Travel Inspired by Best of British TV shows

If you've read the internationally acclaimed best selling series “Wolf Hall” and keenly waited for its television arrival, then a series of trips through the magnificent and odd villages of the BBC TV drama series offers something special for travellers keen for a “Wolf Hall” experience.  

For anyone who grew up in Australia, Britain was a distant cultural reference point. London was really just the Monopoly board come to life while every quaint village, pub and city seems to have had its own TV series. 

This month sees the Australian launch of “Wolf Hall” a BBC production based on the Man Booker Prize-winning historical novel by Hilary Mantel. It’s a sympathetic portrayal of Thomas Cromwell’s rise to power in the Tudor Court of Henry VIII in the 16th Century. It takes its name from the manor house that was the family seat of the Seymour family that provided Henry VIII with his third wife, Jane. The acclaimed television drama went to air in Australia on BBC First on April 11, around the time of the return of Game of Thrones and wrap-up of the fifth season of Downton Abbey. 

Australians visiting Britain are seeking out the settings for these series and others, 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, having been 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 Cornwallguided holiday. Also included is a visit to historic Salisbury Cathedral, where the Magna Carta was signed in 1215 by King John and the barons of Medieval England, making 2015 the 800th anniversary of this important document. 

Lacock Village -  © Karen Roe

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 majestic Wells Cathedral, Barrington Court and Montacute House, the latter being the setting for the traditional jousting scenes, royal tent and Greenwich Palace. Imagine your own 15th century-inspired storylines on the Best of Britainguided holiday or go back to mythology 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 alocal 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. This nine day guided holiday takes in an array of scenic locations throughout SE England, including the gardenlike 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 71 AD and the Vikings captured it in 866 AD. See the artefacts that the Roman Vikings left behind when visiting the Yorkshire Museum and Gardens. Trafalgar’s exclusive Be My Guest experiences give you the chance to see inside country house life like a local meeting 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 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 medieval castles and dramatic 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.

Are you planning a European trip like the above?