Specialist Tours

With a number of years of experience of providing specialist tours, Spirit of the Place is committed to continuing to provide different and unusual tour concepts. 

Examples of past specialist tours have included a series of private country house tours, for KCWC (Kensington & Chelsea Women's Circle)in 2010, a tour of Harry Clarke Stained Glass in Dublin (2016) and most recently Harry Clarke Stained Glass in County Mayo.


Planning is now complete for the following tours,  which will take place during 2018

Harry Clarke and Others: Stained Glass in Cork and South West Ireland

Monday 14 May – Saturday 19 May (Five nights) Cost: £1000

This tour continues the series of tours to Ireland, which encompass much of the output of Harry Clarke and his Studio, as well as the stained glass of contemporaries and more recent designers. The stained glass and associated buildings of Cork and the South West of Ireland are particularly rich in not just the work of Harry Clarke but also a host of others well known and not so well known, such as Maud Cotter, Hubert McGoldrick, Evie Hone, James Scanlon, Sarah Purser, Alfred Child, Richard King, Catherine O’Brien.

Based in Cork, we will be spending two days in the city, taking in the two cathedrals (St. Fin Barre’s C of I cathedral was designed by William Burges) a number of other churches as well as the famous Honan Chapel at the University of Cork, the Crawford Art Gallery (with an outstanding collection of Clarke’s work) and the Lewis Glucksman Gallery.

In addition there will be trips along the stunning coasts and inland to visit a further range of churches and cathedrals, in counties Cork, Waterford, Limerick, such as Cobh, Cloyne, Crosshaven, Castletownsend, Castlehaven, Killorglin, Kinsale, Limerick, and Dumore East.

Churches and Stained Glass from the Tyne to the Wear

Sunday July 1 – Wednesday July 4 (Four Nights) Cost: £850

 Between two great and defining rivers of the North East of England, which were to play such a significant national role in the development of the Industrial Revolution, the great cities of Newcastle upon Tyne and Sunderland along with their satellite communities, developed apace for more than two hundred years. The resultant expansion and wealth creation led to a boom in church building and decoration. The results are a series of remarkable and often nationally important buildings and interiors, which liberally dot the suburbs of Newcastle, Sunderland and Durham. In many cases they are virtually unknown.

The churches range from ES Prior’s masterpiece at Roker to utterly unknown churches such as St Luke’s, Wallsend, St. Peter’s Wallsend, Earsdon, Gateshead, Jesmond, Gosforth, Old Elvet, Bensham, Houghton etc.

These churches allow for an unrivalled range of designers and artists to be viewed, such as Kempe, Wilhelmina Geddes, Michael Healey, Ethel Rhind, ES Prior, Burne Jones, William Morris, Ford Madox Brown, Gill, Gimson, Payne, Comper, Lionel Evetts, Nuttgens, Tom Denny etc.

Add to this potent mix, the Saxon buildings at Monkwearmouth, Escomb, Jarrow and Corbridge, and you can see that this is very much a journey not only into the virtually unknown but also an historical trip to the earliest moments of Christian art and architecture in Britain.

French Cathedrals & Churches 1 – From Romanesque to Flamboyant Gothic

Tuesday 28 August – Sunday 2 September 2018 (Five Nights) Cost: £1350.00

This is the first of a series of tours which will introduce you to not only the famous but also the less well known Cathedrals, Abbeys and Churches of France.

In this first tour the regions of Normandy, the Pas De Calais and parts of Picardie provide a wealth of examples to allow an examination of the development from Romanesque (Caen, Bayeux) to Gothic (Amiens, Chartres, Lisieux, Rouen) and on through the Flamboyant Gothic (Rouen St. Maclou) to the Renaissance. The region is also home to some of the greatest concentrations of mediaeval stained glass in the world, with such locations as Chartres and Le Mans and Rouen most prominent. Add to this some of the greatest surviving ensembles of Gothic sculpture as well as monuments from all periods and you have a feast of ecclesiastical treasures.

Churches and Stained Glass of Cornwall

Sunday September 30 – Wednesday 3 October (Four Nights) Cost: £850.00

Look beyond the justly famous coastlines and places, which make Cornwall so memorable and you will find communities which are scattered both on the coasts and inland between the coasts and upon the moors. These communities very often bear the name of Celtic Saints, whose presence pervades these landscapes caught between a pagan and early Christian past. The exploitation of the Cornish mineral cornucopia in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries led to expansion of towns and the rebuilding and refurbishment of many churches serving large and small communities alike.

This wealth led to many of the great architects, designers and artists being commissioned. In just a few days you will have been introduced to a new pantheon of saints with wonderful names such as Petrock, Endellion, Buryan, Levan, Clether, Neot, Nonna and Winnow.

A surprising amount of stone carving and mediaeval woodwork also awaits the visitor. As to nineteenth and twentieth century interiors, the work of the Seddings, Eden and Comper can be seen to full effect, along with stained glass, from the magnificent mediaeval sequence at St Neot to some of the best stained glass by Burne Jones. Add to this glass by Clayton and Bell, Morris and Co, Kempe, Comper and Anning Bell and you can see that there is a treasure trove waiting to be explored.

Such places as Altarnun, Blisland, Ladock, St Michael Penkevil, St Buryan, Zennor, Breage, Little Petherick,North Hill, Lanreath join the more familiar places such as Morwenstow, St Germans, St Neot and St Just in Roseland.

Add to this the incomparable settings of so many of these churches and you have a magical combination.

Houses, Gardens, Castles and Abbeys of the Borders

Sunday October 14 – Friday October 19 2018 (Five Nights) Cost: £950.00

 The Scottish Borders is an area fabulously rich in a range of historic sites, ranging from evocative ruins of abbeys and castles, through to magnificent houses, collections and their gardens. All of this is set against a backdrop of stunning scenery. Based in Kelso, at the Cross Keys Hotel, the tour will include visits to seven houses and gardens plus five abbeys and priories. These include Bowhill, Abbotsford, Manderston, Mellerstain, Floors Castle, Traquair, Paxton, the abbeys of Kelso, Jedburgh, Dryburgh, Melrose and Coldingham Priory.

Churches and Stained Glass of Herefordshire

Sunday 28 October – Wednesday 31 October (Four Nights) Cost: £850.00

Herefordshire is one of the least known and visited of the English counties. Its wonderfully deep and lush valleys, which roll towards the Welsh borders, have an almost secretive feel about them. It is a very intense and personal landscape, which harbours some wonderful treasures.  To the east the Malvern Hills rise and act as visual and physical barrier before the modern trappings of the M5 motorway, railway lines and large-scale settlement and suburbia.

To assume that Herefordshire is merely the county of the twelfth century school of sculpture (Kilpeck, Castle Frome, Eardisley, Rowlstone, Moccas etc) is to dismiss some wonderful mediaeval stained glass (Eaton Bishop and Madley).

In fact the county has a comprehensive representation of stained glass by amongst others Comper, Christopher Webb, Geoffrey Webb, AK Nicholson, AJ Davies, Aldrich Rope, Morris & Co and Christopher Whall.

There are exceptional monuments (Much Marcle). A rare Tudor interior will be seen at St. Margaret’s. At Shobden is possibly the greatest Gothick interior in the entire country. The nineteenth and twentieth centuries are well represented with Seddon’s Italian Romanesque inspired Hoarwithy and Lethaby’s magnum opus at Brockhampton being the most important. These exemplars aside it is such delightfully remote places as Brinsop, with its Comper fittings and stained glass complementing the Norman sculpture and mediaeval architecture, set in an achingly beautiful arcadia, which linger long in the memory.

Included in the price:

Dinner, Bed and Breakfast; travel during the tour; all entry fees and donations.

Please note that there is NO SINGLE SUPPLEMENT

On request a booking form will be sent to you, which should be returned with a deposit of £200 per person per tour

If you are interested in any of these programmes please contact me, by email, as there will be only limited places available. All of the programmes will have no more than 15 places.