Alison Weir Tours

The Wulfhall Tour

 

ITINERARY
 


Day 1 Monday, 4th May

 

11am: Welcome and tour briefing

 

Noon: Welcome buffet lunch at our London hotel

 

1pm: Depart London hotel for Ewelme, Oxfordshire


2.30pm: Visit Ewelme church and village (1535 progress)

Ewelme is located amid lush Oxfordshire countryside. The church of St Mary the Virgin is a well-preserved Perpendicular building and contains the magnificent tomb of Thomas Chaucer, son of Geoffrey Chaucer the poet. He was lord of the manor of Ewelme, who fought as a soldier at the battle of Agincourt. Nearby is the tomb of his daughter, Alice Chaucer, Duchess of Suffolk who died in 1475. Her tomb is of alabaster and has a splendid carved effigy. Alice and her husband, William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk founded the Almshouses (1437) close to the church.

In 1448, William was created Duke of Suffolk but his unpopularity led to his murder at sea in 1450. His only legitimate son, John, was briefly married to Margaret Beaufort although Henry VI annulled the marriage in 1453. John went on to marry Elizabeth, second surviving daughter of Richard, Duke of York, and Cecily Neville, and sister of Edward IV and Richard III. Their son, Edmund, Duke of Suffolk, was executed in 1513 for conspiring against Henry VIII, at which time Ewelme manor was forfeited to the crown. David Starkey claims that Henry VIII was conceived at Ewelme during an extended visit by his parents in the autumn of 1490. In 1525, Henry granted the manor to his sister Mary, wife of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. During the summer progress of 1535, the court stayed for a couple of days at Ewelme. Henry seems to have used Ewelme as a lesser private house to which he could retreat or use as a base for hunting. Henry Norris, one of Anne Boleyn’s alleged lovers, was keeper of Ewelme before his execution in 1536. Henry VIII also stayed at the manor with his fifth wife, Catherine Howard. Edward VI granted the manor to his sister Elizabeth, who  visited as queen with her favourite, Robert Dudley. Later in Elizabeth’s reign, the Earl of Essex lived at Ewelme in semi-banishment. After Elizabeth’s death, Ewelme became less frequented; by 1612, the house was virtually a ruin. All that remains is an isolated Georgian-looking brick house set back from the village street, which was part of the service wing, dating from about 1450.

Just beyond the south door of St Mary’s Ewelme is the modest grave of Jerome Klapka Jerome (1859-1927), one-time teacher, actor, journalist, humourist and writer.  He is best known for his book Three Men in a Boat.

3.30pm: Depart Ewelme for The Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe, Wiltshire

5pm: Check into The Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe

The Manor House is a 14th-century luxury hotel and golf club in a magnificent setting, offering romantic nights away, Michelin-starred dining and a dedicated gin bar. Head into the adjacent historic village of Castle Combe to the hotel’s 12th-century pub or take a short buggy ride up to its championship golf course. All bedrooms are individually styled each with their own special features and ooze five-star luxury. With a Michelin starred restaurant, alfresco dining, The Full Glass Bar, lounges for coffee, lunch or afternoon tea, and private dining rooms open to residents and non-residents alike, they provide a dining experience and atmosphere for every occasion. The Manor House is the perfect destination for golf or leisure.

7pm: Welcome drinks and dinner at the Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe

Overnight: The Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe

 

 

Day 2 Tuesday, 5th May

 

9.45am: Depart The Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe for Avebury Manor and Standing Stones, Wiltshire

 

10am: Visit Avebury Manor and Standing Stones

 

Recognised as a World Heritage Site for its outstanding Neolithic and Bronze Age landscape, Avebury is a place where you can connect with history and take time to imagine what life might have been like thousands of years ago. The stone circles and henge monument are particularly unusual, not just because it is the largest stone circle in the world, but also because it is the only stone circle with a village built within it.  Archaeologist Alexander Keiller excavated here in the 1930s, and there is a museum bearing his name.

The Tudor manor house at Avebury is a monument to the architectural and cultural changes of the centuries. Lying on the edge of the village, it was transformed in a partnership between the National Trust and the BBC, creating a hands-on experience. Nine of Avebury Manor's rooms and part of the garden were redecorated and redesigned in five different styles: Tudor, Queen Anne, Georgian, Victorian and twentieth century.

Avebury Manor Garden, Alexander Keiller Museum, National Trust shop, Circles Café in the Old Farmyard, Avebury Manor Tea Room, Coach House Café on the High Street, Cobblestones second-hand books, just off the High Street.

12.15: Depart Avebury Manor and Standing Stones for Lacock, Wiltshire

12.45pm: Independent lunch in Lacock village, a minute’s walk from Lacock Abbey.

The picture-perfect village has plenty of shops, food outlets and buildings full of character to explore. Lacock is a living community, which is what makes it so special to visit. TV shows such as 'Downton Abbey', 'Cranford' and 'Pride and Prejudice' were filmed here.

 

2.30pm: Visit Lacock Abbey (Wolf Hall location)

 

The Abbey, located at the heart of the village within its own woodland grounds, is a quirky country house of various architectural styles, built upon the foundations of a former nunnery. Visitors can experience the atmosphere of the medieval rooms and cloister court, giving a sense of the Abbey's monastic past. The museum celebrates the achievements of former Lacock resident, William Henry Fox Talbot, famous for his contributions to the invention of photography.

Courtyard Tea Room and the Stables Café, NT shops.

 

4.30pm: Lacock Abbey for The Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe

 

4.50pm: Return to hotel

 

6.30pm: Depart The Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe for Berkeley Castle, Gloucestershire

 

7.30pm: Drinks, tour and dinner at Berkeley Castle ((1535 progress, Wolf Hall location) (tbc)

Berkeley Castle is a hidden gem in the Cotswolds and has been awarded TripAdvisor's Certificate of Excellence for the last five years. Berkeley is a beautiful and historic Castle, begun in 1154 and still the home of the Berkeley family. The castle dominates the Vale of Berkeley and is steeped in over 860 years of British history. It is best known as the scene of the alleged brutal murder of Edward II in 1327 and for being besieged by Parliamentary troops in 1645. Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and Elizabeth I were notable visitors. Over twenty-four generations of Berkeleys have gradually transformed a Norman fortress into the lovely family home it is today. The state apartments contain magnificent collections of furniture, rare paintings and tapestries. Some of the world-famous Berkeley silver is on display in the Dining Room and many other rooms including the Great Hall, the Morning Room (the former medieval chapel, with its unique painted ceiling) and the kitchens are available to view.

The Castle is surrounded by lovely terraced gardens with flower borders, a lily pond, Elizabeth I’s bowling green and sweeping lawns. In summer, you can visit  the tropical Butterfly House in the Walled Garden, which is a tranquil environment for over twenty-five different species of tropical butterflies.

The castle has been used on many occasions for filming and has been featured in TV dramas such as The Other Boleyn Girl, Wolf Hall, Poldark and The White Princess, and in several documentaries such as Princes in Waiting.

10.45pm: Depart Berkeley Castle for The Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe   

 

11.30pm: Return to hotel

 

Overnight: The Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe

 

 

Day 3 Wednesday, 6th May

 

8.45am: Depart The Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe for Barrington Court, Somerset

 

10.30am: Visit Barrington Court (Wolf Hall location) (tbc)

 

Barrington Court is a Tudor manor house begun around 1538 and completed in the late 1550s. In the 1920s, Colonel Lyle, whose family firm became part of Tate & Lyle, rescued the partially derelict Court House, surrounding it with a productive estate. A keen collector of architectural salvage, Colonel Lyle filled the house with his collection of panelling, fireplaces and staircases. Now without furniture, the light, empty spaces provide atmospheric opportunities to explore freely. The walled White Garden, Rose and Iris Garden and Lily Garden were influenced by Gertrude Jekyll, with playing fountains, vibrant colours and intoxicating scents. The original kitchen garden supplies the restaurant and continues the Lyle family's vision of self-sufficiency.

Strode dining and tea rooms offering tea, homemade cakes and main meals with ingredients often grown in the kitchen garden. Children's menu available. Gift shop selling gifts, plants and award-winning cider and apple juice. Second-hand book barn and five independent artisan workshops selling a quality range of hand-crafted items.

 

12.30pm: Depart Barrington Court for Montacute, Somerset

 

1pm: Lunch at the King’s Arms Inn, Montacute (tbc)

 

2.30pm: Visit Montacute House (Wolf Hall location)

Montacute is a masterpiece of Elizabethan Renaissance architecture and design. With its towering walls of glass, glowing ham stone and surrounding gardens, it is a place of beauty and wonder. Sir Edward Phelips was the visionary force and money behind the creation of this masterpiece, which was completed in 1601. Built by skilled craftsman, the house was a statement of wealth, ambition and showmanship. The Long Gallery is the longest of its kind in England. The gallery houses over 60 Tudor and Elizabethan portraits on loan from the National Portrait Gallery. A beautiful garden surrounds Montacute House, constantly changing, filling the house with scent in summer.

Courtyard Café, second-hand bookshop in the historic stable clock, NT shop.

4.30pm: Depart Montacute House for The Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe

6pm: Return to hotel

 

Independent dinner

There are three options:  the hotel restaurant, the Castle Inn, owned by the hotel and a 5-minute walk through the Mews, and the White Hart, opposite the Castle Inn.   

 

Overnight: The Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe

 

 

Day 4 Thursday, 7th May

 

9am: Depart The Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe for the city of Salisbury, Wiltshire

 

10.30am: Visit Salisbury Cathedral

 

For over 750 years, pilgrims have come to Salisbury to seek inspiration in the glory and peace of the building and surrounding Cathedral Close. Marvel at, or climb up, Britain's tallest spire, be awed by the beauty and scale of the Cathedral interior or study one of the only four surviving copies of the original Magna Carta in the Chapter House. Salisbury Cathedral is a truly remarkable building, a testimony to the faith and practical skills of the medieval craftsmen who built it, a living place of prayer and a centre of pilgrimage for hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.

Gift shop and Refectory Restaurant

Free time for an independent lunch in Salisbury

1.45pm: Depart Salisbury for Wilton House, Wiltshire

 

2pm: Visit Wilton House (site of Wilton Abbey, 1535 progress)

 

Set in the beautiful Wiltshire countryside and home to the Earls of Pembroke since the 1540s and built on the site of Wilton Abbey (visited by Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn), Wilton House and its grounds offers a wonderful day out for all the family. Stroll around the House with its 17th-century interiors and world-famous art collection by renowned artists such as Van Dyck, Brueghel and Rembrandt.  With over 22 acres of parkland and gardens, bordered by the rivers Wylye and Nadder, the grounds are perfect for visitors to explore.

The Palladian Café, gift shop. 


5pm: Depart Wilton House for The Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe  


6.15pm: Return to hotel

 

Independent dinner

 

Overnight: The Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe

 

 

Day 5 Friday, 8th May

 

COURTESY COACH DAY

 

Guests have a choice of visiting Hailes Abbey in the morning or spending time in Castle Combe.

 

For those staying in the delightful village of Castle Combe, we may be able to arrange a walking tour.  

 

9am: Main coach departs The Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe for Hailes Abbey, Gloucestershire

 

10.30am: Visit Hailes Abbey (1535 progress)

 

Set in tranquil Cotswolds countryside, Hailes Abbey was once one of the most significant pilgrimage sites in medieval England. Visitors flocked to see the Holy Blood of Hailes – a relic so prized it was mentioned by Geoffrey Chaucer in The Canterbury Tales. In 1535, Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn travelled through western England, visiting Winchcombe Abbey, a few miles from Hailes. According to one source, Anne Boleyn sent some of her chaplains to enquire into the ‘abomynable abuse’ of pilgrimage to Hailes. The shrine to the Holy Blood was destroyed during Henry VIII’s Suppression of the Monasteries and the abbey soon fell into ruin. Today the former splendour of Hailes Abbey is evoked by its beautiful surviving stonework and museum collection.

English Heritage shop.

 

10.30am: Courtesy coach departs The Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe for Winchcombe, Gloucestershire

 

11.30am: Main coach departs Hailes Abbey for Winchcombe

 

11.45am: Visit Winchcombe for an independent lunch (site of Winchcombe Abbey, 1535 progress) 

 

Noon: Courtesy coach drops hotel group off at Winchcombe.

The ancient Anglo Saxon town of Winchcombe is situated in a beautiful Cotswold valley.  The inns, restaurants, tea rooms, and shops set among Winchcombe's three main streets are full of the character of times past. Winchcombe Abbey, where Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn stayed in 1535, was surrendered to the Crown in 1539 and then demolished. Some of its stones can still be found in Winchcombe; for example the lintel over the abbey gate now rests over the gate of what was once the George Inn. Fragments of the abbey can still be seen in various places in Winchcombe, notably the Corner Cupboard Inn on the Cheltenham road. A stone cross was erected in the 19th century to mark the centre of the abbey tower.

2pm: Depart Winchcombe for Stanway House, Gloucestershire.

2.15pm: Visit Stanway House (Wolf Hall location)

 

Stanway is an outstandingly beautiful example of a Jacobean manor house, owned by Tewkesbury Abbey for 800 years, then for 500 years by the Tracy family and their descendants, the earls of Wemyss who still live there. The house, its fascinating furniture, the gatehouse, the church and 14th-century tithe barn, the 18th-century water-garden, the specimen trees and avenues, the surrounding villages, farms, parkland and woodland all subtly combine to create an enclave of very English and almost magical harmony. Recently Stanway has seen the gradual restoration of the 18th century water garden. The formal canal, on a terrace above the house, the striking Pyramid and eight ponds have been reinstated, and a single-jet fountain, at 300 feet the highest fountain in Britain and the highest gravity fountain in the world, has been created.

 

4.15pm: Depart Stanway House for The Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe  

 

5.30pm: Return to hotel

 

Independent dinner

 

Overnight: The Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe

 

 

Day 6 Saturday, 9th May

 

Check out of The Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe

 

8.15am: Depart The Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe for Westwood Manor, Wiltshire

**Please note early departure time – this is the only time slot we can have for visiting Westwood Manor.

 

9am: Visit Westwood Manor

 

A hidden gem, Westwood Manor was built of local stone in the late 15th century with early 16th-century and Jacobean additions. Westwood was originally the property of the priory of St Swithin at Winchester and was let out to a succession of tenant farmers. The core of the present house is the work of Thomas Culverhouse, who farmed the estate until c.1485, and extended an earlier building in 1480. Thomas Horton, a prosperous local clothier, acquired the lease by 1518 and altered many of the interiors. John Farewell, who lived here between 1616-42, pulled down quite a lot of the medieval work, leaving the present compact L-shaped house. He also commissioned some fine plaster decoration including an overmantel that depicts two geese hanging a fox. You will see late Gothic and Jacobean windows, decorative plasterwork, two important keyboard instruments, period furniture, 17th- and 18th-century tapestries and a modern topiary garden.

 

11am: Depart Westwood Manor for Wells, Somerset

 

11.45am: Visit Wells for an independent lunch and sightseeing.

Visit the City of Wells in Somerset with its historic centre, the magnificent cathedral, and the unique moated Bishop's Palace. Wells is a medieval city nestling on the southern side of the Mendip Hills with the mystic Somerset Levels stretching away to the south and west. The history of Wells goes back to Roman times when there was a settlement, probably because of the springs that bubble up here. Wells gets its name from these springs which can today be found in the gardens of the Bishop's Palace. Wells is the smallest city in England with about 12,000 inhabitants. It boasts a famous 13th century Cathedral and has many other historic buildings, including the moated Bishop's Palace, Vicars' Close, St Cuthbert's Church and a good local museum. The Wells Market Place, with lively markets twice a week, the narrow streets and an eclectic mix of building styles all reflect on the continuing development of the town throughout the ages. There are many places for an independent lunch.

1.45pm: Depart Wells for Lytes Cary Manor, Somerset

 

2.20pm: Visit Lytes Cary Manor (tbc)

 

This intimate manor house was the former home of medieval herbalist Henry Lyte. Here visitors can learn about his famous 16th-century plant directory, Lytes New Herbal. The manor spans many years with its 14th-century chapel and 15th-century Great Hall. In the 20th century it was rescued from dereliction by Sir Walter Jenner. Its Arts & Crafts-style garden is a combination of outdoor rooms, topiary, statues and herbaceous borders. Explore the walks through the wider estate and riverside and discover many features typical of farmed lowland England, including ancient hedges, rare arable weeds and farmland birds.

Garden, National Trust gift shop and tea-room.

 

3.50pm: Depart Lytes Cary Manor for Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath, Somerset

5pm: Check into Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath

The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa is a five-star haven of elegance and tranquillity in the historic centre of Bath. Step inside and discover a multi-talented hotel that offers so much more than just a place to stay. It is an iconic sanctuary in the city set in an acre of glorious gardens, a sensational spa for a blissful escape and beautiful bedrooms, each one uniquely designed with spectacular views. All this underpinned by impeccable service, delivered by staff dedicated to making your stay unforgettable, and with a prestigious history that spans more than 250 years.

7pm: Drinks and dinner at Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath 

 

Overnight: Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath 

 

 

Day 7 Sunday, 10th May

 

9.30am: Depart Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath for Acton Court, Gloucestershire (1535 progress)

 

10.15am: Visit Acton Court

 

Acton Court is believed to be the most ‘original’ Tudor house in Britain. In order to maintain the integrity of the building, as far as possible, it has been left in its original state. In 1535, Henry VIII came to stay at Acton Court with Anne Boleyn, while on his summer progress around the West Country. The owner of Acton Court, Nicholas Poyntz, wanted to impress his sovereign, so for Henry’s pleasure he built a magnificent new East Wing onto the existing moated manor house. The new wing was a splendid testament to Nicholas Poyntz’s loyalty to his King. He went to immense trouble and expense to impress Henry, decorating the state apartments lavishly and fashionably. Today, the East Wing, which was built in just nine months, comprises most of what remains at Acton Court. It offers a rare example of 16th-century royal state apartments and some Antick Renaissance decorations that are said to be the finest of their kind in England.

 

Please note that Acton Court is closed to the public for the foreseeable future for necessary renovations. However, they are willing to welcome us for a private visit. Please be aware that there will be paintings and canvases stored in the historic rooms. This visit cannot be confirmed until August.

 

12.15pm: Depart Acton Court for Tetbury, Gloucestershire

 

Tetbury is in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds and is proud of its 1300 years of recorded history since 681, when Tetta's monastery was mentioned in a charter of King Ethelred of Mercia. In the Middle Ages, Tetbury was an important market town for the Cotswolds wool trade and the town centre is still dominated by the splendid pillared Market House built in 1655. The town is an architectural gem as many of the wool merchants houses still look as they did 300 years ago.

   Tetbury is well known for its 25 antique shops and its close proximity to Prince Charles's residence, Highgrove House. The town has a wonderful variety of shops including many specialist shops offering a wide choice. Some bear the Prince of Wales’s feathers as a sign that they hold his Royal Warrant.

 

1pm: Independent lunch in Tetbury, which has a wide choice of tea shops, bistros, cafes, pubs and restaurants, offering a good choice of food and drink.

 

2.30pm: Depart Tetbury for Chavenage House, Gloucestershire

 

2.45pm: Visit Chavenage House (Wolf Hall location)

 

Chavenage is a wonderful Elizabethan house of mellow grey Cotswold stone and tiles which contains much of interest for the discerning visitor. The approach aspect of Chavenage is virtually as it was left by Edward Stephens in 1576. Only two families have owned Chavenage; the present owners, the Lowsley-Williams, since 1891, and the Stephens family before them. Inside Chavenage, there are many interesting rooms and 17th-century tapestries. A feature room is the tapestried Oliver Cromwell Room. From this period, the ‘Legend of Chavenage’ has arisen, with the headless ghost of Charles I, arriving at the house in a coach to collect the body of Colonel Stephens; on departure the coach disappears into a fireball at the gates of the Manor House. Visitors may recognise Chavenage from Television productions, such as Hercule Poirot, House of Elliot, and Cider with Rosie. Scenes from Tess of the D’Urbervilles and the critically acclaimed Wolf Hall, were also shoot at Chavenage.  The House featured as Candleford Manor in Lark Rise to Candleford and much of the supernatural ‘The Living and The Dead’ was shot at Chavenage.   It now can be seen as Trenwith House is the hugely popular Poldark.

 

4.30pm: Depart Chavenage House for Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath

 

5.30pm: Return to hotel

 

6.45pm: Depart Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath for Ravello, an Italian restaurant in Bradford-upon-Avon, Wiltshire

 

7.30pm: Italian Evening at Ravello, Bradford-upon-Avon (tbc)

 

10pm: Depart Ravello, Bradford-upon-Avon for Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath 

 

10.30pm: Return to hotel

 

Overnight: Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath 

 

 

Day 8 Monday, 11th May

 

9.15am: Depart Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath for the George Inn, Norton St Philip

 

9.30am: We will stop for coffee at the historic George Inn, a Grade One listed building situated in an idyllic setting with beautiful views across the local village green and 14th Century church. This 700-year-old inn has much to delight - it is a feast for the eyes and boasts every traditional comfort.

 

10am: Depart the George Inn, Norton St Philip for Farleigh Hungerford Castle, Wiltshire

 

10.40am: Visit Farleigh Hungerford Castle

 

In a beautiful valley of the river Frome stand the remains of Farleigh Hungerford Castle. Begun in the 14th century, it still has much for visitors to enjoy. In 1473, it was the birthplace of Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, who was beheaded by order of Henry VIII in 1541. The fortified mansion was occupied for 300 years by the remarkable Hungerford family whose intriguing, yet sometimes gruesome, stories are told through graphic interpretation panels and a free audio tour. There are many hidden treasures: the chapel with rare medieval wall paintings and family tombs; extensive displays in the Priest’s House; and, for those who are brave enough to enter the crypt, the best collection of human-shaped lead coffins in Britain.

English Heritage shop.

 

11.45am: Depart Farleigh Hungerford Castle for Bradford-on-Avon

 

Noon: Visit Bradford-on-Avon for an independent lunch

 

It may be around seven miles east of the more famous Bath, but Bradford-on-Avon is a considerable tourist hotspot in its own right. Situated at the very southern tip of the Cotswolds, it was built on the wool industry, and today its historic centre is a cluster of old mills, cottages and grand town houses, most built in the beautiful local limestone. With a riverside location, fantastic countryside and some genuinely historic buildings - look out for the spectacular 14th-century Tithe Barn - it's a great place for a lunch stop. There is a good choice of other places to eat.

 

2pm: Depart Bradford-on-Avon for Great Chalfield Manor, Wiltshire

 

2.20pm: Visit Great Chalfield Manor, Wilts. (Wolf Hall location)

 

This beautiful medieval manor house, built c.1465 by wealthy businessman, Thomas Tropenell, sits in peaceful countryside. Cross the upper moat, passing barns, gatehouse and delightful parish church to enjoy fine oriel windows and the soldiers, griffons and monkey adorning the rooftops. The manor house is full of history, beautiful furniture and unusual architecture. Romantic gardens offer terraces, topiary houses, gazebo, lily pond, roses and views across the spring-fed fishpond. The unique Arts and Craft garden which surrounds the medieval manor is full of delights all year round. Perfect for garden enthusiasts and history fans alike, the Great Chalfield garden is an oasis of peace and quiet. Film fans may recognise Great Chalfield from its many appearances onscreen. Both the interior and the exterior of the manor have appeared in productions including Wolf Hall, The Other Boleyn Girl and Tess of the d'Ubervilles.

Visitors are welcome to visit the adjoining Parish Church.

 

4.30pm: Depart Great Chalfield Manor for Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath

 

5pm: Return to hotel

 

Independent dinner. Bath offers a wide choice of restaurants.

 

Overnight: Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath 

 

 

Day 9 Tuesday, 12th May

 

EITHER:

 

Free time to explore Bath

 

We will be offering guided walks to some of this beautiful Georgian city’s attractions.  

 

OR OPTIONAL VISIT:

 

8.30am: Depart Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath for Cothay Manor, Somerset

 

11am: Visit Cothay Manor (Wolf Hall location)

 

Cothay Manor is a 15th century medieval manor, one of Somerset's finest historic houses. Said to be the finest example of a small medieval manor in England, it dates back to the 14th century, and has been lovingly restored with period furniture and fabrics by the current owners. The gardens have achieved the highest accolade of two stars in the Good Garden Guide and in June 2012 featured in the Daily Telegraph's '20 Best Gardens in Britain'. They were laid out in 1925 by Colonel Reginald Cooper who was great friends with all the gardening grandees of that era, and pre-date the famous gardens of Sissinghurst by ten years.

 

Please note:

 

Before the house tour, there will be a briefing on house rules. The group will be made aware of safety issues within the house, such as uneven flooring, steep stairs, low ceilings, dark areas with limited lighting, small confined spaces etc. Before entering the Manor, visitors are asked to don blue overshoes in order to protect floors and furnishings.

 

They request that outdoor clothing (coats, etc) is either placed on the coat rails provided or, if worn, that fastenings are secured; many of the Cothay rooms are quite small, and fastening coats prevents precious items being knocked off tables and surfaces. Bags, cameras, etc will be secured in a locked cupboard, the key being held by the tour guide and visible for all to see. Security of bags is a specified condition of Cothay’s insurance policy so there can be no exceptions.

 

11am: Tour of Cothay Manor

 

1pm: Light lunch at Cothay Manor

 

2.30pm: Depart Cothay Manor for Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath 

 

4.15pm: Return to hotel

 

Free time for packing

 

6.45pm: Depart for the Roman Baths, Bath

 

7pm: Drinks and dinner at The Roman Baths, Bath, and the Pump Room

 

Constructed in around 70AD as a grand bathing and socialising complex, the famous Roman Baths is one of the best-preserved Roman remains in the world, where 1,170,000 litres of steaming spring water, reaching 46°C, still fills the bathing site every single day. The Roman Baths is the site of extensive ruins and an interactive museum filled with many treasures and visual snippets that transport you back to Roman times and the lives of the people of the city of Aquae Sulis. Walk on ancient pavements as the Romans did 2,000 years ago, and explore ancient chambers historically housing changing rooms and tepid plunge pools.

 

At the heart of the World Heritage city, the Roman Baths have been a venue for relaxation and hospitality for approximately 2,000 years. Today, the Roman Baths make the most magical location for a drinks reception, with guests able to mingle on the ancient paving and absorb the unique atmosphere. After the reception, the elegant Pump Room makes a memorable setting for any dinner, party or reception. One of the most iconic venues in Bath, it can accommodate up to 160. For smaller events, the Terrace, which overlooks the waters of the Great Bath, is the perfect location for an intimate dinner.

 

10pm: Return to hotel

 

Overnight: Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath 

 

 

Day 10 Wednesday, 13th May

 

Check out of Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath

 

9am: Depart Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath for Wolfhall, Wiltshire

 

10.15am: Visit Wolfhall (1535 progress) (tbc)

 

At the edge of Wiltshire’s ancient Savernake forest lies a house steeped in history.  Shrouded in mystery and lost to the mists of time, Wolfhall stands testimony to the rise and fall of the Seymour family, so crucial to the heart of the Tudor monarchy and the history of England itself. Thanks to Hillary Mantel’s best-selling novel and award-winning television series of the same name, Wolfhall is once again synonymous with the romance of the court of Henry VIII and his marriage to Jane Seymour, mother of his long-awaited son and heir, Edward VI. Jane was probably born here, and Henry VIII visited during his 1535 progress.

 

Originally the residence of the warden of Savernake Forest, Wolfhall rose to grandeur along with the power and influence of the Seymour family.  Its chequered history is as fascinating as its architectural styles, from its clearly visible original Tudor great hall to its later genteel Georgian and Victorian additions. Recent research has shown that the house, thought to be 17th-century, has a medieval core and is part of the original double-courtyard house of the Seymours.

 

11.15am: Depart Wolfhall for Marlborough, Wiltshire

 

11.30am: Visit Marborough for an independent lunch

 

Marlborough is a charming old English market town with a unique broad High Street, which is partly arcaded and hosts a diverse range of small independent shops, bookshops, antique emporiums and eateries. The town straddles the former stagecoach route from London to Bath and lies alongside the River Kennet. The lack of major road and rail links has allowed this elegant Georgian market town to retain much of its original character and heritage.

  
The high street is lined with 16th to early 19th-century houses and old coaching inns, with a Perpendicular church standing proudly at each end - St Mary's, where a curfew bell still sounds each evening and St Peter's, with its impressive Norman doorway. Behind the High Street lies a labyrinth of alleyways filled with half-timbered cottages, and on the north side are many interesting colonnades.

 

1.30pm: Depart Marlborough for The Vyne, Hampshire

 

2.45pm: Visit The Vyne (1535 progress, Wolf Hall location)

 

The Vyne is a warm red-brick Tudor mansion built in the 16th century for Lord Sandys, Henry VIII's Lord Chamberlain, which later passed into the hands of the Chute family, who cared for the house and estate for over 300 years. It was remodelled to its present configuration in the mid-17th century with the addition of a classical portico and summerhouse, firsts of their kind in England. Visitors will see 500 year-old Majolica tiles, Renaissance stained glass (including windows depicting Henry VIII, Katherine of Aragon and Margaret Tudor) and exquisite wood carvings in the Tudor chapel and period linenfold panelling in the oak gallery. The house holds treasures collected by the Chute family, including furniture, tapestries and paintings, Murano glass and silk wall hangings. Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Horace Walpole, and Jane Austen all visited. The house is set in 13 acres of beautiful, relaxing gardens, ffrom the formal summerhouse and stone gallery gardens with fine herbaceous borders, to the more natural wild garden and fruit trees of the orchard and walled garden. Nestled in the Hampshire countryside, The Vyne Estate features acres of woodland with trails that pass by ancient trees, a medieval fishpond and the park pale. The wetlands attract an abundance of bird life.

The Brewhouse tea-room serves homemade cakes and light lunches; National Trust shop.

 

4.30pm: Depart The Vyne for our hotel in London

 

6pm: Farewell drinks and canapes at the hotel

 

 

Please note that all information is correct at the time of publishing this itinerary, but a few sites have yet to confirm visits (they may be closed for the winter), that visitor arrangements at historical sites are occasionally subject to change due to circumstances beyond our control, and that we may make changes to enhance your experience after we have road-tested the tour and visited the sites in September.