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Expert: Dr Richard Plant Dr Richard Plant

Leon and Burgos

We visit Burgos, the historic capital of Castile, which is dominated by its glorious Gothic cathedral, the final resting place of the semi-legendary El Cid. Surrounded by splendidly rich monasteries, reminders of the alliance of militant Catholicism and regal might that birthed the modern Spanish state, Burgos offers the perfect opening act to this tour. We continue to León, similarly, crowned by its spectacular cathedral. Founded c.29BC as the military encampment of Legio VI Victrix, it rose to prominence in 910 when the Christian princes of Asturias shifted the capital of the Kingdom of León from nearby Oviedo. During this era, the kingdom held an active role in the Reconquista against the Moors, subsequently becoming one of the most important in mediaeval Spain before it was consolidated with the Crown of Castile in 1301. Today, León wears its history lightly: its noble looks conceal a lively Spanish atmosphere that is sure to enchant all who visit.

6 days from £2,470pp Departure Dates

Your Tour Includes

  • Return flights from London to Bilbao with Vueling
  • 3 nights’ bed and breakfast at the 4-star NH Collection Palacio de Burgos
  • 2 nights’ bed and breakfast at the 4-star NH Collection Plaza Mayor Leon
  • 2 evening meals and 3 lunches
  • Guided visits to sites listed in the programme
  • Services of your expert lecturer and Tour Manager
  • Detailed programme and study notes
Experts
Dr Richard Plant

Dr Richard Plant

Richard is an Architectural historian specialising in the Middle Ages and with a strong interest in the modern. After reading English at Cambridge, he obtained an MA in the History of Art and a PhD on English Romanesque and the Holy Roman Empire at the Courtauld. He went on to teach at the Courtauld, as well as at University College and Queen Mary College, London, where he taught both medieval and modern architectural history. He was formerly the Deputy Academic Director at Christie’s Education. He has published on English and German architecture.

Itinerary

Overview

Morning flight from London Heathrow to Bilbao. Transfer by private coach to Burgos to check in to our 4-star hotel. After some time to settle in and take an independent lunch, we travel by coach to Las Huelgas. Founded in 1187 by King Alfonso VIII and Queen Eleanor, this monastery features several impressive royal tombs and an unsurpassed collection of mediaeval textiles. Return to Burgos for a group dinner at the hotel.

Includes Dinner

Overview

Leave the hotel on foot to explore Burgos Cathedral, the city’s artistic jewel, featuring work by Simón de Colonia and Diego de Siloé, and the breathtaking Condestable’s Chapel. Afterwards, we continue our stroll through the streets of Burgos, taking in some of the vestiges of mediaeval splendour before breaking for an independent lunch. In the afternoon, travel by coach to the stunning Miraflores Charterhouse, constructed by Isabella I of Castille. Fusing lavish decoration with both heraldic and dynastic display, the charterhouse represents the high point of the Hispano-Flemish artistic style. Return to Burgos for an evening at leisure.

Includes Breakfast

Included Highlights

Burgos Cathedral

Overview

By coach to Santo Domingo de Silos to visit the impressive monastery, a masterpiece of Romanesque art. Renewed in the 11th and 12th centuries, it is renowned for its magnificent two-storey cloister, which features many exquisite and profusely carved capitals. Coach transfer to Covarrubias for a group lunch before continuing to the Church of Quintanilla de las Viñas. The humble exterior of this shrine belies a wonderful interior, rich in carved friezes and capitals depicting angels, birds, vines, and fantastical beasts, as well as what is thought to be the earliest representation of Christ in Spanish religious art. Return to Burgos for an evening at leisure.

Includes Breakfast

Includes Lunch

Included Highlights

Santo Domingo de Silos

Overview

Bid farewell to Burgos this morning as we journey west towards León, taking in several sites en route. Our first stop is Frómista, one of the key buildings in the formation of Iberian Romanesque, richly sculpted with a repertoire of forms to become widespread in the peninsular'. We then head to Carrión de los Condes, where we will see the beautiful Romanesque Church of Santa Maria, notable for its highly decorative façade, and visit the Monastery of San Zoilo. An emblematic stop for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago, this Cluniac monastery from the 11th-12th centuries was rebuilt in the 16th century, when its famed Gothic cloister was added. Travel on to San Miguel de Escalada to visit the monastery there. Founded by Cordoban monks in the 10th century, it is a wonderful example of the Mozarabic style. After a group lunch, we continue to León, checking into our hotel before enjoying an introductory walk through the centre of this picturesque city. The evening is free for your own activities.

Includes Breakfast

Includes Lunch

Included Highlights

Frómista

Overview

Set out on foot to explore León’s spectacular cathedral. Once the royal palace of King Ordoño II, after he defeated the Arabs in the Battle of San Esteban de Gormaz in 917 he had the palace rebuilt as a cathedral, a sign of gratitude to God for the victory. The cathedral was remodelled once more before the 13th century, when construction of the Gothic style seen today was begun. It is remarkable for its 130 stained glass windows, including 3 large rose windows. In the afternoon, visit León’s star attraction, the beautiful Basilica of San Isidoro, one of the most important examples of the Romanesque style in Spain. Inside, the Royal Pantheon, adorned with unusual Visigothic capitals and wonderfully preserved 12th-century murals, is particularly special. A group dinner in the evening marks our final night in Spain.

Includes Breakfast

Includes Dinner

Included Highlights

León

Overview

Check out of our hotel after breakfast and travel by coach to Oviedo. Just outside the city lies the Church of Santa María del Naranco, a wonderfully preserved example of Spanish pre-Romanesque architecture with an unusually tall and narrow form and many fine sculptural adornments. Continue to the Church of San Julián de los Prado. Another fine example of the pre-Romanesque style, it was the largest Christian structure in Spain up until the 11th century and its muraled interior is particularly lovely. Afterwards, enjoy a final lunch together before we continue to Bilbao airport for our return flight to London.

Includes Breakfast

Includes Lunch

Accommodation

You will stay for three nights at the NH Collection Palacio de Burgos, and 2 nights at the Hotel Real Colegiata in Leon.

Nh Collection Palacio De Burgos

With its atmospheric Gothic stone cloisters and fascinating 500-year history, the magnificent NH Collection Palacio de Burgos, formerly known as NH Palacio de la Merced, is located by the River Arlazón near the glorious UNESCO-protected Burgos Cathedral. The magnificent late-Gothic building that houses the NH Collection Palacio de Burgos hotel has served many different purposes over the last five hundred years: a convent, a military hospital, an academy for army engineers and a Jesuit college. Work on its most beautiful feature, the distinctive stone cloister, began in the 16th-century under architect Juan de Vallejo. The hotel’s 110 exquisite rooms are designed to reflect the grandeur of this historic building. Spacious and inviting, the Superior rooms and elegant Junior suite have river and cathedral views.

Hotel Facilities

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General
  • 4 Star
  • Restaurant
Room
  • Air Conditioning
  • Free Wifi
Hotel
  • Restaurant
  • WiFi Available