Two remarkable architectural epochs provide the subjects for our United Kingdom itineraries.
The first is the era of church-building in northern England that began with the Norman Conquest, and stretched all the way to the Reformation. Durham, Lincoln, Ripon and York Cathedrals are all considered in a tour that also reveals some of our most beautiful countryside, as well two of our most poignant ruins – the Cistercian abbeys at Fountains and Rievaulx.
Then, on a five-day tour of the West Country we look at what happened next, as the power of the church waned and the wealth of the monasteries was transferred to a secular elite. The result was a landscape of vast agricultural estates and magnificent houses that has survived into modern era, and still exerts a powerful grip on English imaginations.
It was in the 18th and early 19th centuries that this age of aristocratic house-building reached its zenith, and it is in Yorkshire that we find three of its most heroic examples: Harewood, Wentworth Woodhouse and Castle Howard. In-depth visits to these three are highlights of our third tour.