Follow in the footsteps of the Houses of Lancaster and York as they fight for the Crown of England in this tempestuous period, that spanned just over 32 years, and saw some of the most fiercely contested and bloody battles ever fought on English soil.
England’s real Game of Thrones!
Our War of the Roses Tour travels across England to visit the most significant battlefields and locations of this tempestuous period. Spanning a period of just over 32 years, 22 May 1455 − 16 June 1487, it saw some of the most fiercely contested and bloody battles in English History.
Join our team of battlefield historians on this five-day tour. They will recount the events that took place and tell you of the acts of valour and treachery that occurred in the often violent and unrestrained fighting. You will follow in the footsteps of the powerful men and women who shaped English History in pursuit of the English Crown.
The geographical location of the battles of the War of the Roses makes visiting them in chronological order inefficient and our tour has been designed to enable you to visit the most significant within the timeframe allocated. It involves a degree of flexibility as we switch between them.
Our In The Footsteps® Five-Day Tour of the War of the Roses begins at 09:00 hrs when we collect you from your agreed pick-up location in London and drive you to St Albans.
Our first location is St Albans where two battles of the War of the Roses took place: the First Battle of St Albans on 22 May 1455 and the Second Battle of St Albans on 17 February 1461
The First Battle of St Albans traditionally marks the beginning of the Wars of the Roses. Richard, Duke of York, and his allies, the Neville earls of Salisbury and Warwick, defeated a royal army commanded by Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset and this was, politically, a complete victory; King Henry VI was captured, and Richard restored himself to power. The Duke of Somerset and Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland and Lord Clifford, the Nevilles’ northern rivals, all fell during the rout and the sudden attack by the 26-year-old Earl of Warwick. This began his famous military career and would lead to his reputation as “the Kingmaker”.
The Second Battle of St Albans took place when the Yorkist army under the Earl of Warwick attempted to bar the road to London north of the town. The Lancastrian army took Warwick by surprise by outflanking and cutting him off from London and driving his army from the field. They also released King Henry VI, who had been Warwick’s prisoner but failed to take advantage of their victory.
From St Albans, we head north to Fotheringhay, the birthplace of Richard III and the location of his father’s, Richard of York, and brother Edmund’s graves. Here we visit the remains of the castle and the Church of St Mary and All Saints.
From Fotheringhay Castle we continue our journey northwards to Losecoat Field, to the northwest of Stamford, where King Edward IV defeated the poorly organised Welles Uprising on 12 March 1470. It was this battle that led to the defection of the Earl of Warwick and Edward’s brother George, the Duke of Clarence, to the Lancastrian cause.
With our tour of Losecoat Field, we head north on the A1 to check into our hotel. Dinner this evening can be purchased in our tour hotel or the local area, as you prefer.
Day two begins when we check out of our hotel at 09:00 hrs to begin exploring the battlefield at Sandal Castle near Wakefield.
On 30 December 1460, Lancastrian forces, loyal to the captive King Henry VI, clashed with the army of Richard, Duke of York near Sandal Castle. It resulted in a Lancastrian victory and Richard, Duke of York, was killed. His second son, Edmund, Earl of Rutland was killed attempting to escape over Wakefield Bridge and Richard Neville, 5th Earl of Salisbury, was captured and later beheaded.
Shortly thereafter Richard’s son, Edward Earl of March was proclaimed King in London and he led a large force north to engage the Lancastrians. On 27 March 1461, the vanguard, under the Earl of Warwick, forced a crossing over the River Aire at Ferrybridge. The next morning the Yorkists were ambushed by a large party of Lancastrians and the bridge, which had been repaired during the night, was destroyed. King Edward IV and the Earl of Warwick arrived later in the day and had to cross the river before pushing on towards Towton, our next stop. The Battle of Towton is probably the largest and bloodiest battle ever fought on English soil with an estimated 50,000 soldiers taking part. The battle was fought on Palm Sunday, 29 March 1461, in a snowstorm and lasted many hours. This decisive victory established Edward IV on the English throne.
With our tour of the Battle of Towton complete, we head towards the West Midlands where we check into our hotel. Dinner this evening can be purchased in our tour hotel or the local area, as you prefer.
Day three begins when we check out of our hotel at 09:00 hrs to begin exploring the battlefield at Blore Heath.
Our first stop of the day is at Audley’s Cross where we discuss the Battle of Blore Heath that took place on 23 September 1459. A Yorkist force led by the Earl of Salisbury was on its way to link up with the main Yorkist army at Ludlow Castle in Shropshire from Middleham Castle in Yorkshire. As the Yorkist force marched southwest through the Midlands, Queen Margaret ordered Lord Audley to intercept them.
From Audley’s Cross, we head to Ludlow for a brief tour of the Battle of Ludford Bridge, a largely bloodless confrontation fought on 12 October 1459.
We then continue south to Mortimer’s Cross where on 2 February 1461 Edward, now the Duke of York, sought to prevent Jasper Tudor, the Earl of Pembroke’s Welshmen, from joining the main body of the Lancastrian army. The Lancastrian forces broke and Owen Tudor, Jasper Tudor’s father, was captured and executed at Hereford.
With our tour of the Battle of Mortimer’s Cross complete, we head south to Tewkesbury and check into our hotel. Dinner this evening can be purchased in our tour hotel or the local area, as you prefer.
Day four when we check out of our hotel at 09:00 hrs to begin exploring the battlefield at Tewkesbury.
On 4 May 1471, King Edward IV clashed with the Lancastrian forces under Queen Margaret at Tewkesbury. It was a resounding Yorkist victory and the Lancastrian heir to the throne, Edward, Prince of Wales, and many prominent Lancastrian nobles were either killed during the battle or executed.
From Tewkesbury, we head west to the battlefield of The Battle of Edgcote, also known as the Battle of Banbury or the Battle of Danes Moor, took place on Monday 24 July 1469. It was fought between the Yorkist Royal army commanded by the Earls of Pembroke and Devon against a rebellious force led by supporters of the Earl of Warwick who had fallen out with King Edward IV.
From Edgcote, we head to Northampton where we explore the battlefield close to the River Nene where King Henry VI’s Lancastrian army took up a defensive position in the grounds of Delapré Abbey on 10 July 1460 to bar the Yorkist approach to the town. At two o’clock the Yorkists advanced and turned the left flank of the Lancastrians to roll up their army. The Duke of Buckingham, the Earl of Shrewsbury, Lord Egremont, and Lord Beaumont were all killed, and King Henry was captured.
With our tour of the Battle of Northampton complete, we head to Leicester and check into our hotel. Dinner this evening can be purchased in our tour hotel or the local area, as you prefer.
Day five begins when we check out of our hotel at 09:00 hrs to begin exploring the battlefield at Bosworth.
The Battle of Bosworth, fought on 22 August 1485, was the last significant battle of the Wars of the Roses. King Richard III was killed, and he is the last English monarch to die on the battlefield. Historians consider Bosworth Field to mark the end of the Plantagenet dynasty, making it one of the defining moments of English history.
Following our time on the battlefield, we head into Leicester and visit the King Richard III Visitor Centre and view King Richard III’s Tomb.
From Leicester, we head south to Barnet where we discuss the battle that took place on 14 April 1471. Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, Warwick the Kingmaker, had by now changed sides and was leading the Lancastrian army against his former protégé, who was now King Edward IV. This is regarded as one of the most important battles in the War of the Roses as it resulted in Warwick’s death and saw the fortunes of the two opposing factions decisively reversed.
With our tour complete, we head back to London and drop you off at your agreed location at approximately 18:00 hrs.
Please note: Itineraries are subject to change due to operational reasons. Any changes will be advised closer to the time of departure.
* This price is based upon:
Costs may vary from those shown above due to the availability and selection of hotels, and other associated cost variations at the time of booking.
A supplement of £160.00 GBP applies where single occupancy is required.
An additional supplement may apply for anniversary dates to cover any increase in the associated costs.
A deposit of 30% or £200.00 per person, whichever is the greater, is payable on booking.
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In The Footsteps® are bound by the tour operators’ regulations and all monies paid to us are held in a TTA holding account.
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