1341 by Robert Manners, and comprised a residential tower, a gatehouse and a corner tower, protected by a curtain wall. The castle was involved both in local feuding and the border wars between England and Scotland. There was a battle between the rival Manners and Heron families outside the walls in 1428, and in 1513 it was briefly captured by King James IV of Scotland during his invasion of England.  The castle passed into the hands of the Crown in 1547 and was garrisoned as part of the border defences, but fell into disrepair and was abandoned as a military fortification after 1603. In the 18th century it ceased to be used as a domestic dwelling and became ruinous. In the 21st century, the castle is owned by the Joicey family, but managed by English Heritage.

Light lunch at the Black Bull Inn, Etal.

The Black Bull is the only thatched pub in Northumberland. It’s a stunning pub in the heart of the historic village of Etal, just across from Etal Castle.


Visit the Holy Island of Lindisfarne and Lindisfarne Priory.

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne lies just off the extreme Northeast corner of England near Berwick-upon-Tweed. The small population of just over 160 persons is swelled by the well over 650,000 visitors coming from all over the world every year.
Lindisfarne is a tidal island reachable via a paved causeway only when the North Sea tides permit. Locally the island is rarely referred to by its Anglo-Saxon name of Lindisfarne. Its local name of 'Holy Island' is probabl derived from the ensuing observations of Durham monks: 'Lindisfarne: truly a Holy Island, baptised in the blood of so many good men... after the murderous and bloodthirsty Viking attack on the monastery in 793 A.D.’ Lindisfarne is internationally famous both for its medieval religious heritage and also its more recent picturesque 16th-century castle. many visitors are also attracted by the peace and tranquillity that pervade the Island, which boasts quiet beaches and unique natural history.

Lindisfarne Priory on Holy Island was one of the most important centres of early Christianity in Anglo-Saxon England. It is still a place of pilgrimage today, the dramatic approach across the causeway adding to the fascination of the site.  
St Aidan founded the monastery in A,D. 635, but St Cuthbert, Prior of Lindisfarne, is the most celebrated of the priory's holy men. Buried in the priory, his remains were transferred to a pilgrim shrine there after 11 years, and found still undecayed - a sure sign of sanctity. From the end of the 8th century, the isolated island with its rich monastery was easy prey for Viking raiders. In 875, the monks left, carrying Cuthbert's remains, which after long wanderings were enshrined in Durham Cathedral in 1104, where they still rest. Only after that time did Durham monks re-establish a priory on Lindisfarne. The evocative ruins of the richly decorated priory church they built c.1150 still stand, with their famous 'rainbow arch' - a vault-rib of the now vanished crossing tower. The small community lived quietly on Holy Island until the suppression of the monastery in 1537. The museum offers visitors clear and lively interpretation of the story of St Cuthbert and the development of Lindisfarne Priory.

Free time on Lindisfarne to visit St Aidan’s Winery (free samples of mead), St Mary’s Church, the Old Lifeboat Station Museum, the Heritage Centre, the Gospel Garden or the shops on Marygate (The Scriptorium, The NT shop, The Fudge shop, The Craft shop, The Art shop).


Optional walk from Lindisfarne Priory to visit Lindisfarne Castle.  

The Castle was built in the 1550s using stones from the demolished priory. In 1901, Edward Hudson (founder of Country Life magazine) negotiated its purchase from the Crown, and in 1902, Sir Edwin Lutyens, the well-known architect, began to create the Edwardian country house you see today. The Walled Garden (originally the Fort's vegetable garden, but re-designed by Gertrude Jekyll in 1911 as part of the conversion) lies to the north of the castle, some 500m away. Her plans were recreated by the National Trust.

Independent dinner.

Day 8 – Wednesday, 7th May/Wednesday, 24th September


Visit Cragside.

Cragside is the revolutionary home of Lord Armstrong, Victorian inventor and landscape genius. The first house in the world to be lit using hydroelectric power, it was a wonder of the Victorian age, the place 'a magician of the north' created as a crucible of invention, and it has been called Britain's original smart home. Located on a rocky hillside near Rothbury, Cragside was initially built in 1863 as a two-storey country lodge. It was later extended into a lavish mansion designed by Richard Norman Shaw in the ‘Free Tudor’ style. The estate has extensive forest gardens, artificial lakes and rock gardens. Cragside is a Grade I listed building and the estate has been in the care of the National Trust since 1977.

Independent lunch and free time in Alnwick.

Alnwick is a beautiful, historic town in the heart of Northumberland, with lots to do on the bustling doorstep yet close to the surrounding countryside. In the middle of the town centre is its attractive marketplace complete with an old Market Cross. If you can, visit Barter Books at the station; it’s a rambling, quirky second-hand bookstore, with open fires, armchairs, model trains and a simple café.


Visit Alnwick Castle.

The second largest inhabited castle in the UK (after Windsor), Alnwick has been home to the Percy family for 700 years, ad is now the seat of the 12th Duke of Northumberland. The Percies played a significant role in English history and were closely involved in many notable events, including the Wars of the Roses. The castle has been renovated and expanded over the centuries, resulting in an impressive blend of architectural styles, from medieval fortifications to luxurious Georgian interiors. One of the castle's most notable owners was Harry Hotspur, a medieval knight who famously fought alongside King Henry IV against the Scots. The present Duchess has created The Alnwick Garden, where you’ll have the chance to experience the Cherry Orchard, Bamboo Labyrinth and even the Poison Garden,  home to some of the most deadly plants in the world. For film fanatics, Alnwick Castle made its stamp on the silver screen, starring as Brancaster Castle in multiple episodes of Downton Abbey, and as Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the first two Harry Potter films.


Visit Chillingham Castle for Dinner in the Minstrels’ Hall followed by a Ghost Tour.

This remarkable and very private castle has been continuously owned by just one family line since the 1200s. A visit from Edward I in 1298 was followed by many other royal visits down the centuries. There are alarming dungeons as well as active restoration in the Great Halls and State Rooms which are gradually brought back to life with tapestries, arms and armour. They even have a very real torture chamber.
The 12th-century stronghold became a fortified castle in 1344. Chillingham occupied a strategic position during Northumberland's bloody border feuds. The Tudor period saw additions but the underlying medievalism remains. The castle is also home to a number a ghosts, the most famous being the ‘Blue Boy’.

Day 9 – Thursday, 8th May/Thursday, 25th September


Visit Bamburgh Castle.

Bamburgh, Northumberland’s most dramatic castle stands on a site that has been occupied since ancient times. The oldest surviving aboveground parts of the castle date from the 12th century. Situated on a high crag above the Northumbrian coast, with commanding views of Lindisfarne and the Farne Islands, this castle was in legend the stronghold of Sir Lancelot, paladin of the Round Table and the greatest of Arthur’s champions. However, the real Bamburgh was the first English castle to fall to cannon fire, the nemesis of medieval chivalry, when it was attacked by Edward IV in 1464 during the War of the Roses. The castle was occupied and fortified before the ancient Romans arrived. The invading Angles took it from the Celtic Britons, and it became the stronghold of Ida, King of Bernicia, in the 6th century, and then passed into the hands of his grandson Aethelfrith. The castle was then a royal palace where many of the Northumbrian kings were crowned, but it was sacked by the Vikings in 993, taken by the Normans and rebuilt, and successfully withstood a siege by William II in 1095. The oldest parts of it above the ground date from the time of Henry II, who became king of England in 1154, and the principal part that has survived is the keep that was completed in 1164. In the 16th and 17th centuries Bamburgh Castle was left largely abandoned until it was bought in 1704 by the bishop of Durham, Lord Crewe. In 1894, the site was sold to William Armstrong, an engineer, inventor, and armaments magnate. As part of his renovation program, Armstrong knocked some of the castle down and turned the rest into a combination of medieval fortress and Victorian mansion, where his descendants still live.
Independent lunch in Bamburgh.

Bamburgh is a beautiful coastal town in the heart of Northumberland. It is dominated by the stunning Bamburgh Castle, high on the rocky headlan,d and bordered on one side by the glorious Bamburgh beach which stretches for miles affording stunning coastal scenery.


Visit Warkworth Castle.

Warkworth Castle's importance lies in its role as chief residence of the powerful Percy family. Its spectacular 14th-century keep is a masterpiece of medieval architecture and a symbol of the family’s wealth and status. A visit gives you the
opportunity to investigate the life of a noble family in medieval and Tudor times and explore one of the biggest and most impressive fortresses in north-east England. The keep is one of the finest in the country, with an advanced design that would have provided impressive accommodation as well as a status symbol worthy of such a powerful family. The Percies’ power struggles brought them into frequent conflict with the monarchy, with the castle returned to royal control on several occasions, but with their influence so great, a Percy was normally soon reinstated. When Henry Percy, 6th Earl of Northumberland, died childless in 1537, he left the castle to Henry VIII. Subsequent attempts to reinstate a Percy brought misfortune as the Catholic Percies came into conflict with the Protestant Queen Elizabeth I. A failed uprising of the Northern Earls against the Queen led to the execution of the 7th Earl in 1572, and to the pillaging of the castle by the Queen's servants. The castle was subsequently allowed to fall into decay.


Drinks and Dinner at Langley Castle.

Langley Castle Hotel is a 14th-century fortified castle nestling in the Northumbrian valley of the South Tyne, and is known for its romantic atmosphere and exceptional dining. Built in 1350, during the reign of Edward III, the castle has retained its architectural integrity and is one of the few medieval fortified castle hotels in England. Set in its own ten-acre woodland estate, the castle's seven-foot-thick walls provide a peaceful and tranquil refuge in which to escape from today's hustle and bustle to a bygone age. Langley Castle is no ordinary castle hotel - it is an experience and an inspiration, and has been awarded two AA Rosettes for its fine cuisine. Dining in this romantic castle is an experience to savour.

Day 10 – Friday, 9th May/Friday, 26th September

Check out of Matfen Hall Hotel.


Visit Seaton Delaval Hall.

Seaton Delaval Hall is a great house set in its own estate with lovely gardens and a fine collection; yet it is also much more. It is a signpost pointing to the diverse history of a family which acquired land here in the late 11th century. The house occupies the site of the Norman settlement, and its original Norman chapel remains in use today. Built between 1719 and 1730 for Admiral George Delaval, it is not only the finest house in the north east of England, but also among the finest works of its architect, Sir John Vanbrugh, one of the masters of English Baroque. For 900 years, the estate has been a stage for drama, intrigue and romance while the surrounding landscape has fuelled industrial revolution. The house has survived terrible fires, military occupation and potential ruin. Now it provides an amazing space for arts, heritage and the community to come together.

Visit Harewood House for lunch followed by a tour of the house.

Harewood House is a country house in Harewood near Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. Designed by architects John Carr and Robert Adam, it was built between 1759 and 1771 for wealthy plantation owner Edwin Lascelles, 1st Baron Harewood. The landscape was designed by Lancelot “Capability” Brown and spans 1,000 acres at Harewood. It was home to the late Mary, Princess Royal, Countess of Harewood, and the Lascelles family still live there. Harewood House is a member of the Treasure Houses of England. One look at its opulent gallery, with its Chippendale furniture and Renaissance masterpieces, and it’s easy to see why it became a favourite filming location for the Downton Abbey film in 2018 and two seasons of ITV’s Victoria. Its extensive network of bridleways and paths also featured in Channel 5’s Anne Boleyn (2021).

6pm: Return to The Grand Hotel, York for farewell drinks and canapes.

The tour ends.