England for history buffs
Looking for an excuse to visit the U.K.? Going on a historical trail which will transport you back to the fascinating time of the Tudor Court of Henry VIII will be a once in a lifetime memorable experience.
If you've read the internationally acclaimed best selling novel Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel plus love travelling then experiencing Tudor England coming vividly to life in this fascinating UK historical adventure is a great choice. A series of trips through the magnificent villages of the BBC TV drama series offers something special for explorers keen for a unique historical experience.
What’s the story?
Wolf Hall is a sympathetic portrayal of Thomas Cromwell’s rise to power in the Tudor Court of Henry VIII in the 16th Century. It is named from the manor house which was the family seat of the Seymour family and provided Henry VIII with his third wife, Jane. The acclaimed 6-part television drama series starring Damian Lewis, Mark Rylance and Jonathan Pryce is a fantastic BBC production is based on the 2009 Man Booker Prize-winning historical novel and is available now on DVD.
Australians visiting Britain are seeking out the settings for series such as Wolf Hall, Downton Abbey and beyond, a quest that takes them beyond the iconic sights of London to explore Britain’s great countryside. From English country gardens to period properties and scenic locations, Trafalgar lists the best destinations to recreate your own history-inspired adventure.
One of the main locations for the production of Wolf Hall, Wiltshire is a county in South West England where the idyllic village of Lacock is situated. Boasting honey coloured stone cottages and 15th century inns, the village has enjoyed much on-screen attention. It was used as a setting for Pride & Prejudice and Harry Potter prior to becoming the official location for Wolf Hall’s exterior scenes (shot at Lacock Abbey). Explore this picturesque place on the Best of Devon and Cornwall guided holiday. Also included is a visit to historic Salisbury Cathedral, where the Magna Carta was sealed in 1215 by King John and the barons of Medieval England, making 2015 the 800th anniversary of this important document.
Ruined Abbeys, manor houses and elegant cathedrals are just a few of the notable landmarks you’ll find scattered around the rural locations of Somerset. Some of the regular screen-worthy backdrops for Wolf Hall include the majestic Wells Cathedral and Barrington Court. While Montacute House was the stunning setting for the traditional jousting scenes and Greenwich Palace. Image your own 15th century-inspired storylines on the Best of Britain guided holiday. Or investigate your mythological side and visit the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey, said to be the burial place of King Arthur.
South East England
World-renowned for its magnificent grounds and gardens, Hampton Court is synonymous with Henry VIII and the Tudor dynasty. Walk in the shadows of Henry VIII with a local specialist on Trafalgar’s English Country Gardens guided holiday and go behind the walls of Hampton Court Palace to uncover near-forgotten recipes made in the Royal Tudor kitchen. Stroll amongst the 60 acres of enchanting gardens, and lose yourself in its famous maze (a must do). This nine day guided holiday takes in an array of scenic locations throughout SE England. This includes the garden-like Kent - home to the dramatic backdrop of the White Cliffs of Dover, regularly seen in the scenes from Wolf Hall that were filmed at Dover Castle.
The spectacular city of York holds 1900 years' worth of history within its ancient walls. The Romans built the city in 71AD and the Vikings captured it in 866AD. See the artefacts the Romans and the Vikings left behind while visiting the Yorkshire Museum and Gardens. Trafalgar’s exclusive ‘Be My Guest’ experience give you the opportunity to see inside a country house where you can meet the modern day equivalent of Downton Abbey’s Cora and Robert Crawley, Countess and Earl of Grantham. Meet Jeremy Cassel and his wife as they take you inside their statuesque Grade II listed property dating back to 1830. They’ll share with you anecdotes about their life in York over traditional English cuisine and reveal their inspiration when it came to styling this Tudor-esque property. Guests may also join the Bell family at their country house sitting on top of Whitwell Hill. Welcomed by Janey Bell, guests will be invited to the family garden for drinks and canapés where the lady of the house shares stories of her home, its history and an insight into her daily life.
With a countryside strewn with dramatic medieval castles and lush countryside, it’s no wonder that the producers of Wolf Hall chose Wales as a key location for the TV-series’ production. Caerphilly Castle, Castell Coch, St. Donats Castle and Raglan Castle are just a few of the dominant locations featured in Wolf Hall. Go behind the walls of Wales’s historic buildings on the 15-day The Britannia guided holiday where you’ll discover the breathtaking beauty, history and romance of The Hall at Abby Cwm Hir – one of Wales’ finest examples of Victorian Gothic Revival architecture. Situated on 12 acres, you’ll also uncover the ruins of the 12th century ‘Cistercian Abbey of the Long Valley’ containing the monk’s pond and the grave of Llewellyn the Last.
Ready to explore more of England? Birmingham is not an obvious choice but will delight in unusual ways. Read more here.
What is your favourite TV show? Where would you like to go and visit? Join our conversation below…