Stockholm - Royalty, Empire and Enlightenment

Prices from £2,590


19 May 2019 - 24 May 2019
Duration: 5 nights
Ref: 19STOC
With: Dr Anne Anderson


Prices from £2,590
Single Supplement: £590
Deposit: £200

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This new Art Pursuits Abroad tour follows Sweden’s emergence from its mediaeval past into a European power and centre of learning in the early modern age. The inauguration of the Vasa dynasty in 1532 by Gustav I transformed Swedish culture as the crown took on building projects and bought new artisans to the realm. Sweden’s military successes in the Thirty Years’ War established the nation as one of Europe’s leading kingdoms by 1648 and bought home both wealth and treasure. The Vasa kings rebuilt their palaces, founded new towns, undertook colonial adventures in the New World, and encouraged transformative learning at intellectual centres like Uppsala.

Our base for this tour will be glorious Stockholm, Venice of the North, where historic beauty rubs shoulders with modern Scandi cool but where, unlike its Italian counterpart, the air and water are said to be the freshest of any European city. Through an exploration of wonderful museums and magnificent architecture, this study tour will contextualise the important role played by city and country in European history.


Anne is a writer, lecturer and broadcaster with a background in archaeology, who is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. As an art historian, Anne specialises in art of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, particularly the Aesthetic movement, Arts & Crafts, Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Modernism. She lectures widely for many organiastions including the Arts Society.

DAY 1:

Late morning flight a c. 11.00am with BA from London Heathrow to Stockholm. En route to Stockholm, our private coach transfer will take us first to Sigtuna, a pretty lakeside town and the oldest in Sweden, which retains its mediaeval layout. Continue to Stockholm to check into our hotel.

DAY 2:

Explore the streets of Gamla Stan – Stockholm’s Old Town – on foot. This part of the city dates back to the 13th century and is a tapestry of cobbled roads, mediaeval alleyways and grand buildings, including Storkyrkan, The Great Church, a significant example of Swedish brick Gothic, and the magisterial Royal Palace. In the afternoon, we explore two ecclesiastical examples of 17th-century imperial architecture; St Jakobs, with its vibrant red façade, and the octagonal Hedvig Eleonora, so named after the wife of King Charles X of Sweden. In the nearby Swedish History Museum, we will discover a fascinating collection of gold treasures, mediaeval art and relics from Sweden’s involvement in the Thirty Years’ War. In the evening, some free time to spend as you wish.

DAY 3:

After breakfast we depart the city for Gripsholm Castle, on the shores of Lake Mälaren, which was built by Gustav I in 1537. The castle contains some beautifully preserved interiors, in particular Duke Karl’s Chamber, a 16th-century state room, and Gustav III’s glorious theatre. Gripsholm is also home to the national portrait collection, and our visit will bring us face to face with some of the most prominent Swedes in history. In the afternoon, we return to Stockholm for a visit to the newly renovated Nationalmuseum, where we will take in art of the imperial age, and further masterpieces looted during the Thirty Years’ War.

DAY 4:

An all-day excursion to Uppsala, Sweden’s historic second city and bastion of learning. Our first stop will be the Linnaeus Museum and Gardens; founded in 1665 by Olof Rudbeck and restored to Carl Linnaeus’ and Carl Hårleman’s design from 1745, the botanical gardens are home to some 1,300 species. Uppsala Castle, which watches over the city, is another architectural legacy from the rule of Gustav I, and we will explore its chequered history before continuing to the Museum Gustavianum, which is housed in an old university building. Most notably, the museum is home to the world’s second oldest anatomical theatre, where unfortunate individuals were once gruesomely dissected under the public gaze. We round off our day on a more uplifting note at Uppsala Cathedral, where the treasury is home to one of Europe’s finest collections of religious garments and fabrics. Return to Stockholm.

DAY 5:

Our first visit this morning will take us to the Vasa Ship Museum- a warship sunk in Stockholm’s waters during its maiden voyage in 1628. It remained on the sea bed for 333 years until it was salvaged in 1961, when its largely intact hull was found to have protected thousands of objects. We then transfer by private coach to Drottningholm Palace, a royal palace beyond the city limits built in 1661. The grounds of this UNESCO World Heritage site contain 17th-century baroque gardens and a Chinese Pavillion, a birthday gift from King Adolf Fredrik to Queen Lovisa Ulrika in 1753. We will also pay a visit to the Museum De Vries, which showcases bronze sculptures dating back to the 1600s, many of which were once dotted throughout the Drottningholm Palace Park. In the afternoon, we return to Stockholm for a boat trip around the city, a relaxing way to spend our final afternoon together.

DAY 6:

After breakfast we bid farewell to Stockholm and depart the city for Rosersberg Slott, a 17th-century palace with interiors untouched since the 1800s, and a contemporary English garden. We continue to the airport for an afternoon flight with BA, landing at London Heathrow at c. 5.30pm.

Please note that at this stage the programme is still provisional. Although we aim at the greatest degree of accuracy from the outset, some details, especially the order of visits, may be subject to change.


Specific fitness requirements for this Study Tour:

This tour involves a lot of walking, up and downhill, and sometimes on uneven ground or pavements; museum and site visits require prolonged periods of standing without the possibility of a rest. Coach journeys should not exceed one hour in length.

Please note that all our Study Tours involve a significant amount of standing and walking, often across uneven ground, over cobbled streets, or up and down steps and inclines. While we do not have an upper age limit for participants, we require you to have a level of fitness which does not spoil other participents' enjoyment of the holiday and you should be able to walk at a reasonable pace and / or stand for at least thirty minutes without aid or requiring a rest.

If you are in any doubt as to whether a particular tour is suitable for you, please ring us to check before placing your booking.


Twin/double share: £2590 per person
Double room for sole use supplement: £590
Price of the tour without flights: £2490 per person
Deposit: £200 per person


  • Scheduled return flights (economy class) with BA between London Heathrow and Stockholm Arlanda
  • Five nights B&B in the centrally located four- star First Hotel Reisen
  • Transfers between airport and hotel and excursions by private coach
  • Two dinners and one lunch
  • Services of the lecturers
  • Guided visits to all sites listed in the programme
  • Services of the lecturer and a tour manager
  • Detailed programme and study notes
  • All entrance fees, taxes, and gratuities for coach drivers and waiters
  • Small group between 12 and 22 participants


  • Transport between home and London Heathrow
  • Travel insurance. We strongly advise you to be covered by adequate travel insurance

First Hotel Reisen****

A charming waterfront hotel in Stockholm’s Old Town, a short walk away from the Royal Palace and the main shopping district. The hotel’s interior design takes influence from the hotel’s waterfront location with classic maritime features.


  • Free WiFi
  • Television


Restaurant Reisen offers an executive waterfront dining experience and nominated as one of the top 3 bars in the city is the hotel’s Reisen Bar - a popular meeting place. In the hotel’s 1600’s vaulted cellar you will find a luxury spa.