Alison Weir Tours

The Wulfhall Tour



Day 1 Monday, 2nd May/3rd October


11am: Welcome and tour briefing


Noon: Welcome buffet lunch at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel, London

Afternoon: Visit Ewelme church and village, Oxfordshire

Ewelme is located amid lush Oxfordshire countryside. The church of St Mary the Virgin is a well-preserved Perpendicular building and contains the magnificent tomb of Thomas Chaucer, son of Geoffrey Chaucer the poet. He was lord of the manor of Ewelme, who fought as a soldier at the battle of Agincourt. Nearby is the tomb of his daughter, Alice Chaucer, Duchess of Suffolk who died in 1475. Her tomb is of alabaster and has a splendid carved effigy. Alice and her husband, William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk founded the Almshouses (1437) close to the church.

In 1448, William was created Duke of Suffolk but his unpopularity led to his murder at sea in 1450. His only legitimate son, John, was briefly married to Margaret Beaufort although Henry VI annulled the marriage in 1453. John went on to marry Elizabeth, second surviving daughter of Richard, Duke of York, and Cecily Neville, and sister of Edward IV and Richard III. Their son, Edmund, Duke of Suffolk, was executed in 1513 for conspiring against Henry VIII, at which time Ewelme manor was forfeited to the crown. David Starkey claims that Henry VIII was conceived at Ewelme during an extended visit by his parents in the autumn of 1490. In 1525, Henry granted the manor to his sister Mary, wife of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. During the summer progress of 1535, the court stayed for a couple of days at Ewelme. Henry seems to have used Ewelme as a lesser private house to which he could retreat or use as a base for hunting. Henry Norris, one of Anne Boleyn’s alleged lovers, was keeper of Ewelme before his execution in 1536. Henry VIII also stayed at the manor with his fifth wife, Catherine Howard. Edward VI granted the manor to his sister Elizabeth, who  visited as queen with her favourite, Robert Dudley. Later in Elizabeth’s reign, the Earl of Essex lived at Ewelme in semi-banishment. After Elizabeth’s death, Ewelme became less frequented; by 1612, the house was virtually a ruin. All that remains is an isolated Georgian-looking brick house set back from the village street, which was part of the service wing, dating from about 1450.

Just beyond the south door of St Mary’s Ewelme is the modest grave of Jerome Klapka Jerome (1859-1927), one-time teacher, actor, journalist, humourist and writer.  He is best known for his book Three Men in a Boat.

Depart Ewelme for The Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe, Wiltshire

Check into The Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe

The Manor House is a fourteenth-century luxury hotel and golf club in a magnificent setting, offering romantic nights away, Michelin-starred dining and a dedicated gin bar. Head into the adjacent historic village of Castle Combe to the hotel’s twelfth-century pub or take a short buggy ride up to its championship golf course. All bedrooms are individually styled each with their own special features and ooze five-star luxury. With a Michelin starred restaurant, alfresco dining, The Full Glass Bar, lounges for coffee, lunch or afternoon tea, and private dining rooms open to residents and non-residents alike, they provide a dining experience and atmosphere for every occasion. The Manor House is the perfect destination for golf or leisure.

Evening: Welcome drinks and dinner at the Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe

Overnight: The Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe



Day 2 Tuesday, 3rd May/4th October

Morning: Guided walks of Castle Combe

Late morning: Visit
Lacock, Wiltshire for an independent lunch.

The picture-perfect village has plenty of shops, food outlets and buildings full of character to explore. Lacock is a living community, which is what makes it so special to visit. TV shows such as 'Downton Abbey', 'Cranford' and 'Pride and Prejudice' were filmed here.


Afternoon: Visit Lacock Abbey


The Abbey, located at the heart of the village within its own woodland grounds, is a quirky country house of various architectural styles, built upon the foundations of a former nunnery. Visitors can experience the atmosphere of the medieval rooms and cloister court, giving a sense of the Abbey's monastic past. The museum celebrates the achievements of former Lacock resident, William Henry Fox Talbot, famous for his contributions to the invention of photography.

Courtyard Tea Room and the Stables Café, NT shops.

Evening: Drinks, tour and dinner at Berkeley Castle ((1535 progress, Wolf Hall location) (tbc)

Berkeley Castle is a hidden gem in the Cotswolds and has been awarded TripAdvisor's Certificate of Excellence for the last five years. Berkeley is a beautiful and historic Castle, begun in 1154 and still the home of the Berkeley family. The castle dominates the Vale of Berkeley and is steeped in over 860 years of British history. It is best known as the scene of the alleged brutal murder of Edward II in 1327 and for being besieged by Parliamentary troops in 1645. Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and Elizabeth I were notable visitors. Over twenty-four generations of Berkeleys have gradually transformed a Norman fortress into the lovely family home it is today. The state apartments contain magnificent collections of furniture, rare paintings and tapestries. Some of the world-famous Berkeley silver is on display in the Dining Room and many other rooms including the Great Hall, the Morning Room (the former medieval chapel, with its unique painted ceiling) and the kitchens are available to view.

The Castle is surrounded by lovely terraced gardens with flower borders, a lily pond, Elizabeth I’s bowling green and sweeping lawns. In summer, you can visit  the tropical Butterfly House in the Walled Garden, which is a tranquil environment for over twenty-five different species of tropical butterflies.

The castle has been used on many occasions for filming and has been featured in TV dramas such as The Other Boleyn Girl, Wolf Hall, Poldark and The White Princess, and in several documentaries such as Princes in Waiting.

Overnight: The Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe



Day 3 Wednesday, 4th May/5th October


Morning: Drive to Monacute, Somerset


Lunch at the King’s Arms Inn, Montacute


Afternoon: Visit Montacute House

Montacute is a masterpiece of Elizabethan Renaissance architecture and design. With its towering walls of glass, glowing ham stone and surrounding gardens, it is a place of beauty and wonder. Sir Edward Phelips was the visionary force and money behind the creation of this masterpiece, which was completed in 1601. Built by skilled craftsman, the house was a statement of wealth, ambition and showmanship. The Long Gallery is the longest of its kind in England. The gallery houses over 60 Tudor and Elizabethan portraits on loan from the National Portrait Gallery. A beautiful garden surrounds Montacute House, constantly changing, filling the house with scent in summer.

Courtyard Café, second-hand bookshop in the historic stable clock, NT shop.

Independent dinner


Overnight: The Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe



Day 4 Thursday, 5th May/6th October


Morning: Visit Longleat House

Longleat House is a stunning example of high Elizabethan architecture and one of the most beautiful stately homes, the first to be open to the public, since 1949. Substantially completed by 1580 and now occupied by the Marquess of Bath, this incredible house has now been called home by 16 generations of the Thynn family. Longleat House is set within 900 acres of ‘Capability' Brown landscaped gardens. This former 16th-century Augustinian priory contains many treasures and heirlooms acquired by generations of the Thynne family, some of whom were great collectors of their day. The collection comprises early books and manuscripts, magnificent paintings, Tudor portraits, exquisite Flemish tapestries, and fine French furniture all housed within 19th-century opulent interiors.

Independent lunch at Longleat

Afternoon: Visit Salisbury Cathedral


For over 750 years, pilgrims have come to Salisbury to seek inspiration in the glory and peace of the building and surrounding Cathedral Close. Marvel at, or climb up, Britain's tallest spire, be awed by the beauty and scale of the Cathedral interior or study one of the only four surviving copies of the original Magna Carta in the Chapter House. Salisbury Cathedral is a truly remarkable building, a testimony to the faith and practical skills of the medieval craftsmen who built it, a living place of prayer and a centre of pilgrimage for hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.

Gift shop and Refectory Restaurant

Independent dinner


Overnight: The Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe



Day 5 Friday, 6th May/7th October



Morning: Visit Hailes Church (a hidden gem) and Hailes Abbey


Set in tranquil Cotswolds countryside, Hailes Abbey was once one of the most significant pilgrimage sites in medieval England. Visitors flocked to see the Holy Blood of Hailes – a relic so prized it was mentioned by Geoffrey Chaucer in The Canterbury Tales. In 1535, Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn travelled through western England, visiting Winchcombe Abbey, a few miles from Hailes. According to one source, Anne Boleyn sent some of her chaplains to enquire into the ‘abomynable abuse’ of pilgrimage to Hailes. The shrine to the Holy Blood was destroyed during Henry VIII’s Suppression of the Monasteries and the abbey soon fell into ruin. Today the former splendour of Hailes Abbey is evoked by its beautiful surviving stonework and museum collection.

English Heritage shop.


Visit Winchcombe for an independent lunch

The ancient Anglo Saxon town of Winchcombe is situated in a beautiful Cotswold valley.  The inns, restaurants, tea rooms, and shops set among Winchcombe's three main streets are full of the character of times past. Winchcombe Abbey, where Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn stayed in 1535, was surrendered to the Crown in 1539 and then demolished. Some of its stones can still be found in Winchcombe; for example the lintel over the abbey gate now rests over the gate of what was once the George Inn. Fragments of the abbey can still be seen in various places in Winchcombe, notably the Corner Cupboard Inn on the Cheltenham road. A stone cross was erected in the 19th century to mark the centre of the abbey tower.

Afternoon: Visit Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire

Sudeley Castle was the last home of Katherine Parr, who died there in 1548, and whose Victorian tomb may be seen in the chapel. Henry VIII stayed here with Anne Boleyn in 1535. Set against the backdrop of the beautiful Cotswold Hills, Sudeley Castle has royal connections spanning a thousand years. Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Lady Jane Grey, Queen Elizabeth I and Richard III have all played a part in Sudeley’s story. Inside, the castle contains many fascinating treasures including the highly-anticipated ‘20 Treasures of Sudeley’. A collection of artefacts and works of art of great historical importance which include Katherine Parr’s letters, lacework reputedly made by Anne Boleyn, bed hangings made for Marie Antoinette and Charles I’s personal beer jugs. Sudeley Castle’s magnificent gardens are world-renowned, providing variety and colour from spring through to autumn. The centrepiece is the Queens Garden, so named because four of England’s queens – Anne Boleyn, Katherine Parr, Lady Jane Grey and Elizabeth I – once admired the hundreds of varieties of roses found in the garden. A pheasantry, adventure playground with picnic area, gift shop and Terrace Café in the banqueting hall complete the perfect day out.

Independent dinner


Overnight: The Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe



Day 6 Saturday, 7th May/8th October


Check out of The Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe

Morning: Visit Westwood Manor, Wiltshire


Another hidden gem, Westwood Manor was built of local stone in the late 15th century with early 16th-century and Jacobean additions. Westwood was originally the property of the priory of St Swithin at Winchester and was let out to a succession of tenant farmers. The core of the present house is the work of Thomas Culverhouse, who farmed the estate until c.1485, and extended an earlier building in 1480. Thomas Horton, a prosperous local clothier, acquired the lease by 1518 and altered many of the interiors. John Farewell, who lived here between 1616-42, pulled down quite a lot of the medieval work, leaving the present compact L-shaped house. He also commissioned some fine plaster decoration including an overmantel that depicts two geese hanging a fox. You will see late Gothic and Jacobean windows, decorative plasterwork, two important keyboard instruments, period furniture, 17th- and 18th-century tapestries and a modern topiary garden.

Independent lunch in Castle Cary

Castle Cary is- one of the most attractive of Somerset's market towns. Tucked away in a secluded spot a few miles off the A303, the golden stone of Castle Cary and Ansford exudes a warm glow complemented by its glorious setting in the South Somerset countryside and its friendly inhabitants.The town has many attractive historic buildings including its 19th century Market House, its 18th century "Roundhouse" or lock-up' and the thatched George Hotel.  The main street, stretching down to the old Horse Pond, is full of individual high-quality shops, delicatessens, cafes, te-rooms and restaurants, grocers, outfitters, ironmongers, books, antiques and local produce, making it perfect destination for a relaxing visit.

Afternoon: Visit Lytes Cary Manor


This intimate manor house was the former home of medieval herbalist Henry Lyte. Here visitors can learn about his famous 16th-century plant directory, Lytes New Herbal. The manor spans many years with its 14th-century chapel and 15th-century Great Hall. In the 20th century it was rescued from dereliction by Sir Walter Jenner. Its Arts & Crafts-style garden is a combination of outdoor rooms, topiary, statues and herbaceous borders. Explore the walks through the wider estate and riverside and discover many features typical of farmed lowland England, including ancient hedges, rare arable weeds and farmland birds.

Garden, National Trust gift shop and tea-room.

Check into Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath

The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa is a five-star haven of elegance and tranquillity in the historic centre of Bath. Step inside and discover a multi-talented hotel that offers so much more than just a place to stay. It is an iconic sanctuary in the city set in an acre of glorious gardens, a sensational spa for a blissful escape and beautiful bedrooms, each one uniquely designed with spectacular views. All this underpinned by impeccable service, delivered by staff dedicated to making your stay unforgettable, and with a prestigious history that spans more than 250 years.

Drinks and dinner at Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath 


Overnight: Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath 



Day 7 Sunday, 8th May/9th October

Morning: Visit Chavenage House


Chavenage is a wonderful Elizabethan house of mellow grey Cotswold stone and tiles which contains much of interest for the discerning visitor. The approach aspect of Chavenage is virtually as it was left by Edward Stephens in 1576. Only two families have owned Chavenage; the present owners, the Lowsley-Williams, since 1891, and the Stephens family before them. Inside Chavenage, there are many interesting rooms and 17th-century tapestries. A feature room is the tapestried Oliver Cromwell Room. From this period, the ‘Legend of Chavenage’ has arisen, with the headless ghost of Charles I, arriving at the house in a coach to collect the body of Colonel Stephens; on departure the coach disappears into a fireball at the gates of the Manor House. Visitors may recognise Chavenage from Television productions, such as Hercule Poirot, House of Elliot, and Cider with Rosie. Scenes from Tess of the D’Urbervilles and the critically acclaimed Wolf Hall, were also shoot at Chavenage.  The House featured as Candleford Manor in Lark Rise to Candleford and much of the supernatural ‘The Living and The Dead’ was shot at Chavenage.   It now can be seen as Trenwith House is the hugely popular Poldark.


Independent lunch in Tetbury, Gloucestershire


Tetbury is in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds and is proud of its 1300 years of recorded history since 681, when Tetta's monastery was mentioned in a charter of King Ethelred of Mercia. In the Middle Ages, Tetbury was an important market town for the Cotswolds wool trade and the town centre is still dominated by the splendid pillared Market House built in 1655. The town is an architectural gem as many of the wool merchants houses still look as they did 300 years ago.

   Tetbury is well known for its 25 antique shops and its close proximity to Prince Charles's residence, Highgrove House. The town has a wonderful variety of shops including many specialist shops offering a wide choice. Some bear the Prince of Wales’s feathers as a sign that they hold his Royal Warrant.

Evening: Dinner at Ravello, Bradford-upon-Avon


Overnight: Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath 



Day 8 Monday, 9th May/10th October


Morning: Coffee/Tea and Biscuits at the George Inn, Norton St Philip, a Grade One listed building situated in an idyllic setting with beautiful views across the local village green and 14th Century church. This 700-year-old inn has much to delight - it is a feast for the eyes and boasts every traditional comfort.


Visit Farleigh Hungerford Castle


In a beautiful valley of the river Frome stand the remains of Farleigh Hungerford Castle. Begun in the 14th century, it still has much for visitors to enjoy. In 1473, it was the birthplace of Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, who was beheaded by order of Henry VIII in 1541. The fortified mansion was occupied for 300 years by the remarkable Hungerford family whose intriguing, yet sometimes gruesome, stories are told through graphic interpretation panels and a free audio tour. There are many hidden treasures: the chapel with rare medieval wall paintings and family tombs; extensive displays in the Priest’s House; and, for those who are brave enough to enter the crypt, the best collection of human-shaped lead coffins in Britain.

English Heritage shop.



Visit Wells, Somerset, for an independent lunch and sightseeing.

See Wells, England's smallest city, with its historic centre, magnificent cathedral and unique moated Bishop's Palace. Wells nestles on the southern side of the Mendip Hills with the mystic Somerset Levels stretching away to the south and west. The history of Wells goes back to Roman times when there was a settlement, probably because of the springs that bubble up here. Wells gets its name from these springs which can today be found in the gardens of the Bishop's Palace. Wells is the smallest city in England with about 12,000 inhabitants. It boasts a famous 13th century Cathedral and has many other historic buildings, including the moated Bishop's Palace, Vicars' Close, St Cuthbert's Church and a good local museum. The Wells Market Place, with lively markets twice a week, the narrow streets and an eclectic mix of building styles all reflect on the continuing development of the town throughout the ages. There are many places for an independent lunch.

Afternoon: Visit Wells Cathedral and the Bishop's Palace

Independent dinner.


Overnight: Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath 



Day 9 Tuesday, 10th May/11th October




Free time to explore Bath or take a guided walk and see some of this beautiful Georgian city’s attractions.  




Visit Glastonbury, Somerset, for an independent lunch. 

Dominating the skyline in this part of the beautiful county of Somerset you will find dramatic Glastonbury Tor. In Glastonbury, history, myth and legend combine in such a way that most visitors cannot fail to feel the “vibes” and powerful atmosphere of the town. For not only is Glastonbury the cradle of Christianity in England but is also reputed to be the burial place of King Arthur.It is thought to have been a site for pre-Christian worship. There is a ruined medieval church at the top of the Tor, the tower of which remains. Two thousand years ago, at the foot of the Tor was a vast lake called “Ynys-witrin”, the Island of Glass. It is partly from this that the association of Glastonbury with legendary Avalon comes about, as in Celtic folklore Avalon was an isle of enchantment, the meeting place of the dead.


Afternoon: Visit Glastonbury Abbey for a guided tour by a Living History Guide

Since Medieval times, Glastonbury Abbey has held legendary status as the earliest Christian foundation in Britain. This internationally renowned site attracts visitors from around the world for its history, heritage, myths and legends as well as for its spiritual enrichment and there has been a church on the site for at least 1500 years with evidence of even earlier occupation. Glastonbury was the richest monastery in England at the end of the Saxon period, and second only to Westminster at the close of the Middle Ages. It’s history is intertwined with English traditions; one of its abbots, St Dunstan, wrote the Coronation rubric used for every coronation since that of King Edgar in 975. William Blake’s popular hymn ‘Jerusalem’ was written about the legend that a young Jesus, accompanied by Joseph of Arimathea, visited Glastonbury. The Holy Thorn which grows at Glastonbury Abbey has become part of the legend of Joseph of Arimathea. According to the story, when Joseph arrived in Britain, he landed on the island of Avalon, thrust his staff into the ground and rested. By morning the staff had taken root; it grew into the miraculous thorn tree which flowers every Easter and Christmas. Glastonbury Abbey is said to be the final resting place of King Arthur. In 1184, a great fire destroyed the monastic buildings and pilgrim visits fell. However in 1191 the 'discovery' of Arthur and Guinevere’s tomb gave pilgrims fresh impetus for visiting. Today the maginificent Abbey ruins stand in a tranquil setting in which visitors can discover its past.

Evening: Drinks and dinner at The Roman Baths, Bath, and the Pump Room


Constructed in around 70AD as a grand bathing and socialising complex, the famous Roman Baths is one of the best-preserved Roman remains in the world, where 1,170,000 litres of steaming spring water, reaching 46°C, still fills the bathing site every single day. The Roman Baths is the site of extensive ruins and an interactive museum filled with many treasures and visual snippets that transport you back to Roman times and the lives of the people of the city of Aquae Sulis. Walk on ancient pavements as the Romans did 2,000 years ago, and explore ancient chambers historically housing changing rooms and tepid plunge pools.


At the heart of the World Heritage city, the Roman Baths have been a venue for relaxation and hospitality for approximately 2,000 years. Today, the Roman Baths make the most magical location for a drinks reception, with guests able to mingle on the ancient paving and absorb the unique atmosphere. After the reception, the elegant Pump Room makes a memorable setting for any dinner, party or reception. One of the most iconic venues in Bath, it can accommodate up to 160. For smaller events, the Terrace, which overlooks the waters of the Great Bath, is the perfect location for an intimate dinner.


Overnight: Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath 



Day 10 Wednesday, 11th May/12th October


Check out of Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath


Morning: Visit Wolfhall Manor


At the edge of Wiltshire’s ancient Savernake forest lies a house steeped in history.  Shrouded in mystery and lost to the mists of time, Wolfhall stands testimony to the rise and fall of the Seymour family, so crucial to the heart of the Tudor monarchy and the history of England itself. Thanks to Hillary Mantel’s best-selling novel and award-winning television series of the same name, Wolfhall is once again synonymous with the romance of the court of Henry VIII and his marriage to Jane Seymour, mother of his long-awaited son and heir, Edward VI. Jane was probably born here, and Henry VIII visited during his 1535 progress.


Originally the residence of the warden of Savernake Forest, Wolfhall rose to grandeur along with the power and influence of the Seymour family.  Its chequered history is as fascinating as its architectural styles, from its clearly visible original Tudor great hall to its later genteel Georgian and Victorian additions. Recent research has shown that the house, thought to be 17th-century, has a medieval core and is part of the original double-courtyard house of the Seymours.


Visit Marborough, Wiltshire, for an independent lunch


Marlborough is a charming old English market town with a unique broad High Street, which is partly arcaded and hosts a diverse range of small independent shops, bookshops, antique emporiums and eateries. The town straddles the former stagecoach route from London to Bath and lies alongside the River Kennet. The lack of major road and rail links has allowed this elegant Georgian market town to retain much of its original character and heritage.

The high street is lined with 16th to early 19th-century houses and old coaching inns, with a Perpendicular church standing proudly at each end - St Mary's, where a curfew bell still sounds each evening and St Peter's, with its impressive Norman doorway. Behind the High Street lies a labyrinth of alleyways filled with half-timbered cottages, and on the north side are many interesting colonnades.


Afternoon: Visit The Vyne, Hampshire


The Vyne is a warm red-brick Tudor mansion built in the 16th century for Lord Sandys, Henry VIII's Lord Chamberlain, which later passed into the hands of the Chute family, who cared for the house and estate for over 300 years. It was remodelled to its present configuration in the mid-17th century with the addition of a classical portico and summerhouse, firsts of their kind in England. Visitors will see 500 year-old Majolica tiles, Renaissance stained glass (including windows depicting Henry VIII, Katherine of Aragon and Margaret Tudor) and exquisite wood carvings in the Tudor chapel and period linenfold panelling in the oak gallery. The house holds treasures collected by the Chute family, including furniture, tapestries and paintings, Murano glass and silk wall hangings. Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Horace Walpole, and Jane Austen all visited. The house is set in 13 acres of beautiful, relaxing gardens, ffrom the formal summerhouse and stone gallery gardens with fine herbaceous borders, to the more natural wild garden and fruit trees of the orchard and walled garden. Nestled in the Hampshire countryside, The Vyne Estate features acres of woodland with trails that pass by ancient trees, a medieval fishpond and the park pale. The wetlands attract an abundance of bird life.

The Brewhouse tea-room serves homemade cakes and light lunches; National Trust shop.


6pm: Farewell drinks and canapes at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel, London



Please note that all information was correct at the time of publishing this itinerary in 2019, but visitor arrangements at historical sites have sometimes been subject to change due to circumstances beyond our control, due chiefly to the lockdowns and the impact of Brexit on staffing, and we had to make changes.