Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Question from Nikki - Alison Weir's new book and tour

Any thoughts on Alison Weir's new book launch? To launch her new book, The Lady in The Tower about Anne Boleyn, Weir is kicking off a Tudor tour! The dates are April 6 - 16, 2010. It leaves from the US and tours The Tower, The Abbey, Hampton Court, Windsor Castle, Winchester Cathedral and other places. Total price is just under $5700! Here's the link.

I know some of you aren't Weir fans, so I am anxious to see if you think this would be worth it to hear her lecture on Tudor history at each stop.


Tracey said...

I would love to accompany Ms Weir on this tour and yes, I'd be very interested in hearing her speak about this period.

However...the tour price is a bit over-the-top, considering a person can do almost the same itinerary for a less expensive price. Trust me...I've looked :)

Marilyn R said...

Hi Nikki,
This is the tour with Alison Weir, Sarah Gristwood, Tracey Borman and Kate Williams.

I heard Alison Weir’s talk on Henry VIII and his Six Wives a few weeks ago. She read from notes at great speed and delivered the whole thing in about 45 minutes, which was disappointing, because there seemed not to be any reason for the rush, as the room was booked for the full afternoon; neither did she appear to be in any hurry to get away. I spoke to Kathy, who contributes to this site, who said the same happened at the Smithsonian at the morning session but in the afternoon she delivered an excellent lecture on Katherine Swynford and hardly referred to notes at all. Having said that, we both found her very pleasant and approachable.

It’s an interesting itinerary and not too packed in, although if you started feeling “Tudor-saturated” half way through (unlikely?) and wanted to explore other aspects of London, there appears to be little room for manoeuvre – only the day of arrival when you’d be a bit jet lagged, and the morning before the trip to Eltham.

I would have sacrificed Sudeley and Acton Court for Hardwick Hall, which is in a league of its own, and by good roads is less than an hour and-a-half from Stratford – they could have stopped off at the Bosworth battlefield site for a quick tour and morning coffee en route. Having talked about Arbella Stuart’s incarceration in the Tower, they could have shown the innovative and unique palatial home built by her indomitable grandmother, Bess of Hardwick.

The Rubens is an expensive hotel in Victoria (Weir’s website says St James’s), opposite Buckingham Palace and the Royal Mews – about a 10-15 minute walk to the Abbey. There is no doubt that the bulk of the cost of this tour is going on the accommodation, high-profile speakers and the airfare. The $5,700 translates to £3,500; the entry to the sites would be well under £200 in total if you were buying tickets yourself – $325, but then you need to add transport, which one would assume would be of high standard at these prices, so say another $600.That said, on this tour there will be priority entry and you would probably be shown rooms etc not normally open to the general public - I'm just speculating here.

Also,at this price, I would want it to be a smallish group, no more than 20. If you are travelling alone there will probably be a VERY substantial single supplement on top for the hotel,

I suppose you have to decide whether it compares favourably with other tours, how economically you could do it under your own steam and how important it is to spend a week with Alison Weir - but if money is no object then go for this tour!

Nikki said...

I would love to go, but I won't be able to make it. I should have a 5 month old by then!!! I am still debating on whether I am going to go over with my husband in October. I may be too pregnant. I'm just missing out, aren't I??

I'm sure the cost of the trip is inflated, it sure sounded like that to me. I would love to hear Weir speak at each site. I do like the sites on the tour, and it would be much more interesting to me to have my own personal tour guide!

I do agree that the group should stay small. I would hate to tour with a big crowd. I wonder if they'll limit the number of people?

The hotel does seem very nice. I guess if you're going, go all the way!

Anonymous said...

hi as someone who lives in the UK i popped down to London at the beginning of June for the lecture at Greenwich which i confess i wasn't sure what the talk was to be but thought i needed to join in with the celebrations although my knowledge is more on Elizabeth and tudor embroidery. i loved the talk and was so glad i went, i had 2 days for siteseeing one day Eltham the other Hever looking at the list Hever is only 1/2 a day if you only want to do the castle that would be fine but i spent over 6 hours and didn't do all of the gardens.

not to put anyone off you may not see what you want having said this, with a good guide you may find out things we may never will.

hardwick is a lovely place and chatsworth isn't to far away but if you were traveling from London you are talking about4 hours away and again full days are needed for both

if anyone does decide to come over you will love all the places that you are visiting and you will be able to get a taste of these great places, also you will be going to a few places that i have never been to

from lady hobby

Kristian said...

When I saw the price of this trip/tour I was APPALLED!!!
I just took a tour of England in May for my birthday. I was there for two weeks - one week in London, the second week in Kent, Surrey and East Sussex.
I went alone and stayed in a low-cost hotel in London and then a lovely B&B Manor House near Hever in Kent.
The flight, meals, hotel, the tube, tickets to attractions (both Tudor and non - like the Eye) all for about $2000.
And it was the most AMAZING holiday I have EVER taken!
I cannot imagine that adding Alison Weir to my week would be worth $3700!?!?

Bladerunner said...

Its about the money. Always is, always will be. Being students of history, it shouldn't be that hard to see. And understand. If someone wishes to part with their money, let them...

PhD Historian said...

Although I do admire Ms Weir's ability to write for the general public, I have to agree with Kristian and Bladerunner. The cost is simply excessive. But you have to give Weir and her publicists credit for coming up with a novel way of making money! I've never heard of "groupies" for a book tour! Sounds more like something a fan of a rock band would do. And I have to wonder if it might not get a bit tiresome hearing the same talk over and over and over......

Marilyn R said...

If anybody out there is planning a trip over here, Lady Hobby is quite right to point out that Hardwick Hall is too far from London to do comfortably in a day. I mentioned it because the Smithsonian itinerary takes in Kenilworth and Stratford-on-Avon, overnights in Tetbury then goes on to Sudeley the next day. I would have thought an overnight in Warwick or Stratford would have been better, with an opportunity to go to a performance at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, and from there it is a fairly short run to Hardwick via the Coventry Ring Road and the MI Motorway - with Bosworth en route. I've done it several times and it's a very easy journey.

Having looked at this tour again I think it's pretty basic - Abbey AND Tower on the same day? if it's done in any depth they'll be running to keep up! This tour could be done quite cheaply, especially in April and for those of you spending in US dollars - I see that even the Rubens Hotel is offering huge reductions at present.