2023 Medieval Britain
Castles, Cannons & Crowns
CULTURAL and historic Landmarks from London to Edinburgh
2023 Medieval Britain: Castles, Cannons & Crowns
Cultural and Historic Landmarks from London to Edinburgh
At a glance
May 17-28, 2023 • England & Scotland • 12 days
London • Southampton • Stratford-Upon-Avon • Lincoln • York • Newcastle • Edinburgh • Stirling • Inverness • Edinburgh
Hampton Court Palace • Battlefields of Culloden & Bannockburn • Salisbury Cathedral • Stonehenge • Hadrian's Wall • Eilean Donan Castle • Scone Palace • and much more! • scroll down to see complete details
Tuesday May 16
For many of our Canadian travelers it is departure day, for the overnight transatlantic flight to England. Some travelers may choose to leave for Europe sooner to extend the start of the trip - let us know if we can quote you on pre-tour accommodations.
Guests who have other travels already in progress, or guests from other points of origin including the United Kingdom, the United States and elsewhere, will meet the start of the tour on Day 1 in London.
Wednesday May 17
In the mid-afternoon all clients can check into the group hotel. In the meantime, luggage is stored in the hotel baggage lock-up. Today you are free to explore London, an amazing 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 evening we gather in the heart of London for our Welcome Dinner, to share a glass of wine and set the stage for our special journey. Overnight London - Radisson Blu Edwardian Mercer Street. [D]
Thursday May 18
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 - Jurys Inn Hotel. [B,L]
Friday May 19
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 - Crowne Plaza. [B,L]
Saturday May 20
We are headed for Bosworth Field Heritage Centre, to see where Richard III, the last Plantagenet king of England, fell in battle. It would mark the beginning of the Tudor dynasty.
In the afternoon we make a tour of the stunning Belvoir Castle, the ancestral home of the Duke of Rutland for almost a thousand years - a masterpiece of architecture and design and one of the finest examples of Regency architecture in the country. Overnight Lincoln - DoubleTree by Hilton. [B,L]
Sunday May 21
Day Five 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.
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. Overnight York - DoubleTree by Hilton. [B,L]
Monday May 22
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 - Hilton Gateshead. [B,L]
Tuesday May 23
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 - Apex Grassmarket. [B,L]
Wednesday May 24
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. Overnight Stirling (Dunblane) - DoubleTree by Hilton. [B,L]
Thursday May 25
In the morning 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.
After lunch we travel a short distance north to Glenfinnan, 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. Overnight Inverness - Best Western Palace Hotel & Spa. [B,L]
Friday May 26
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 television series Outlander will recall this famous battle.
During our journey we stop to see if Loch Ness will reveal any monsters! We also drive out to the west coast to visit the most iconic of all Scottish landmarks - Eilean Donan Castle. Overnight Inverness - Best Western Palace Hotel & Spa. [B,L]
Saturday May 27
We journey south on the homeward leg of our amazing trip, making our first visit of the day to Dalwhinnie Distillery for a little Scotch tasting - a fine way to begin any day!
Later we pause in Perth, the gateway to the highlands, for 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. We will dine in the palace for our Farewell Lunch. Overnight Edinburgh - Radisson Collection Royal Mile. [B,L]
Sunday May 28
This morning is departure day for those Canadians returning home on the optional group flight - buffet or box breakfast is included, depending on departure time from the hotel. Some travelers may choose to remain in Europe longer to extend the end of the trip - let us know if we can quote you on post-tour accommodations so that you have extra time to explore the beautiful city of Edinburgh!
Others guests will depart for home or continue their travels on other routes. [B]