The English Civil Wars from 1642 to 1651 (4-night tour)

Julian Humphrys
A 4-night history holiday based in Oxford to explore the events and people who shaped the English Civil War

Tour Dates

18/07/2022 - 22/07/2022 Book

The English Civil Wars from 1642 to 1651

In the 17th century a series of civil wars between supporters of Parliament and those loyal to King Charles I reshaped the rule of England. Eventually led by Oliver Cromwell, the Parliamentarians executed an English King for the first time and abolished the monarchy. Although the exiled Charles II returned to retake the throne years later, the wars changed the relationship between crown and people forever, and were an important step in establishing the precedent that a monarch cannot govern without Parliament's consent.
 

The expert leading your tour

Julian Humphrys, a Cambridge University History graduate, spent 12 years at Chelsea’s National Army Museum and has appeared as a historical expert on TV programmes including Channel Five’s series on British battlefields and on BBC Radio 4’s Ramblings Series. 

A qualified blue-badge guide, Julian set up and led English Heritage’s Battlefield hikes programme and is Development Officer of the Battlefields Trust, the UK Charity dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of Britain’s historic battlefields. 

He is a regular contributor to BBC History Magazine and History Revealed Magazine and his published books include The Private Life of Palaces; Clash of Arms: Twelve English Battles, and Enemies at the Gate: English Castles under Siege. 

 

Highlights of the 4-night tour:

  • Oxford, where you'll take a walking tour to discover the Royalist capital during the war
  • Explore Edgehill, site of the first major conflict
  • Walk the fields of Naseby, home to one of the best-preserved battlefields in the UK 
  • Stow-on-the-Wold, where the last battle of the first Civil War was fought
  • Broughton Castle, where the Parliamentarians hatched their plans
  • Worcester, where the Royalists were comprehensively defeated in the second Civil Wars.
  • The Commandery, a museum dedicated to the English Civil War
  • Cropredy Bridge, a defeat for the Parliamentarian's that hastened the creation of the New Model Army
Please note that due to COVID restrictions outside of our control, the places we visit on any tour may change. If this happens, we will replace with an appropriate alternative.



Tour map

From your base in Oxford, your expert guide takes you to a new destination every day.


 

Tour prices

This four-night tour costs from £1,299 per person, based on two sharing if you are taking part in the tours, and from £999 if you are not taking part in the tour.

There is no single supplement for individuals staying in single rooms, and a small extra charge for individuals in twin or double rooms. 


Included in your holiday

  • Expert guide
  • Luxury hotel accommodation
  • Executive minibus travel to all sites, with space so you can always have a spare seat next to you
  • Entry to Christ Church
  • Breakfast and dinner each day


Available dates

This tour departs on 18 July 2022 (book here). 

Numbers are limited, reserve your place with a low 10% deposit and enjoy the full flexibility of our COVID guarantee. 

Please note, that we require a minimum of five guests for this tour to go ahead. If this number is not reached within four weeks of the departure date we reserve the right to cancel the tour and will offer you a full refund or the chance to move your booking to a later date.

Accommodation

You'll be spending much of your time exploring sights and attractions with your tour expert, so when you return to your hotel we know how important it is to be somewhere you can relax and refresh in comfort.

For this tour, you'll be staying in a luxury hotel in Oxford. You'll have everything you need for a comfortable night's sleep with rooms that are ensuite and facilities including a TV, radio and complimentary wifi.

Each day we'll provide meeting times for tours, meals and evening activities, leaving you with time to enjoy your hotel or explore locally.  


Your booking includes:

  • Ensuite room with tea & coffee facilities and wifi
  • Breakfast and a two course dinner (soft drinks included)

There are extra charges for:
  • All food and drink outside of breakfast and dinner
 

Transfers during your tour

For transfers between all tour destinations we use large 17-22 seater executive minibuses so that the seat beside you can be empty.

Transfers will be a luxury experience and your minibus will have comfortable reclining seats with safety belts, a fully operational air-conditioning system, an on-board refrigerator and a fully functioning toilet maintained throughout your journey.

Our drivers are friendly, smart, professional and punctual. so you are always in safe hands. 

 

Solo travellers welcome

Our tours are perfect for solo travellers who want to expand their knowledge and understanding of a subject, and prefer the choice of being as solitary or social as you like. Each tour is a journey of an independent mind – fellow travellers will be intelligent, well-read, knowledgeable and like-minded people, and a mutual interest in a particular topic can lead to life-long friendships.

Read more about our welcome for solo travellers here.​
 


Options for non-touring partners

We know that specialist tours can be less fun for partners, so our English Civil War tour includes a lower rate if you want to come with a partner or friend who’d like to simply enjoy a five-day break in Oxford without taking part in the daily guided tours. 

As one of Britain’s most popular tourist destinations, Oxford has plenty for visitors to enjoy. The city has fabulous independent shops and many cafés, pubs and restaurants. The university is world-famous and you can take a behind-the-scenes tour to explore. 

There are many incredible museums to discover, including Oxford University's Museum of Natural History which has the world's most complete remains of a Dodo and incredible dinosaur skeletons. A free option is the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford’s well known centre of archaeology and ethnography, and famously home to some shrunken heads. 

The city is the backdrop for many favourite TV shows and films and guided tours can reveal the most famous locations. Head back in time with a tour of the pubs, colleges and streets that were the stomping ground for Inspector Morse, or join a tour visiting locations from the hugely popular Harry Potter films. 

If you love classic literature drop into the Eagle and Child Pub, which was the base of a famous group of writers in the  1930s and 40s that included Tolkien and CS Lewis. Alternatively, cruise down the river Cherwell to enjoy the lush landscape that inspired Lewis Carroll to create Alice in Wonderland. 

Or you can escape the bustle of the centre and visit Oxford’s Botanical Gardens, the oldest in the UK, where there are 130 acres of woodland and 6,000 plant types. 

And just 20 minutes outside of Oxford is Blenheim Palace, the huge country house and parkland created by the First Duke of Marlborough and perhaps now best known as the birthplace of Winston Churchill.


Picture credits for this page:

Main image: Former royalist general Monck and a group of Parliamentarians, credit: Mary Evans Picture Library / GROSVENOR PRINTS
Landscape image: Oxford University buildings, where the Royalists were based, credit: Shutterstock / gowithstock


Your history holiday itinerary

Your five-day guided tour uncovers some of the most important locations of the English Civil War, exploring sites of importance to both the Royalists and the Parliamentarians. 

Tour Dates

18/07/2022 - 22/07/2022 Book

Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Oxford and check in at your hotel. Your guide will then take you on an afternoon walking tour of Oxford, exploring the city that was the Royalist capital during in the English Civil War.

You’ll visit Christ Church, the college which became King Charles I’s headquarters from May 1642. This is when the Royal Mint, munitions factories and all the bureaucracy of Government moved to Oxford, mostly taking over the University colleges. The city was turned into a garrison as well as the seat of Royal power.

Day 2

You’ll travel by executive coach to Edgehill, in Warwickshire, the site of the first major conflict of the English Civil War. A peaceful and evocative place today, it was here that Sir Jacob Astley, Royalist Major General of Foot said his famous prayer: ‘Oh Lord, thou knowest how busy I must be this day. If I forget thee, do not thou forget me…’ We’ll visit the battle information centre at Radway Church to find out more.

For lunch or an English cream tea, we visit the Castle Inn. This old-fashioned pub is high on the escarpment where the Royalist army encamped and has panoramic views of the battlefield of Edgehill and on across Warwickshire to Kineton and Stratford-upon-Avon.

Later you’ll go to Stow-on-the-Wold to see the site of the last battle of the Civil War. This typical Cotswolds town with a market cross is where Sir Astley, now defeated by the Parliamentarians, is reputed to have said to his enemy captors: ‘Well, boys, you have done your work, now you may go and play—if you don't fall out among yourselves.'

Day 3

We head to Naseby, one of the best-preserved battlefields in the UK. Today the site is almost exactly as it was in the early summer of 1645 when the Royalists were comprehensively defeated. You’ll spend the morning walking the fields with our expert guide, followed by lunch at a local pub.

Next, your tour heads to Broughton Castle near Banbury. This delightful moated manor house was occupied by the Parliamentarians and contains the famous ‘room without ears’ where plans were hatched and strategies discussed.

Day 4

You’ll visit Worcester, the site of the final Royalist defeat in the second Civil War in 1651, in what was a decisive victory for Cromwell’s New Model Army. It was from here that the King’s son Charles began his escape to exile in France and the Netherlands via the famous Oak tree, before returning almost a decade later to reclaim his throne in the Restoration.

You then head into the centre of Worcester for a guided tour of the Commandery, a museum dedicated to the English Civil War.

Finally, the tour returns to your hotel in Oxford via Powick Bridge on the river Severn, site of an early skirmish in the Civil War.

Day 5

For your final day, we’ll take a short morning trip along the River Cherwell to Cropredy Bridge, where the forces of King Charles and an army led by Sir William Waller shadowed each other along opposite sides of the river, before finally engaging in a to-and-fro battle that went in favour of the King.

In the afternoon, you’ll have free time to explore Oxford before departing.

*Our visits are all subject to the latest COVID-19 situation and regulations at the time of the tour.