Peninsular War battlefield tour 2023
I am really excited to announce that in September Dan Hill and I will be joining together to guide a group around fascinating Peninsular War sites.
We have selected wonderful locations which means that we can see many battlefields, without having to travel many leagues, focusing on the early campaigns in Portugal and the Spanish border.
Together we will bring the history to love where it took place, discussing the strategy as well as using first hand accounts, where both sides stood.
I hope you are able to join us.
Peninsular War Tour – 19th – 26th September 2023
An epic six-night, seven-day Battlefield Tour covering Spain and Portugal which will see us exploring some of the most important and iconic sites of the Peninsular War. In the company of expert guides, we will visit and study the Battles of Rolica, Vimeiro, Oporto, Bussaco, Almeida, Fuentes De Onoro, Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz to name just a few!
Price: £1650 (£300 single supplement)
This tour will be led by Dan Hill and Marcus Cribb
Dates: 19-26th September 2023
Accommodation – Based on 3* accommodation throughout (on a B & B Basis)
(subject to change)
Day 1: Tour starts at Lisbon. Includes visits to Rolica & Vimeiro.
The opening battles for the British forces in the Peninsula War in 1808, led by Sir Arthur Wellesley. At Roliça his army went on the offensive, attacking French positions up a series of steep gullies. We will visit the battlefield, famous for the dramatic terrain and stop at Colonel Lake’s monument, who led the 29th Regiment in a bold attack up these gullies. The following battle at Vimeiro saw Wellesley’s Anglo-Portuguese army, fight off multiple attacks by General Junot’s force. There is a chance to visit the museum & interpretation centre on site.
Night 1: Accommodation in Lisbon
Day 2: Visits include the Lines of Torres Vedras
Wellington’s formidable defensive lines, designed to defend Lisbon, the impressive fortifications stand as a testimony to military engineering, and with a lot of local help the Lines of Torres Vedras prevented Portugal from falling. Each of the 152 forts and works are unique, many surviving in fantastic condition which will allow us to explore and easily visualise the defender’s positions.
Night 2: Porto
Day 3: Visit to Oporto
The second Battle of Porto in May 1809, also known as the Crossing of the Douro, was one of the riskiest battles of the Peninsula War, possibly of the whole era. It was here that Wellesley (soon to be Wellington) attacked Marshal Soult, who had looted the city and was preparing a withdrawal. An intelligence officer used local sources to gather help in acquiring hidden wine barges to cross the wide river right under the nose of the French, taking the fight into Portugal’s second city. Marcus Cribb will lead us on a detailed walking tour of Porto, exploring the remaining sights as well as enjoying the beautiful city.
Night 3: Porto
Day 4: Visits include Bussaco, The Coa & Almeida
To the sierra of Bussaco, a dramatic hilltop position with incredibly steep sides, we will be atop the ridge that formed Wellington’s defence during the battle. Here you will see what a formidable position it was and gain an appreciation for the French forces who had to attack up it. At the Côa River, the famous Light Division were under extreme pressure, withdrawing across a rock ravine, once they had taken up positions on the west Bank, they stood and fought an impressive rear-guard action. We will visit the ravine, walk across the bridge, imagining the difficulties for both sides and go up to the British Guards memorial which overlooks the battlefield. Almeida is still a beautiful Portuguese town, prepare yourself to discover this gem of a historic site, with narrow cobbled streets that provide shade, lots of small cafes welcome us in and witness the location one of the largest explosions of the age where huge blocks of the ancient castle were thrown hundreds of feet into the air.
Night 4: Ciudad Rodrigo
Day 5: Visits include Fuentes De Onoro, Ciudad Rodrigo & Almeida Fort.
Wellington said of Fuentes de Oñoro that had Napoleon have been there he would have lost, so closely fought was it. From the village where it seems 200 years have passed slowly, we will walk the route of the French attack & the British counterattack, led by Highlanders and the Connaught Rangers in fearsome hand-to-hand fighting. Above the village is the location where the Light Division saved the 7th Division, overextended on Wellington’s flank, an error which almost cost the campaign. Alcantara Bridge, we will also stop here on our route, but it isn’t just an opportunity for a rest, the Loyal Lusitanian Legion fought a brave, but ultimately unsuccessful defence of this Roman Bridge against far greater numbers, as they attempted to destroy it, rather than let it fall into the hands of the French. Cuidad Rodrigo, the gateway city to Spain, across the border from Almeida will be our final stop of the day. It was here that Wellington conducted a successful siege, breaking in via two breaches, to storm the walls, losing Robert “Black Bob” Craufurd amongst his dead, before the city was sacked.
Night 5: Ciudad Rodrigo
Day 6: Visit Badajoz & Alcantara Bridge
A greater objective, with even larger walls and defences than Cuidad Rodrigo, we will walk the city, comparing the sieges and the build up to the horrific fighting witnessed outside its walls. The siege took a lot longer to complete and when the allied forces finally broke in, the Spanish population suffered heavily at the hands of their supposed allies. The damage that was done can still be seen.
Night 6: Badajoz
Day 7: Visit Elvas
Return to Lisbon with a visit to the famous Peninsular War cemetery at Elvas en-route.
For further details or to secure your place on this limited tour please contact
or 0203 960 5302