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'A Visitor's Companion to Tudor England' by Suzannah Lipscomb

Updated: Jun 22, 2022

This volume I've read so many times I've lost count. Let me start with the cover - it's so beautiful and pleasing to the eye, it should be its own poster, it should be available on tote bags and be seen on billboards.

Of course, I'm not judging the book by its cover but merely the cover itself (note - cover design may differ in different editions, mine was blue).

The book itself is a breakdown of fifty locations in England that are connected to the Tudors. But it's not a book only about the palaces, castles and fortresses - it's also very much about the Tudors themselves.

And through this architectural mosaic the reader gets to meet all the important players of the era, even Richard III, whose story ends just as Henry Tudor's begins. You also get to meet the Bard himself, and Dr. John Dee, Elizabeth's astrologer and also Mary Queen of Scots, who was, of course, Tudor through her grandmother and thus had a claim to the throne. In between the Tudor narrative chapters, the author kindly included little insights into the everyday life during this era, i.e. pastimes, sport, portraiture etc. She also included important information on visiting all the locations: their opening hours, how to get there etc.

Here are a few documentaries on some of my favourite locations covered in the book:

Hampton Court Palace

The Mary Rose - Henry VIII's lost ship

Kenilworth Castle

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