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Church History and Britain’s Victorian Century Tour
with The Interpreter Foundation

Thursday May 15 / Day 1: Depart From Home

Depart for Manchester, England. Overnight on the trans-Atlantic flight.

Friday / May 16 / Day 2: Liverpool

Arrive at the Manchester, England Airport. We meet our local guide, Peter Fagg. Our luggage is loaded onto our coach and we head to Liverpool. Liverpool, the Gateway to the New World. Liverpool served as the arrival point for hundreds of missionaries and the departure point for thousands of emigrants as they gathered to Zion throughout the 19th century. We take a tour around this famous city which, besides its LDS history, has had a long association with America (including slaves, cotton, and the claim that the first and final acts of the American Civil War took place here!). We visit the beautifully restored Albert Docks where we learn more about the life of an emigrant, see the Sea Trek monument, and discover a host of famous LDS names. After our visit to Liverpool, we drive to Chorley and check into our hotel. We enjoy dinner there and rest up from our travels. (D)

Saturday / May 17 / Day 3: The Lake District

The Lake District is famous for its beautiful lakes and mountains, but today we discover it also provided the beginnings of a Toronto miracle, helped save the Doctrine and Covenants, and created some great forerunners: Quakers, Romneys, William Wordsworth, and John Ruskin. We start with a morning stroll through Grasmere village to see Dove Cottage where Britain’s best loved Victorian poet William Wordsworth began his married life, where three of his children were born, and where some of his best poetry was written. He is the last of the Romantic poets and had two direct links with the LDS church. We take a cruise on Lake Windermere – the largest of all the lakes – to see the beauty of this area from a different angle. We visit some John Taylor sites where he was born, christened, worked and lived, and get to see the Taylors’ last home before the whole family emigrated to Canada. This is a valley of more than one Champion of Liberty. Overnight in Chorley. (B.D)

Sunday / May 18 / Day 4: Preston – Ribble Valley

Our day starts on the immaculately landscaped grounds of the Preston Temple site where we learn of the tender mercies that made its construction possible. We wander the streets of the City of Preston – The birthplace of British Mormonism – to follow in the footsteps of the first LDS missionaries to Britain and discover Joseph Smith’s dentist, the cursed stone, the 1842 riot, the powerful Reverend Wilson, Heber C. Kimball’s amazing prophecy, LDS shorthand, and the Deseret Alphabet. We visit all of the well-known sites including their lodgings (a host of evil spirits attacked them), the River Ribble (where the first British baptisms took place, the Vauxhall Chapel Site (where they first preached) and the cockpit site (where the first British Conference was held in 1837). We explore some of the delights of the Ribble Valley – still looking much the same as Heber C. Kimball and Joseph Fielding saw it in 1837. We drive through beautiful English countryside and find the delightful villages of Ribchester, Chatburn and Downham and relive some of the most touching encounters of their missionary labours. These Quaint stone villages, and rolling green hills inspired J.R.R. Tolkien when writing The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Arthur Conan Doyle lived here as a young boy and his creation of Sherlock Holmes was influenced by these valleys and has an unusual LDS twist. We dine tonight in a favourite watering hole in the shadow of Pendle Hill. Overnight in Chorley. (B,D)

Monday / May 19 / Day 5: Middleport – Ironbridge

We pack our bags and head to the Potteries. In the heart of the Potteries we visit Middleport and experience the world of china with working workshops and giant bottle kilns – and discover the horrors of a Victorian potter’s life. We learn how Wilford Woodruff’s china gift for his wife Phoebe was not quite as perfect as he had hoped. Of particular note is how this area was the springboard for the United Brethren story we experience tomorrow. We go to Ironbridge and visit Blists Hill. We step back in time to explore this late Victorian town. Overnight in Ledbury. (B,D)

Tuesday / May 20 / Day 6: United Brethren – Gadfield Elm

We discover sites made famous by Wilford Woodruff and the United Brethren. We visit Benbow’s farm and Castle Frome, and learn of the faith and sacrifice of John and Jane Benbow and the lesser-known Kington family. This is a tale of miracle after miracle. We visit the medieval market town of Ledbury where we meet William Carter – Utah’s first ploughman, and a welcoming Baptist church. We follow in the footsteps of Wilford Woodruff, Willard Richards and Brigham Young to the top of the Herefordshire Beacon for a very important meeting. We get a sense of the influence of these early converts after they emigrate to join the saints in Nauvoo. We meet up with the likes of Thomas Kington – the head of the United Brethren, William Pitt, the musical convert, James Palmer, a remarkable missionary, and many others. The stories on this tour demonstrate the faith of these early converts as they witness miracles and persecutions unfold in their tiny villages. Included is a special visit to the restored Gadfield Elm chapel – Britain’s first LDS owned meeting place and an iconic symbol of the United Brethren’s story. Overnight in Cardiff. (B,D)

Wednesday / May 21 / Day 7: South Wales

South Wales was once a massive coal and iron producing area, and the scars of that industry are only gradually starting to fade. This as the backdrop for “How Green Was my Valley” and we witness how this industrial landscape provided a fertile ground for the Restored Gospel message. We begin our day with a visit to Big Pit OR the Iron works where we sense how men, women, children and pit ponies dug for black gold. We follow in the footsteps of Dan Jones and a host of Welsh converts. We continue with a drive through the Merthyr Tydfil area on route to St Fagans National History Museum where we visit the whole of Welsh history in one spot! Over 40 original buildings from throughout the nation has been carefully reconstructed and preserved allowing us to walk through the wide spectrum of Welsh history. One of Europe’s leading open-air museums and Wales’ most popular heritage attraction. Here we see non-conformity, industry and rural life merged as a backdrop to our story. Overnight in Cardiff. (B,D)

Thursday / May 22 / Day 8: Oxford, England

We explore Oxford. This tour winds its way through the streets of Oxford, through stately colleges and grassy meadows, to discover some of the Noble and Great Ones. We track the history back to the beginnings of Oxford, to the time of the miraculous Frideswide, and then build layer upon layer of famous name after famous names including Henry VIII, Cardinal Wolsey, Lewis Caroll, C.S. Lewis, John Ruskin, J.R.R. Tolkien, Thomas More, Samuel Johnson and many more. We learn the history behind the iconic images of the Radcliffe Camera, the Divinity School, Bodleian Library, and the Ashmolean Museum and discover the influential John Wycliffe and his nemesis Richard Fleming, the tragic ending of the Oxford Martyrs, and the founding of Wesley’s Holy Club. Throw in some Hobbits and Orcs, Lions and Wardrobes, Green Eggs and Ham, and tonnes of pilchard; mix in a plethora of Prime Ministers, a remarkable balloon flight, a penicillin breakthrough, a four-minute mile, the King James Bible, Halley’s Comet, Harry Potter, My Fair Lady and you have the beginnings of a splendid stroll through the city! Overnight in London (B)

Friday / May 23 / Day 9: London, England

This morning we thread our way into a Victorian London of nooks and crannies, alleyways, gas lamps and 18th & 19th-century houses. We see the places where Dickens lived and worked and we will eat where Dickens purportedly ate, ending up at the Dickens Museum. The afternoon offers two options: Option #1: Learn about and experience the transition from specialty shops to grand department stores with a visit to Harrod’s followed by free time to explore Oxford Street, Europe’s busiest shopping street. Option #2: Learn about and explore Bible and ancient faith traditions and artefacts in the British Museum with free time afterward to explore nearby museums or join others on Oxford Street. This evening we have the option of attending a Shakespearian play at the Globe Theater. Overnight in London (B)

Saturday / May 24 / Day 10: London, England

This morning we are joined by a Jane Austen expert who leads us on a walking tour highlight the sites of London that are connected to Jane Austen. We see her publisher’s building, the site of her brother’s bank and see parts of London that still look as they did in Austen’s day. We go to Westminster Abbey and have time on our own to explore the well known sites in the area such as the House of Parliament, Westminster Bridge, St. James Park, Buckingham Palace, The London Eye and much more. This evening those who wish can opt to attend a candlelight concert at St. Martin in-the-Fields church. Overnight in London (B)

Sunday / May 25 / Day 11: London, England

We walk to the Hyde Park chapel and attend Sacrament meeting with a local ward. Afterwards, we head to the Leighton house and learn of his passion for creating artistic beauty. We follow in the footsteps of Wilford Woodruff, Heber C. Kimball and George A. Smith as we see the exterior of St. Paul’s Cathedral and go to Bunhill Fields. Here we see the home of John Wesley who is well know for establishing the religious movement in England know as Methodism. We learn about some of the experiences of the first LDS missionaries in London. Overnight in London (B)

Monday / May 26 / Day 12: London, England

Today we leave the great metropolis of London and venture again into the countryside. We tour Westminster Cathedral, one of Europe’s finest medieval, and one of England’s largest and grandest, cathedrals. We visit Chawton where we find Jane Austen’s home, the place she wrote her eight novels. We go to Arundel Castle and admire this medieval structure including its 11-century Norman Keep and its lavish state rooms. If the weather patterns favor us, we may be able to enjoy the last vestiges of the annual Tulip Festival. Nearly 100,000 tulips are on display in the nearly 40 acres of glorious gardens. Overnight in London (B)

Tuesday / May 27 / Day 13: Return Home

Board your flight in London and arrive at home. (B)

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