Making of a Tyrant

Conspiracy, treason and heresy at court...

  • Travel with award-winning historian and Tudor expert Dr Suzannah Lipscomb
  • Access to Rochester Castle
  • Spend a night in a Tudor Castle at Thornbury, once visited by Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn

Henry VIII continues to horrify and fascinate us in equal measure. This tour charts the rise and fall of Henry VIII from acclaimed, athletic young king to paranoid, obese, and cruel monarch, presiding over an irrevocably changed religious and political landscape. Along the way we examine the divorce crisis; the establishment of the Church of England; love, politics and perils at Henry’s Court; war; the dissolution of the monasteries; the magnificence of the King and, of course, Henry’s colourful marital history, including the trial of Anne Boleyn.

Walk in Henry VIII’s very footsteps through the often sumptuous remains of Tudor England. Spend a night in Thornbury Castle, originally intended as a home for Henry’s distant cousin before his execution was ordered by the king himself. Amongst others, we also visit the incomparable Hampton Court Palace, the theatre where many of the Tudors’ most important moments were played out, and Sudeley Castle, in whose chapel Catherine Parr is buried.

Travel alongside a leading authority on Tudor History — Dr Suzannah Lipscomb, author of 1536: The Year that Changed Henry VIII and a former curator at Hampton Court Palace — and join us as we delve inside the mind of this much married monarch...

Itinerary 2017

Day 1


We begin our tour with a visit to the Tudor gallery at the National Portrait Gallery. On to Christ Church college, where we learn the story of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey. We follow in the footsteps of Henry and Anne Boleyn, spending the night in the Tudor residence of Thornbury Castle.

Day 2

Family Ties

This morning, we explore Thornbury Castle, confiscated by Henry following its owner’s execution — at the king’s orders — in 1521. We move on to Sudeley Castle, already in the crown’s possession when Henry came to the throne. Edward VI, Henry’s only son, later gifted the castle to his uncle, Thomas Seymour, who he made the first Baron of Sudeley.

Day 3

Courtly Love

As we move through the 1520s, we meet the woman who so dramatically captured Henry VIII’s heart — Anne Boleyn — at her childhood home, Hever Castle. We then visit Rochester Castle.

Day 4

The Downfall of Anne Boleyn

Henry’s discarding of Catherine of Aragon and the break with Rome came at a cost — we visit the former Carthusian Monastery in London to find out more. Having moved heaven and earth to be with her, Henry VIII had Anne Boleyn beheaded on 19 May 1536 at the Tower of London. We reconstruct her last days this afternoon.

Day 5

A Palace of Pleasure

We visit the extraordinary Hampton Court. We examine the architecture, and visit the kitchens, State Apartments, and Young Henry VIII exhibition, to look at the nature of his court and how the palace functioned. We also trace the stories of Henry’s last four wives through their associations with the palace. Enjoy free time to explore the rest of the palace and the gardens.

Day 6

The Sinking of the Ship

We begin our day at the beautiful, ruined Netley Abbey, a 13th century Cistercian monastery. In the afternoon, we spend time at the Mary Rose Museum, discovering the story behind the magnificent vessel.

Day 7


We end our tour with a visit to the perpendicular chapel of St George’s at Windsor, and the simple black marble slab that marks the resting place of Henry and his third wife, Jane Seymour. We return to London where our tour ends.

What's Included

  1. Expert Guide Lecturer
  2. Historical Trips Tour Manager
  3. Local Travel - Luxury Coach
  4. Meals - All meals included with wine at lunch and dinner
  5. Hotels - 6 nights in 4* hotels in Thornbury Castle, Kew and Portsmouth

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