Get together with a group of friends or family to explore a period of English history over 2 or 3 days on one of our Heart of England mini breaks. Small friendly tours, tailored to your interests with flexible timing and lovely homely accommodation. Some examples are below.
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Pre-historic Britain to the Iron Age
We will explore pre-historic cave dwellings in Derbyshire and see fascinating Bronze Age constructions in Cambridgeshire, before ending this period with a visit to an Iron Age hill fort with its spectacular views across Leicestershire and its neighbouring counties.
Roman to Anglo Saxon and Viking Britain
We visit the Jewry Wall Museum in Leicester because, for those who have not done our pre-history mini break (or even for those who have) this also give a great overview of life leading up to Roman times as well as a good introduction to Roman Britain. Then we travel cross country following Watling Street, one of the principle Roman roads in Britain, to Wroxeter Roman City to get an even better understanding of life in Roman times. Our exploration of the Anglo-Saxon and Viking Britain visits the fabulous Staffordshire Hoard, takes us to Tamworth, the capital of Anglo-Saxon Mercia, and Repton which became, briefly, the home of the Great Army of the Vikings.
Norman to Medieval Britain
William of Normandy’s invasion in 1066 marked the beginning of the Norman Period and left his mark on the country in many ways, including the building of large numbers of castles and cathedrals. We will visit Lincoln Castle and the beautiful Cathedral set high on what is locally known as the ‘Lincolnshire Edge’ or the ‘Cliff’. Lincoln Castle is home to one of the original copies of the Magna Carta. We will learn about the beginnings of democracy when King John was forced to sign the Magna Carta in Runnymede in 1215. We visit Gainsborough Old Hall, a magnificent medieval manor house. Richard III stayed here, and later Henry VIII.
Tudors to the time of the Civil War
The Wars of the Roses climaxed in 1485 when Richard 3rd, the last Plantagenet King was killed and Henry’s victory began the Tudor Period. The remains of Richard 3rd were recently discovered in Leicestershire so we will visit the battle field at Bosworth to learn what it would have been like when Richard and his army marched across the country to meet with Henry’s army in that fatal battle. We then make a visit to Leicester, now known as Richard 3rd’s Leicester. We visit Shakespeare’s Stratford upon Avon to learn, not only about Shakespeare but also the dissolution of the monastries. We end the Tudor period at the magnificent remains of Kenilworth Castle, once owned by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. Queen Elizabeth I stayed here with him in 1575, which led to Sir Walter Scott’s novel, Kenilworth.
We head to Newark. This attractive market town is now home to the National Civil War Museum and a splendid place to learn about what lead to the battles between the Parliamentarians (“Roundheads”) and the Royalists (“Cavaliers“).
1642 was the year that Isaac Newton was born. Time permitting, we’ll call in on his house and garden where the apple that fell led to his discovery of gravity.
This period was also the time of the Black Death, the great plague that swept the country. We will end it with a trip to the Plague Village of Eyam. It is impossible to visit this unspoilt Derbyshire village in the beautiful Peak District and not be moved by the tragic events that took place there almost 350 years ago.
Georgian and Victorian Times
This period saw the Battle of Trafalgar and the Battle of Waterloo, the rise of the British Empire, the abolition of the slave trade and the start of the industrial revolution. What a lot to cover, but we let you experience it through the perfect contrast of Georgian splendour at Kedleston Hall and the amazing story of the first factory production line at Arkwright’s cotton mill. We go to the heart of industrial Britain to spend the day at the Black Country Living Museum. Over fifty authentic shops, houses and workshops have been carefully reconstructed to preserve the character of the region. You can watch artisans at work, travel on a tram or on a canal boat and watch Victorian folk go about their business. You will probably even find yourself saying “oh I remember that ….!”
A third day could be included to lead in to the War period with a visit to Bletchley Park.