2021 Medieval Britain
Castles, Cannons & Crowns
CULTURAL and historic Landmarks
from London to Edinburgh
from London to Edinburgh
2021 Medieval Britain: Castles, Cannons & Crowns
Cultural and Historic Landmarks from London to Edinburgh
At a glance
July 6-21, 2021 • England & Scotland • 14 days
London • Portsmouth/Southampton • Stratford-upon-Avon • York • Newcastle • Edinburgh • Inverness • Ft. William • Stirling • Edinburgh
Battlefields of Hastings, Culloden, Bannockburn • Salisbury Cathedral • Stonehenge • Hadrian's Wall • Eilean Donan Castle • Scone Palace • and Featuring the Tewkesbury Medieval Festival • scroll down to see complete details
Tuesday July 6
Depart for your overnight transatlantic flight to London, except for those who may choose to leave for London sooner to extend their trip. Where available, guests on the group flight will enjoy the luxury of a premium airport departure lounge.
Travelers can choose to book seats on the optional group flight or, should you wish to depart for Europe sooner or return later, you can make your own independent air travel travel arrangements (see terms and conditions first).
Wednesday July 7
Upon arrival in London you will have the morning and afternoon to enjoy and explore at your leisure. London is a city of history and monuments waiting to be discovered, including the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, the Imperial War Museum, Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, Platform 9-3/4 at Kings Cross Station ... and so much more!
In the early evening you will gather with your fellow travelers for a Welcome Dinner.
Overnight London - hotel tba. [D]
Thursday July 8
We set out in earnest to begin our journey, starting with a visit to one of the most impressive of all medieval palaces - Hampton Court. This was the seat of power of the Tudor King Henry VIII of the 1500s and it survives as one of the most stunning of all royal residences, featuring amazing gardens, a prison, fabulously expensive art, and much more!
After lunch we travel to the south coast of England, to visit the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and a tour of Lord Nelson's flag ship - HMS Victory - launched in 1765 and still the pride of the Royal Navy. Your ticket includes access to the various other venues.
Overnight Southampton/Portsmouth - hotel tba. [B,L]
Friday July 9
In the morning we travel to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Stonehenge, a prehistoric marvel built ~2500 BCE. Francis Pryor, one of England's top archaeologists (and former co-host of BBC Television's Time Team), joins us for a private tour to tell us about this remarkable site and what it might truly mean.
We travel into nearby Salisbury to enjoy lunch at leisure, with extended time in town to visit the marvelous 800-yr-old Salisbury Cathedral and catch a glimpse of the world famous Magna Carta. We then begin our travel northward, to Warwickshire for our night's rest.
Overnight Stratford-Upon-Avon - tba. [B,L]
Saturday July 10
The morning starts with a visit to the enchanting Eastnor Castle, a revivalist castle built in the early 1800s as a stately home. It is today often used as the backdrop to film and television productions.
With the mood of history now well established, we spend a good portion of the day at the Tewkesbury Medieval Festival, the largest such event in Europe. On this 550th Anniversary of the battle you will have the chance to see falconers, original tool makers, vendors selling period clothing and collectables, musicians, and so much more.
Overnight Stratford-Upon-Avon - hotel tba. [B,L]
Sunday July 11
Day Six begins with a drive into the forested countryside of England. We take a guided tour of a famous English country manor house, Haddon Hall. The house has been described as one of the most complete and important houses of the period. Other more lavish castles and manors dot the nearby county, but the smaller Haddon Hall is truly a unique and beautiful structure.
We pop into the town of Bakewell for a local pub lunch. In the mid-afternoon we drift into the back roads to visit the battlefield at Towton, considered "the largest and bloodiest battle ever fought on English soil" as part of the Wars of the Roses of the 15th century. We stop for the night in the city of York, with a chance to visit the world famous York Mister Cathedral, one of the largest cathedrals in northern Europe, whose first stones were laid in 1220.
Overnight York - hotel tba. [B,L]
Monday July 12
The Norman Invasion of 1066 was preceded by a great battle, which we'll discuss at Stamford Bridge in the morning.
Our journey then finds us walking down into a forested valley, to discover the well-hidden ruins of Fountains Abbey. From its beginnings in 1132 it became an important and wealthy centre of culture in the county. Despite raids from the Scots, and the Black Death of 1348, it persevered, until the Dissolution by King Henry VIII in the mid-1500s when it fell silent. Today it is a magical place to explore.
We pause for a group lunch at a quaint pub in the little village of Middleham. It's then time to learn about King Richard III by walking through his childhood home, Middleham Castle, which sits just behind the main street - on the high ground with a long view of the county.
Overnight Newcastle - hotel tba. [B,L]
Tuesday July 13
We begin the day at yet another UNESCO Site - the Roman ruins at Hadrian's Wall. Excavation continues even today at various sties along the 120+ km long wall, which stretched from coast to coast across the north of England and marked the very northern frontier of the vast Roman Empire.
Our adventure then continues northbound, where we come to a stop at the border between England and Scotland. Then onward we go, to see Melrose Abbey which dates from 1136. Here rests the heart of King Robert the Bruce, whom we shall meet in the coming days in our travels through the highlands of Scotland.
The day concludes with an overnight in Edinburgh, the magical capital city of Scotland.
Overnight Edinburgh - hotel tba. [B,L]
Wednesday July 14
Today’s first stop is at the gateway to the highlands - a tour of the incredible Scone Palace - the place where successive Scottish kings were crowned through the centuries and thus a place of immense historic significance for over 1000 years. It is also one of the finest examples of late Georgian Gothic architecture in all of the United Kingdom. Lunch today is a group dining experience within the walls of the Palace.
As we journey further north we pause for a Scotch tasting at the Dalwhinnie Distillery, before concluding Day Nine in lovely northern city of Inverness.
Overnight Inverness - hotel tba. [B,L]
Thursday July 15
Day Ten is steeped in history as we explore the historic battlefield at Culloden Moor, where in 1745 the Jacobite Uprising came to a violent end. Those who follow the tv series Outlander will recall this famous battle.
During our journey we stop to see if Loch Ness will reveal any monsters!
Lunch is at your leisure on the shores of Loch Ness, after which we drive to the west coast to visit the most iconic of all Scottish landmarks, Eilean Donan Castle.
Overnight Ft. William - hotel tba. [B,L]
Friday July 16
Glenfinnan is a small spot well off the beaten track but it is a very important place in Scottish history. It is here that Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite Uprising of 1745 began. A monument marks where the prince came ashore, to begin an endeavor which would end in complete failure at Culloden.
After lunch we walk to another small monument, marking a dark chapter in Scottish history - the Massacre of Glencoe. Our local guide tells the tale as no one else can.
Overnight Stirling/Dunblane - hotel tba. [B,L]
Saturday July 17
Stirling Castle is the focus of our day. Stirling Castle was the key to the kingdom of Scotland, dominating a vast volcanic rock above the river Forth at the meeting point between Lowlands and Highlands. Its origins are ancient and over the centuries it grew into a great royal residence and a powerful stronghold. Royal building projects like the Great Hall, the Chapel Royal and the Palace of James V, marked it out as one of the most important places in all Scotland. Your visit here includes time for lunch-on-the-go at the castle cafeteria, and features a special performance by the Dominion of Canada Pipes & Drums!
We also visit nearby at the Battlefield of Bannockburn of 1314, and also Stirling Bridge - historic sites which both fall within view of the castle. Amazing battles took place here, charting the course of Scotland.
We then carry onward to the amazing cosmopolitan city of Edinburgh for two nights' stay, to wind down our incredible two-week journey.
Overnight Edinburgh - hotel tba. [B,L]
Sunday July 18
Enjoy a full free day at leisure in Edinburgh, the beautiful capital city of Scotland and home to Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile, Holyrood Palace, and so much more!
In the evening we gather over a glass of wine to savor our time together, with a Farewell Dinner in the heart of the city.
Overnight Edinburgh - hotel tba. [B,D]