Alfred the Great

Alfred the Great

Visit: Alfred the Great, Battlefields

With a heritage going back over many decades, Holts has become synonymous for high quality in-depth Battlefield and Historical tours. In the following collection of tours, we have focused on a selection of Historical tours covering a period of British History over the past centuries. All of these tours are led by Dr. Michael Jones, who has been guiding tours for over 20 years and his particular interest is in battlefield psychology.

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    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’.

    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

    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

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

    • Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

    At a Glance

    Tour Includes

    • 2 nights hotel with English breakfast
    • 1 lunch & 2 evening meals
    • Specialist Historical Guide
    • Travel by executive coach

    Included Excursions & Visits

    • Historical visits as described

    Optional Excursions & Visits


    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. 

    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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    You will stay for two nights at the 4-star Holiday Inn Bristol City Centre. Within walking distance of Bristol's main attractions, the hotel offers state-of-the-art rooms, a restaurant and bar.

    If you prefer, then you can join the tour at the hotel. To do this, we will require a copy of your passport for identification purposes and you must advise us at the time of booking.

    No reduction will be given if you should choose to do this.

    All hotel rooms benefit from private bathroom facilities.
    Some hotels have tea and coffee making facilities. Please check the tour pages for more information or call our Customer Service Department on 01709 830333.
    Most hotels have a lift, please call our Customer Service Department on 01709 830333 for more information.
    Some hotels have ground floor rooms. Please email for information on individual hotels or call our Customer Service Department on 01709 830333.
    Your hotels will supply towels in your room.

    We are unable to guarantee that the hotel will be able to meet your dietary requirements. We find that the majority of European countries do not generally cater for vegetarians and that the meal supplied may well be what everyone else is having minus the meat.

    We will of course endeavour to arrange for a vegetarian meal at the hotel. We do however suggest that you advise us of your dietary requests at the time of booking and recommend that you speak to the receptionist on arrival with regard to your request.

    Departure times given for each region are approximate. Please check your travel documents to confirm the actual timings.

    Front row seats can be reserved for £14pp (up to 6 days duration), £22pp (7 & 8 days duration) and £25pp (9 days duration and over) on all European tours. In addition to this seats on the second row can be reserved for £7pp (up to 6 days duration), £14pp (7 & 8 days duration) and £15pp (9 days duration and over). This offer is only available for bookings of two or four persons on the front row and is subject to availability. Guaranteed front/second row seats cannot be reserved on feeder journeys to/from the U.K. port. Children under 15 years cannot occupy a front row seat due to French Law.

    Please note: On some coaches the legroom on front seats may be slightly less than that available on other seats due to the presence of a modesty board in front.

    If your tour is cancelled for any reason and front/second row seats are not available on your new tour you will be refunded the supplement. No other compensation will be payable.

    Alternatively, we can take seating requests on your booking. However, requests are not guaranteed. All seat numbers are confirmed on travel documents approximately 7-10 days prior to departure.

    We guarantee that all passengers on the same booking will be seated together on the main tour coach. Seats on the transfer coaches to and from the U.K. port are not allocated.
    Hot and cold drinks are served on the main tour coaches. Prices are approximately £1 or 1.25 Euro per drink. Prices will be confirmed by the driver. Drinks may also be served on the transfer coaches but this is not guaranteed.

    Transfer coaches are routed approximately 2-3 weeks before departure and will depend on where passengers are booked to travel from on any particular date as to which route is taken. If you require further detailed information regarding the route to the port you can contact our Customer Service Department on 01709 830333 two weeks before you are due to travel.

    With regard to the route taken by the main tour coach, this is determined by the driver.

    All main tour coaches have on-board toilets. Transfer coaches to and from the U.K. port may not have on-board toilets. When non-British coaches are used on transfers and tours (air or TGV holidays only) an on-board toilet may not be available. However, comfort stops will be made during long journeys.
    All coaches feature air-conditioning. Should the air-conditioning system break down for a period exceeding 12 hours, compensation will be awarded up to a maximum of £10 per fare-paying passenger per tour.
    We operate a passenger interchange at the Channel port. Transfer coaches, including taxis, minibuses, Megabus and National Express operate to and from the U.K. port. You will join your main tour coach at the port.
    One medium sized suitcase per person, which should weigh no more than 20kg when full. We may refuse to carry larger or heavier cases. Hand luggage can be stored in the overhead racks aboard the coach.
    It could be either - This will be confirmed in your travel documents.

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    01709 787 463