Alfred the Great

  • 3 Day Tour

There is a wonderful irony in the fact that the only King of these Islands given the title ‘the Great’ is best known in popular mythology for burning the cakes! Can we get a bit closer to the man and his times? Alfred was a warrior, an administrator and a scholar. He was forced into the field in early youth, fighting against the Danes along the chalk ridges south of the Thames, including the crucial Saxon victory at the battle of Ashdown. In 878 the Danes again came in strength, overrunning Wessex by a surprise mid-winter attack on Alfred’s court at Chippenham and sending the King, with a small army of warriors, to a retreat to the fenland around Athelney in the depth of the Somerset marshes. This is the period of the absent-minded burning of the cakes and no wonder; Alfred had other things on his mind, planning to regain his kingdom and give security to his people. At the battle of Ethandun (878) the decisive defeat of the Danish armies was followed by the Treaty of Wedmore. The King could now turn to pleasanter tasks, bringing over scholars to revive English learning, translating Bede’s Latin Bible into Anglo Saxon and initiating the writing of the Anglo Saxon Chronicle. In the last 20 years of his life, he created an army to defend, and a system of fortified burghs, which grew into the towns (boroughs) we know today. Dr. Michael Jones will lead you through this fascinating period, helping you to decide if you think Alfred deserves the title ‘The Great’.

Day 1

Meet at the Holiday Inn Bristol City Centre by 14.00hrs. Introduction and background. We discuss the crucial Saxon victory at the Battle of Ashdown (871). Stay two nights in Bristol. Group dinner.

  • Included meals: Dinner

Day 2

Defeat, retreat and resurgence; We start today by looking at the attack at Chippenham and retreat to Athelney. We visit Aller, and later look at the decisive defeat of the Danish armies at the battle of Ethandun (878) and the Treaty of Wedmore. Group dinner.

  • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 3

Building the burghs and encouraging learning. Visits to Cricklade and Malmesbury.Group lunch. Depart by 16.00hrs.

  • Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Prices are per person, based on two sharing.

Extras: optional excursions; entrance fees to museums and places of interest; single room supplement £95; travel insurance from £16.50.

Your tour is led by Specialist Historical Guide Dr. Michael Jones who developed his love of history at Bristol University, and his interests range from the Middle Ages to the Second World War. He is the author of Bosworth 1485 - Psychology of a Battle and a battlefield guide to Agincourt. He has been guiding tours for over 20 years and his particular interest is in battlefield psychology. 

FAQ's about our tours

Certain excursions are included in the price of your holiday. If you choose not to go on an included excursion, for whatever reason, no refunds will be made.
Yes, you will receive one with your Travel Documents, which are sent 7-10 days before departure.
We believe that our holidays may not be suitable for children under 8 years old (except for Disneyland Paris bookings) however, we will consider individual requests on application. Customers aged 18 and under at the time of travel must be accompanied by an adult, parent or guardian aged over 18 years old.
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We do have holidays that are suitable for wheelchair users, however the person using the wheelchair will need to be able to get on and off the coach if a coach tour is booked. Our coaches are not suitable for someone who is wheelchair reliant as we can only take folding wheelchairs that are stored in the luggage compartment.

We cannot guarantee that assistance will be available for the disabled person / wheelchair user and such bookings will only be accepted if that person is travelling with an able-bodied person who is fully able to attend to the needs of his/her co-traveller.

Passengers travelling by Eurostar in standard class seats must be able to walk 200 yards (183 metres) unaided. Please note; only collapsible wheelchairs are permitted on board standard class Eurostar coaches, as these must be stored in the luggage storage areas. Any passengers who are wheelchair reliant are required to be allocated in the 'Standard Premier' coaches where wheelchair user spaces are located. As these spaces are limited to 1 per train you must advise us immediately if you require them in order that we can reserve with Eurostar.

Excursions on our tours visit places of interest and public buildings. These may not be able to accommodate people with walking difficulties and wheelchair access may not be available. Excursions which include sightseeing tours may involve walking long distances and sometimes over cobbled or uneven surfaces.

The accommodation we use on our tours may not have ground floor rooms and in some instances lifts will not always be available. Occasionally access to your hotel may involve walking distances from the coach park and some hotels have a flight of steps to the Reception.

It is very important that checks are made with regard to the suitability of a tour for you prior to you make any booking with us.