Wars of the Roses: War in the North

Julian Humphrys
A 3-night history holiday based in York and exploring the key battlefields from the Wars of the Roses in the north of England.

Tour Dates

Tour dates coming soon

Wars of the Roses - The War in the North

The Wars of the Roses was a 30-year fight for control of England's crown between the rival houses of York and Lancaster. Some of the most famous battles took place in the North of England. They include Wakefield, where Richard, Duke of York, was killed while serving as Lord Protector. His son Edward, raced to London to claim the crown and then faced his Lancastrian enemies at Towton. And at Stoke Field, two mighty forces faced off in the last battle of the Wars. 

Our historian-led tour takes you to the battle sites for unparalleled insight into the action that took place. Plus, you'll visit key castles and take a walking tour of York, the power-base for the House of York and your base for this fascinating short break.

The expert leading your tour

Julian Humphrys 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. He is the author of books including The Private Life of Palaces; Clash of Arms: Twelve English Battles, and Enemies at the Gate: English Castles under Siege.

He spent 12 years at Chelsea’s National Army Museum and set up and led English Heritage’s Battlefield hikes programme. 

Julian is Development Officer of the Battlefields Trust, the UK Charity dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of Britain’s historic battlefields. He is also a qualified blue-badge guide. 

Highlights of your history holiday

  • Walking tour of York
  • Battle site at Towton
  • Sandal Castle and the battlefield at Wakefield
  • Stoke Field, where two of the periods biggest forces clashed in a final battle
  • Newark Castle
  • Middleham Castle, where Richard III spent his childhood
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 York, your expert guide takes you to a new destination every day.


Tour prices

This tour costs from £999 per person, based on two sharing if you are taking part in the tours, and from £799 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

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

Available dates

This tour departs on 27 May 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.


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 York. 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 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

York is an absolutely fascinating place to visit. Visitors can stroll through the streets to take in the medieval City walls, gate and many interesting buildings, enjoy restaurants that range from the quaint to the contemporary, and shop in small boutiques to the best known department stores. 

York Minster is the largest Medieval cathedral in Northern Europe. For the most atmospheric effect aim to approach through The Shambles, which is an ancient cobbled street that is easily compared to Harry Potter's Diagon Alley. 

Jorvik Viking Centre stands on the site of a 1000-year old Viking city and carefully reconstructs the sights, sounds and smells to take visitor back to the 10-century. 

For a complete look back into York's past, head to Yorkshire Museum for exhibits that reveal prehistoric, Roman, Viking and medieval lives. 

Or go to York Castle Museum, where there is a street of salvaged shop fronts that recreate the city's stories from the Georgian era to the 1980s. Climb to the top of nearby Clifford's Tower for incredible views of the city. 

The National Railway Museum features iconic locomotives from across the ages and across the world, and visitors can climb on board for a closer look.     

Browns is York's famous department store and the place to purchase designer brands. Another York institution is Betty's Tea Rooms, with an interior that was inspired by the Queen Mary ocean liner.

Pictures credits

  • Battle scene, credit Antony Stanley. This images has been filtered from its original form 
  • Sandal Castle, credit Shutterstock

Your history holiday itinerary

Your four-day guided tour uncovers some of the most important locations from the Wars of the Roses in the North of England. Full details are below. 

Tour Dates

Tour dates coming soon


Day 1

Arrive at your hotel in York and settle in. York is a spectacular historical city with many attractions. In the afternoon you’ll join a guided walk with our expert to see the medieval walls and gates, the excellent City museum and the Minster.

Day 2

We take an executive coach to Towton, site of a major conflict in the North. You’ll spend the day walking the battlefield with our guide, who will explain the latest discoveries and interpretations following recent geophysical analysis and research. Your day concludes with a visit to Sandal Castle and the battle site of Wakefield.

Day 3

Today we visit the site of Stoke Field, often called the very last battle of the Roses wars. This was the final attempt by the House of York to unseat Henry VII and the Tudor (previously the Lancastrian) dynasty, and forces involved are thought to have been larger than Bosworth two years previously.

Your guide will analyse this lesser-known but important conflict to give you insight into its final significance in the wars between the red and white roses of the House of Lancaster and the House of York.

To finish the day, you will see the ruins of Newark Castle before returning to your hotel in York.

Day 4

Before departing, you have free time to visit the magnificent city of York in the morning and there will be the opportunity to take a brief excursion to evocative Middleham Castle, site of Richard III’s childhood, before departing around lunchtime.

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