Nick Lipscombe ~ Battlefield Tours 2023

The tour begins with a drive down the Tagus Valley to Toledo before taking in the battle at Talavera; then to the crossing at Almaraz before heading towards the Portuguese border. Here we take in the bloodiest battle of the Peninsular War at Albuera and the equally brutal siege at Badajoz. Then to the fortified town of Elvas, Portugal, a UNESCO world heritage site steeped in history, before heading north again via the atmospheric Roman bridge at Alcántara and onto the 14th Century Parador at Ciudad Rodrigo. Back across to Portugal and the perfectly preserved fortified town of Almeida where we examine the action across the River Coa. It was here that 'Black' Bob Craufurd so nearly lost the elite Light Division. The major battle on the border at Fuentes de Oñoro is visited in detail, along with a trip to Wellington’s headquarters at Freineda. Finally, we travel to Salamanca, a beautiful and culturally rich city with the best preserved Peninsular War battlefield. You will stay at great hotels and have every opportunity to witness and enjoy Spanish hospitality and culture in these varied regions of central and western Spain.
14 - 21 September 2023
The Classic Peninsular War Tour
The Classic English Civil War 1642 -1651
16 - 24 July 2023
Wellington Invades France ~ The Pyrenees Tour
19 - 27 April 2023
After achieving the decisive victory over the French at Salamanca in July 1812, Wellington liberated Madrid but then over-extended his army at Burgos and was forced into a harrowing retreat. The following year, determined not to make the same mistake, he drove back three French armies and defeated them in the epic encounter at Vitoria. The French withdrew and fought with their backs to the Pyrenees trying to prevent the unthinkable – the invasion of France. Wellington captured San Sebastian and fought a series of battles in the Pyrenees before judging the time right to commence the invasion. After two more battles at the end of 1813, at the Nivelle and the Nive, Soult was pushed eastwards towards Toulouse where the last encounter of the war was fought in April 1814. This tour follows the Great North Road from Madrid towards the great French border fortress of Bayonne and then eastwards to Toulouse. En route we cross some magnificent terrain and great rivers, once formidable barriers. From the top of the dominating mountains of the western Pyrenees we will gain stunning views over much of the campaign area. We will travel along the often turbulent coast of the Bay of Biscay and visit the harbour havens so crucial to the resupply of Wellington’s army.
The English Civil Wars (1642-51) comprised the deadliest conflict ever fought on British soil. Although much historical attention has focused on the events in England and the key battles of Edgehill, Marston Moor and Naseby, this was a conflict that engulfed the entirety of the Three Stuart Kingdoms, led to a trial and execution of the King, the establishment of a Republic, and profoundly shaped the history of Britain and Ireland.
Churchill, in his History of the English-Speaking Peoples, wrote of the English Civil War that ‘underlying the apparently clear-cut constitutional issue was a religious and class conflict’.
Suggesting that one of the main drivers was based on class and material considerations is both misleading and unhelpful; yet this vision of the wars as David (in the guise of the Parliamentarians) rising up against Goliath (the Royalists) pervades. This was simply not the case. In the English Civil War brother fought against brother, and father against son and nothing has imprinted itself so deeply on the nation’s memory as this national civil struggle of the mid seventeenth-century.

This classic English Civil War tour (the first complete English Civil War tour run by Nick for The Cultural Experience) will concentrate on the first and most significant of the three civil wars; namely the first, that ran from 1642 - 1646.  We will take in the three major battles of Edgehill, Marston Moor and Naseby as well as the King’s capital, Oxford, and the key battles and sieges in the 1643-44 period, that led to a military impasse and the creation by Parliament of the of the New Model Army which broke the gordian knot.