Richard III – Hero of Villain?

Hero or Villain?

The dramatic discovery of the skeleton of Richard III beneath a Leicester car park in 2012 was the most exciting archaeological find of the 21st century (so far!) and made news around the world. This incredible find also reignited the great debate about Richard’s personal character: was he a murderer who slew his own nephews, the ‘little princes’, in the Tower of London, or an honourable man who did his duty in an age of unprecedented conflict and upheaval, known to us as the Wars of the Roses.

This wide-ranging tour of all the significant surviving sites linked with Richard takes in battlefields, castles, cathedrals and churches culminating in a visit to the King’s striking new tomb. Led by top medieval historian Dr Michael Jones, this tour is a must, not only for Richard’s fans and foes, but for anyone interested in one of English History’s most tragic, bloody and colourful epochs – our very own ‘Game of Thrones’.

Itinerary 2021

Day 1

We gather at our hotel in the magnificent medieval city of York, Richard’s powerbase, where he ruled as viceroy for his brother Edward IV and which mourned his ‘piteous murder’. After lunch, a walking tour of the city centre takes in the new Richard III Museum and Micklegate Bar in the ancient gatehouse where his father’s and brother’s decapitated heads were displayed by their Lancastrian enemies.

Day 2

We travel just outside the city to the village of Sheriff Hutton, to view the impressive ruins of the castle, owned by Richard Neville, ‘the Kingmaker’ which fell into Richard’s hands after Warwick’s death at the Battle of Barnet and was the scene of meetings of Richard’s Council of the North. We also visit the Grade I listed parish church, where a cenotaph may possibly have been that of Richard’s son Edward of Middleham. In the afternoon we travel to the great castle of Middleham in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales where Richard spent much of his childhood under the guardianship of Warwick the Kingmaker, who also imprisoned their elder brother, Edward IV, there.

Day 3

Today we visit the remains of Sandal Castle and the battlefield of Wakefield, where Richard’s father Richard, Duke of York and his brother Edmund, Earl of Rutland, were slaughtered by the Lancastrians. We head south, passing the battlefield of Towton, where Edward IV, avenging Wakefield, defeated the Lancastrians and cemented the House of York’s hold on the throne. In the afternoon we travel to Fotheringhay, Richard’s birthplace in 1452. The Church is the mausoleum of the House of York and the last resting place of Richard’s parents, the Duke and Duchess of York. Fotheringhay Castle was also the scene of the trial and execution of Mary, Queen of Scots.

Day 4

We drive to London via Stoney Stratford the two battlefields of St Albans, where the Wars of the Roses began in 1455. Next, we tour Westminster Abbey, scene of the coronations of all of the monarchs involved in the Wars of the Roses. We also find the Christopher Wren-designed urn, in which, in the 17th Century, the bones believed to be those of the ‘little princes’, Edward V and his brother Richard, were interred after their discovery during the reign of Charles II. We also see the site of the Sanctuary where Queen Elizabeth Woodville sought shelter after Richard’s III’s seizure of power and where her younger son Richard was forcibly taken from her to the Tower.

Day 5

The morning is spent at the Tower of London. It was here in the Wakefield Tower that the pious King Henry VI was murdered as he knelt in prayer. In the Bowyer tower, Richard’s brother, George, Duke of Clarence, was famously drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine on the orders of his brother Edward IV. Here, Richard ordered the execution of his former ally William, Lord Hastings in 1483. Finally, the ‘little princes’ were held here in the infamous Bloody tower and disappeared from history. We end the day at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle where we visit the tombs of Henry VI and Edward IV.

Day 6

En route to Tewkesbury, we stop in Salisbury to visit the scene of the execution by Richard of his former henchman, Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, in 1483. Later, we visit Tewkesbury’s ‘bloody meadow’ and we end the day at Tewkesbury Abbey, where Prince Edward and Clarence are buried.

Day 7

We drive to Bosworth where on August 22nd, 1485, Richard III was defeated and killed by the invading army of Henry Tudor. After touring the interactive Bosworth Battlefield Centre, we visit the recently discovered site of the battle. We continue to nearby Leicester where we visit the superb Richard III Centre, before paying our respects at his modern tomb in Leicester Cathedral.

Day 8

Before our tour ends, there is a visit to the ruins at Kirby Muxloe castle, partially built by Lord Hastings before his execution.

What's Included

  1. Expert Guide Lecturer
  2. Andante Tour Manager
  3. Local Travel - Private a/c coach
  4. Meals - All meals included with water (wine with dinners)
  5. Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in program; tips included
  6. Field Notes
  7. Hotels - Accommodation in hand-picked hotels.

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To book your tour without flights from the US, please call our team on 888-591-0830

2021 Tour Details

$4,165
  • 8 Days
  • 3rd Jul - 10th Jul 2021
  • with Dr Michael Jones
  • Code: ACHV210703
  • Available
  • without flights
  • sgl supp: $985

Tour Guide