Wed 2nd March 2022
The motivation to go on a Study Day is always to learn more about a particular subject. It is the chance to ask an expert host a detailed question that may have been ‘bugging’ you for a while. Or it is the chance to see the exact place where a writer invented a character or set a scene – or a building where a treaty was signed or a war was launched…
Thu 10th February 2022
At Promenades Travel we welcome solo travellers. And where possible we have eliminated the dreaded single person supplement. We focus on small group tours with an expert guide on hand to answer any question you may have. Our group sizes are 5-10. Our goal is to provide a learning environment where guests can investigate a subject in depth and really get to understand a location, an event, a personality.
Wed 2nd February 2022
A walk is good for everyone. There is much scientific evidence of the value of walking for mental and physical health. For us at Promenades Travel, a walk is so important because wherever we are, the ground itself can speak to us about events that have happened there – if we dare to listen.
Thu 19th August 2021
The Jacobites Risings spanned more than 50 years in the 17th and 18th centuries, as supporter of the deposed king, James II, fought to bring the thrones of England and Scotland back to the House of Stuart. This timeline highlights some of the key periods in the determined rebellion.
Fri 6th August 2021
Thomas Hardy is best known as a novelist, but as he grew older his focus turned to poetry and his influences included the imagined county of Wessex, where he set most of his books, the death of his estranged wife, and war, which he covered through poems about the Boer Wars and later about the First World War.
Thu 29th July 2021
After an unprecedented 18-months we are all desperate for a change of scenery and ready for engaging experiences that reignite our passions. If you are feeling the call of history, there are lots of places you can visit to stand where Britain's defining moments took place. From monasteries to monuments, Roman ruins to the resting places of royals, we've picked out some of our favourite locations to step back into the past and escape the everyday.
Fri 23rd July 2021
On 25th July in 1603, James VI of Scotland was crowned James I of England, inheriting the English crown following the death of his cousin, Elizabeth I. James had a vision to unite the two countries and create a Kingdom of Great Britain, but it would be more than 100 years before his dream came true.
Thu 15th July 2021
With lockdown restrictions slowly lifting, we have updated our programme of history holidays to reflect the unique demands of this pandemic.
Thu 8th July 2021
Several battles that play an important role in British history took place around this date in July. At the Battle of Northampton, a teenage Edward proved his credentials to be king. At the Boyne, William defeated his Catholic challenger in a fight that still resonates today. And then at Oudenaarde, John Churchill outfoxed the formidable French for a third time.
Tue 29th June 2021
On July 2nd, in 1644, the Royalist army of Charles I suffered its first big defeat of the English Civil Wars, ending royal power in the north of England. The royal force was led by Prince Rupert, the king's nephew, who had built a formidable reputation after earning his military spurs during the Thirty Years War, and then through early successes in the civil wars.
Thu 24th June 2021
On 25 June in 1646, Oxford, which had been the Royalist capital during the English Civil War, was finally surrendered to Parliament. The city had been taken over by Charles I in November 1642, and in almost four years of Royalist occupation life for residents changed beyond recognition. Here's how.
Thu 17th June 2021
The Battle of Stoke Field, which took place on 16th June in 1487, was the Yorkist's last throw of the dice in the Wars of the Roses. With Richard III dead at Bosworth and the first Tudor king, Henry VII, on the throne, the Earl of Lincoln led an army of mercenaries recruited from Europe, and brought with him a young boy he claimed was Edward, Earl of Warwick, the rightful heir to the throne. But Warwick was a fake.
Thu 10th June 2021
On 13th June in 1667, the Dutch took advantage of a demoralised, angry England to launch an unexpected attack on the Royal Navy in the Medway, successfully destroying the country's fleet. But the lingering resentment from this devastating defeat would pave the way for a Dutch leader to take control of the English throne.
Tue 8th June 2021
We know that there are lots of options for exploring Britain’s great history. There are books, podcasts and numerous resources across the web. So, with so many different ways of doing it yourself, why should you pay extra to take a group tour with an expert?
Thu 27th May 2021
May 23rd marked 315 years since Ramillies, where the Duke of Marlborough acheived one his greatest and most tactically brilliant victories over the French during the Wars of Spanish Succession. The battle was notable for a change in French strategy, with Louis XIV demanding his generals go on the offensive to gain an initiative over the Grand Alliance and put him in a stronger position for peace negotiations.
Thu 20th May 2021
The Seven Years War, which started on 17 May in 1756, was a battle for global supremacy that saw Britain, powered by the Royal Navy, emerge as the world's dominant colonial power.
Thu 13th May 2021
In this week, 433 years ago, an enormous fleet of ships set sail from Spain with the objective of invading England and imposing Catholic rule. Spain's 'Invincible' Armada included 130 ships, 8,000 seamen and 18,000 soldiers manning thousands of guns. This is the story of how they were defeated, first by the Royal Navy, and then by the British weather.
Thu 6th May 2021
In an era of chivalry and bravery, William Marshal stood out as England's 'best knight who ever lived', according to Stephen Langton, the Archbishop of Canterbury of the time. When he died on 4 May in 1219, he had gone from being a lowly noble with no lands, fame or fortune to become the Marshal, an advisor to four kings who was now running England on behalf on the infant king, Henry III.
Thu 29th April 2021
The Royal Mail is issuing a collection of eight special stamps remembering battles from the Wars of the Roses. Each stamp features a battle scene painted by Graham Turner, a Medieval artist whose historically accurate paintings you can find in many books on the period, and are available on the Promenades Travel shop. We asked Graham to tell us about the new range.
Thu 22nd April 2021
Why is it that churches in even small towns and villages are so magnificent? Dr Samantha Harper, a specialist in medieval churches, explains how the concept of purgatory encouraged those of modest means to invest heavily in their parish church.
Thu 15th April 2021
The Battle of Culloden, which took place on 16 April 1746, saw Charles Edward Stuart lead his Jacobite supporters in a final stand against the British Government forces. But a decisive victory for the Crown meant this was the last major attempt by supporters of the House of Stuart to retake the British throne, and it also marked the beginning of the end of the powerful clan system in the Scotland.
Fri 2nd April 2021
As you're digging into your chocolate eggs this weekend, spare a thought for how Medieval households had to prepare for Easter. Accounts at Goodrich Castle tell us about the incredible Easter feast prepared for a 13th century celebration held by the Countess de Valance.
Thu 25th March 2021
The Battle of Towton, fought on Palm Sunday in 1461, marked a turning point in the Wars of the Roses. But it was a big and brutal fight, with around 50,000 soldiers, a huge number for the time, slugging it out in snow and wind. The Yorkists used conditions to their advantage but were heading to defeat until their 18 year old king, Edward IV, inspired their fight back.
Thu 18th March 2021
In 1946 Charles I was desperate. He had no army and enemies all around. He instructed Lord Astley to raise a force and relieve his troops in Oxford. Astley found his army and out-manouvered his enemies, but was forced into making a stand at Stow-on-the-Wold. This is how the last Royalist army fell in the First Civil War.
Wed 10th March 2021
One of Britain's most qualified, but least recognised, kings died on 12 March, 319 years ago. He was a Dutchman who was invited to invade England, and during his 13-year rule established religious tolerance, the independence of the judiciary and a regular Parliament, putting Britain on the path of parliamentary democracy.
Thu 4th March 2021
We believe that maps are very important when it comes to understanding events from the past. They give you context, they give you position, they provide the ‘setting’ for an event – be it a clash of arms, the founding of a monastery, the writing desk and window of a great author. And maps themselves have a fascinating history.
Thu 25th February 2021
We were grateful to receive the Government's roadmap for lifting lockdown on Monday, and while we are disappointed for all those customers whose tour dates must change, we are thankful that there is now some clarity for the summer ahead.
Thu 18th February 2021
As we seem to be nearing the end of our pandemic pain thanks to the creation of new vaccines, it's interesting to look at how society in the Middle Ages emerged from the ravages of the Black Death.
Thu 11th February 2021
On 13 February in 1692, one of the most brutal acts of British political violence took place in the Scottish Highlands. The Glencoe Massacre saw more than 30 members of the MacDonald clan, including women and children, slaughtered in their beds by Government troops who had been sharing their homes for almost two weeks.
Thu 4th February 2021
The ruins of North Yorkshire's Cistercian Abbeys are jaw-dropping and provide an indication of how inluential these vast enterprises were to their local communities and further afield. From meagre beginnings the Cistercian Abbeys amassed great wealth and sculpted the landscapes around them.
Thu 28th January 2021
January 30th will forever be associated with one of the most significant and controversial events in English history. It saw the end of a despised king, and the beginning of his martyrdom.
Thu 21st January 2021
The trial of Charles I was incredible for many reasons. It was the first time a British monarch had been tried and condemned to death. Despite packing Parliament with supporters, Cromwell only just managed to win the vote for the trial to proceed. Fewer than half of the 135 judges turned up. And Charles I refused to defend himself. This was an extraordinary point in British history.
Thu 14th January 2021
With the shock of defeat at Prestonpans and a narrow escape following Charles Edward Stuart’s invasion of England that reached as far as Derby, the British Government of 1745 finally woke up to the threat of a new Jacobite rebellion. Its response was to recall battle-hardened troops from Flanders and the two forces faced each other at Falkirk.
Wed 9th December 2020
December is a significant month in the history of the Jacobite Risings, with James II (known as James VII in Scotland) fleeing the throne in December 1688, and Bonnie Prince Charlie abandoning his English invasion, signalling the end of the second Jacobite Rebellion, in December 1745.
Thu 3rd December 2020
What was life like for the soldiers in a 17th century army? The Duke of Marlborough's troops were drawn from across Europe and brought to fight the French in Flanders for months on end. We asked James Falkner, one of the UK's leading authorities on Marlborough and the War of Spanish Succession to tell us more about the soldiers who put their life on the line in these incredible campaigns.
Thu 26th November 2020
On 30th November in 1601, Queen Elizabeth I gave one of the most famous speeches ever attributed to a British monarch. Her Golden Speech has been celebrated for more than 400 years, so we took a look at more famous oratories from British history.
Thu 19th November 2020
On 20 November in 1759, British Navy ships led by Admiral Edward Hawke audaciously defeated a French fleet at the Battle of Quiberon Bay. This dramatic victory halted French plans for an invasion of England and gave Britain the naval power to create a worldwide empire that lasted for 200 years.
Thu 5th November 2020
November sees two anniversaries that are integral to one of the most important changes in English history - the Glorious Revolution - which led to a shift away from an absolute monarchy, where the king or queen ruled alone, to a constitutional monarchy where parliament held more power.
Wed 21st October 2020
The Battle of Edgehill, fought on 23 October in 1642, was the first major skirmish of the English Civil Wars and also one of the decade-long conflict's great 'what if' moments.
Thu 15th October 2020
On 17 October in 1660 four men were hung drawn and quartered in front of a large crowd at Charing Cross, in London. They were Thomas Scott, Gregory Clements, Colonel Adrian Scrope and Colonel John Jones, and they were prominent Parliamentarians suffering the revenge of Charles II, the returning King of England.
Wed 7th October 2020
The story of the English Civil Wars is often told from the point of view of the men who fought, with little space given to the role of women. Here we detail some of the incredible stories that illustrate how women were fighters, spies, couriers, petitioners and protectors during the brutal conflict.
Wed 30th September 2020
Reaching the heights of British nobility was the ambition for many power-hungry people from the UK's past, but hitting the top spot didn't protect plenty of historical figures from a gory demise. Here we look a how some of Britain's kings met early ends
Fri 11th September 2020
After a run of three great victories against the French the Duke of Marlborough again led a grand alliance of troops from Britain, Holland, Austria and the Holy Roman Empire in a fourth conflict. Fought on the 11 September in 1709, Malplaquet was to be his bloodiest, least conclusive and last great battle.
Wed 2nd September 2020
The Battle of Worcester puts paid to the misconception that the English Civil Wars were confined to England. For this, the final fight of the conflict between Parliament and the Monarchy, Charles II led an army from Scotland into England, in the hope that English and Welsh supporters would rally to his cause.
Sat 22nd August 2020
The Battle of Bosworth, which took place on 22 August in 1485, was one of the final engagements of the Wars of the Roses. Treachery and tactics saw the downfall of one King and the beginning of a new royal dynasty.
Mon 17th August 2020
The Battle of Preston, fought on 17 August in 1648, is considered one of the English Civil War's bloodiest battles, and saw an end to the second Royalist uprising.
Wed 12th August 2020
The Battle of Blenheim is the 1st Duke of Marlborough's most famous victory against the French in the Wars of Spanish Succession, and demonstrates many of the tactical strengths that made him such an outstanding leader.
Fri 31st July 2020
The Battle of Killiecrankie was the first major military action in the rebellions that became known as the Jacobite Risings. Supporters of James VII, lacking men and resources, decided that a decisive military victory was the only way to grow their numbers. On 27 July in 1689, they saw their chance at the Pass of Killiecrankie.
Wed 15th July 2020
The Battle of Oudenaarde, fought in Flanders on 11 July in 1708, was the third major occassion when the Duke of Marlborough defeated the French army of Louis XIV in the field. It was a victory for bold and agressive tactics that took the French by surprise.
Sat 11th July 2020
The Battle of the Boyne was fought on 11 July in 1690, around 30 miles north of Dublin. It was a fight between protestant William of Orange, who had been crowned king of England, Scotland and Ireland during the 'Glorious Revolution' the year before, and his uncle, father-in-law and the deposed monarch James II, who was a catholic.
Fri 10th July 2020
Fought on 10 July 1460, the Battle of Northampton is one of the Wars of the Roses most interesting fights. It featured the Wars' only assault on a fortified camp. An 18-year old among the Yorkist commanders would be King within a year. The Lancastrian's were forcing a stalemate until one leader switched sides. And at the very end, a lowly archer captured the monarch.
Thu 2nd July 2020
Marston Moor, which took place on 2 July 1644, was one of the biggest battles of the English Civil War. It is famous for the discipline of Cromwell’s cavalry, Prince Rupert’s first defeat, and the end of royal power in the north.
Mon 29th June 2020
On June 29 in 1644, at the height of the English Civil War, Parliamentarian troops stalked Royalists along the River Cherwell. The subsequent fight became known as the Battle of Cropredy Bridge, and Parliament's defeat led to the formation of the New Model Army.
Thu 25th June 2020
Julian Humphrys spent 12 years at Chelsea’s National Army Museum, led English Heritage’s Battlefield hikes programme and works with the Battlefields Trust, the UK Charity preserving Britain’s historic battlefields. Here he chats about the English Civil War tours he leads in Oxford and Bath.
Thu 25th June 2020
On June 25 in 1646 the Royalists surrendered Oxford to their Parliamentarian foes, confirming the end of England's bitter civil war. Here's how Oxford's part in the English Civil War played out.
Thu 18th June 2020
We chat to James Falkner, a specialist in the Wars of Spanish Succession, about his fascination with John Churchill and how to make the most of a history holiday.
Thu 18th June 2020
The Battle of Waterloo saw Napoleon's French army defeated by a coalition of forces led by the Duke of Wellington and Marshall Blucher in Belgium. In this article, we look at the tactical errors that led to Napoloeon's defeat.
Thu 11th June 2020
You can read books and study maps, but until you are actually there, on the ground, you cannot fully understand what a battle scene or landscape is and how that panorama influenced the events that occurred there.
Thu 28th May 2020
If you’ve ever tried to plan you own history holiday you’ll understand the stress of making it work. Join our expert-led holidays and your DIY history tours will be… history.
Thu 7th May 2020
I have always believed that places where great moments of history have happened retain the memory of those events in the earth and buildings, in the hedges, trees, fields, bricks and stones. There is more under the ground than above the ground.
Thu 16th April 2020
Before embarking on his campaign against the French in Belgium, the Duke of Marlborough fought for William III in Ireland, providing a direct link between our two expert-led history tours, the War of the Three Kings in Ireland and Marlborough’s Victories in Belgium.
Fri 27th March 2020
The Duke of Malborough's understanding of how to use rivers and waterways was a strategic strength that helped him overcome the French through his victories in Belgium.
Thu 19th March 2020
We asked Barry Hilton, our expert guide for the War of Three Kings in Ireland tour, to tell us about his favourite books on the subject. It's a comprehensive list, but he suggests any of the following are a good place to start.
Fri 6th March 2020
We asked James Falkner, a renowned historian and expert on the War of the Spanish Succession, to recommend a reading list for our history tour, Marlborough's Victories in Belgium.