An historian, author, and broadcaster, Dr Suzannah Lipscomb is Professor of History at the University of Roehampton and a fellow of the Royal Historical Society. She received her DPhil in History from Balliol College, Oxford. She has worked as a research curator at Hampton Court Palace and has also presented many historical documentaries on the BBC, ITV, Channel Five, and National Geographic, including Elizabeth I, and the three-part Bloody Tales Of The Tower. She is the author and editor of several books, including A Visitor's Companion To Tudor England.
Royal palaces tour with Prof Suzannah Lipscomb
From Henry VIII to our own Queen Elizabeth, the story of the monarchy features some of history's most captivating figures - and some of its most grisly tales. This fascinating tour follows the grand arc of the Royals in and around London - the lives, loves, marriages and betrayals - from the time of William the Conqueror.
You will take tours of the great palaces by the Thames, including The State Rooms of Buckingham Palace; the Tower of London; Banqueting Hall; Westminster Abbey and the State Apartments at Windsor Castle, where you will enjoy a private behind-the-ropes tour - you'll also enjoy a glass of champagne at the tour's close.
You will be joined on this exclusive trip by historian, broadcaster and Tudor expert Professor Suzannah Lipscomb, who will give a talk with Q&A and accompany readers on a private tour of Hampton Court Palace. 'I am a great believer in telling historical tales where they happened,' Prof Lipscomb says. 'The veil between the past and the present feels very thin when you are following in the very footsteps of Henry VIII at Hampton Court, or standing on the spot where Anne Boleyn met her end at the Tower.'
Readers who joined Prof Lipscomb on our first Royal palaces tour earlier this year were delighted by the experience. 'This was the best tour my husband and I have ever been on,' one wrote. 'Suzannah was amazing - I learnt more in her talk than all the reading I've done before.'
Meet Suzannah Lipscomb
A brilliant, thought-provoking speaker who specialises in Tudor history, Prof Lipscomb will give insights into the forces that shaped the most dramatic stories of the Royals. Prof Lipscomb will give an exclusive private talk with a Q&A on the eve of your visit to the Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace.
Great castles and palaces
The walls may not be able to talk, but you will hear some of the astonishing true tales of the monarchy in the most important Royal houses across the city: Westminster Abbey, which has witnessed the coronation of every monarch since William the Conqueror; Banqueting Hall, the last remaining part of the Whitehall Palace; the Tower of London, the mighty fortress that is now the permanent home of the Crown Jewels; and Buckingham Palace, the official Royal residence in London since Queen Victoria's accession in 1837.
Discover Hampton Court Palace
Prof Lipscomb will also join you for a fascinating private guided tour of Hampton Court, which dates back to 1515 and was commissioned by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, who later gifted it to Henry VIII. Prof Lipscomb will reveal some of the stories and secrets behind this fascinating palace.
Champagne at Windsor Castle
Another highlight will be Windsor Castle, a Royal stronghold since just after the Norman Conquest, where you will journey through 1,000 years of Royal history on a private tour of the State Apartments at a time when the castle is otherwise closed to the public. You will also enjoy a glass of champagne at the tour's close.
Stay at The Talbot, a charming former coaching inn in the historic Surrey village of Ripley. It has many period features from its 500-year history and was also reputedly used as a hitching post by Lord Nelson. It is said his love affair with Lady Hamilton blossomed here.
Reasons to book
Great castles and palaces
Private talk and Q&A with our expert
Private tour of Windsor Castle
See Buckingham Palace for yourself
Hampton Court Tour
Your expert guide
- Two nights' dinner, bed and breakfast at the four-star Talbot in Ripley, Surrey.
- Afternoon tea at the hotel.
- All tours (some guided, some self-guided and some audio-guided) and admissions.
- Talk and Hampton Court Palace tour with Professor Suzannah Lipscomb.
- All coach transfers.
- Services of a tour manager throughout.
Day1Arrival at Talbot Hotel, RipleyRipley, United Kingdom
Arrive independently to the atmospheric Talbot Inn, Ripley, where you will have a delicious afternoon tea shortly after checking in around 14.30. Parking is available at the hotel, in the village green car park or the High Street itself.
Following your afternoon tea, you'll leave for Windsor Castle, where you'll take a private tour of the sumptuous State Apartments. The castle enjoys the distinction of being the longest-occupied palace in Europe. Its construction was ordered by William the Conqueror, and in its original form it was a Motte and Bailey castle, but is now much changed following development by numerous monarchs since Henry I. As well as the State Apartments, your visit will take in the Royal Collection and includes a glass of champagne. In the evening, enjoy a late dinner in the hotel restaurant.
Day2Westminster Abbey, Banqueting House and Buckingham PalaceCity of Westminster, United Kingdom
In the morning, you will arrive at the extraordinary Gothic masterpiece, Westminster Abbey, where we will take a guided tour. This has been the site of many Royal coronations and burials. The current church was begun in 1245 on the orders of Henry III. Every monarch since William the Conqueror has been crowned on the site, and there have been 16 Royal weddings including that of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in spring 2011.
After lunch (not included), we will move on to Banqueting House, which is the only remaining part of the Palace of Whitehall. Finally it is on to the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace, the official London residence of the monarchy since Queen Victoria came to the throne in 1837. See the State Rooms, which often are used by the Queen and for official banquets and engagements. Take dinner this evening in the hotel restaurant.
There will also be an exclusive event for readers of the Mail on Sunday this evening. Dr Suzannah Lipscomb will give a talk and Q&A to guests, giving her thought-provoking insights into the Tudors ahead of your visits to the Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace.
Day3Tower of London and Hampton Court PalaceHampton Court Palace, United Kingdom
On today's agenda is a tour of one of the world's most extraordinary buildings, the Tower of London. This is another construction that was built on the orders of William the Conqueror, to keep hostile Londoners at bay. Since then some of Britain's most dramatic, surprising - and grisly - historical episodes have unfolded in its grounds.
After lunch (not included), we will stop at our final site of the tour, Hampton Court Palace, which is perhaps most associated with Henry VIII and the Tudor dynasty. Dr Lipscomb will join you on your guided tour and will be on hand to offer her thoughts. We will return to the hotel for approximately 6pm, when the tour will come to an end.
The Talbot Inn
Historic pub, hotel and restaurant on the high street in Ripley
It is said that this 500-year-old coaching inn on Ripley's historic high street is where Lord Nelson's relationship with Lady Hamilton "blossomed". Rooms are spread across four buildings, some overlooking the old coach courtyard. Originally a stop-off point between London and Portsmouth, this puropse remains today, although many punters drop by for the history lesson, ordering a pint and some 'Nelson's nuts'.
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