Spend a week living at historic Oxford University and sample life as a student at Merton College. Study with renowned Oxford tutors and delve into one of our fascinating courses.

Starting at: $4,995 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Bridge of Sighs landmark, Oxford University  Skyline of the medieval town of Oxford  Merton College  Merton College Library  Traditional dining hall at Merton College  The beautiful Oxford skyline  All Souls College, Oxford  The Radcliffe Camera, Oxford  View near Oxford's Main Street  Loch along the Thames River, Oxford  Sculptural detail found in Oxford

Smithsonian at Oxford

8 days from $4,995

Spend a week living at historic Oxford University and sample life as a student at Merton College. Study with renowned Oxford tutors and delve into one of our fascinating courses.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

TOUR BROCHURE

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WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

The Smithsonian at Oxford provides an accessible educational experience, nicely balanced with opportunities to visit nearby sites of interest. The Smithsonian at Oxford also provides an opportunity to experience true student life again.

- Christopher B.

Living and studying in a centuries old setting that famous people have lived is just...awesome!!

- Philip P.

The warm reception we received at Merton College made us feel that we really were Oxford students -- a very special sense of belonging.

- Lyn G.

I love Shakespeare; I love to study and to study Shakespeare at Oxford and to see the Royal Shakespeare Company perform is a dream come true!

- Blanche M.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

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Accommodations

* Click on hotel name to visit hotel web-site.

Merton College

Oxford, England

Merton College is a vibrant and diverse intellectual community that has been at the forefront of education and research at Oxford University since 1264. Nobel Prize winners and other cultural and scientific icons, such as T.S. Eliot and J.R.R Tolkien, adorn the list of eminent Mertonians. The living experience at this historic college include delicious food, beautiful gardens, historic architecture, and fine accommodation. All rooms have a private bathroom, with one or two single beds, a wardrobe, a bedside table, a chest of drawers, and a desk. All bedrooms include WiFi internet access, telephones, tea-and-coffee-making facilities, but no air conditioning or hair-dryers. Bedding is changed weekly, and the College Lodge is staffed 24-hours a day and open for inquiries from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. For more information about Merton College, please click here to visit their website. 

Number of nights: 6

Activity Levels

Activity Level 2: Moderate


Expectations: Week-long stay featuring one destination. Light pace with daily activities of four to six hours, but also features independent time for personal interests. Most activities are based at Merton College and are within walking distance. Included day excursion beyond Oxford is by motor coach and may be a full day depending on the course selection and entails walking tours of up to three miles. Throughout the program, walking may be over uneven pavement and cobblestones, and may entail some stairs without handrails and absence of elevators. Note that Merton College does not have elevators and some travelers may need to ascend several flights of stairs in order to reach their rooms. Please reference information in the Accommodations tab for important information. 

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit and comfortable with longer days of touring (both walking tours and coach time).

September 2018 & July 2019 Tour Extension

London Post-Program Option — September Departure

Day 1 — Ham House, London

At the conclusion of our main program in Oxford, transfer to London. En-route visit Ham House, a stately 17th-century house before checking into the Millennium Bailey’s Hotel. Tonight, gather for dinner at a local restaurant. (B,D)

Day 2 – The Queen’s Gallery, Royal Mews, and Kew Gardens

After breakfast, enjoy a tour of The Queen’s Gallery. Then, take a stroll through the Royal Mews, one of the finest working stables in existence and responsible for all road travel arrangements for The Queen. In the afternoon, visit Kew Palace and Gardens for a special guided tour. Spend the rest of the evening at leisure.  (B)

Day 3 – Kenwood House and The Wallace Collection

This morning, visit Kenwood House, a beautiful villa belonging to Lord Mansfield, for a guided tour. Then, explore The Wallace Collection on a guided tour, and delve into the history of decorative arts, while admiring pieces dating back as far as the 15th century and as recently as the 18th century. Tonight, gather for a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. (B,D)

Day 4 – Depart

After breakfast transfer to London Heathrow for individual flights back to the U.S. (B)

2018 Courses of Study

Lectures take place in Oxford. Choose from one of five courses for the June departure: Winston Churchill, The Tudor Age, The Crusades: East and West, The American RevolutionThrough British Eyes, and The Archaeology of Britain. Choose from one of two courses for the September departure: “Tragical-Comical” Shakespeare and The Country House in English Society. Choose from one of five courses for the July 2019 departure: The Archaeology of Britain, The Age of Winston Churchill, Medieval Castles, The Rise and Fall of the British Empire, and The Legendary History of the British Isles.

Classes will be interspersed with excursions including the Ashmolean Museum and Christ Church Picture Gallery in Oxford. Each course will also feature an additional special excursion tailored to its theme.

Winston Churchill

Study Winston Churchill’s political career from 1900 to 1955 and gain an understanding of the profound political and social changes that took place in Britain over his lifetime. He was considered by many contemporaries to be a figure trapped by history as much as he was steeped in it. His influence continues, not just through the way he shaped events as a war leader and peacetime politician, and in the example, he gave of a certain political style, but in his voluminous writing about Victorian times and great events in his own lifetime, the First and Second World Wars.

Field Trip: The Churchill War Rooms

The Tudor Age

The Tudor monarchs oversaw seismic political and religious changes that provoked heated debates in their own day and have done so ever since. To some of their subjects they were tyrants; to others they were divinely appointed saviors. This course explores the key political and religious events of 16th-century England and the factions that shaped them.

Field Trip:  Hampton Court Palace

The Crusades: East and West

The crusading movement has been a source of controversy since the First Crusade in the 1090s led to the capture of Jerusalem by Christians from Western Europe. This course will try to disentangle reality from myth, and will include looking at the crusades through the eyes of those who lived at the time, as well as of later generations.

Field Trip: Dorchester Abbey and Iffley Church

The American Revolution – Through British Eyes

The American Revolution, one of the most significant events in modern history, is laden with epic symbolism, from the heroic efforts of the Founding Fathers to the repressive actions of a “mad” King George III. At the heart of this narrative is the idea that this revolution was a national fight for freedom and liberty-seeking Americans emerged triumphant against the forces of British tyranny. Yet for all the power of this image, the reality was more complex, and the divide less clear, as we shall discover in examining the revolt through the eyes of Georgian England.

Field Trip:  Sulgrave Manor

The Archaeology of Britain

In the 5th century, Britain ceased to be part of the Roman Empire and witnessed profound transformations, including the end of urban life, substantial migration from the Continent, a complete political re- structuring, and abrupt discontinuity in processes of production and exchange: a situation many would call “systems collapse.” Learn about the events of the next half millennium and the rise of many complex developments, including the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, trading sites, towns, churches, and monasteries, punctuated by Viking raids culminating in the establishment of the Danelaw.

Field Trip: the Staffordshire Hoard at the Birmingham Museum

The Country House in English Society

This course examines one of the most fascinating elements of English society – the country house—through the changing lives of the aristocratic elites and the domestic staff who served them. From its Tudor origins and its Regency splendors to the dark days of World War I, the country house system—with all its nuances of class and status—served as a living symbol of wider social values and norms. But over time that culture itself began to dynamically transform, fueled by hopes of a newly equitable England. In that process the very nature of the country house would be transformed too, moving from private retreat to public hands and from home to heritage industry.

Field Trip: Buscot Park

Tragical-comical Shakespeare

This course will focus on two of Shakespeare’s plays in which he explores the relationship between tragedy and comedy. Romeo and Juliet (1595) is so familiar that we often fail to recognize its innovation and daring as Shakespeare tears up the rulebook for writing tragedies. The zest that characterizes Shakespeare’s early career is evident in Romeo and Juliet but The Winter’s Tale (1610), written in his last, great dramatic phase, approaches the mingling of kings and clowns from a different perspective, one that is full of maturity and mastery and which explores the deepest and most difficult of human emotions. Study the plays within their historical context and discover how they have been adapted for stage and screen.

Field Trip:  Stratford-upon-Avon and a performance at the Royal Shakespeare Company.

2019 Courses of Study

Choose from a wide range of subjects and spend your mornings learning from an expert. Course selections include: The Archaeology of Britain, The Age of Winston Churchill, Medieval Castles, The Rise and Fall of the British Empire, and The Legendary History of the British Isles.

Classes will be interspersed with excursions including a visit to Pembroke College, which was attended by James Smithson—the founding donor of the Smithsonian Institution. Each course will also feature an additional special excursion tailored to its theme.

The Archaeology of Britain

In the 5th century, Britain ceased to be part of the Roman Empire and witnessed profound transformations, including the end of urban life, substantial migration from the Continent, a complete political restructuring, and abrupt discontinuity in processes of production and exchange: a situation many would call “systems collapse.” Learn about the events of the next half millennium and the rise of many complex developments, including the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, trading sites, towns, churches, and monasteries, punctuated by Viking raids culminating in the establishment of the Danelaw.

Field Trip: Visit the Staffordshire Hoard in Birmingham, the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found.

The Age of Winston Churchill

Study Winston Churchill’s political career from 1900 to 1955 and gain an understanding of the profound political and social changes that took place in Britain over his lifetime. He was considered by many contemporaries to be a figure trapped by history as much as he was steeped in it. His influence continues, not just through the way he shaped events as a war leader and peacetime politician, and in the example he gave of a certain political style, but in his voluminous writing about Victorian times and great events in his own lifetime, the First and Second World Wars.

Field Trip: This class features a field trip to Chartwell, Churchill’s country house and home for over four decades.

Medieval Castles

Castles were the great powerhouses of the Middle Ages. They were the centers of conquest and oppression, the seats of government, and the luxurious homes of the ruling classes. This course will examine the castles of medieval England and Wales, from their arrival with the Normans in the 11th century to their evolution into country houses in the 15th century. Explore their architectural development, the balance between fortification and domesticity, and consider ways to both attack and defend a castle. Sources include the standing remains of these once-proud buildings and the written evidence of poets, chroniclers, and clerks, as well as delicate imagery taken from medieval illuminated manuscripts. Together, they form an exciting picture of power in the Middle Ages.

Field Trip: Visit Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire, first built by the Normans and the site of key events in England’s history.

The Rise and Fall of the British Empire

This course puts the rise and fall of the British Empire in the context of global history with a special focus on America’s impact. Discuss key developments in both the imperial homeland and the colonies. Examine formal and informal aspects of the empire, and contrast the image projected by the empire with reality.

Field Trip: Participants in this course will travel to Dashwood House in West Wycombe, built in the 18th century as a pleasure palace for Sir Francis Dashwood.

The Legendary History of the British Isles

All three of the major British language groups, the English, Welsh, and Gaelic speakers have their own rich traditions of legendary history. King Arthur, the best known legendary figure, is first found in Welsh literature but was adopted throughout European literature. We will look at some of the stories of Arthur and Merlin, but also at the strange Welsh Mabinogion stories, and at the deeds of the Irish hero Cuchulain and the Anglo-Saxon Beowulf. We will ask ourselves how we should interpret these texts today, and look at what they tell us about the original tellers and listeners, where they might have come from and to what extent they allow us to have a window on the past.

Field trip: The excursion for this course will focus on local Oxford legends. Visit Binsey Church with its holy well said to have been created in answer to the prayers to St. Frideswide (the patron saint of Oxford), and the ruins of Godstow Abbey where Rosamund Clifford—known in legend as the Fair Rosamund—was buried. 

Testimonials

WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

The Smithsonian at Oxford provides an accessible educational experience, nicely balanced with opportunities to visit nearby sites of interest. The Smithsonian at Oxford also provides an opportunity to experience true student life again.

- Christopher B.

Living and studying in a centuries old setting that famous people have lived is just...awesome!!

- Philip P.

The warm reception we received at Merton College made us feel that we really were Oxford students -- a very special sense of belonging.

- Lyn G.

I love Shakespeare; I love to study and to study Shakespeare at Oxford and to see the Royal Shakespeare Company perform is a dream come true!

- Blanche M.
Reading List
Looking for Class: Days and Nights at Oxford and Cambridge
By: Bruce Feiler
An irresistible, entertaining peek into the privileged realm of Wordsworth and Wodehouse, Chelsea Clinton and Hugh Grant, Looking for Class offers a hilarious account of one man's year at Oxford and Cambridge -- the garden parties and formal balls, the high-minded debates and drinking Olympics. From rowing in an exclusive regatta to learning lessons in love from a Rhodes Scholar, Bruce Feiler's enlightening, eye-popping adventure will forever change your view of the British upper class, a world romanticized but rarely seen.
Oxford: A Cultural Guide (Interlink Cultural Guides)
By: Martin Garrett
ENTERTAININGLY- WRITTEN AND CONCISE GUIDE TO OXFORD AND ITS ENVIRONSOxford started as an Anglo-Saxon border outpost, with a bridge replacing the "oxen ford" from which it takes its name. It became a center for trade and religion and developed one of the oldest universities in Europe from the late twelfth century. Since the Middle Ages its individual colleges have gone on building-chapels, halls, accommodation, libraries-in an extraordinary variety of styles from Gothic to Brutalist. Oxford also has many churches, a Covered Market, an extraordinary museum of Natural History in soaring iron, glass and stone, and a flamboyant neo-Jacobean Town Hall.In such a place, suggested W.B. Yeats, "one almost expects the people to sing instead of speaking." Nevertheless, Oxford has become a busy modern city. For much of the twentieth century the car industry, established in Cowley by William Morris (Lord Nuffield), dominated local life. Today there are cinemas, theaters, innumerable restaurants, shopping centers, an ice-rink, business and technology centers, close links to London by bus and train. Amidst the expanding city Oxford University retains its academic excellence, its student exuberance and its physical beauty. And it has been joined by a notably successful second university, Oxford Brookes.Martin Garrett discusses the literature Oxford has generated: from Chaucer to Lewis Carroll, Wilde, Evelyn Waugh, Barbara Pym, Tolkien and C.S. Lewis and Iris Murdoch. There are also chapters on architecture, on religion, on theater, film and art-including Oxford's great museum of art and history the Ashmolean-and on leisure pursuits (punting and rowing, gardens, student pranks, city fairs and carnival). A chapter on commerce focuses on Victorian shops, Cornmarket and the Morris Motor Works, while a brief social history includes the former Oxford Castle and a gallery of dons as rulers-visionary or ignorant, charismatic or dull.Garrett looks at social change, especially the transformation in the position of Oxford women, and considers the city's darker side of crime. A final chapter explores its rich surroundings: the countryside where Matthew Arnold's "black-winged swallows haunt the glittering Thames," the baroque grandeur of Blenheim Palace, the ancient windswept Ridgeway and White Horse.
The Angry Island: Hunting the English
By: A.A. Gill
Think of England, and anger hardly springs to mind as its primary national characteristic. Yet in The Angry Island, A. A. Gill argues that, in fact, it is plain old fury that is the wellspring for England's accomplishments. The default setting of England is anger. The English are naturally, congenitally, collectively and singularly livid much of the time. They're incensed, incandescent, splenetic, prickly, touchy, and fractious. They can be mildly annoyed, really annoyed and, most scarily, not remotely annoyed. They sit apart on their half of a damply disappointing little island, nursing and picking at their irritations. The English itch inside their own skins. They feel foreign in their own country and run naked through their own heads. Perhaps aware that they're living on top of a keg of fulminating fury, the English have, throughout their history, come up with hundreds of ingenious and bizarre ways to diffuse anger or transform it into something benign. Good manners and queues, cul-de-sacs and garden sheds, and almost every game ever invented from tennis to bridge. They've built things, discovered stuff, made puddings, written hymns and novels, and for people who don't like to talk much, they have come up with the most minutely nuanced and replete language ever spoken -- just so there'll be no misunderstandings. The Angry Island by turns attacks and praises the English, bringing up numerous points of debate for Anglophiles and anyone who wonders about the origins of national identity. This book hunts down the causes and the results of being the Angry Island.
In Search Of England
By: H. V. Morton, Jan Morris
Currently in its 40th printing with its original publisher in the UK, this is the book that one British newspaper has called "travel writing at its best. Bill Bryson must weep when he reads it." Whether describing ruined gothic arches at Glastonbury or hilarious encounters with the inhabitants of Norfolk, Morton recalls a way of life far from gone even at the beginning of a new century.
Oxford, Chipping Norton & Bicester (OS Landranger Map)
By: Ordnance Survey
The OS Landranger Map series covers Great Britain with 204 detailed maps, perfect for day trips and short breaks. Each map provides all the information you need to get to know your local area and includes places of interest, tourist information, picnic areas and camp sites, plus Rights of Way information for England and Wales. OS Landranger now includes a digital version of the paper map, accessed through the OS smartphone app, OS Maps.
Roman Britain: A New History
By: Guy de la Bédoyère
“Lucid and engaging . . . should take pride of place on the bookshelf of specialists and non-specialists interested in Roman Britain.” ―Minerva This illuminating account of Britain as a Roman province sets the Roman conquest and occupation of the island within the larger context of Romano-British society and how it functioned.The author first outlines events from the Iron Age period immediately preceding the conquest in AD 43 to the emperor Honorius’s advice to the Britons in 410 to fend for themselves. He then tackles the issues facing Britons after the absorption of their culture by an invading army, including the role of government and the military in the province, religion, commerce, technology, and daily life. For this revised edition, the text, illustrations, and bibliography have been updated to reflect the latest discoveries and research in recent years. The superb illustrations feature reconstruction drawings, dramatic aerial views of Roman remains, and images of Roman villas, mosaics, coins, pottery, and sculpture. 285 illustrations, 75 in color
Inside the Victorian Home: A Portrait of Domestic Life in Victorian England
By: Judith Flanders
"[Flanders] knows what we want to know and is thoroughly engaging, undidactic company."--Katherine A. Powers, Boston Sunday Globe Nineteenth-century Britain was then the world's most prosperous nation, yet Victorians would bury meat in earth and wring sheets out in boiling water with their bare hands. Such drudgery was routine for the parents of people still living, but the knowledge of it has passed as if it had never been. Following the daily life of a middle-class Victorian house from room to room; from childbirth in the master bedroom through the kitchen, scullery, dining room, and parlor, all the way to the sickroom; Judith Flanders draws on diaries, advice books, and other sources to resurrect an age so close in time yet so alien to our own. 100 illustrations, 32 pages of color.
The Victorian City: Everyday Life in Dickens' London
By: Judith Flanders
The nineteenth century was a time of unprecedented change, and nowhere was this more apparent than London, which, in only a few decades, grew from a compact Regency town into the largest city the world had ever seen. Technology-railways, street-lighting, and sewers-transformed both the city and the experience of city-living.From the moment Charles Dickens, the century's best-loved novelist and London's greatest observer, arrived in the city in 1822, he obsessively walked its streets, recording its pleasures, curiosities and cruelties. Now, with him, Judith Flanders leads us through the markets, transport systems, rivers, slums, alleys, cemeteries, gin palaces, chop-houses and entertainment emporia of Dickens' London, to reveal the Victorian capital in all its variety, vibrancy, and squalor. From the colorful cries of street-sellers to the uncomfortable reality of travel by omnibus, to the many uses for the body parts of dead horses and the unimaginably grueling working days of hawker children, no detail is too small, or too strange. No one who reads Judith Flanders's meticulously researched, captivatingly written The Victorian City will ever view London in the same light again.
Inspirational Gardens Through the Seasons (National Trust Home & Garden)
By: Helene Gammack
A glorious celebration of Britain's most spectacular gardens, packed with inspiration for beautiful borders, colorful plants, growing herbs and vegetables, and creating interest with topiary, water, and architectural detail The National Trust looks after some of the world's greatest gardens, and this glorious guide follows their progress through the seasons. From delicate spring blossom and carpets of bluebells at Emmets Garden in Kent, to luxurious mid-summer roses and wild meadows at Tyntesfield in Somerset, and from golden leaves and fiery autumnal landscapes at Stourhead in Wiltshire to winter topiary and snow-dusted statues at Chirk Castle in Wrexham, there is something for everyone in this beautiful book, whatever the season. Whether you enjoy visiting gardens, shaping your own outside space, or are simply an flower and plant enthusiast, this visual feast offers inspiration to everyone, and visits a wide range of gardens—from small herb and vegetable patches to sweeping landscapes.
What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew: From Fox Hunting to Whist-the Facts of Daily Life in Nineteenth-Century England
By: Daniel Pool
A “delightful reader’s companion” (The New York Times) to the great nineteenth-century British novels of Austen, Dickens, Trollope, the Brontës, and more, this lively guide clarifies the sometimes bizarre maze of rules and customs that governed life in Victorian England.For anyone who has ever wondered whether a duke outranked an earl, when to yell “Tally Ho!” at a fox hunt, or how one landed in “debtor’s prison,” this book serves as an indispensable historical and literary resource. Author Daniel Pool provides countless intriguing details (did you know that the “plums” in Christmas plum pudding were actually raisins?) on the Church of England, sex, Parliament, dinner parties, country house visiting, and a host of other aspects of nineteenth-century English life—both “upstairs” and “downstairs. An illuminating glossary gives at a glance the meaning and significance of terms ranging from “ague” to “wainscoting,” the specifics of the currency system, and a lively host of other details and curiosities of the day.
The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century's On-line Pioneers
By: Tom Standage
The Victorian Internet tells the colorful story of the telegraphs creation and remarkable impact and of the visionaries oddballs and eccentrics who pioneered it from the eighteenth century French scientist Jean Antoine Nollet to Samuel F B Morse and Thomas Edison The electric telegraph nullified distance and shrank the world quicker and further than ever before or since and its story mirrors and predicts that of the Internet in numerous ways For Thousands of Years people communicated across distances only as quickly as the fastest ship or horse could travel until the invention of the electric telegraph which nullified distance and shrank the world quicker and further than ever before or since The Victorian Internet tells the colorful story of the telegraph s creation and remarkable impact and of the visionaries oddballs and eccentrics who pioneered it from eighteenth century French scientist Jean Antoine Nollet to Samuel F B Morse who developed the first practical electric telegraph in 1837 to Thomas Edison By 1865 telegraph cables spanned continents and oceans revolutionizing the ways countries dealt with one another The new technology gave rise to creative business practices and new forms of crime Romances blossomed over the wires Secret codes were devised by some users and cracked by others The benefits of the network were relentlessly hyped by its advocates and dismissed by skeptics Government regulators tried and failed to control the new medium And attitudes toward everything from news gathering to war had to be completely rethought Meanwhile out on the wires a technological subculture with its own customs and vocabulary was establishing itself The electric telegraph unleashed the greatest revolution in communication since the development of the printing press and its story prefigures that of the Internet in numerous intriguing ways Book jacket
A Traveller's History of Oxford
By: Richard Tames
A Traveller's History of Oxford gives the reader a clear account of Oxford's earliest beginnings from Roman times, its Anglo-Saxon past, its importance in medieval England, the founding of the different colleges, its status as Royalist capital during the Civil War and after this crisis, and its recovery and continuing growth right up to the twenty-first century. The book also looks closely at the story behind the beautiful buildings and discusses Oxford's gifts to the world both in the alumni, which include five kings, 25 British Prime Ministers, 36 Nobel Prize winners, and 85 archbishops, and in the world of ideas: the legends of King Arthur, the English Bible, Anglicanism, the Royal Society, Methodism, Pre-Raphaelites, Alice and Wonderland, Aestheticism, OED, Inspector Morse, ...The list is endless. It also has practical information, illustrated with maps, on exploring the town and a Chronology of Events.
The Victorians
By: A. N. Wilson
A revisionist panorama of the nineteenth century examines the era's material and spiritual changes in the wake of emerging British capitalism and imperialism, as told through the writings of such figures as Darwin, Marks, George Eliot, and Kipling. 40,000 first printing.
The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary
By: Simon Winchester
The Professor and the Madman, masterfully researched and eloquently written, is an extraordinary tale of madness, genius, and the incredible obsessions of two remarkable men that led to the making of the Oxford English Dictionary -- and literary history. The compilation of the OED began in 1857, it was one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken. As definitions were collected, the overseeing committee, led by Professor James Murray, discovered that one man, Dr. W. C. Minor, had submitted more than ten thousand. When the committee insisted on honoring him, a shocking truth came to light: Dr. Minor, an American Civil War veteran, was also an inmate at an asylum for the criminally insane.This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.
Oxford Archaeological Guides- England
By: Timothy Darvill, Paul Stamper, Jane Timby
Traveling around England is in many senses a journey back in time. On all sides, and sometimes even under the road or footpath itself, there are fragments of the ancient past alongside the clutter of the modern world. Medieval villages, castles, ancient churches, and Roman villas are commonplace and take us back to the time of Christ. And far older, yet equally abundant, are the barrows, hillforts, stone circles, camps, standing stones, trackways, and other relics of prehistoric times. Now, thanks to these three archaeologists--each a specialist in one of the three periods covered by the Guide: prehistoric, Roman, and medieval--readers have the chance to not only explore but to understand in context these fascinating sites and ruins. In addition to reporting on such well-known sites as Stonehenge and Hadrian's Wall, and cities such as London and York--which themselves offer a wealth of archaeological remains--the book also covers smaller, lesser-known sites throughout the country. An introductory section provides background to the monuments, and a reference section provides definitions, further reading, and information about museum collections. Finally, there are 200 photographs, plans, and maps that depict and describe these ancient remains in detail.
Life in the English Country House: A Social and Architectural History
By: Mark Girouard
This best-selling book is a beautifully illustrated history of the English country house from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century. In it, renowned architectural historian Mark Girouard presents a rare and revealing glimpse of the English upper classes―their public and personal lives, their servants, and their homes. "A deeply important book, one of the most interesting contributions to architectural history."―J. H. Plumb, The New York Review of Books "A survey of country houses through the past five centuries, from a broad range of materials: family archives, literature, plans and photographs.... The book itself is a physical artifact of surpassing beauty which could fit on the grandest table in the houses it describes."―David Hackett Fischer, The New Republic "Informative, balanced, knowledgeable, and witty."―The New Yorker "This enthralling and immensely informative book...tells with wit, scholarship, and lucidity how the country house evolved to meet the needs and reflect the social attitudes of the times."―Philip Ziegler, The Times "One of those very useful and very enjoyable books that the learned can seldom write, and the entertaining seldom achieve―clear, detailed, and witty."―Angus Wilson, The Observer Winner of the 1978 Duff Cooper Memorial Prize and the W. H. Smith & Son Annual Literary Award for 1979. 
The English Garden
By: Editors of Phaidon Press
An illustrated survey of 100 iconic, significant, and beautiful gardens in England, this informative source book includes an unrivaled range of gardens by designers, patrons, artists, architects, and literary figures.
Roman Britain: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
By: Peter Salway
For four centuries Britain was an integral part of the Roman Empire, a political system stretching from Turkey to Portugal and from the Red Sea to the Tyne and beyond. Its involvement with Rome started long before the Conquest launched by the Emperor Claudius in 43 AD, and it continued to be a part of the Roman world for some time after the final break with Roman rule. Bringing together archaeological investigation and historical scholarship, Peter Salway explores some of the key issues arising from this period in Britain's history, discussing the question of identity at this time and analysing the importance of widespread literacy in Roman Britain. Covering the period from Julius Caesar's first forays into Britain and Claudius's subsequent conquest, as well as Britain under the later Roman Empire, Salway outlines the key events of this time period, providing a focus on society in Roman Britain, and offering a thoughtful consideration of the aftermath of Roman rule.In the new edition of this Very Short Introduction, Peter Salway makes a number of essential updates in light of recent research in the area. He looks at issues of ethnicity, "Britishness", and post-colonialism, provides alternative theories to the end of the Roman period in Britain, and draws parallels between the history of Roman Britain and a wide range of other periods, territories, and themes, including the modern experience of empires and national stereotypes. ABOUT THE SERIES:The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare (Anniversary Edition)
By: Stephen Greenblatt Ph.D.
The Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist, reissued with a new afterword for the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.A young man from a small provincial town moves to London in the late 1580s and, in a remarkably short time, becomes the greatest playwright not of his age alone but of all time. How is an achievement of this magnitude to be explained? Stephen Greenblatt brings us down to earth to see, hear, and feel how an acutely sensitive and talented boy, surrounded by the rich tapestry of Elizabethan life, could have become the world’s greatest playwright. 23 illustrations
Under Another Sky: Journeys in Roman Britain
By: Charlotte Higgins
Shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize, the captivating and haunting exploration of the remnants of an empire What does Roman Britain mean to us now? How were its physical remains rediscovered and made sense of? How has it been reimagined, in story and song and verse? Sometimes on foot, sometimes in a magnificent, if not entirely reliable, VW camper van, Charlotte Higgins sets out to explore the ancient monuments of Roman Britain. She explores the land that was once Rome’s northernmost territory and how it has changed since the years after the empire fell. Under Another Sky invites us to see the British landscape, and British history, in an entirely fresh way: as indelibly marked by how the Romans first imagined and wrote, these strange and exotic islands, perched on the edge of the known world, into existence.
The Age of Shakespeare (Modern Library Chronicles)
By: Frank Kermode
In The Age of Shakespeare, Frank Kermode uses the history and culture of the Elizabethan era to enlighten us about William Shakespeare and his poetry and plays. Opening with the big picture of the religious and dynastic events that defined England in the age of the Tudors, Kermode takes the reader on a tour of Shakespeare’s England, vividly portraying London’s society, its early capitalism, its court, its bursting population, and its epidemics, as well as its arts—including, of course, its theater. Then Kermode focuses on Shakespeare himself and his career, all in the context of the time in which he lived. Kermode reads each play against the backdrop of its probable year of composition, providing new historical insights into Shakspeare’s characters, themes, and sources. The result is an important, lasting, and concise companion guide to the works of Shakespeare by one of our most eminent literary scholars.From the Hardcover edition.
Romeo and Juliet (The Pelican Shakespeare) by William Shakespeare (2000-02-01)
By: Penguin Classics
Travel Insurance

For the convenience of our travelers, Smithsonian Journeys includes an on-tour Provided Insurance Plan through Travel Guard with the price of your tour. This travel insurance plan includes On-tour medical evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), emergency medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only, not including U.S. Territories). Travel must be more than 100 miles from the Insured’s primary residence.

In addition, you may want to consider purchasing travel insurance to protect your investment from unforeseen events, such as missed flight connections, lost luggage, and cancelled plans. There are many plans you can consider. For your convenience, you may visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call Travel Guard at 1.800.208.6142 to learn more.

Terms and conditions

Our Mission

Smithsonian Journeys engages travelers in the mission of the Smithsonian – “the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Like the Institution, our tours enrich our guests’ lives and satisfy their curiosity about the world around them. Your participation benefits the work of Smithsonian’s 19 museums, national zoo, and nine research centers, helping to preserve our national treasures and shape the future through science, research, and exhibitions.

What Is Included in the Tour Cost

  • Expertise of Oxford Tutors.
  • All accommodations (based on double occupancy).
  • Meals as indicated on the tour page, including special welcome and farewell dinners (B-breakfast; L-lunch; R-reception; D-dinner).
  • All sightseeing and visits as noted in each itinerary.
  • Pre-tour information, including a reading list.
  • Baggage handling for one bag plus one carry-on bag per person.
  • Service charges and gratuities.
  • All on-tour transportation, unless otherwise noted.
  • On-tour emergency evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only).

What Is Not Included in the Tour Cost

  • Round-trip international airfare and air and departure taxes.
  • Transfers to and from your home to the program site and transfers to and from the airports, unless specifically noted
  • Transfers to and from airports for individuals not arriving or departing on scheduled program dates. 
  • Passport fees, visas, and visa photos as required.
  • Personal items such as wines, liquors, a-la-carte orders, meals other than specified.
  • Room service and valet/laundry service.
  • Expenses incurred by our tour operators in making individual travel arrangements in conjunction with the tour.
  • Other items not specifically mentioned as included.  
  • Optional Travelers’ Protection Plan: Unexpected events before or during a trip may leave you with cancelled plans, lost luggage, or unforeseen medical expenses. This optional plan offers an affordable package of benefits and services that can provide coverage and assistance for the unexpected. Visit TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys to learn more.

Registration

Space is reserved in the order of receipt of phone or web reservations.

To submit a request for a reservation, please order using our secure online process, or call 855-330-1542 to speak with a Reservations Specialist, Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Eastern Time).

Submitting an online request does not guarantee space on a tour. You will be notified of your status when your request has been received and processed. Please note: No new registrations can be accepted within 30 days of most tours. Some tours are more restrictive; please see individual tour pages for these exceptions.

To complete your request, the following is necessary:

Required Information
For all international departures, passport information including the following, in accordance with the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Secure Flight program as well as by our international travel partners: your full name as it appears on your passport, date of birth, and gender (for further information, please visit www.tsa.gov). In the event an airline ticket is issued with incorrect information you have provided, or if you use a different passport than originally cited, you will be responsible for charges associated with the ticket’s reissue.

Payments
Deposit of $500 per person, per tour, payable by check to the tour operator or by major credit card, is required to reserve a space on a tour program. Deposits are applied to the payment of the program price.

Balance due upon invoicing at least 95 days prior to the program. If payment is not received by the final payment due date, your place cannot be guaranteed on the tour.

Late Registration
Any registration received within 95 days of departure is considered a “late registration” and must be subject to special confirmation. Payment in full must be made immediately by credit card or by check and sent by overnight mail to the tour operator before confirmation is possible.

Once confirmed, cancellation penalties apply as set forth below. If confirmation is not possible, all payments made will be refunded in full.

Late registration confirmation procedures apply to any participant who is transferred from the wait list to the program within the designated late registration period for that program.

For additional information, please call a Reservations Specialist at 855-330-1542, Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) or visit www.SmithsonianJourneys.org/Contact.

A Note About Costs

Tour costs are based upon current airfares, tariffs, currency values, and on the basis of a minimum number of participants. While we will do everything possible to maintain the listed prices, they are subject to change. Should actual enrollments fall significantly below minimum numbers, a surcharge may be added. Due to fluctuations in oil prices, a fuel surcharge may be added to your tour fee (e.g. internal flights, cruises, etc.). Details and costs will be advised prior to departure. 

Wait List

If the program(s) of your choice are fully subscribed, you will be placed on a wait list. If you choose to withdraw from the wait list, please notify us.

Please note that we are unable to keep you apprised of your status on the wait list. We will call you only if a space becomes available, but you are welcome to call us at your convenience to inquire about your status at 855-330-1542.

Cancellation and Refund Policy

Per person cancellation fees are based on date of notice to Smithsonian Journeys.

  • Cancellations within 7 days of booking (if not within final payment date): full refund.
  • Cancellations after 7 days of booking: $500 retained (entire deposit).
  • Final payment due: 95 days prior to departure.
  • Cancellations made less than 95 days prior to departure: no refund.
  • Cancellation by the Smithsonian: full refund.
  • No refund for unused portions of the tour, including but not limited to, missed meals, hotel nights, and sightseeing.

Please understand that there will be no exceptions to our cancellation policy.

Air Service

For tour packages that include round-trip international airfare, rates are based on economy class from designated departure cities as shown. Airfares from other cities are available upon request. Airline upgrades at additional cost may be available on request for the international portion of your flight.

Since international and domestic air schedules are subject to change at any time, we recommend that if you choose to make your own airline reservations, you do not purchase nonrefundable tickets or those with high penalties for changes.

Neither Smithsonian Journeys nor the tour operator has any liability for any loss resulting from tour cancellations or changes in international gateways, travel dates, or airline schedule changes. If an air schedule requires an overnight stay in a gateway city, the cost of the overnight will be at your expense. For tour packages that include round-trip international airfare, we will be happy to help with arrangements. Please note that seat assignment on your international flight is usually done at airport check-in. The tour operator is unable to guarantee any seat assignments.

When planning our tours that include international round-trip airfare, the tour operator contracts with those airlines that they feel provide the level of service, routings, and value necessary for your entire trip. While another airline may offer a more direct connection, it may be at a price unavailable at the lower group rates that enable us to offer you the best possible travel value. Please note that frequent flyer mileage credits are issued at the discretion of the airline(s) and may not be available for the flights on your tour. If you prefer to make your own airline reservations, “land only” pricing is available on most of our tours.

Individual Arrivals and Group Transfers
A designated group flight is not included on most tours. However, transportation from the arrival airport to the ship/hotel is included in your tour cost if you arrive in time to meet the scheduled group transfer. Your first tour bulletin will thoroughly explain the details of the options available for your individual flights.

Air Tickets Purchased Independently of the Tour
We urge you to check airline cancellation penalties before purchasing airline tickets since international departure times and flights can change. Tours also can be canceled due to low enrollments. Neither Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator accepts liability for cancellation penalties related to domestic or international airline tickets purchased independently in conjunction with a tour.

Travel Insurance

For the convenience of our travelers, Smithsonian Journeys includes an on-tour Provided Insurance Plan, through Travel Guard, with the price of your tour. On-tour emergency evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only). It also includes up to $25,000 medical and up to $500 dental expense coverage, and 24-hour worldwide travel and medical assistance. Please click here to view complete coverage details.

Please visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call Travel Guard at 1-800-208-6142 to learn about additional (optional) coverage.

Travel Documents

For all international departures, a passport valid for at least six months after the completion of your tour, and with at least six blank visa pages, is required for U.S. citizens on all tours in this catalog. If your tour requires a visa or other entry documents, we will send you the appropriate information after you make a reservation. You are responsible for obtaining these documents. If you are not a U.S. citizen, please contact your embassy or consulate to ensure you obtain the proper documentation.

Physical and Medical Considerations

Please note that these tours require that participants be in good physical condition. You must be capable, without assistance, of walking a minimum of two miles over uneven terrain and of climbing stairs that may not have handrails. Participants should have sufficient stamina to keep pace with an active group of travelers on long days of touring. If you have any questions about your ability to participate in a tour, please call us at 855-330-1542. Some tours have additional notes regarding physical and medical considerations, which are noted on the Tour Information link

Itinerary or Program Modifications

Smithsonian strives to improve tour itineraries and their features. If improvements can be made, or unforeseen circumstances beyond our control make changes necessary, we reserve the right to vary itineraries and to substitute hotels. Every effort will be made to carry out the program as planned but alterations may still occur after the final itinerary is sent. Please note that weather conditions may force changes to the advertised sailing schedule on cruise programs. The ship’s captain has the authority to change the ship’s schedule.

Accommodations

Smithsonian chooses hotels based on a combination of their location, service, atmosphere, and price. On adventure tours and programs in out-of-the-way places, best-available hotels are used. In most cases, hotels have elevators and meeting rooms for Smithsonian lectures. Program prices are based on two persons sharing a room with a bath.

Singles and Roommates
Hotel rooms are always reserved for single travelers; however, the number of single rooms available on a tour may be limited. Therefore we recommend that you register early. Please note that a single supplement will apply for a single room. If you are traveling alone and wish to share a room, we will do our best to find someone of the same gender and smoking preference to share with you. If you are matched with a non-smoking roommate, it is mutually agreed that you cannot smoke in your hotel room. When a roommate cannot be found, the single supplement will be charged. 

Children

All tours, except family programs, are designed for adults. Some may be suitable for older children. Regardless of age, children must pay full price unless otherwise noted, and a parent or guardian must accompany those under 18.

Special Travel Arrangements
Participants may wish to extend their stay in the group hotel. Please note that the tour operator can assist you in making post-tour arrangements only. We regret that we are unable to help with pre-tour arrangements.

Photography
Participants on tour may be photographed for the educational and promotional purposes of the Smithsonian Institution. Photographs may be printed in publications and posted on websites to promote Smithsonian Journeys. Travelers who prefer that their image not be used must advise the tour manager at the beginning of the tour.

Smoking Policy
For the comfort of all participants, we ask that there be no smoking during all group activities, including excursions and meals. On certain cruises, there is no smoking aboard the ship. Your pre-tour bulletins will provide further information.

Preparing for Your Journey

Prior to departure, you will receive Tour Bulletins containing both general and tour specific information to help you prepare for your travel experience. These bulletins will include:

  • Passport and visa instructions
  • Flight information
  • Weather, clothing, and packing suggestions
  • A suggested reading list
  • General information about the countries you will visit, e.g. the food, customs, medical precautions, and currency.
  • Information about your Smithsonian Journeys Expert and tour staff
  • Baggage tag(s) and name badge(s)
  • Final itinerary
  • Participant list  

RESPONSIBILITY STATEMENT AND LIABILITY DISCLAIMER

Read Carefully: Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer
Smithsonian Journeys are managed by professional tour operators hired as independent contractors. The use of tour operators allows the Smithsonian to offer its members a wide array of educational travel opportunities. The tour operator acts only as an agent for the respective suppliers by making arrangements for transportation, accommodations, and other services. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator shall be held liable for personal injury, death, property damage or accident, delay or irregularity arising out of any act or omission of these suppliers. The Smithsonian Institution and the tour operator reserve the right, without penalty, to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in their judgment, conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of tour participants.

The Smithsonian Institution and the tour operator also reserve the right, without penalty, to withdraw the tour announced, to decline to accept any person as a participant in a tour, or to require any participant to withdraw from the tour at any time, when such action is determined by tour staff to be in the best interests of the health, safety or general welfare of the tour group or the individual participant, subject only to the requirement that the recoverable portion of the total amount paid that corresponds to the cost of unused services and accommodations be refunded, if any. If your tour does not include airfare, your Tour Bulletins will provide information about when participants are recommended to purchase airline tickets. The Smithsonian Institution and the tour operator accept no liability for the purchase of non-refundable airline tickets to/from the tour departure city if a tour is canceled or otherwise modified subsequent to the participant’s purchase of those tickets. Baggage and personal effects are at all times the sole responsibility of the participant.

Dates, schedules, program details, and costs, although provided in good faith based on information available at the time of publication of the brochure or catalog, are subject to change and revision.

AS A CONDITION OF ACCEPTANCE OF ANY APPLICATION, EACH APPLICANT MUST AGREE TO THE STATEMENT SET FORTH BELOW:

The undersigned has read carefully the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer set forth above, the schedule of activities for this tour, as well as the terms and conditions of application and participation as set forth in the tour brochure(s), and recognizes and accepts any risk associated with the tour and the conditions, including the refund policy, set forth in the tour brochure(s). The undersigned further acknowledges that there are many risks and uncertainties inherent in any travel tour, including but not limited to the hazards of various modes of transportation, forces of nature, acts or omissions of foreign governments, terrorism, war or insurrection, theft, illness, and damage to person or property due to the negligent acts or omissions of tour staff or others. In consideration of, and as part payment for, the right to participate in the tour, the undersigned, on behalf of himself, his dependents, heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, agrees to release the Smithsonian Institution, its Regents, officers, employees, representatives or agents, the United States, and the tour operator and its officers, employees and agents, from liability for personal injury, death, property damage or loss suffered by any person in connection with this tour, even if caused by the negligence (but not the reckless, willful, or fraudulent conduct) of tour staff or other related persons or entities. In addition, by registering for this tour, the applicant certifies that he or she is mentally and physically capable of full participation in this tour.

By registering for a Smithsonian Journey, the participant agrees to the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer and the Terms and Conditions herein.