Follow in the footsteps of the Last Anglo-Saxon King of England, Harold Godwinson, as he fights to defend his fledgling kingdom. Visit the battlefields near York at Fulford and Stanford Bridge; before travelling south to Pevensey on the East Sussex coast where William Duke of Normandy came ashore. Explore the battlefield at Battle near Hastings where the fate of the English crown was to be decided.
Join one of our Expert guides on a tour of the 1066 Battlefields, follow the battles and see how they developed.
On 5th January 1066, King Edward the Confessor died following a coma without a bloodline heir. Before passing away, however, he briefly regained consciousness and placed his widow and the kingdom into Harold's "protection". When the Witenagemot, a meeting of the nobles of England, convened the next day they selected Harold as King Edward's successor and he was crowned the following day.
Harold Godwinson was not, however, the only claimant to the English throne; his most notable rivals being Harold Hardrada, King of Norway, and William, Duke of Normandy. In response to Harold Godwinson's coronation these two rivals began gethering their forces.
King Harold perceived the greatest threat to be from Normandy and assembled his troops on the Isle of Wight ready to face an invasion across the English Channel. William's fleet, however, remained in port for almost seven months and on 8th September 1066, with provisions running low, King Harold disbanded his army and returned to London. That very same day, Harold Hardrada joined Harold Godwinson's renegade brother Tostig and invaded; landing with his fleet at the mouth of the River Tyne.
Arrive at your hotel and check yourself in. In the evening we gather together and you are introduced to you battlefield historian / guide.
We begin our tour of the 1066 battlefields with a visit to the Battle of Fulford battlefield. It was here that Harold Hardrada, King of Norway, and Tostig, King Harold's renegade brother, defeated the northern English nobles, Edwin Earl of Mercia and Morcar Earl of Northumbria, on 20th September 1066 before laying seige to York itself. The citizens of York surrendered four days later and agreed to send representatives to Stamford bridge the next day to meet with Hardrada and Tostig to decide the city's fate.
Following lunch, we visit the Battle of Stanford Bridge battlefield. On receiving news of Harold Hardrada's and Tosig's landing in the north, King Harold led his army north and in just four days arrived at Tadcaster on 24th September 1066, just seven miles from the anchored Norwegian fleet which was at Riccall. The next day he marched his army through York and out to the east of the city towards Stamford Bridge. Hardrada and Tostig, expecting to receive the citizens of York had left their base that morning clad only in light armour. As they waited they saw the glint of helmets approaching and soon realised that King Harold with his heavily armoured host was descending upon them. Legend has it that the bridge at Stamford was held by a single Norseman giving time for Harold Hardrada and Tostig to regroup their small force into a shield-wall formation. King Harold's Englishmen, however, crossed by a nearby ford and soon battle was joined. Harold Hardrada's army was defeated; the King of Norway being struck in the throat by an arrow and killed early in the battle.
We return to our York hotel for the second night of your tour and dinner can be taken in the hotel or city as you prefer.
We leave our York hotel at 9.00 am to begin our journey south to Hastings. On arrival we check into our Hastings hotel and you have the remainder of the day at your leisure.
Whilst King Harold was occupied in the north, dealing with Harold Hardrada's and Tosig's invasion, William's fleet had set sail from Dives-sur-Mer. Several of William's ships sank in the Channel storms and his fleet was forced to take shelter at Saint-Valery-sur-Somme and wait for a more favourable wind. On 27th September 1066 the wind changed and the Norman fleet finally set sail for England. Duke William and his Normans landed at Pevensey on the coast of East Sussex the following day.
King Harold's victory at Stamford Bridge was thus was short-lived and he had to turn his army around and march 241 miles (386 kilometres) to intercept William. On arriving at a spot to the north of Hastings King Harold's army built an earthworks barring William's direct route to London; King Harold had the advantage, all he had to do was wait for reinforcements to arrive and then push William back into the sea. Duke William knew that he had to act before Harold's force was reinforced and so brought his forces closer to Harold's. The armies of the two opposing claimants clashed at Senlac Hill (near the present town of Battle) on 14th October 1066.
We begin day four of our tour visiting Pevensey, the site of Duke William's landing. We also take the opportunity to visit Pevensey Castle, and excellent example of an English castle that chronicles more graphically than any other fortress the story of Britain's south coast defences.
In the afternoon we visit the battlefield at Battle where the fate of the English Crown was decided after nine hours of hard fighting when King Harold was killed and his forces routed. King Harold's forced march to fight Harold Hardrada and Tostig at Stamford Bridge and then move at utmost speed south to meet the Norman invasion, all in less than three weeks, is widely seen as a primary factor in William's victory at Hastings. Indeed, William's victory was a tight run thing as he was close to defeat when Harold was slain.
Following our tour of the Battle of Hastings battlefield we return to Hastings where you have the option to stay another night at our Hastings hotel or being dropped off at Hastings station for your onward travel as you prefer.
The typical cost for a 4 day / 4 night In the footsteps® of 1066 — A Year that Changed the Course of English History tour is £968.00 GBP * per person.
This price per person are based upon:
A supplement of £160.00 GBP * applies where single occupancy is required.
A deposit of 30% or £200.00 per person, whichever is the greater, is payable on booking.
An additional supplement may apply for anniversary dates to cover any increase in the associated costs.
Booking indicates your acceptance of our Tour Terms and Conditions.
* The costs may vary from those shown above due to the availability and selection of hotels and other associated costs.
All of our Flexi tours are fully customisable to allow you to see the sites that are most important to you. Where changes to the standard itinerary are made there may be an additional charge to cover the associated additional costs.
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