William the Conqueror Tour
1066 signalled a major crux in the Middles Ages, when Anglo-Saxon England was conquered by the illegitimate son of a Norman Duke. Edward the Confessor died, sparking a three-way battle for the English throne. William, Duke of Normandy, boasting a very tenuous claim to the throne, landed on the south coast and overthrew King Harold's army at the famous Battle of Hastings. Many of William's castles still stand today, nearly 1000 years on.
Tour highlights can include:
- October celebrations: relive the excitement of the Battle of Hastings, 950 years after William of Normandy defeated King Harold, as soldiers take part in a special re-enactment of the Battle.
- See the site of the Battle, Battle Abbey and a new exhibition exploring events leading up to the Battle and a detailed account of the Battle day itself.
- Pevensey, where William landed.
- Herstmonceux Castle with its wide moat and rolling parkland.
- Canterbury, which surrendered to William, with its medieval city walls and Gothic cathedral, where Thomas a Beckett was murdered by William's descendant Henry II.
- Dover, with its famous White Cliffs, where William strengthened his defences immediately after the Battle. Visit Dover Castle, a stronghold built by the Conqueror's descendant Henry II to safeguard England against further invasions.
- London with William's great Tower of London and Westminster Abbey, where he was crowned.
- Windsor Castle, one of William's first castles and the family home of British monarchs for almost 1000 years, making it the world's oldest and largest inhabited castle.
Photographs: Main image: 1066 Battle of Hastings Abbey & Battlefield Gatehouse © English Heritage; Battle of Hastings Annual Event © English Heritage; actor playing William the Conqueror, Tower of London © Historic Royal Palaces.