Excursion One – Conisbrough Castle & Brodsworth Hall and Gardens
We begin our day with a visit to the 12th-century Conisbrough Castle, built by the half-brother of Henry II. It featured as a Saxon stronghold in Sir Walter Scott’s novel Ivanhoe.
Brodsworth Hall and Gardens is our next stop. Built in the 1860s in the Italianate style for the wealthy Thellusson family, the house has survived with remarkably few changes. With its air of grandeur mixed with gentle decline, Brodsworth tells the story of the changing fortunes of the people who lived and worked here, while the beautiful pleasure gardens have been restored to their full Victorian splendour. We will enjoy a guided tour of the gardens from a member of the gardening team followed by lunch here.
Excursion Two – Clifford’s Tower, York & York Minster
Clifford’s Tower offers spectacular views over the city of York, so it’s the perfect place to begin our day. William the Conqueror built the first castle here when he launched his campaign to subdue the north of England, and it was rebuilt in stone in the 13th century. It’s the largest remaining part of what was once a much larger castle. We’ll discover more on a guided tour here.
Next we enjoy some time in the historic city of York with the chance to explore and find somewhere for lunch at leisure. Highlights include the picturesque warren of medieval lanes known as the ‘Shambles’, the ancient walls surrounding the city and the Jorvic Centre, which tells the story of York’s Viking past. The famous Betty’s Tea Rooms are also worth a visit.
We then have the opportunity to visit York Minster, the largest Gothic cathedral in northern Europe and home to the most stunning stained glass Great East Window that has been described as England’s artistic equivalent of the Sistine Chapel.
Excursion Three – Mount Grace Priory, House and Gardens, Richmond & Richmond Castle
Mount Grace House is an Arts and Crafts mansion, nestled among woodland, beautiful gardens and the remains of the best preserved Carthusian priory in England. We’ll discover its secrets and stories on our guided tour this morning.
We’ll then have some time at leisure to find a place for lunch in Richmond, a historic market town situated in the heart of North Yorkshire on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales.
Our final stop of the day will be Richmond Castle. The castle is one of the greatest Norman fortresses in Britain and offers breathtaking views over the Yorkshire Dales. We’ll take a guided tour and discover more about the castle’s role in the First World War.
Excursion Four – Bolsover Castle, Chesterfield & Church of St Mary and All Saints
Bolsover Castle is a spectacular castle perched on a ridge high above the Vale of Scarsdale in Derbyshire. Bolsover was rebuilt in the early 17th century by Sir Charles Hardwick and his son, Sir William Cavendish. Cavendish was a playboy and a poet who later became the first Duke of Newcastle and he used Bolsover as an aristocratic retreat where he could entertain guests and indulge in his passion for dressage and entertainments. We’ll hear more about William and the stories of the house on our guided tour and we’ll also see the remarkable wall paintings, rich panelling and elaborate fireplaces inside the exquisite Little Castle.
After time to find somewhere for a spot of lunch at leisure in Bolsover, we’ll continue on to Chesterfield, a market town in Derbyshire where we will see the crooked spire of the Church of St Mary and All Saints. The spire was originally straight, but the movement of lead inside the tower over the centuries has given it an iconic twist.