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GREAT MONARCHS OF GREAT BRITAIN

 

Travel is people. You may go abroad to see the famous sites, but what you remember best are the people you meet. Among them, like unexpected treasure, are a few memorable contacts that will make your travels unique, special, and delightful. "People" is devoted to some of those you may come in contact with during your Home At First travels.

This article first appeared in April, 2008.                       Most Recent update: 2015.

THE TUDORS

EIGHT ENGLISH LOCATIONS YOU CAN STILL VISIT WHERE TUDOR
MONARCHS LIVED, REIGNED, WERE IMPRISONED, DIED, AND ARE BURIED

 

          The thousand-year-old fortress is right next door to Home At First's APARTMENTS AT ST. KATHARINE'S MARINA. The Tower has many associations with the Tudors, especially with the famous ones imprisoned there, including Tudor Queens

Tower of London. Photo © Home At First.
The Tower of London

ANNE BOLEYN, Kathryn Howard, and Elizabeth I. In addition to the TOWER OF LONDON, many locations that figured in the turbulent reign of Henry VIII and the other Tudor monarchs still stand. The first seven locations (including the Tower) are easily reachable from HOME AT FIRST’S LONDON apartments near The Tower of London. The eighth, Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire, about 100 miles west of London, is easily visited as a day-trip by car from HOME AT FIRST'S COTSWOLDS lodgings.

GETTING THERE: Home At First London guests: walk to The Tower of London in 5-10 minutes. Entrance fee charged.


Hever Castle, the Boleyn family home and later home to the ex-Queen Anne of Cleves.
Hever Castle

 

          HEVER CASTLE 30 miles south of London near Edenbridge, Kent: the medieval Bullen (Boleyn) family home where Mary and Anne Boleyn grew up is well-restored and full of Tudor associations with the Boleyns, King Henry VIII, and his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, who was presented Hever Castle as part of her agreement to end her marriage with Henry.

GETTING THERE: Home At First London guests: Tube from Tower Hill (9 stops; 14 minutes) to Victoria Station. Take the train from Victoria Station 45 minutes to Edenbridge Town, then take a taxi three miles to the castle. Trains run hourly, with a change of trains necessary at East Croydon. Entrance fee charged.


 

          THE QUEEN’S HOUSE AT THE NATIONAL MARITIME MUSEUM and University of Greenwich Maritime Campus, are both located in Greenwich (the home of the Prime Meridian) on the Thames about 30 minutes east of London. The National Maritime Museum (NMM) occupies the site of the medieval Greenwich Palace of Placentia, which figured greatly in the lives of Henry VIII, his wives (and especially Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, and Anne of Cleves), and their children. Henry VIII, and his daughters Mary I and Elizabeth

The Queens House at the National Maritime Museum.
The Queen's House
-

I were born at the palace, and his son, the teenaged King Edward VI, died there. The Queen's House was built during the reign of King James I (son of Elizabeth I). The old palace was torn down after the Restoration, and replaced with a new royal residence that is now the Maritime Campus of the University of Greenwich. Visitors can wander the grounds where medieval jousts were regularly held, and can explore the NMM, with its treasury of art, including some of the best remaining Tudor portraits on display in the Queen's House.

GETTING THERE: Home At First London guests: Docklands Light Rail (DLR) from Tower Gateway DLR station (22 minutes) to Greenwich DLR station. Trains run as frequently as every 7 minutes, with a change of trains necessary at Westferry DLR station. Alternatively: travel by Thames river boat from St. Katharine's Pier by the Tower Bridge to Greenwich (45 minutes; boats depart as frequently as every 20 minutes). Entrance fee: free.


Westminster Abbey, adjacent to Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, as seen from the London Eye.
Westminster Abbey

 

              WESTMINSTER ABBEY, the 750+-year-old cathedral church in central London, is where Anne Boleyn was crowned Queen, and where her daughter, Queen Elizabeth I lays buried next to her half-sister Queen (Bloody) Mary I. Fifteen other English monarchs (including the Tudors Edward VI and Anne of Cleves) and numerous notables (including

Shakespeare, Chaucer, Dickens, Milton, Churchill, Tennyson, Blake, Brunel, Telford, Trevithick, Darwin, John & Charles Wesley, Fox, Handel, Johnson, and Jonson, even Oliver Cromwell and Major John André) are buried or commemorated in the abbey.

GETTING THERE: Home At First London guests: tube from Tower Hill (7 stops and 11 minutes) to Westminster. Entrance fee charged.


 

             LEEDS CASTLE, south of London near Maidstone, Kent: beautiful medieval castle surrounded by water where King Henry VIII visited with his first wife, Catherine of Aragon on the way to a jousting tournament in France in 1520 where he met King Francis I. Mary Boleyn, formerly a courtier in

Leeds Castle, thought to be of the storybook variety, has numerous associations with romantic chivalry, and Tudor romance.
Leeds Castle

the French court and mistress to Francis I, was possibly a lady-in-waiting to Catherine of Aragon when the English king stopped at Leeds Castle. Younger sister Anne Boleyn may have attended the jousts as a lady-in-waiting of the French court. Maybe she first met Henry VIII there.

GETTING THERE: Home At First London guests: Tube from Tower Hill (9 stops; 14 minutes) to Victoria Station. Take the train from Victoria Station 60 minutes to Bearsted, then take the shuttle bus to the castle. Trains run hourly, but specific trains are met by the shuttle bus. Entrance fee charged.


Hampton Court Palace entrance.
Hampton Court Palace

 

           HAMPTON COURT PALACE, in the south London suburb of East Molesey near Kingston upon Thames: the former home of powerful Cardinal Wolsey became Henry’s when he stripped Wolsey and split with the Church of Rome in order to divorce Catherine of Aragon and wed Anne Boleyn. Henry's fifth wife, KATHRYN Howard, was famously arrested

at Hampton Court for infidelity, pursued running and screaming down the castle corridors while chased by the king's guards. While the palace has changed over the years, it still has much of its Tudor architecture. Palace guides dressed in Tudor fashions lead tours of the Tudor apartments and play the roles of major and minor castle residents from the 16th century.

GETTING THERE: Home At First London guests at St. Katharine's Marina apartments: Tube from Tower Hill (8 stops; 23 minutes; change at Embankment to Northern Line direction Morden) to Waterloo Station. Home At First London guests at The Brewery Apartments: Tube from London Bridge (2 stops on the Jubilee Line; 6 minutes) to Waterloo Station. Take the train from Waterloo Station 36 minutes to Hampton Court rail station, then walk 220 yards to the castle. Trains run half-hourly. Entrance fee charged.


 

          WINDSOR CASTLE, in the small town of Windsor about 30 minutes west of London: final resting place of King Henry VIII (and 9 other monarchs). Windsor is the world's oldest and largest continuously occupied castle, and is loaded with historical and architectural treasures. Henry's huge suit of armor is one of Windsor's gathering points, and proves his

St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle — several English monarchs are buried in this late-medieval Gothic masterpiece. Photo credit Philip Allfrey.
St. George's Chapel
at Windsor Castle

size and athleticism. Henry VIII saw to the completion of the magnificent late-medieval St. George’s Chapel at the castle, one of many treasures you may visit there, if the current monarch is not in residence. Henry himself lies interred in the chapel, as does his third wife, JANE SEYMOUR. It is expected that Britain's current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, will be laid to rest here when she dies.

GETTING THERE: Home At First London guests at St. Katharine's Marina apartments: Tube from Tower Hill (11 stops on the Circle Line counterclockwise; 25 minutes) to Paddington Station. Take the train from Paddington Station (change trains at Slough) 35 minutes total journey time to Windsor & Eton Central rail station, then walk 5 minutes to the castle. Trains run half-hourly.
Home At First London guests at The Brewery Apartments: Tube from London Bridge (2 stops on the Jubilee Line; 6 minutes) to Waterloo Station. Take the train from Waterloo Station 53 minutes to Windsor & Eton Riverside rail station, then walk 5 minutes to the castle. Trains run half-hourly.
Entrance fee to Windsor Castle charged.


 

          Sudeley Castle, near the small town of Winchcombe in the middle of the Gloucestershire COTSWOLDS: final resting place of KATHERINE PARR, 6th (and last) of the wives of King Henry VIII. Sudeley, which in 1535 hosted King Henry VIII and ANNE BOLEYN, became the home of Katherine after the death of Henry and her subsequent marriage to Sir Thomas

Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire. Visited by Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Home of Queen Dowager Katherine Parr after Henry VIII's death and her remarriage. Katherine tutored Princess Elizabeth and Lady Jane Grey here. Photo courtesy Sudeley Castle.
Sudeley Castle

Seymour (brother of Queen JANE SEYMOUR). She and Seymour tutored two future Tudor queens: Princess Elizabeth and Lady Jane Grey. The castle's history extends to Saxon times, but the castle itself dates to 1442.

GETTING THERE: Home At First Cotswolds guests: Drive about 30 minutes north from Tetbury (South Cotswolds) or 30 minutes south from Chipping Campden and other North Cotswolds locations to Winchcombe on the B4632 — 8 miles NE of Cheltenham. Sudeley Castle occupies a large estate east of Winchcombe on Castle Street or Vineyard Street. Watch for signs leading to Sudeley Castle in Winchcombe. Entrance fee to Sudeley Castle charged.


HOME AT FIRST FAMILY TRAVEL NEWS

Diplomatic Relations Never in Jeopardy

The Wilderoter Clan Invades England!

          For two weeks over the cusp of July and August 2007 the population of England temporarily swelled with the invasion of Stanley & Jane Wilderoter and their extended family of twenty-two, first for a week in the Lake District, then for a week in London. Apparently England survived with minimal wear and tear, despite reports that petrol prices soared in the weeks following the family’s travels around England with five Hyundai Santa Fe SUVs.
          While in the English Lake

The invading force at a rare moment of relative inactivity in England's Lake District. Their uniform: Scottish blue tee shirts sporting the legend "Wilderoter England Tour 2007". Photo courtesy Stanley Wilderoter.
The invading force at a rare moment of relative
inactivity in England's Lake District. Their uniform:
Scottish blue tee shirts sporting the legend
"Wilderoter England Tour 2007".

District, the Wilderoter Clan headquarters was Home At First’s LAKEVIEW APARTMENTS near the traffic-free village of HAWKSHEAD near Lake Windermere in the southern LAKE DISTRICT. (The family occupied all eight Lakeview Apartments plus a neighboring cottage!)
          After a week exploring the mountains and lakes of northwestern England, the family drove their SUVs south to London’s Heathrow Airport, where the cars were turned in. A bus collected the family at Heathrow and negotiated London's notorious

The Wilderoter clan's fleet of five rented Hyundai Santa Fe SUVs, lined up in front of their Lakeview Apartments near Hawkshead, Cumbria, in England's Lake District. Photo courtesy Stanley Wilderoter.
The Wilderoter Clan's fleet of five rented
SUVs, lined up in front of their Lakeview
Apartments near Hawkshead, Cumbria.

Photos courtesy Stanley Wilderoter

congestion without incident, delivering them to their LONDON apartments at HOME AT FIRST’S ST. KATHARINE’S MARINA location on the north side of the River Thames and one of Home At First’s apartments near the Tower Bridge on the south side of the river. In London the family used Underground (subway) trains and buses to get around. Apparently none of the group became lost from the others, at least not for long — everyone made their return flights home to the States.
          Stanley and Jane had previously travelled (2005 & 2006) with Home At First to
Scotland (twice) and Wales,

each time bringing some family members along, but for 2007 decided to bring along the whole clan. What about 2008? We hear the whole clan is off to South America this year. We hope to have the traveling Wilderoter family back with us again soon.

— Discover the Tudors on their home turf: ENGLAND

HOME AT FIRST