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Tudor and Henry VIII Tour

Tudor and Henry VIII Tour

Introduction

Time: All Year

Accommodation: Luxury Historic Hotels

Start Date: 7 Nights / 8 Days

Group Size: Singles, Couples, Families and Small Groups

2009 was the 500th anniversary of Henry VIII accession to the throne. As England’s most recognised King, Henry only became the heir to the throne on the death of his elder brother, Arthur in 1502. In his youth he was a devote Catholic, being given the title “Defender of the Faith”. But, this all changed when he wanted a divorce from his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. Henry married another 5 times and left his mark on the landscape by dissolving the monasteries leaving evocative remains. His 3 surviving children also became monarchs including Elizabeth I who turned England from a minor power into the weathiest, most feared country in Europe.

Profile

We start the tour in London visiting many of the sites both built and associated with the Tudors. We then take a circular route through the glorious English countryside to see both castles and country homes associated with Henry, his many wives and the rest of his dynasty before, returning to London via Windsor Castle and Hampton Court.

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Itinerary

We start with an overview tour of London before stopping at the TOWER OF LONDON. This incredible complex of buildings has many associated with all the Tudor monarchs. Inside the White Tower is the imposing Henry VIII suit of armour. Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard were executed here and Elizabeth imprisoned by her half sister, Mary I here. BANQUETING HOUSE is the only remaining part of York or Whitehall Palace. This underwent modifications in subsequent centuries and is a wonderful example of C17th art. WESTMINSTER ABBEY has many Tudors artefacts like funeral mask of Henry VIII.

Day 1: London - Tower - Westminster Abbey

We start with an overview tour of London before stopping at the TOWER OF LONDON. This incredible complex of buildings has many associated with all the Tudor monarchs. Inside the White Tower is the imposing Henry VIII suit of armour. Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard were executed here and Elizabeth imprisoned by her half sister, Mary I here. BANQUETING HOUSE is the only remaining part of York or Whitehall Palace. This underwent modifications in subsequent centuries and is a wonderful example of C17th art. WESTMINSTER ABBEY has many Tudors artefacts like funeral mask of Henry VIII.

Day 2: Greenwich - Maritime Museum - St James's

Day 2: Greenwich - Maritime Museum - St James's

Taking a boat on the River Thames you will see this glorious city from a different perspective. We will alight at GREENWICH, once the Palace of Placentia and now part of the Greenwich World Heritage Site. It was the birthplace of Henry VIII, Mary I and Elizabeth I. Henry set up two royal dockyards nearby at Deptford and Woolwich. The MARITIME MUSEM has a Tudor room exploring Henry’s love of the navy. Driving back through the new financial district of London, we will eventually stop at ST JAMES'S PALACE. Impressively built of brick, there is part of Henry VIII tennis courts still visible in shop close by.

Day 3: Hever Castle - Knole House

Day 3: Hever Castle - Knole House

HEVER CASTLE Garden is an idyllic castle, once home of the Boleyn family and childhood home of Anne Boleyn. It dates from 1270 and the Bullen family added the Tudor dwelling in the 1500s. Henry VIII later passed the castle to Anne of Cleves. The church has the tomb of Sir Thomas Boleyn, father of Anne. He wears full garter robes and rests on a helmet. One of the largest houses in England, KNOLE HOUSE was built in 1454. Henry liked the house so much; he forced Thomas Cranmer to give it to him in 1538. The house is set in a Tudor deer park – a transition from the medieval forests to the later, formal gardens.

Day 4: Leeds Castle - Canterbury

Day 4: Leeds Castle - Canterbury

LEEDS CASTLE is billed as the most beautiful in the world. The castle is a C12th building which replaced an earlier manor house. The castle was a royal dowry and was given to Catherine of Aragon and later, Elizabeth was imprisoned here. The grounds are extensive with many gardens and exhibitions. CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL is the home of the Anglican Church and we have a special tour of the church. Henry VIII closed the monastery and destroyed the shine to Thomas Becket. The ruins of St Augustine’s Abbey are worth a visit.

Day 5: Dover - White Cliffs - Anne of Cleves

Day 5: Dover - White Cliffs - Anne of Cleves

Henry VIII created tax free ports called Cinque ports. Nestling within the WHITE CLIFFS, DOVER was one of the most important of these. The town is dominated by the castle and Henry did much to improve it adding many fortifications. Then as we drive through the beautiful Sussex Weald we will arrive in the lovely market town of Lewes to see ANNE OF CLEVES HOUSE. It is believed this small house was given to Henry’s forth wife after they divorced in 1541. The house contains a wide-ranging collection of local crafts and history.

Day 6: Mary Rose - Sudeley Castle - Castle Hotel

Day 6: Mary Rose - Sudeley Castle - Castle Hotel

PORTSMOUTH is the largest historic dock in the World. It was founded by Henry VIII and has remained the chief Royal Navy seaport . Within the Royal DOCKYARD many ships have been restored including the MARY ROSE, Henry's flagship. It is the oldest battleship in the world, fighting until she sank in 1545. A couple of hours drive are The COTSWOLDS - an area of upland hills and regarded as quintessential English scenery. It has many Tudor villages and house such as SUDELEY Castle, once home to Catherine Parr. Your overnight stop will be at THORNBURY CASTLE where Henry and Anne Boleyn courted.

Day 7: Stratford - Cambridge - Kings

Day 7: Stratford - Cambridge - Kings

North of the Cotswolds is STRATFORD-UPON-AVON and its association with William Shakespeare. There are many Tudor buildings which can still be visited. The best is ANNE HATHAWAY'S COTTAGE - Shakespeare’s wife's home. It is a classic black and white cottage set in wonderful cottage garden. Henry started CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY and founded Trinity college in 1546 - his coat of arms decorates the main entrance. We will also visit St John’s College where Henry’s father is celebrated. KINGS COLLEGE CHAPEL is regarded as the finest and purest late gothic architecture in England.

Day 8: Hampton Court - Windsor Castle

Day 8: Hampton Court - Windsor Castle

HAMPTON COURT PALACE is the most famous Tudor building. Built by Cardinal Wolsey, the palace was confiscated in 1530 by Henry after Wolsey resisted his call for a divorce from Catherine of Aragon. Inside, the place is an exhibition on Young Henry VIII, the kitchens and Chapel Royal. The gardens of 60 acres are a rare example of Tudor horticulture. WINDSOR CASTLE is the largest inhabited castle in the World and still the Queen’s weekend home. Built over the centuries, the castle has exquisite interiors from history. St George’s Chapel is site burial site of Jane Seymour and Henry VIII.


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