MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS
12th to 21st June 2014 and 9th to 18th October 2014
Join Alison Weir and Sarah Gristwood, and a team of historians, for Alison Weir Tours’ most luxurious tour yet, staying in beautiful, historic hotels full of character, eating in award-winning restaurants, dining aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia, and touring through some of the most spectacular and scenic countryside that Britain has to offer, as we retrace the footsteps of one of the most romanticised queens in history, the enchanting Mary Stuart. We will visit a host of sites connected with Mary, starting with her birthplace at Linlithgow Palace, and ending with the site of her execution at Fotheringhay and her final burial in Westminster Abbey. On the way we will tour castles, palaces and historic houses, and there will be a full enrichment programme of talks and specialist guided tours, with the privileged access for which Alison Weir Tours have become known.
9 nights with breakfast included.
4 nights at Prestonfield House Hotel, Edinburgh 5*
1 night at Langley Castle Hotel, Northumberland 4*
3 nights at Whitley Hall Hotel, South Yorkshire 4*
1 night at Coombe Abbey Hotel, Warwickshire 4*
Welcome 3-course dinner at Prestonfield House Hotel
3-course dinner at the Sheep Heid Inn, Edinburgh
Morning tea/coffee and refreshments at the Palace of Holyroodhouse (tbc)
Drinks reception, tour and 4-course dinner with coffee and petits fours on board the Royal Yacht Britannia
Light lunch at the 1745 Cottage Restaurant, Traquair House
Welcome reception with sparkling wine and soft drinks at Traquair House
6-course dinner at Langley Castle Hotel
3-course lunch in the Great Chamber at Bolton Castle, Yorkshire
3-course dinner at Whitley Hall Hotel
Lunch at the Cellarium, Westminster Abbey (June)/the Talbot Hotel, Oundle (October)
Farewell 3-course dinner in the Great Hall of St Mary's Guildhall, Coventry
Afternoon tea at the Bloomsbury Hotel
The Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh
The Royal Burgh of Culross
Lochleven Castle (photo stop)
Mary, Queen of Scots’ House, Jedburgh
Sheffield Manor Lodge
Hardwick Old Hall
Fotheringhay Castle site
St Mary's Guildhall, Coventry
Westminster Abbey (June)/The Banqueting House, Whitehall Palace/The London Charterhouse (October)
PRAISE FOR THE MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS TOUR, JUNE 2014:
"After a luscious late afternoon tea at the Bloomsbury Hotel, we said goodbye to the best historians and tour team in the world! A huge thank you to Alison, Sarah, Nicola, Siobhan, Joanna, John and bus driver Dave, for the most awesome 9 days of complete MQS immersion and fun times. Roll on Great Queens in 2015!"
"Thank you once again for all of your hard work on the tour! I had a fantastic time!!"
"We are missing you all already too. Can we just start again tomorrow please?!"
"Thank you Alison Weir...... for everything."
"One of the finest dinners I ever had was on board the Royal Yacht Britannia with Alison Weir Tours."
"Oh, Alison Weir, I am missing everyone so much and most especially listening to your wonderful lectures."
"Thanks, Nicola, for all your hard work to make the trip a resounding success."
"What a fantastic time we had had on the MQS tour. It was really all we had hoped for and more. Every outing, hotel check in, dinner and coach transport was always seamlessly efficient. The other guests were a really fun and interesting bunch and all in all we couldn't have enjoyed it more! Fantastic!"
"Every second of every minute of every hour of every day was a highlight for me... A once in a life time experience."
"It was a world class trip with wonderful companions."
"We are till on a high from our wonderful tour."
"Since we were on the Tudor Treasures Tour in 2011, we had very high expectations for the level of thoughtful planning, quality of accommodations, excellence of organized presentations, ease of friendships, and affability of the fine staff – this tour through the guildhalls and secret passages of antiquity far exceeded those wonderful expectations. All that plus the Royal Yacht Britannia! It was always a delight to receive prompt and efficient responses to our queries, and we appreciated the readiness of AWT to offer suggestions and to share helpful ideas with our fellow travellers. Kudos to the outstanding AWT staff that apparently never sleeps! The luxurious, exquisite accommodations at Prestonfield House, Langley Castle and Coombe Abbey were superb, as were the meals and services provided. It was great having experts guide us through the mists of time. The distinguished presenters were in top form with their informed perspectives and true passion for their subjects. They made us want to read and learn even more about the legacy of past events about which the AWT authors write about with great scholastic understanding and keen narrative ability. It was more than the excellent service; it was the special watchfulness, personal commitment and social graces of the knowledgeable staff that made everything so enjoyable and put even weary travellers at ease. Whether it was to do with luggage or lectures, every detail was attended to with sensitivity and care. The spectacular tour was enlightening and enjoyable and worth every thought and deed necessary on the part of everyone involved to make it all work so effectively. Memories will last a lifetime and we eagerly anticipate rekindling them afresh when we begin to thumb through our books, music and other acquired treasures to share with friends and family. Those generous treats are so typical of the overall kindnesses ever present with AWT. Cannot recommend highly enough the great value of AWT tours to anyone looking to experience important history though the eyes and hearts of Alison and her fine staff, with lots of good fun and laughter along the way with many others of like interests."
"Wonderful tour, thanks! Absolutely first rate. It was a privilege to hear the historians speak and I learned a lot. Absolutely the best! And what you do is done with grace and good humour – a real gift. The level of education is extremely high and the opportunity to question or comment is encouraged. It doesn’t get any better than that. Thank you all so much."
"Thanks once again for a fantastic experience.The tour was all I expected and more. Particularly liked Prestonfield - a wonderful find. A remarkably well run tour which far surpassed very high expectations. Each member of the tour team went out of their way to ensure tour members had an enjoyable, entertaining and informative tour."
"I was especially appreciative of John’s going the “extra mile” to exchange my old currency. His (and Jo’s) always cheerful and careful attention to the needs of individuals was exemplary. Attention to detail is really important with a group such as this, and they do it superbly. Of course, Alison, Nicola and Sarah are just as caring! And what can I say about Siobhan! Great team. I think this was not an easy venture for you, but it came off splendidly. Keeping us all focused was imperative and done well. Anyone seriously interested in history, architecture, art, the lives and times of 16th century England cannot be disappointed by Alison Weir and her coterie of fellow historians."
"Excellent. Couldn't ask any better than the historians and staff. The tour was great."
"[We] enjoyed the tour so much. We arose each morning with excitement and looking forward to the activities of the day. We loved connecting with the other guests and making new friends. The tour will undoubtedly be one of our best memories in the years to come. Alison and her team, especially Siobhan and John, were very helpful in pre-tour arrangements. John assisted us in making hotel reservations for extra days and in getting a ride to Heathrow. It is so nice to be able to delegate those arrangements to someone so competent and efficient. Siobhan sent us informative emails and news that we enjoyed reading. Prestonfield House was our favourite hotel. Gorgeous men in kilts, need I say more. The other hotels were very nice and the service was outstanding. So much to see and do. I love the way Alison crams so much in the daily itinerary. We really looked forward to seeing the next site. It is wonderful to see the places we have read about and have a personal connection to them. We really enjoyed the talks and looked forward to the informative and entertaining discussions that sometimes ensued. I think what sets Alison Weir tours apart from the rest is the chance to engage with real historians who clearly have a passion for their calling. And the mix of personalities and opinions made for some lively conversations that brought the history alive. The AWT staff is the best!! Every person contributes in their own unique way to ensure the success of the tour. Everyone is genuine, caring, knowledgeable and helpful. AWT’s meticulous planning was evident in every aspect of the trip—the selection of the hotels, the sites we visited and the private guided tours, the wonderful, wonderful meals we shared with our companions, the Royal Yacht Britannia experience, the informative and entertaining talks—all contributed to the making of a very memorable and special trip. The lovely souvenirs we received will always remind us of this special time we spent seeing the history of Mary Queen of Scots come alive. Each member of AWT’s helpful and expert staff contributes their own unique point of view which makes the history seem so current and at times controversial. This tour will definitely be one of the highlights of our travels and we look forward to joining you again on a possible Plantagenet tour in the future. (Hint-hint)"
"All excellent: pre-tour, tour, sites, hotels, meals, talks &/or seminars & your 'family' of staff that treat us like family, also. So many highlights: the Royal Yacht Britannia, Lesley Smith and the gentleman who is now engaged to her, the lady who did Bess of Hardwick, and Catherine M. Stuart and Traquair, and at Westminister Abbey to see the throne! - etc. Thank you so much for all our presents."
"[Pre-tour care:] Beyond excellent. [The service provided by tour personnel:] A brilliant mixture of personalities and ages. All of you so different, but all so wonderful! The tour was both informative and entertaining, and we would recommend it to anyone without hesitation. Both of us had a fantastic time, learnt a great deal, and met some really interesting and fun people."
"I was honoured to join a very privileged group touring with author and historian Alison Weir. A private dinner onboard H.M. Queen Elizabeth's private yacht was only one of the spectacular moments."
"The tour was fantastic, and, like last year, exceeded my expectations! The castles and palaces visited were exceptional, the meals were delicious and served in locations that were saturated in history. The talks on the bus added to my knowledge of Mary Queen of Scots and made the places we visited all the more interesting. Loved the tour, and signed up for next year’s tour as well! Both Siobhan’s and Alison’s emails were very informative, from giving us brief history lessons to letting us know about the weather and what attire we should pack. It was of great help in preparing for the tour. I had not previously visited most sites on the tour, and was blown away by their beauty. Most guides at the sites were excellent; I especially loved Lady Catherine at Traquair House, who was so warm, friendly and informative. I am especially thankful to Alison who was able to get us into Craigmillar Castle after its official closing time. I found it fascinating! I love to learn when travelling, and this tour did not disappoint. The talks given by Alison, Sarah, and Nicola on the bus allowed me to appreciate the sites we visited even more. And the debates were priceless! I especially loved Jessie Childs! What a gem she is! The level of service was second to none. I was treated like a Queen! Thanks to all at Alison Weir Tours! I have been very fortunate to have travelled all over the world with many different tour companies, but I have to say that those companies finish a distant second to the service and experiences provided by Alison Weir Tours. A very warm thank you to you all for your hard work! I can’t wait until next year!!"
"As always, AWT exceeded all expectations and represented another experience of a lifetime. I am already looking forward to Great Queens in 2015! I cannot thank Siobhan, John, and Alison enough for all their careful planning and coordination and keeping the guests on track and organized so that we don’t have to worry about the details. The level of service was exceptional and represented a true first-class experience. I was very impressed with the accommodations chosen, both for their level of luxury, outstanding customer service, and historical character or significance. There should be a higher category for Exceptional and I would have checked it! Absolutely no complaints. It is made very clear to guests that all you have to do is ask if anything is needed and AWT staff will bend over backwards to accommodate whenever it is possible. I have run out of superlatives for how great the AWT experience is!"
"Awesome once again - in all ways. [Pre-tour care:] Fabulous, regular contact and updates given. Prestonfield was amazing! The other three places were also fabulous. Really loved the way [the historical experience] was chronologically organised. Absolutely loved all the talks on the bus. [Overall level of service provided by AWT staff:] Stunning! Once again, a superb experience in all ways. Counting down till the next tour!"
"Thank you for once again, providing for me, one of the most memorable and enjoyable weeks of my life. Since the MQS tour, [we] have relived everyday, and have agreed that if God allows us to re-live a week of our lives, then that will be our chosen week!"
"I can't express how much I enjoyed the tour. It was such a wonderful experience and I know everybody appreciated the hard work you all put into making it so special. Everybody was great, such a lovely group of people who were great company and always so helpful. I enjoyed every minute of the tour, from start to finish. As with the Gloriana tour, the correspondence with Siobhan beforehand made me feel part of the tour before it even started. I enjoyed all the sites we visited, so nice to gain entry to Holyroodhouse Hotel before it became busy. My favourite was Chatsworth house. I loved the hospitality at Sheffield Manor & Tutbury Castle, the people working there made it wonderful. The range of historical sites we visited were really good, add to that the enthusiasm of the staff working at the places we visited, along with their knowledge and that of Alison, Sarah, Nicola & Siobhan, and you had an experience that I feel could not have been made better. I can’t wait to embark on another tour, a trip of a lifetime once again that I would love to repeat over and over again. The whole tour was like stepping back in time, but with modern day luxuries."
"Excellent. What else can I say? I feel so lucky to have found AWT. [Pre-tour care:] Outstanding. Siobhan is lovely and efficient. Entire team is terrific. A joy to be with. I came noy caring about Mary, Queen of Scots, much. I left with much more interest and sympathy, all due to the excellent lectures and discussions. AWT provides the perfect balance of history, sites, meals and fun. The entire staff is attentive and helpful. I look forward to more great AWT tours in the future."
"I always have a wonderful time on the Alison Weit tours. These are a highlight of my life. I look forward to learning more about the given subject but as this is my second tour, I also really enjoyed meeting and spending time with like-minded people. I also enjoy the dedication of the team, Sarah, Nicola, John, Siobhan.The hisotorians are always fascinating too. Thanks so much. I really like it that Alison is a broad thinker and enjoys it when Sarah debates. Apart from being entertaining, it's interesting. [The balance of the itinerary:] Really couldn't be any better. You whetted my appetite for history. Alison Weir and her team bring history to life with their extensive knowledge and academic approach. These tours are the highlight of my life."
"The trip is fabulous. A real immersion in the 16th century. Not to be missed."
And finally, this poem was contributed by one of our June guests, who has given us permission to reproduce it:
The quest for Queen Mary of Scots' truth for sure,
Lies safely tucked in and among this great tour.
And opinions of some not so demure,
Bounce lightly among the learned to lure.
Each day on the bus, in our courtly space,
Journeys through Mary's life examined at pace.
Bantering and questions back and forth with some haste,
Facts our historians seek NOT to erase.
There are so many sites on which to comment:
Breathtaking scenes taken in and then spent.
And decisions those made on which to lament,
And questions one wonders, "Did she repent?"
Too many to enumerate or itemize,
What was the truth and which were the lies?
Who were the loyalists and who were the spies?
Wonderful talks to highlight and surmise.
And through all of the castles and the sites we have seen
And hotels we've used that state that they're green,
We must bow our heads to the staff oh-so-lean,
Who've made this trip so positively serene.
Knowledgeable foremost - dense, broad and deep,
And counting us correctly like most wayward sheep.
Our luggage, timetables, and sanity keep -
Yet who let laughter and musings run into sleep.
"Mind your head, mind your feet," says oft of your John,
Nicola chimes in with a laugh "Move along."
Jo quietly counts and waits until dawn,
While Dave calmly drives on. And on. And on.
Alison says "Let's all keep to the schedules,"
Sarah replies "I'll go check the vestibules."
Amidst spritely discussions of all Stuart rules,
Dissecting the layers with modern day tools.
All working tirelessly - twenty four seven,
So we might glimpse a wee bit of heaven.
And temporal bonds forged among all our brethren,
wondering when we might just get back to-getheren.
The company superb, the food just divine!
The talks were insightful; and oh yes, the wine!
So thank you AWT (less than nine),
For everything has been very much "JUST SO:
PRAISE FOR THE MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS TOUR, OCTOBER 2014:
"Thank you Great Britain, Alison Weir and Co, and all the friends we spent the last 10 days with. It was wonderful!"
"As always, it was fantastic! Thank you all for such a wonderful tour!"
"Fantastic tour and a once in a lifetime experience! Thank you and all at AWT!"
"It was a brilliant tour Alison - thanks a million!"
"Thank you to Alison, Sarah, Nicola, Siobhan, John and Joanna for taking us back to the time of Mary, Queen of Scots. Also, thank you, Mary Lovell, for your insights on Bess of Hardwick. Last but not least, enjoyed the company of our traveling companions!"
"Thank you Alison Weir, Sarah Gristwood, Nicola L Tallis, Siobhan Clarke, John and Joanna Marston for creating such a wicked brilliant trip that was full of history, wit, laughter, good food and comfortable beds. We were lovely group of people as well. I'm home safely back in the 21st century. Sigh."
"I'm still having wonderful dreams about my experiences on the tour. Thanks to all the staff of Alison Weir Tours. It was a marvellous experience."
"Thank you SO very much for a wonderful, enjoyable and enlightening visit to Scotland and England on the MQS2 tour. I loved it and am looking forward to Great Queens. Not only were the "staff" (actually it felt more like we were all friends) terrific and enlightening, the arrangements first class (?or deluxe?) but the group as a whole was congenial and fun to be with. I am so glad that you included me and look forward to future tours."
"We consider this tour to be our best yet, absolutely awesome! Nothing we can say will be beneficial because it is impossible to improve upon "perfection". In fact, if there were something equivalent to the American Academy Awards in the "Most Outstanding Tour Group" category, Alison Weir would be under spot lights every year. You are that good! We were sincerely impressed for what Siobhan and John did for us to ensure our complete satisfaction. Regarding meals, etc. we know that our peculiar dietary restrictions caused you some problems but you solved them and everything turned out great. We have never been so pampered in our entire lives. We thank you most sincerely for all the outstanding efforts on our behalf, they were highly responsible for making the tour so enjoyable. The hotels selected were truly awesome. Prestonfield House was a once in a lifetime experience. The ambience and luxury were unbelievable and the staff and its provided services were truly outstanding. The castles, palaces, manor houses, hotels, dining experiences and lectures were absolutely awesome but were not the most responsible ingredient for our tour satisfaction. It was the outstanding tour staff that made this tour so enjoyable. The services provided by Alison, Sarah, John, Siobhan, Nicola and Dave "The Morph" were the highlight of this most enjoyable experience. All of you should take complete gratification in knowing that your professionalism and personalities were highly responsible for a job well done. The dinner on the Royal yacht was probably the highlight of the entire tour. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience. Anyone can visit Edinburgh Castle but very few can dine on that particular ship. The "Guest Itinerary" you provided to each participant was outstanding in every respect. I carried my booklet at all times and used it numerous times throughout the day. It was great. Something else that we thought was very beneficial to the tour was the costumed re-enactors at places like Sheffield Manor Lodge, Tutbury Castle and Falkland Palace, The skits and one act plays were great, especially Bess at Sheffield and Mary at Tutbury. They added quite a lot to the tour and we enjoyed them very much. [We]would like to thank everyone concerned for the many wonderful gifts you provided throughout the tour. They were most beautiful and we sincerely appreciate your thoughtfulness. We hope this is not the end of a very wonderful relationship and we hope to see all of you again at some future date. Keep doing what you do so professionally. You are the epitome in historical tours and no one can come close to the high standards you have achieved. You have set the bar so high that no one can ever approach your expertise. WE HAD A WONDERFUL TIME!"
"The history was wonderful. The hotels were great. AWT took wonderful care of us. Dave was an excellent driver. I loved the tour and would definitely do another one. Keep up the good work. For any history lover, Alison Weir tours provides an unique and fulfilling experience. The staff take excellent care of each guest and the history provided it top notch. Expect to get special access to historical sites. I highly recommend the Alison Weir Tours experience."
This was the most interesting and informative tour we have yet encountered. Absolutely fabulous accommodations and dining experiences. The level of organization and historical preparation was top notch. Loved the opportunity to have dinner aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia. Nothing again will ever compare with the Prestonfield House or Langley Castle! Unbelievable. It was a well-constructed journey that recapitulated the story of MQS by taking advantage of the sites and group dynamic to enhance thee experience. I hink the sites were well thought out in terms of the theme of MQS. I don’t think anything more could have been added and as it was, it was a pretty full schedule. I don’t think you could have topped the service in any way. The team provided excellent pre-and-post tour information, lovely gifts that we will treasure, excellent service and everyone was always friendly and helpful. It is not an easy thing to herd 32 people around and I can appreciate the effort to keep things on track and to make it a memorable experience. Overall, very well done. I didn’t expect to have a lot of leisure time on our own nor did we think it was important; the reason we came on the trip was to see sites associated with MQS and to hear lectures and seminars on the subject. We took leisure time pre and post tour for that reason. I think you balanced the included and not-included dinners very well. This is a great niche-tour for those with a specific interest in a particular facet of British history. For that reason being run by respected historians with great expertise in the era is a must. We particularly enjoyed the contextual information prior to visiting a particular site and the debates. For anyone with an interest in European and especially a passion for British history, Alison Weir Tours are a must. On our own we would never have been able to recreate this trip, find the sites, nor have the level of understanding that we have taken home with us. Many thanks for a truly remarkable experience! I am looking forward to the next tour."
"The Alison Weir Tour experience is always the best! Great hotels, great food, unbelievable access to brilliant historians and locations in the UK. Everyone is gracious and wonderful. All in all, the Alison Weir Tour experience is well-planned, with a wide variety of experiences, and nothing is forgotten. I had a great time getting to know new people, and to know people from other Tours even better. Alison, Sarah and Nicola were always fun and willing to answer our questions, and I left with a very good understanding of Mary, Queen of Scots. The drive through northern England was absolutely gorgeous. I also appreciated being able to see “special” areas not open to the general public, and our private tours of many locations!"
"Just wanted to thank [John] personally for all of your help on the tour and your own attention, particularly in regard to meeting dietary requirements. It was a wonderful experience which in no small measure was due to the efforts of everyone involved. I have had quite a bit of experience over the years in event organising and appreciate how difficult it can be to ensure that everything is on track, especially when you are dealing with a disparate group of clients and an equally disparate group of suppliers. So well done."
"The tour exceeded our expectations! The lodgings and sites were superb. We really enjoyed listening to the historians about all things related to MQS. Each hotel was unique and we enjoyed staying in each of them! The staff members at Prestonfield were so friendly and helpful! We really loved staying at Langley Castle and easily could have spent more nights there. Each of the sites were relevant to MQS and/or the Stuarts in general. The guides/historians at each site were quite informative. Especially enjoyed hearing Catherine Maxwell-Stewart talk about Traquair and Lesley Smith gave an excellent performance as the imprisoned MQS at Tutbury. Level of service from the AWT staff exceeds any other tour we have taken! Each member goes out of his/her way to ensure that we are comfortable and enjoying ourselves. Such gracious and accommodating hosts! The tour was perfection! Well organized, filled with once in a lifetime experiences and a great line up of fabulous historians! Loved the gifts (CDs, booklets and MQS jewellery)! We had such a delightful time!"
"A well-structured tour which met the objective of being solely focused on the life of MQS. It was apparent that a great deal of research and effort had gone into putting this itinerary together. Nothing seemed to be a problem. John’s attention to requests was most impressive as was the organisation for arrivals and departures – baggage handling for instance. Jo was a vital part of your staff and I enjoyed seeing her beautiful and smiling face every morning on the bus. It got the day started off on the right foot. A wonderful experience beyond most expectations. The knowledge of all presenters was outstanding. This is a specialist tour and for those people with a genuine interest in the subject matter, then nothing can match it. The quality of all aspects of the tour, including the accommodation and organisation is exceptional. Cannot wait to do another one on a subject where I have a similar passionate interest."
"The tour was absolutely wonderful! I enjoyed the sites, the company, the lectures, the food, the accommodations, EVERYTHING! You all take such good care of everyone’s needs, whether with drivers needed, dietary restrictions or extra accommodations needed. I liked the various emails received before the tour for extra sites to take in, shopping ideas, etc. My accommodations were so luxurious! I felt like a queen! I loved the lectures at the end of the day or during dinner. I also enjoyed the lectures/debates/talks on the coach. You go above and beyond in the service department. Alison Weir Tours has done it again! You’ve exceeded the high standards set with the Gloriana Tour. Everything about the tour was wonderful! I saw incredible sites, ate delicious, traditionally-English food, learned a huge amount about history and really enjoyed the re-enactments atthe sites we went to. All of the guides (whether Alison Weir Tours personnel or site personnel) were excellent in imparting their knowledge of the site and how it pertains to history. You truly bring the past back to life!"
"I’ve run out of adjectives to describe how truly special this tour was. To spend time with and learn from Alison Weir was amazing.This was a once-in-lifetime experience. The opportunity to spend time with and learn from Alison and Sarah was wonderful. David Laird was an excellent tour guide, particularly at Craigmillar, where there was little to actually see. Jessie Childs’s talk was among the tour’s highlights, as well."
"Thank you, thank you, thank you! My head is still spinning from that glorious trip! So many wonderful things that we saw and experienced! I look back at the pictures and the information and still cannot believe that we were a part of such a special event!! We have never been on a trip that everyone was so concerned that we enjoy ourselves, everyone involved with the tour went above and beyond and enjoy ourselves we did!"
"Perfect in every way. Such a wonderful group! Such a pleasure! I learned so much. Everyone is so solicitous. You feel so well looked-after.The tour was marvellous, as always."
"Thanks [to eveyone] so much for providing such an enjoyable and valuable experience for us. I enjoyed the tour so much, I feel that I don’t have words to express how much I loved this most amazing experience. I have to say that my expectations were far exceeded. It is really something to learn about royalty and be treated like royalty at the same time. I very much appreciate the quality of the accommodations, the meals, the historical sites and the attention to detail. I have learned so much and have enjoyed every minute of it. The historians who travel with us make the trip so enjoyable. It is exciting to spend time with people so knowledgable and passionate about their field. The pre-tour care again was excellent from Siobhan and John. Very helpful suggestions were sent to us about interesting things to do and see if we arrived before the beginning of the tour. Any questions we had, whether it be about the tour itself or suggestions about general travel were answered immediately and were very helpful. The reading lists and information provided helped us to prepare and get even more enjoyment out of the tour. The accommodations were luxurious and unique. The rooms themselves were amazing and memorable, and the grounds were fantastic. We had a lot of fun exploring the beautiful gardens as well as the outstanding rooms themselves. The service in all the hotels we stayed at was superb. The sites were excellent. It was so interesting to follow the path of Mary from her birth to her demise. It was amazing to stand in the very spots that I had been reading about and imagine what it was like at the time Mary lived. It makes history seem so alive and real. It is very exciting to travel with such knowledgable historians and be able to ask questions from the best. The talks on the bus were very good. It is very enjoyable to hear the stories of the places we are about to visit and the significance of them. The talks in the evening were excellent with interesting speakers who were very approachable. Alison, Sarah, Nicola and Siobhan are just amazing. I love their passion for their field. It was nothing short of amazing to be able to spend time with and ask questions of the people who’s books I had been reading all year. That is the way to learn history! Every member of the staff offers superb service. Absolutely every need or wish is taken care of cheerfully and swiftly. John is always there making sure everything goes smoothly. Jo is always there to make sure we are safe and will never be left behind. The attention to detail is outstanding. I feel so comfortable to just be able to relax and enjoy the trip without having to worry about a thing. I also have to commend Dave, our amazing driver for his expertise. He was able to navigate our bus through the tightest spaces, traffic jams and the London insanity without breaking a sweat. We do keep moving, but I find that stimulating and would not change a thing. I cannot say enough about how enjoyable and informative the Alison Weir Tours are. Everything about these tours is first class. The itinerary, the accommodations, the historians and the staff are exceptional. I very much look forward to another amazing tour this coming year!"
"I cannot say enough how very much I enjoyed this tour! It was without a doubt the very best one I have been on - and I have been on some awesome ones. You are the consummate team and the entire experience proved it. From the time I started my email correspondence with Siobhan until I said goodbye to you dear people at the Farewell Tea, I must say that I found myself enjoying each new experience/adventure immensely and the most amazing part of that is that you managed to make everyone else feel the same! And, that is an accomplishment to be envied! I must also tell you that as much as my friends enjoyed hearing all about the various aspects of the tour, it was the unique itinerary hand book which definitely impressed upon them how very special this entire experience was. Talk about a class act! And, as I keep repeating to them, just one of many! Then, I told them about receiving a gift almost every day..... Needless to say, I have a lot of envious friends!
You are all so special and I would like to thank you individually as well as collectively.
My first encounter was with Siobhan. Siobhan, your attention to detail and timely messages ensured that my enthusiasm and interest never waned during the year from the time I signed up in October 2013 until the tour began last month. Although I knew that you were very knowledgable, this was definitely confirmed when I met you on the tour and again when I took two of your amazing tours back in London. And the very good news is that I get to repeat this experience in June for the Great Queens tour! A tour which I am already enjoying as I continue to receive your informative pre tour messages.
Sarah, you were the next member I encountered. Although from your bio, I knew that you were extremely knowledgable and talented, I had no idea how very fun you are as well! I enjoyed all of your talks and I especially enjoyed the repartee between you, Alison and Nicola. And, needless to say, I am looking forward to doing it all again in June!
Alison, you were the next member I met. Although from you bio and the other info I had read about you, I knew that you would be larger than life, I just had no idea just how wonderful it would be to travel with you! I so enjoyed getting to know you as I listened to your talks, discussions, and repartee with Sarah and Nicola and even more so as I got to interact with you as we discussed, ate and toured our way through the life and times of Mary, Queen of Scots! And, again, the best part is that I get to do it again in June!
Nicola, you definitely have a special place in my heart. Not only are you are you a talented historian, you are such fun to be with that I often lost sight of the fact that I was actually learning! I am very much looking forward to seeing you again on the Great Queens tour and finding out about the status of your book. With that thought in mind, I have reading up on Charles Brandon!
Jo, you were the calming influence in the group. Your patience as you made sure that we, your chicks, were all accounted for was a joy to watch. And, I especially appreciate your getting my lost bag back to me. It had a bit more sentimental value than I alluded to, so I will alway be thankful to you for reuniting us! And, as with the others, I am looking forward to traveling with you again this next June!
And, last but definitely not least, thank you, John, for ensuring that we had all those wonderful accommodations and ate all of those delicious meals! It was those key elements which were the foundation upon which the entire experience rested. It is a proven fact that people who are well fed and well rested are happy people. And, thanks to your valiant efforts, we were VERY happy people! But, what I especially want to thank you for was always having a willing arm ready whenever stairs were on the horizon. That combined with your infectious smile, gave me the confidence to tackle each new challenge (aka, stairs). Again, thank you for all of your efforts to ensure that "Mary" was the grand success that it was and, as with the others, I am very much looking forward to again traveling with in June!
In closing, I would like to say that individually each of you is a force to be reckoned with but together you are a team which is unbeatable! And, therein lies the strength of and is the key to Alison Weir Tours! I can hardly wait to travel with you again!"
"An unforgettable experience."