The History of England Tour – 2020 Update

Stonor Park

Hello everyone

I think most of you will guess that the tour, planned for this September, was under a bit of a challenge. Firstly I’d let you all know that my health might not permit and then there’s , COVID 19. Albion have now confirmed that the tour this year is cancelled – they’ll be contacting those of you who signed up for the Tour – but let me know if you don’t hear in the next couple of weeks and I will contact them. I am very sorry this has been such a troubled journey – both from acts of God, in my defence.

BUT I am happy to tell you that the tour WILL STILL GO AHEAD! Hurrah! It has been postponed until 2021, with a start date on 14th September. I still have some treatment to come this year but surely September 2021 is safe. I’ve included the information about the tour again below. And if you booked for this year  and are not too cross with me and want to come in 2021 – then Albion will simply transfer your booking, not need to re-book.

It’s a long way away, and I’ll talk about it on a podcast near you closer to the time – but if you want to book please go ahead! It will unquestionably be a hoot. The Albion Journeys website at bit.ly/thoetour is a US site which quotes in dollars, but if you are from the UK, or Oz, Canada, New Zealand, Mongolia wherever, just give them a call to book or ask questions, it is of course open to all. Or drop me an email at david54031@gmail.com and I will do as well as I can!

The tour, where and why 

ToL

We’ll start off in London for a couple of days – silly not to. We’ll go to the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey of course how could we not, because they are amazing. But there are some other lesser known corners in London we should go to as well – St Bartholomew the Great, Charterhouse (founded by Hundred Year War Hainaulter Walter Manny), St Dunstan Gardens – and also we’ll go and see William the Marshal lying around in Temple Church. The Temple church is in a lovely place near Lincoln Inn fields and I have walked down there and stood outside it many times. As it happens though, I have never managed to stand outside it at a moment when it was open, so the visit will be as fresh for me as it will be for you. There’ll be an afternoon off to boot so that you can wander around, and I might take the chance to wander down to the church of St Magnus the Martyr.

In some of the locations throughout the tour we will have a special tour guide, and one evening I’ll have to stand on my hind legs and give some sort of talk. And we will have a professional tour guide at the next place, and a private tour of Windsor castle, which really is the best way to see Windsor Castle; there is so much to see and it’s very popular of course. The Chapel of St George is astounding, but the whys and wherefores of the castle are maybe the best.

st_georges

After that, we head out of the Big Smoke into England’s green and pleasant land, heading for the Midlands and then western England. On the way, just to make sure that we don’t get bored of the motorway, we stop off at a smaller, more shall we say ‘bijou’ country house, Stonor Park. There are a few reasons for choosing Stonor. It is in my neck of the woods – I live over a hill or two and walk the hound past the gate sometimes. It’s set in lovely countryside, with a classic deer park, and it scrubs up well too. Plus since we have been doing the Reformation, it happens to have a proud recusant Catholic history; the Stonors were part of a network of catholic families in South Oxfordshire.

Nashs house

 

Then it’s off to Kenilworth, which has more than one connection with our story so far – Simon de Montfort, Tudors; and there’s the Abbey too. We’ll also then go to Stratford on Avon. While I’m on this; at Kenilworth and Stratford we’ll meet Richard Grove who will show us the landscapes of worship, trade and daily life, to make sure the lives of ordinary folk are not forgotten in all of this. Richard is a landscape archaeologist I met through the podcast and Oxford, and he’ll be great at bringing the place to life. And much to my disgust of course there’ll be the odd site connected with the Bard. Then off to glorious, glorious Tewkesbury – battle site, abbey, town are all superb. Berkeley castle next, which might just be my favourite castle. It’s not the biggest, but it’s got impeccable historical connection of course, what with Edward II but more it’s very long and very well preserved history. And also it’s just such a lovely, lived in human scale sort of place that allows you to visualise life as it might have been – the first  time I visited it was something like 30 years go, and have never forgotten the experience.

Tewkesbury-Abbey

Then we end up in Gloucester. Gloucester Cathedral is lovely, beautiful perpendicular architecture and medieval stained glass windows, and I think we are aiming to coincide with an evensong if anyone is interested, because I’m told the choir is really good.

Then to Chepstow for a towering medieval castle overlooking the beautiful Wye valley, and one of William’s pads again of course. Chepstow really brings home the feeling of life on the marches in times medieval. Richard joins us again because we go across to the prehistoric Avebury circle. I can’t claim very much that prehistoric Avebury fits in with the Medieval and Tudor theme (though actually there is a lovely manor house nearby which is Tudor) but it is a very special place. The stones are not Salisbury size, but you can walk among them. I first saw it stepping of a bus from Swindon a couple of decades ago before walking the ancient Ridgeway track, and again it’s a moment that has never left me. Also, we have the added joy of Richard walking us around the area.

Avebury

That’s it; then it’s back to Windsor and a slap up supper. The following morning we drop you back to Heathrow if that’s where you go next. We thought keep the tour relatively short because if you are coming from far away you might want to take another week to go other places in the UK or wherever. Oh, and one evening I have committed to do some talk/presentation thing on some historical topic which is mildly terrifying but I have a year to prepare so…

Booking, nuts and bolts 

The Albion Journeys website at bit.ly/thoetour is a US site which quotes in dollars, but if you are from the UK, or Oz, Canada, New Zealand, Mongolia wherever, just give them a call to book or ask questions, it is of course open to all. Or drop me an email at david54031@gmail.com and I will do as well as I can!

It would be very lovely to meet any of you who would like to come. And if it’s a rip roaring success, we’ll do it again.

33 thoughts on “The History of England Tour – 2020 Update

  1. I am booked, but… all the single rooms are already gone? It has been less than a week, no? My friend got one so I don’t want to boot her out…but how many were there? Any chance of adding any more on?

    Also, I second the idea of a Scotland tour next!

    1. Hi Caroline – and fantastic! We’ve added a couple of Singles and Albion are trying to add some more. Sorry about that, we weren’t sure what to expect. Let me know if you have a problem, and I’ll let everyone know

      1. Thanks David – They contacted me and switched my reservation from double to single – so I am all set! Can’t wait!

    1. Ha! No, sadly, the shed is not on the tour. and anyway, once you’d seen it, all the mystique would be gone! We are going quite close, though, just over the hill as it were, when we go to Stonor

  2. Fingers in wars, eyes closed and yelling ‘lalalalalalala’ Enjoy your trip everyone, hope to join a future one, Scotland maybe 😉

    1. Hi There I’m really sorry, but I should take my advert down – we are now full. Really sorry I hope to do another, maybe May 2021 so watch this space!

  3. David – we are unfortunately going to have to cancel our reservation. We are both over 65 and my wife has a history of having the flu go to pneumonia. Needless to say, we are not happy about it, but the reality is that a transatlantic flight is not in the cards until there is a vaccine. Can you tell me how I should go about doing this?

    1. Hi Rip – and I have been enjoying your pictures on Facebook by the way. Um, I would contact the same people you got it touch with to book the Tour…I think it’s Just Go! at Tel: 0333 321 2772 or Toll Free from US: 1-866-834-8358. You remind me I must get in touch with them and see what the status of the tour is…

      1. Back in for 2021. Almost done with UK pictures and I need to replenish my supply. Take care and be safe.

  4. Sounds positive long term on the health front David, which is so good to hear. I won’t do this one as ipI suspect I won’t want to stray too far from the safety of NZ in the next two years. But if you and the world is well in 2022 it might be different story, esp if you did a Scotland one or a England one excluding London (hey I was born and went to school there. Where do think London kids did day trips?! Crown Jewels? Oh no, saw then when I was 11, etc). Take care and best wishes Marilyn and Karen (who has no idea I’m semi committing her to international travel. Given NZ borders are firmly closed, I’ll present England and/or Scotland as exciting and exotic prospects when I update her)

    1. Thanks Marilyn; Londomn was a long debate I must admit. I think the next one,m if this one goes Ok, will be Wessex. So stuffed full of treasures!

  5. David — I’m coming !! Count me in ! My only trip to the UK, so far, entailed a 72-hour “get-to-know-you” negotiating session with representatives of your Magic Circle. It was like playing tennis with Miloslav Mecir for three days. Perfectly reasonable, and profoundly annoying. 🙂 But I never left hotel/conference room so this time will be, hopefully, more enjoyable. By the way, I’m not sure if your “civilian” audience knows about the Magic Circle, but they might be interested in this uniquely-English institution. Looking forward to actually seeing your country this time !
    C

    between that, and

  6. David – I’m penciling it on to my Calendar for decision on after the New Year, and hopefully some changes in who can actually visit the UK.. I will make a great cap to my UK visit 68-16. I haven’t counted my visits but I’ve got maybe 8 trips under my belt. A number of places on you itinerary are unvisited.. – but I’m always interested seeing the places I’ve visited again.. My family immigrated from both the BRADFORD area, and Mossely..

    1. Excellent, lovely to hear from you. So, your roots are in God’s Own County? As are half of mine…the other half being Lancashire. I hopew you can make it – I am really looking forward to it!

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