Wellington in Spain

A Classic Peninsular War Tour

BattlefieldHistory

Tour Introduction

This eight-day tour, the second in our series of ‘classic‘ of Peninsular War tours is led by award winning Peninsular War historian Nick Lipscombe> It visits some of the most beautiful and historic parts of central Spain and Wellington’s most notable battles and sieges during the period 1809 – 1812. We begin with a drive down the Tagus Valley to Talavera and on down to Badajoz and Albuera in the agricultural centre of Estremadura. 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 and the hardly-changed village of Fuentes de Oñoro. Finally we visit 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 western Spain.

Background

After his initial successes in twice driving out the French from Portugal, Wellington advanced towards Madrid to fight his first battle in Spain at Talavera in July 1809. Uncomfortable with the support that he received from his Spanish Allies, 1810 saw him recuperating in the rugged countryside along the Portuguese border fighting a series of small actions, particularly around Almeida and Ciudad Rodrigo, where the Light Division founded its legendary reputation. After defeating a third invasion of Portugal, he strengthened his position on the border with the twin sieges and bloody storming of Ciudad Rodrigo and Badjoz before making his second advance on Madrid which resulted in the classic encounter battle of Salamanca.

Highlights

  • With Peninsular War expert Col Nick Lipscombe
  • From Talavera to Salamanca via the border fortresses
  • Superb Parador hotels and historic towns
  • Wonderful and wild Extremadura countryside

"Deep knowledge, well delivered talks and willingness to explain all made for a wonderful experience. Nick's enthusiasm was infectious!

I had a great time and came home enthused about the relevant history and indeed Spain itself.

Anyone interested in this period of European history would surely enjoy this tour – historic events, Spanish countryside, wildlife, lovely old towns and wonderful accommodation – a very happy blend. Nick’s knowledge is truly impressive.

This was not the type of trip I would book (I go on nature tours) although I have travelled with Major Holts Battlefield Tours. I accompanied my friend on the premise I would do some bird watching. I was riveted due to the excellence of Nick’s knowledge and delivery. I reached a point at Salamanca that I was re-living the battle, rather distressing but amazing!"

All verbatim testimonials from recent clients

Itinerary

Day 1 – Fly from London to Madrid. Travel to Toledo and check-in to our hotel. Welcome drinks and introductory talk.

Day 2 – Talavera.
Walk the battlefield of Talavera and thence to the bridge at Almaraz, and Fort Napoleon to retrace the steps of General Hill’s raid of May 1812. Check-in to our 16th century convent Parador situated in the heart of the exquisite conquistador town of Trujillo.

Day 3 – Albuera and Badajoz.
At Albuera Marshal Beresford secured a narrow victory over Marshal Soult in what was the bloodiest battle of the entire war. Thence to the fortress town of Badajoz, captured at such tremendous cost, where we will see the site of the breaches, stormed by the Light and 4th divisions and the castle, scaled by Picton’s Fighting (3rd) Division. Cross over the border into Portugal, and check-in to our 4 star historic hotel built into the walls of this magnificently fortified town of Elvas.

Day 4 – Elvas & Alcantara.
Before leaving Elvas we pay our respects at the British Peninsular War Cemetery on the bastion walls. Then head north via the spectacular Roman bridge at Alcantara. Continue to Ciudad Rodrigo and check-in to our 14th century castle Parador for two nights.

Day 5 – Almeida, the Coa and Fuentes de Onoro.
On the River Coa we see where ‘Black Bob’ Craufurd so nearly lost his celebrated Light Division and whilst walking through the beautiful walled town of Almeida we see the remains of the castle which was destroyed in a cataclysmic explosion during the siege of 1810. Thence to the village of Fuentes de Oñoro to explore the field of the battle that raged for three days in early May 1811.

Day 6 – Ciudad Rodrigo.
From our parador we walk along the city walls to the cathedral. We walk-up the Greater Teson where the heavy siege guns were sited and inspect the Great Breach assaulted by Picton’s 3rd Division, and the Lesser Breach, attacked by the Light Division. Continue to Salamanca.

Day 7 – Salamanca.
Travel to the wonderful battlefield of Salamanca, one of Wellington’s finest victories. We climb the hill above Miranda de Azan and the Greater Arapile from where superb panoramas of the battlefield can be gained. There will be ample opportunity to continue exploration of the magnificent city later in the day.

Day 8 – Avila.
To Madrid, via a brief photo opportunity of the spectacular walled town of Avila, for our return flight to London.

Recommended Reading List

TCE Choice

Wellington in Spain

Tour Dates

13th - 20th September 2017 (8 Days)

Return flights from London, 4 star hotels, buffet breakfast, 3-course dinner with drinks each evening, all entrance fees and expert guide throughout.

ACTIVITY LEVEL: 2

Guide : Col Nick Lipscombe

Tour price: £2375.00

Single supplement: £265.00

Deposit: £225.00

Price without flights: £2225.00

Booking open

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Airport Hotels, Car Parking & Lounges

Extensions, Upgrades & Regional Flights

Tour Reviews

Journalist Simon Heptinstall travelled on our 2013 Classic Peninsula Tour. Read his account of the experience, which was published in Mail Online in October 2013

See what our clients have said about the tour: Click to read the latest reviews on Feefo

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