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In the Footsteps of the Tudors with renowned author Margaret George
October 11 – 21, 2012
Countless books, films, and television programs have recreated the intriguing lives of King Henry VIII and his daughter Queen Elizabeth I. Henry’s life is oft remembered for his marriage to six wives and his creation of the Church of England. Elizabeth’s reign is noted for her effective use of the Privy Council, her defeat of the Spanish Armada, and her status as the Virgin Queen who took no consort. But their lives were much more than tabloid fodder.
On this extraordinary tour delve into the secrets, passions, and politics by which Henry VIII and Elizabeth I reigned. We’ll explore royal residences and strongholds significant in the lives of the Tudor monarchs amid the backdrop of exciting London and the beautiful English countryside. Accompanying us is noted author Margaret George, whose delightful stories and extensive research of the 16th century make for a fun and informative journey.
For more information please contact:
Tel: 1.800.556.7896 or 202.785.9000. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Download brochure here
- Visit the most significant sites in the lives of both Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, including Westminster Abbey and Hall, and the Castles of Windsor, Kenilworth, Sudeley, and more. Tour stunning Hampton Court Palace and delve into history at the Tower of London.
- Enjoy readings by and discussions with Margaret George, author of six historical novels and a children’s book. Learn about her research and backstories that don’t appear in her stories.
- See Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford-Upon-Avon and the Globe Theatre in London. Enjoy a full Elizabethan banquet at Hatfield Hall, where Princess Elizabeth spent time as a child.
- Meet other travelers who share your passion for Renaissance Britain, historical fiction, and England’s royal family, and delve into these fascinating topics during meals and informal discussions.
- Enjoy a full service tour experience, including well-located hotels, specially-planned meals, an exciting itinerary of visits related to the royal Tudors, and the services of a professional tour manager who takes care of all of the details for you.
Thursday – Friday, October 11–12: USA/London, England
Leave Thursday on independent flights to London, arriving Friday morning. Take a private coach to our hotel. Check into the Grange Strathmore Hotel in Kensington for three nights. This evening, introduce yourself to fellow travelers at a welcome reception at the hotel. Meet Margaret George, our host for the thrilling tour ahead and author of the historical novels The Autobiography of Henry VIII, her first book, and Elizabeth I: A Novel, her latest work. Enjoy dinner at a local pub. Grange Strathmore Hotel (Reception, Dinner)
Saturday, October 13: Westminster Abbey, Westminster Hall,
St. Margaret Church
This morning begins with a lively talk by Margaret George focusing on Westminster Hall, England’s celebration and condemnation hall through the centuries. Westminster Abbey has long served royalty for marriages, coronations, funerals, and burials. In June 1509 Henry VIII and his bride Catherine of Aragon were coronated here; fifty years later, his daughter by Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth I, was crowned here. On a visit to the awe-inspiring Abbey learn about the stir Elizabeth’s coronation created by introducing English into the typically all-Latin ceremony. Later, her royal charter converted the former Catholic abbey into the Protestant Collegiate Church. Visit Elizabeth’s tomb, the last monarch to have a monument here. At the beautiful St. Margaret’s Church learn about Elizabeth’s nursemaid, Blanche Parry, who is buried here and memorialized in effigy over the door. At Westminster Hall, part of the old Westminster Palace, see where legions of kings and queens hosted great banquets to celebrate notable events, including the coronations of both Henry and Elizabeth. Its medieval hammerbeam roof is one of the finest in the country. The Hall also served a darker purpose: Anne Boleyn and Thomas More were condemned here, and during Elizabeth’s reign, the Earl of Essex was tried here. Margaret discusses these events with us and many others that took place in the Hall. (Breakfast)
Sunday, October 14: Tower of London, Globe Theatre
On a sightseeing tour of London, we’ll discover more about the history of this exciting city. Visit the Tower of London, built 400 years before Henry’s birth and used for centuries as a royal residence and fortress. Henry extensively refurbished various rooms and used the Tower to mint coins, store ammunitions, house prisoners, and of course, behead certain persons. Margaret discusses how Henry and Elizabeth both used the tower as their private execution ground. She’ll also talk about Princess Elizabeth’s imprisonment for her alleged role in attempting to overthrow her half-sister Queen Mary. See the Crown Jewels, the collection of royal armor, and the restored Medieval Palace. Head to the Globe Theatre, a reconstructed version of Shakespeare’s original in Southwark. We’ll take a private tour of this superlative structure and hear how Elizabeth’s Court became a center for poetry, music, and writing—most notably Shakespeare’s works. Grange Strathmore Hotel (Breakfast)
Monday, October 15: Windsor Castle, Broughton Castle,
A fortress has stood on the grounds of Windsor for more than 900 years. Today Windsor Castle is the largest and longest-occupied castle in Europe. On a guided tour we’ll get an introspective look at how Henry and Elizabeth both used the castle as a royal court and to entertain diplomats. Henry is buried here in St. George’s Chapel along with Queen 3, Jane Seymour. See the window he had built for Queen 1, Catherine of Aragon. For Elizabeth, Windsor was a safe haven, and she spent more money to build and enhance the castle than on any of her other palaces. Next, we visit picturesque Broughton Castle, situated among the trees on the shore of a small lake. Stroll through the gardens while Margaret discusses what life was like for a Tudor courtier, who was expected to entertain his sovereign at home on short notice. Such manors also served as secret hideouts for Catholic priests in Elizabeth’s day, and were often raided by her agents. See Henry’s seal on display and hear stories of the castle’s appearance in films depicting Henry and Elizabeth. Later, head to Stratford-Upon-Avon, best known as Shakespeare’s birthplace. Our charming country house hotel mimics the quintessential Tudor manor. Macdonald Alveston Manor Hotel will be our base for the next two nights. (Breakfast)
Tuesday, October 16: Stratford-Upon-Avon, Kenilworth Castle
The town of Stratford-Upon-Avon has become synonymous with Shakespeare. Discover his birthplace on a tour of the Tudor-style house where he was born and lived. Margaret dispels myths about Elizabeth’s connection with the Bard, as we understand more about 16th century life and the inspiration for Shakespeare’s great works. Take time to explore Stratford and its charming cottages and stunning gardens. Later we’ll head to the ruins of Kenilworth Castle, perhaps best known as the home of Robert Dudley, ever hopeful suitor for Elizabeth’s hand. Built over centuries beginning in the 1120s, Dudley re-created the palace to impress his Queen, spending lavishly despite her turning him down. Join Margaret in a talk about Dudley’s over-the-top attempt to dazzle the fickle Queen. Explore the Elizabethan gardens, recently redeveloped into a splendid landscape of greenery. Margaret will read the details of the legendary nineteen day extravaganza that Dudley put on in the summer of 1575. Some suspect that the eleven year old Shakespeare saw it and remembered it in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” (Breakfast)
Wednesday, October 17: Sudeley Castle, Hungerford, London
Sudeley Castle has been a family home for more than 1,000 years and was owned by Henry throughout his reign. Henry’s last wife and widow, Katherine Parr, retired at Sudeley and is buried here. Engage in a lively discussion with Margaret as she tells us how Sudeley was where teenage Elizabeth learned to not trust men. On a private connoisseur tour we gain access to splendid rooms, view art by Masters such as Rubens and van Dyke, and hear stories about the castle’s colorful history. Other exhibits depict Henry’s wives, original memorabilia, and recreated period costumes. Discover the award-winning gardens, with views of the Cotswolds. Return to London, en route stopping in the market town of Hungerford to see the coaching inn Henry gave to Anne of Cleves in their divorce. The inn subsequently became Katherine Parr’s in 1541. Enjoy dinner at the Bear Hotel, which Elizabeth had visited and where, it is said, one of her coachmen died. Continue to London and return to the Grange Strathmore Hotel for the last four nights. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Thursday, October 18: Kimbolton Castle
Today we enjoy a scenic drive north of London to the lovely county of Cambridgeshire. On a tour of Kimbolton Castle, we’ll immerse ourselves in the grand home where Catherine of Aragon spent the final short years of her life.
The castle is now a private school, and Catherine of Aragon is purported to haunt the rooms. Margaret talks more about the relationship between Henry and his first Queen, reading from her book. In Peterborough visit the cathedral where Catherine is buried. (Breakfast)
Friday, October 19: Hever Castle, Hatfield House
During the bus ride to Kent, Margaret discusses where the Boleyn family story began and ended during a full-day at Hever Castle and gardens. Discover the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, which later passed into the ownership of Henry’s fourth wife, Anne of Cleves. See portraits, furniture, and tapestries dating to the 16th century, including two prayer books inscribed by Anne Boleyn. We’ll walk through the splendid gardens amid neatly clipped topiaries, colorful flower beds, and a water maze. Take a stroll along Anne Boleyn’s Walk and imagine her life here. Over afternoon tea, Margaret reads an excerpt from her book featuring Hever. This evening head to Hatfield House for a truly enjoyable Elizabethan banquet. Princess Elizabeth spent much of her childhood and early adulthood at Hatfield, and it was here in 1558 that she learned of the death of Queen Mary; Elizabeth herself would assume the throne. Later she held her first council meeting in the Great Hall at Hatfield, appointing William Cecil as a councillor. During our delicious feast, King Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth I, and many of their Courtiers amuse and entertain us with period music, song, and theatre. Choose to come in costume for an authentic experience! (Breakfast, Dinner)
Saturday, October 20: Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace remains one of England’s most exquisite gems and Henry’s favorite residence. It was also the scene of much political and personal drama for the Tudors. We’ll see a special exhibition dedicated to Henry VIII’s crown and discover some of the sumptuous royal apartments, tapestries, costumes, and works of art. Our Hampton Court experience ties together the complex relationships between Henry and his wives, as well as that among his closest allies and worst enemies. We’ll get a further glimpse into the time period that shaped the Tudors during this full day. This evening celebrate our excursion through the lives of King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I at a farewell dinner. Margaret continues to entertain us with lively stories about her research and answers any final questions you may have about the Tudors. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Sunday, October 21: London, USA
Take a private transfer to Heathrow Airport for flights home. (Breakfast)
Situated in London’s fashionable borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the Grange Strathmore Hotel was once the residence of the Earl of Strathmore, the late Queen Mother’s father. The townhouse hotel is beautifully restored, blending Victorian grandeur and contemporary luxury to create the ambiance of an aristocratic mansion. The hotel features comfortable rooms, a lounge, elegant restaurant, and top-notch service. The attractive Macdonald Alveston Manor Hotel is just a 5-minute walk from most of Stratford’s attractions. It features private gardens, a spa and fitness center with heated pool, and wood-paneled sitting room and bar. Classic, executive rooms, and suites are available.
For more information please contact:
Tel: 1.800.556.7896 or 202.785.9000. Email: email@example.com
Download brochure here
Fans are welcome to join New York Times best-selling author, Margaret George on her unique journey following in the footsteps of the Tudor monarchs by accompanying her on a fascinating tour of historical England and the places central to the lives of both Henry VIII and his daughter Elizabeth I in October 2012. For more details about this exciting opportunity, please visit Margaret’s website at http://www.margaretgeorge.com
Q: Margaret, we know that you are a regular visitor to the British Isles what are your favorite places to visit?
A: The Thames up near Hampton Court in high summer, with pleasure boats, swans, and banks full of blooming hedges.
Ely Cathedral near Cambridge, rising above the flat countryside like a huge ship,and inside, the essence of the middle ages.
The town of Winchester, and nearby Cadbury Castle with its mysterious earthen rings, associated with King Arthur.
The Tower of London in winter twilight.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about why the Tudors are so fascinating to you?
A: First it was their keen intelligence that fueled their fascinating behavior and motivations. They were brilliant and complex. They managed to combine tabloid lives with historical importance; their loves and their fears changed the world. And finally it is the great visuals that they provide to us: gorgeous costumes! Haunting faces!
Q: Margaret, what do you hope the readers will experience with you on tour this October?
A: I definitely believe in ghosts—that strong personalities linger in places that were significant to them. On this tour we hope to encounter Henry VIII and Elizabeth I as we explore places that were emotionally important to them, and come away feeling we have met them as real people.