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The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn

Date and Time
2 - 8 September

Tour & Study Day

The Rise & Fall of Anne Boleyn Tour


On 19 May 1536, a French sword stilled the beating heart of an English queen. Her name was Anne Boleyn, and she would become one of the most controversial and iconic queens in English history. In her lifetime, Anne was a force of nature; she captivated the heart and soul of a king, divided a court and ignited the Reformation on English soil, beginning a process that would transform the religious and social landscape of the country.’Extract from In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn,by Sarah Morris and Natalie Grueninger.Over the centuries, countless people have had their say about Anne Boleyn; some have loved her, others hated her. Now it’s time for you to follow in her footsteps and make up your own mind…

Tour Highlights

  • Three resident historians to guide you and answer your questions throughout the tour.
  • Follow the story of Anne’s ascendancy and downfall through the lens of the places where key events unfolded.
  • Six Pivotal Locations Associated with Anne Boleyn.
  • On-location guest experts to take us behind the scenes at Hampton Court Palace and The Tower.
  • Luxury hotels, including two nights at Hever Castle.
  • Private, out-of-hours tour of Hever Castle.
  • Dinner in the Great Hall at Hever, presided over by Henry VIII and accompanied by live Tudor music.
  • The opportunity to engage in Tudor pastimes and taste Tudor food in the Great Hall at Penshurst Place.
  • Luxury coach transport throughout.
  • FREE enrollment on our online 3-month Rise & Fall of Anne Boleyn mini-course (running 1 June – end August), explicitly aimed at setting the scene for tour participants but open to wider booking.
DAY ONE: The Adventure Begins…

Pick up in Central London and Transfer to Windsor

Transfer to the Castle Hotel, Windsor. Settle into this four-star boutique hotel, situated directly across the street from the entrance to Windsor Castle.

Steeped in history, with regal connections and more than a touch of luxury and elegance, the Castle Hotel is the perfect base to explore Anne Boleyn’s early relationship with Henry and her rise to power at the Tudor court.

In the evening, we will gather, and you will enjoy a warm welcome as your hosts set the scene for the week ahead, including a talk from author and historian, Sarah Morris on ‘Anne Boleyn at Windsor Castle’.

Day Two: The Courting Years

Anne Boleyn at Windsor Castle

Start the day with a guided tour of Windsor Castle as your hosts peel back the centuries to help you reimagine the castle as it was in the Spring of 1528 when Henry VIII welcomed Anne to court as its rising star.

You will hear about how Windsor Castle formed the backdrop to several historic events in Anne’s life, including her investiture as Marquess of Pembroke in Henry VIII’s Presence Chamber (now the Garter Throne Room) on 1 September 1532, as well as learning about the long history of the castle.

After lunch, we will explore the divine St George’s Chapel, where you will see Queen Katherine’s closet, from where Katherine Parr watched the burial of her late husband in the vault below, visit the grave of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, and stand over the vault where Henry’s bones lie, as your hosts recount the macabre tale of when and how the lost vault was rediscovered during the reign of George III.

There will be time to explore more of the castle or town at your leisure.

In the evening, enjoy dinner preceded by a talk on ‘The Rise of the Boleyns’ by author and historian Adam Pennington.

Day Three: Anne the Queen

Hampton Court Palace & Penshurst Place

On day three, we visit the only surviving Tudor palace: Hampton Court. Built by Wolsey in 1515, in its day, Hampton Court was one of the most splendid Renaissance residences in England, and its courtyards, corridors and chambers echo with the ghostly voices of its Tudor past.

While you may have visited Hampton Court before, you will see the palace afresh on this tour as your hosts recreate the layout of the lost State and Privy Apartments of Henry VIII, exploring behind the scenes with our expert guide, Dan Jackson, Head of Historic Buildings at Historic Royal Palaces. We will see parts of the palace generally off the usual visitor route, including the old queen’s bedroom where Edward VI was born and his mother, Jane Seymour, died.

Along the way, we will hear stories of triumph and tragedy, including the rarely discussed and heart-breaking loss of Anne’s second pregnancy in the summer of 1534.

In the afternoon, we will travel to Penshurst Place, where we will enjoy a guided tour of the house before experiencing a slice of everyday life at the Tudor Court. Led by one of your co-hosts, you will see and have the opportunity to learn some Tudor dances accompanied by live musicians, before Brigitte Webster, author of ‘Eating with the Tudors’ delights us with her talk on Tudor food, accompanied by samples of Tudor food for us to taste.

Afterwards, we will transfer to Hever Castle, Anne Boleyn’s childhood home. As the sun begins to set, we will (weather permitting) enjoy a BBQ on the lawn overlooking the castle. Idyllic!

Day Four: Reformation, Religion and Cultural Catalyst

Hever Castle

We start day five with a private tour of Hever Castle, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn. Saved from likely ruin in the early twentieth century by the powerful Lord Astor, the Hever we see today has evolved from the house the Boleyns would have known.

Once again, we delve into the details to help you reimagine the Boleyn family home of the sixteenth century. Along the way, we will explore how Anne’s early influences, both in England and abroad, shaped the woman and queen she later became.

Central to understanding this is to understand Anne’s religious beliefs, how these were shaped and how, in turn, those beliefs changed the course of English history. Kate McCaffrey, an expert on Anne’s religious life, will join us before dinner to talk to us about this crucial aspect of Anne’s life and her lasting legacy.

In the evening, we will gather to enjoy dinner amidst the unique atmosphere of Hever’s Great Hall, presided over by Henry VIII himself. Finally, over dessert and coffee, we will hear from our historian-in-residence, Natalie Gruneninger, who will talk to us about the final year of Anne Boleyn’s life in preparation for our visit to the Tower the following day.

Day Five: The Fall of Anne Boleyn

The Tower of London

There are few places more foreboding than the Tower of London. It is here that Anne was held for 17 days following her dramatic arrest at Greenwich Palace on 2 May 1536.

Following in Anne’s footsteps, we will take an emotional journey via the Clipper, along the Thames, from Greenwich Pier to Tower Wharfe, getting a clear view of the Queen’s Stairs, which Anne Boleyn mounted when she was brought to the place of her imprisonment.

We will retrace the route taken by Anne as she was escorted to the royal lodgings following her arrival at the Tower, as well as seeing all the key sites associated with her imprisonment and execution.

A guided tour by Alfred Hawkins, Assistant Curator of Historic Buildings at Historic Royal Palaces, will take you into all the hidden nooks and crannies, including a visit to the site of Anne’s burial in the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula, leaving time for you to explore the Tower at your leisure.

We return to our London hotel for a leisurely dinner in the evening before preparing for our final day.

Day Six: The Falcon Takes Flight

Westminster Abbey

Twenty-five years would pass before Anne’s white falcon would once more take flight. This time it was in the shape of her daughter, Elizabeth.

On this final day of our immersive tour, we return to London. We spend the day celebrating Anne’s life and possibly her most outstanding legacy, her daughter, who, against all odds, survived to be crowned Elizabeth I at Westminster Abbey on 15 January 1559.

Your tour guides will recreate the splendour of coronation by taking you to all the key places associated with this most ancient of ceremonies. Along the way, you will hear how Elizabeth incorporated the memory of her mother into her coronation, and you can stand agog in front of the chair in which both Anne and Elizabeth were crowned.

Of course, no visit to Westminster Abbey would be complete without a tour of the Lady Chapel, constructed by Henry VII in 1502 as a majestic mausoleum to the Tudor dynasty, where your guides will recount the extraordinary tale of the rediscovery of Elizabeth I’s tomb during the 1800s.

We will round off our adventure by climbing to the heights of the abbey’s triforium to visit the Jubilee Galleries, celebrated for its spectacular views over the world-famous Cosmati pavement and Edward the Confessor’s tomb.

Finally, we will head back to our five-star hotel, The Doubletree by Hilton, to raise a glass of bubbly to the woman who changed English history and still holds us in her thrall over 500 years later!

Day Seven: Final Farewells

Central London

After a leisurely breakfast at The Doubletree Hilton, there will be final farewells as we say goodbye for now, taking fabulous memories of an incredible week with us.

Until next time!


Natalie Grueninger

Founder of ‘On the Tudor Trail’ and ‘Talking Tudors’ podcast. Author of In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn’, ‘In the Footsteps of the Six Wives’ and ‘The Final Year of Anne Boleyn’.

Sarah Morris

Founder of ‘The Tudor Travel Guide’ and ‘The Ultimate Guide to Exploring Tudor England’. Author of ‘In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn’ and ‘In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII’.

Adam Pennington

Founder of ‘The Tudor Chest’ blog and podcast, historian and author of ‘Henry VIII and the Plantagenet Poles – The Rise and Fall of a Dynasty’, coming summer 2024.

Event organiser is Simply Tudor Tours.

Disclaimer: All information was correct when the listing was prepared. Any questions about the event should be directed to the event organiser.

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