The Great Tours: England, Scotland, and Wales

Course No. 8006
Professor Patrick N. Allitt, Ph.D.
Emory University
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Course No. 8006
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What Will You Learn?

  • Explore the rich history of Great Britain, from the ancient Druids and Roman conquests through the Tudor, Elizabethan, and Victorian eras, and into the 20th century.
  • Travel through Scotland, Wales, and England's great regions, including the Great North Road, East Anglia, and the Lake District.
  • Survey the literary, artistic, and architectural achievement of Great Britain across the ages.
  • Find out which tourist hot spots are must-sees, which to avoid, and where are the must-see sites you've never even heard of.

Course Overview

Whether you are searching for the past or want to better understand the world as it is today, travel—even virtually, from the comfort of home—offers a unique opportunity to see the world in new ways. Perhaps you would like to wander the cosmopolitan streets of London, roam the 1,000-year-old campuses of Oxford and Cambridge, or tour world-famous museums like the Tate Modern and the National Railway Museum. Or maybe you are aiming for a more pastoral adventure, like an expedition across the romantic wilds of the Scottish Highlands, or a journey to see the breathtaking vistas of the Jurassic coast. No matter what experience you are hoping to find, a tour of England, Scotland, and Wales rewards visitors with an astonishing array of historical, cultural, and scenic pleasures and reveals the heritage of a nation that has influenced the world immeasurably.

With so many beautiful and fascinating places to see, where do you start? What famous sites are most worth seeing—and where are the hidden gems that many tourists miss? Let us help you get the most out of your journey across this superb island.

No matter what you are hoping to discover in this magnificent region, The Great Tours: England, Scotland, and Wales is the perfect guide. Taught by acclaimed Professor Patrick Allitt, a British-born scholar who teaches at Emory University, these 36 engrossing lectures give you an insider’s take on traveling through Great Britain. Whether you are planning a week-long vacation; a month-long grand tour; or just want to experience England, Scotland, and Wales from afar, this visually immersive course brings Great Britain into your living room and gives you all the background you need to plan the trip of a lifetime.

Go beyond the Guidebook

Gain the historical and cultural context you need to appreciate some of Britain’s most popular sites, including:

  • Stonehenge
  • Buckingham Palace
  • The Houses of Parliament
  • St. Paul’s Cathedral
  • The English Lake District
  • Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Cardiff, Wales
  • and many more


Professor Allitt shows you worthwhile destinations that are often swamped with tourists and long lines, giving you access to these sites without the crowds, but also showing you which of these destinations really are worth braving if you visit in person.  Perhaps more important, he introduces you to many overlooked or little-known gems that will surprise and delight even the most seasoned traveler to Britain. This is the insider look that the travel guides and tour programs can’t match. For instance, as Professor Allitt guides you across Great Britain, you will:

  • Consider Avebury, a breathtaking set of stone monuments largely overlooked in favor of the more famous Stonehenge;
  • Venture to Quarry Bank Mill in Cheshire, the single best place in Britain to study the history of the Industrial Revolution;
  • Spend some time in the beautiful (and tragic) Scottish valley of Glencoe, and tour a ring of UNESCO World Heritage Site castles in Wales; and
  • Explore the fascinating history of the often-overlooked English Midlands, tour the country houses of East Anglia, and take a hike through the wild moorlands of Cornwall.


All the World’s a Stage

One of the many pleasures of travel is seeing places you have only heard about in books or seen in glimpses on television. Likewise, knowing something about a place before you visit it deepens your experience of seeing it in person. With that in mind, Professor Allitt’s first job in this course is to survey the more than 1,000-year history of Great Britain.

The early history of Britain was largely shaped by a series of invasions. First the Romans came, and you can visit the edge of the Roman Empire at Hadrian’s Wall, near the Anglo-Scottish border. After the Roman retreat, the Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, and Normans all raided the coast and eventually settled. War dominated early British history, which resulted in the construction of many of the medieval castles that must be near the top of any tourist’s itinerary. Some of the many monuments and fortifications you will encounter are:

  • Lindisfarne, a monastery that was the site of a major Viking attack;
  • The Tower of London, with its remarkable stone keep and outer wall;
  • Dover Castle, overlooking the great cliffs; and
  • Warwick Castle, a must-see crowd-pleaser at the heart of the kingdom.


Christianity was the other great force in early British history, a facet of history you will explore through its astonishing cathedrals. Among them, consider Norwich Cathedral, Canterbury, and—most famously—Westminster Abbey.

After the many invasions of the Middle Ages, Britain saw several hundred years of political change—with tension between the monarchs and Parliament, between the English and the Scots, between Catholics and Anglicans, and a host of other struggles. Professor Allitt illuminates the story from the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 through the rein of Queen Victoria and into the 20th century.

Modern Britain was an industrial dynamo, so in addition to highlighting the famous monasteries, government halls, country houses, and battlefields where history was made, Professor Allitt also shows you the villages, mills, quarries, canals, and railroad lines that made Great Britain the powerhouse it is today.

The Road Not Taken

A visitor could spend a year in London and still not see everything worth experiencing. The city is home to an abundance of museums, monuments, parks, and lively neighborhoods. Among the highlights of Professor Allitt’s London tour are the wonderful Victoria and Albert Museum; the British Museum; Trafalgar Square; Kensington; Piccadilly Circus; and, of course, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and the Houses of Parliament.

But as Professor Allitt notes, London is in many ways the least representative part of Great Britain. To really understand this nation, you must venture beyond the city—and this course takes you region by region around the island, including four rich lectures dedicated to Scotland and Wales. You’ll visit the royal mile in Edinburgh, ride a locomotive to the summit of Mount Snowden in Wales, and much more.

In England, you will head to the West Country to track Arthurian legends at iconic places like Tintagel Castle and Glastonbury Tor; spend time in the northern industrial cities of Manchester and Liverpool; stroll through Robin Hood’s Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire; and experience the gentle, rustic, and often remote land of East Anglia. Any one of these regions is worth a day trip or an extended stay.

Though this course is not concerned with the specific details of transportation options, Professor Allitt does offer many interesting tidbits about the history of Britain’s canals and railroads, the London underground, and the island’s major highways. For his part, he recommends walking as an ideal mode of transportation, and hiking enthusiasts will discover opportunities in every part of Britain, from the gentle Cotswolds to the dramatic coastal paths of Southwest England.

From Baker Street to the Lighthouse

Great Britain offers opportunities to explore almost every artistic and cultural interest you can imagine. Lovers of literature will be able to connect numerous sites with their favorite authors, from the picturesque Lake District beloved by Wordsworth to the Oxford haunts of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien—and, of course, the famous Baker Street of Sherlock Holmes. Professor Allitt introduces you to places associated with hundreds of years of great writers, including:

  • The national bards Chaucer and Shakespeare
  • Poets Wordsworth, Keats, Shelley, and Byron
  • Novelists Austen, Dickens, the Brontës, Woolf, and Orwell


He also introduces you to the great tradition of visual arts and artists. In addition to reflecting on the lives and works of artists such as William Hogarth, Joseph Turner, and Thomas Gainsborough, you’ll also learn about some of the best art museums in the country:

  • The National Gallery in London
  • The National Portrait Gallery
  • The Tate Modern
  • The Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh
  • The National Museum in Cardiff


Great Britain’s literary and artistic heritage is tremendous, but its centuries-long culture of gardening is equally astounding. Because of the island’s mild and damp climate, it is an ideal location for floral displays—and the gardens throughout England, Scotland, and Wales arguably are unmatched around the world. Professor Allitt takes you to some of the finest, including:

  • Stourhead Estate in Wiltshire
  • The Botanic Garden at Oxford University
  • Kew Gardens in London
  • Bodnant Garden in Wales
  • and more


Ode to an Island Nation

There is no substitute for travel. Some things you simply have to see for yourself. That said, The Great Tours: England, Scotland, and Wales is the next best thing. Visually dazzling with hundreds of photographs from your professor’s own archives, you will see all the sites Professor Allitt describes—and, thanks to the help of a professional accent specialist in several of the lectures, you will also be able to hear the sounds of the Scottish brogue, the Welsh voice, the Cockney accent, and more.

If you have an upcoming trip to Great Britain, you will be well-prepped to have a rich experience—with insight on where to go, what to do, and what it all means. But even if you simply plan to enjoy Great Britain from your home, Professor Allitt grounds you in the history, the people, the land, and the cultural touchstones to enhance your understanding of this mighty nation. Every lecture in The Great Tours: England, Scotland, and Wales offers an immersive experience and astonishing insight into this small island that has had an outsized influence on the world’s stage.

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36 lectures
 |  Average 29 minutes each
  • 1
    Welcome to Britain
    See why Great Britain offers so much as a travel destination. From thousand-year-old castles and cathedrals to contemporary art museums and scenic hikes, there is something for everyone. Begin your tour with a look at the scope of all Britain has to offer-and a few off-the-beaten-path ideas for getting to know England, Scotland, and Wales. x
  • 2
    Prehistoric Britain
    Great Britain's history begins 5,000 years ago with a mysterious ancient people whose only vestiges are earthworks and stone circles like Stonehenge. Because of Stonehenge's massive popularity, you may want to consider visiting other ancient ruins such as Avebury or Maiden Castle. x
  • 3
    Roman Britain
    The next era in Britain's history is the Roman conquest. In the first century B.C.E., the Romans invaded and spread their territory to the Anglo-Scottish border. There, Hadrian's Wall marks the edge of the empire. Consider the Roman impact on Great Britain, from the city of Bath to the island's long, straight roads. x
  • 4
    Anglo-Saxon and Viking Britain
    After the Romans left Britain, a number of Germanic tribes stepped in to fill the power vacuum. With the help of the Venerable Bede and other contemporary sources, explore the Anglo-Saxon conquests. Then turn to the Viking attacks in the Middle Ages. Be sure to add Offa's Dyke and the monastery of Lindisfarne to your travel itinerary. x
  • 5
    Britain's Medieval Castles
    Medieval castles and cathedrals are some of the most striking sites in all of Britain. Here, survey the development of castles built between 1066 and 1500. As you reflect on the evolution of the stone keep and outer wall, concentric design, and more, your tour takes you to such crowd-pleasers as Tower of London, Caerphilly in Wales, Dover Castle, and more. x
  • 6
    Britain's Medieval Cathedrals
    Like the medieval castles, Britain's cathedrals are astounding sites and an absolute must for any visitor to the island. Here, Professor Allitt explores the major milestones in cathedral architecture, from the Romanesque style of Durham Cathedral to the gothic style of Canterbury. He also takes you to the world-renowned Westminster Abbey. x
  • 7
    Tudor Britain
    From the end of the Wars of the Roses in 1485 to the Gunpowder Plot in 1605, Britain experienced severe political upheavals. Among other events, Henry VIII broke from the Catholic Church to found the Church of England. Witness how the era's architecture-including Hampton Court Palace, Hardwick Hall, and Sulgrave Manor-reflected the political turmoil. x
  • 8
    Magna Carta and Civil War
    Continue your study of the political shifts during Renaissance Britain, a period when kings were gradually forced to share power with Parliament. This tension broke bounds in the 17th century, when Charles I, defeated in a civil war, was beheaded at the Banqueting House in London. After Oliver Cromwell's quasi-military dictatorship, the crown was restored to Charles II-but political tension persisted. x
  • 9
    Enlightenment Britain
    Some of the greatest sites in Britain today are products of the Enlightenment. Delve into some of Christopher Wren's architectural achievements, including the Royal Observatory and the splendid St. Paul's Cathedral. Then move beyond London to explore the great country estates of Kedleston and Calke Abbey. x
  • 10
    Industrial Britain
    Britain was home to the Industrial Revolution, driven by advancements in textiles, coal mining, and iron. Tour the country to see some of the monuments to industry, including Quarry Bank Mill in Cheshire, Coalbrookdale in Shropshire, and the Big Pit in the South Wales village of Blaenafon. Visit and travel on the nation's canals and railways from the same era. x
  • 11
    Victorian Britain
    Victorian Britain is a fascinating architectural period, which witnessed a revival of many older styles, culminating in the Neo-Gothic. Visit such masterpieces of the Gothic Revival as Manchester Town Hall, St. Pancras Station in London, and the Museum of Natural History. Then tour Kensington, where the Royal Albert Hall commemorates Victoria's husband. x
  • 12
    20th-Century Britain
    Conclude your survey of British architecture with an overview of the 20th century-a period when, according to Professor Allitt, some of the nation's worst buildings were constructed. The early part of the century saw striking achievements, such as Arts and Crafts style country houses, but the post-World War II era was an age of Brutalist concrete, from which we are only just escaping today. x
  • 13
    Edinburgh and Glasgow
    Scottish nationalism is one of the more intriguing phenomena in today's headlines. Here, look beyond the news reports to investigate Scotland's two great cities: Edinburgh and Glasgow. While giving you a tour of the cities, Professor Allitt also introduces you to some of Scotland's most famous figures, including Walter Scott, Adam Smith, and David Hume. x
  • 14
    Wild Scotland: Beyond Edinburgh and Glasgow
    Continue your tour of Scotland with a look beyond the cities. You'll visit the Scottish Highlands, which is the least densely populated part of Europe, and explore the great history of this wild land. Your investigation takes you to the tragic and beautiful valley of Glencoe; the Spey Valley, a mecca for Scotch whiskey lovers; and the beautiful Scottish islands. x
  • 15
    North Wales
    Shift your attention to the other country within the nation. Beginning with Offa's Dyke and touring a ring of castles-including the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Conwy Castle and Harlech-this tour of North Wales is an ideal introduction to the Welsh landscape, history, and heritage. x
  • 16
    Cardiff and South Wales
    Head south to the capital city of Cardiff, where impressive civic buildings and the National Museum of Wales await you. The architecture of this city is magnificent, and offers much to see, from the polychromatic fantasy rooms of Cardiff Castle to the dome over the National Museum. Then turn to the South Wales towns of Tredegar and Swansea, home of Dylan Thomas. x
  • 17
    The North of England
    England is a nation of regions, and the wild Pennine Hills in the north-Wuthering Heights country-is one of the must-see stops in your travels. Here, cities such as Liverpool, Manchester, and York were industrial dynamos in the 19th century-and the National Railway Museum in York is one of Professor Allitt's top-rated destinations for visitors. x
  • 18
    The English Midlands
    You might be tempted to skip the English Midlands, but if you have the time in your itinerary, the region has much to offer. Home to Josiah Wedgwood's pottery, quaint villages, and Robin Hood's Sherwood Forest, the Midlands have a fascinating heritage and offer an incomparable look into the British story. x
  • 19
    East Anglia
    Continue your survey of the great regions of England with a look East Anglia. A rural district that has inspired nature lovers and scientists for generations, East Anglia is also home to stately country houses such as Blickling and Houghton Hall and country towns like Norwich. This quiet region warrants at least a day's visit. x
  • 20
    England's West Country
    Look now to the dramatic landscape of the West Country. The sleepy villages of Somerset and Dorset give way to the colorful towns of Devonshire and Cornwall, which has become a magnet for visual artists. The hilltop island church of St. Michael's Mount and the ancient fortress of Tintagel should not be missed. x
  • 21
    The Museums of London
    In this lecture, trade the calm of the country for the bustle of the city. Professor Allitt takes you to some of the world's finest museums, including the British Museum, home to the controversial Elgin Marbles, once plundered from the Parthenon in Athens. You'll also visit the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Gallery, and the Tate Modern. x
  • 22
    London's Streets and Parks
    Learn how to navigate London by tube and foot. Go inside the underground stations and learn why the tube is the best way to get around the city. Above ground, discover the urban retreats of Regent's Park and Hyde Park, and the shopping hub that is Regent Street. With so many museums, parks, and attractions, London has never been a more interesting and fun city to visit. x
  • 23
    Buckingham Palace and Parliament
    Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament are two of the most popular tourist destinations, and they embody the government of Great Britain. See why these buildings are such a draw, learn about their architecture and renovations over the years, and reflect on the nature of Britain's constitutional monarchy. x
  • 24
    Oxford and Cambridge
    Step away from teeming London into the famous university towns of Oxford and Cambridge. Both house venerable academic institutions, each with its own distinct mood and atmosphere. Learn about some of the famous graduates from each university, and tour a sampling of their beautiful chapels, libraries, rivers, and gardens. x
  • 25
    Literary Britain: Chaucer and Shakespeare
    Great Britain is home to one of the world's great literary traditions-and literature is a terrific way to frame your tour through the island. In this first of four literary lectures, reflect on the work of two of Britain's most-prized poets, Chaucer and Shakespeare. Retrace the pilgrims' path of The Canterbury Tales, visit Shakespeare's Globe Theatre beside the River Thames, and more. x
  • 26
    Literary Britain: The Romantics
    Continue your literary journey through Britain. From the great Scottish writers Walter Scott and Robert Burns to Wordsworth's evocative descriptions of the Lake District, the Romantic writers of the 18th and 19th centuries created an enduring mood and style that still resonate today. Also tour the quiet villages where Jane Austen worked and the Jurassic coast at Lyme Regis. x
  • 27
    Literary Britain: Poets and Novelists
    Shelley, Keats, and Byron are three of the world's finest poets, and their work is steeped in the history and landscape of Britain. Reflect on the land that inspired their finest works, and then turn to the world of the Bronte sisters in the North and Charles Dickens in the South, whose novels evoke not only the land but also the people of the 19th century. x
  • 28
    Literary Britain: The 20th Century
    Round out your study of British literature with a survey of the 20th-century masters. Check out the Baker Street of Sherlock Holmes, visit the rural Dorset villages of Thomas Hardy, and then pop over to Bloomsbury in London to see where Virginia Woolf and her comrades created a new kind of literature. x
  • 29
    Artistic Britain: Painters and Sculptors
    Britain has a distinguished artistic tradition along with a set of museums that house many of the world's greatest visual masterpieces. Examine the lives and works of some of the great painters and sculptors, including William Hogarth, Joseph Turner, Thomas Gainsborough, Henry Moore, and Barbara Hepworth. x
  • 30
    Britain's Estates and Gardens
    Because of its mild and wet climate, Britain is well suited for flowers, and England has a proud history of gardening going back to the 1500s. In this visually rich lecture, tour some of the most stunning gardens in the nation today, including the Botanic Garden at Oxford University; Kew Gardens in London; and others, grand and obscure, throughout the provinces. x
  • 31
    Legacy of the British Empire
    From the 17th through the 20th century, Britain's empire spanned the globe, giving this small island an outsized role on the world's stage. But while Britain was making an impact in India, New Zealand, Canada, and elsewhere, these nations were having an impact on Britain. Explore the ethnic and cultural diversity in Britain today. x
  • 32
    Seafaring Britain
    Britain became a world power thanks to its domination of the seas in the 18th and 19th centuries. Visit the historic dockyard in Portsmouth, where you can see some of the ships that helped put Britain on the map. Then discover some of the less well-known but equally impressive ports and ships, plus some of Britain's many coastal lighthouses. x
  • 33
    Britain's War Memorials
    As a world power, Britain fought many wars-which it has commemorated in many ways. Among other memorials, this lecture takes you to Blenheim Place (commemorating the Duke of Marlborough's defeat of a great French and Bavarian army in 1704) to Trafalgar Square in London (with its memorial to Horatio Nelson), to Hyde Park Corner (the best place to see war memorials in England), and the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey. x
  • 34
    Hiking England, Scotland, and Wales
    While you need a car, train, or boat to get a comprehensive tour of Britain, arguably the best way to explore the nation is by foot. England, Scotland, and Wales are home to some of the best hiking paths in Europe, from the Lake District that inspired the Romantic poets to the Southwest Coast Path to the demanding Pennine Way trail up the spine of northern England. x
  • 35
    Britain's Sporting Tradition
    Soccer, cricket, tennis, golf: These sports were invented in Britain and play a major role in the nation's culture today. Whether you are a rabid Man United nut or occasionally enjoy a match at Wimbledon, Britain has something for every sports fan-and the timing of sporting events may be something to consider when planning your great tour. x
  • 36
    How to Think about Visiting Britain
    Tourism is a good test of self-knowledge: Why do you want to travel in the first place? While Britain is an ideal place to travel, it behooves you to spend a few minutes reflecting on why you want to go there so that you plan the most meaningful trip. Professor Allitt ends with a few practical tips to help you get the most from your travels. x

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Video DVD
Instant Video Includes:
  • Ability to download 36 video lectures from your digital library
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
Video DVD
Instant Audio Includes:
  • Ability to download 36 audio lectures from your digital library
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE audio streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
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DVD Includes:
  • 36 lectures on 6 DVDs
  • 288-page printed course guidebook
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
  • Closed captioning available

What Does The Course Guidebook Include?

Video DVD
Course Guidebook Details:
  • 288-page printed course guidebook
  • Photographs and maps
  • Suggested reading
  • Suggested activities

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Your professor

Patrick N. Allitt

About Your Professor

Patrick N. Allitt, Ph.D.
Emory University
Dr. Patrick N. Allitt is Cahoon Family Professor of American History at Emory University, where he has taught since 1988. The holder of a doctorate in history from the University of California, Berkeley, Professor Allitt-an Oxford University graduate-has also taught American religious history at Harvard Divinity School, where he was a Henry Luce Postdoctoral Fellow. He was the Director of Emory College's Center for Teaching...
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The Great Tours: England, Scotland, and Wales is rated 4.7 out of 5 by 128.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Well Covered Range Of Material A very well done series, thorough and informative. The series is not organized geographically (i.e. a travelogue path), but rather it is (mainly) organized categorially (Castles, Cathedrals, Literary, etc). The series covers a wide range of area and subjects. It's a fine addition to my library, filling in current and historical elements of the U.K. that serve for excursions to both urban and rural areas in the region. I was pleasantly surprised with both historical and cultural insights and enjoyed the dry humor interjected by Professor Allitt as well.
Date published: 2019-12-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Exactly what it says. We actually see this on our Roku TV on The Great Courses Plus. We love this course. Love the narrator; nice voice, uses humor, grew up there so he knows details. He includes more than just the famous sites; we see the countryside and small villages. Our son and wife are thinking about going to England, so we sent them the DVD. The narrator gives ideas about planning a visit. We often have this Course on TV while we work around the house. We view it over many times. My favorite episode is on the Midlands. But I'm glad he shows areas that I didn't think I would be interested in, and found out how interesting they are. He makes history come alive and how things have changed. He is friendly, not a generic tour guide. We love it when he gives his personal opinion, which is very funny. I am too old to travel, but I visit these places vicariously.
Date published: 2019-12-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Some of my ancesters came from Scotland, Ireland, and England. I have been to London and down to Dover, but am planning a trip overseas this year to see more of this part of Europe. This course is so informative as I love history and this is his best course ( I have a couple others)
Date published: 2019-11-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Only recommended for two kinds of people . . . . . . those who plan to visit the UK and those who don't! If you think you'll probably never tour the UK, then I would say this is a pretty good way to get at least an acquaintance with the history, geography, and peoples of the UK. If you do plan to go, and it's apparent that Allitt's approach is a briefing on what to see and what to avoid for those who do plan a trip, this tour will provide too much to choose from. There's just a lot of history and culture packed into those small isles. Good luck trying to fit in all of the "must sees" and "can't miss this." I've watched several of Allitt's classes and I love his style. Easy-going, informative, funny when he needs to be, and throwing in his own opinions enough to give it a real personal touch. And he's honest enough to own up to his own favorite themes and subjects. The one major drawback I found wasn't anything to do with Allitt or the material, but the graphics added by the Great Courses staff. Way overdone, to the point of distraction. "Just because you can do something, it doesn't mean you should do it ," is my message to them.
Date published: 2019-11-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great course! I loved this course and loved Professor Allitt. He is a star, in my opinion, and I would definitely consider other courses that he teaches.
Date published: 2019-11-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Title says it all Prof. Allitt is well-informed and entertaining. Now I want to see these places in person.
Date published: 2019-10-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very good presentations Told me just what I needed to know. Can't wait to visit England again.
Date published: 2019-10-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent overview This course has brought back vivid memories of places I have visited as well of locations yet to see. The mixture of history, institutions, and portrayal of scenic sections of the British Isles was outstanding.
Date published: 2019-09-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Great Tours:England, Scotland, Wales Kudos to Professor Allitt! The course information was comprehensive and unbiased. Numerous pictures and maps allowed you to track the locations of everything presented. It was a pleasure to listen and learn. Professor Allitt's anecdotes made the "trip" all the more enjoyable. Now this is a Great Course.
Date published: 2019-09-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I am so excited about these courses! Looking forward to listening to the other courses that I purchased.
Date published: 2019-08-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Somewhat disappointing There's lots of good information here, but I'd suggest that more photographs and fewer quotations would liven the presentation. I've enjoyed the other "tour" courses rather more.
Date published: 2019-08-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Multi Dimensional Tour! I've an interest in touring Great Britain (though with Brexit constantly hovering in the wings I've been fearful of going over until the dust settles a bit -- worried that social disturbances might strike unexpectedly) and I hoped this course might guide me somewhat in where I would want to go. The course is so detailed that there must be something for everyone in it. Professor Allitt approaches tours in multiple different ways: first of course, by the geographic region, with five lectures on parts of England plus 3 devoted to London, 3 on Scotland and two on Wales. But there's much more. He has a lecture just on cathedrals, a lecture just for war memorials, a lecture on ports, on sports, on hiking trails, and so forth. There are no less than 4 lectures on touring Britain just for literary historical sites. There are lectures on monuments from the various eras all the way back to pre-historic Britain. One does not have to listen to all these of course; one can pick and choose which topics one would most be interested in noting. If I had to think of anything I might add, the only thing I came up with was perhaps "haunted England" (famously haunted buildings). Altogether 36 lectures, 18 hours; I only skipped a couple. Allitt, I saw from another course, can be a very demanding professor, but in this course he is fully relaxed and easy-going, entertaining, on one of his favorite recreational topics, and he was fun to listen to.
Date published: 2019-08-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great for planning, great alternative to going! I taught British lit for 36 years and hope one day to visit England, Scotland, and Wales. This course is a great way to prepare for that, adding history to the sites to put them in perspective. Really worth it for those planning a trip, or for those who chose to stay at home. Love it!
Date published: 2019-08-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Lots of great information Just beginning two of the courses, one on photography and the other on touring England, Wales and Scotland. A lot to absorb though the guide books help when using the DVD.
Date published: 2019-08-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Really wonderful. Couldn't stop watching. I have been to Britain twice and have seen all the standard tourist places. But this course highlighted many interesting places off the beaten path and watching this gave me an entirely new look at Great Britain. Now I'm going to have to plan another trip to see all of the places I've missed.
Date published: 2019-08-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely superb! Professor Patrick Allitt has done such a flawless job of presenting this course that we hated for it to come to an end. It was fascinating, entertaining, informative and extremely valuable in our learning of the British Isles. Professor Allitt's presentation skills are among the best we have ever seen with the Great Courses and we just love him and everything he presents. He is engaging, exudes an affable personality and astounding command of the English language. We will definitely watch it again. We just have to say, "Bravo!"
Date published: 2019-08-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Masterful Guide to a Vigorous Nation Allitt's extraordinary depth of knowledge and observant study of his surroundings set this course apart from anything on TV. The lectures were never dull because of his satellite zoom-ins, stories, short video clips, great photos, well-chosen maps, and occasional photos of himself at hard-to-find places. Allitt is simply full of historical, geologic, heritage, architectural, and literature surprises. With this course, you soon learn to question every odd little memorial or piece of architecture because it might carry a tremendously interesting story. Allitt also makes comments suggesting the reason for the happy continuity of British society. When the ship American Eagle from Jamaica brought needed workers there were race riots (1958) due to worker competition fears, but the annual Nottingham Carnival rapidly led to a comparatively harmonious multiracial democracy. Just as the British had let go of Imperialism long before others, the old white and new black immigrants were again able to let go of the past and move on. Similarly, more recent India and Pakistani immigrants brought religious tensions that were relieved by the introduction of the much better food these new immigrants bring. Allitt provides a subtle lesson here in the art of forgiving. Refreshingly, this has brought an inclusive respect for British forebears both good and bad...there are 100,000 history honoring memorials in Britain, including one for the erring captain of the Titanic! How much better than our own NEA-driven divisiveness that alters history and leads to student vengeful desecration of our monuments? Give me calypso or Indian food and stop judging the past! Better that our students revitalize our own canal system and trails as the Brits have so beautifully done (L34 & others). Allitt also describes how the historical mega-mansions have gradually come into the Public Trust. While his last lecture might be useful in picking a professional tour, it would be more useful to those who use the lectures of interest to create their own solo or small group tour. And if you can't physically go, this is certainly a brilliant virtual tour. Having taken a solo tour of Roman and Medieval Britain, I was amazed at how the entire countryside seemed manicured, sparsely populated, and intensely beautiful - just as Allitt describes it. The (sometimes obscure) sites were freely accessible through farms and pathways without US National Park Service gates, tolls, litter, and hassle. Allitt credits this hiking wonder to the Ramblers Association and does their history justice. Below is a photography I took at a Hadrian's Wall. Yes, those are Roman tiles at an obscure fort just sitting in the middle of a field! Allitt's course shows how such wonders are possible.
Date published: 2019-08-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Historical Summary of England, Scotland, Professor Allitt has a great presentation style. Informal, highly informative, with insightful personal injections. Not just a researched professor giving a course, but one who has lived in the areas, and visited the sites, adding that personal touch. His personal touch make you feel you are actually at the location. Historical background at each site provides context to make eac presentation that much more interesting. Just one example is the presentation on the Magna Carta. The professor brings out background material from the earliest times to the present to emphasize its importance and how it has shaped not only English, but world history, especially that of the United States. This course would be excellent material especially for those planning a visit to the UK, in addition to a general historical interest. The lectures generate interest in wanting to explore each site in more detail, both physically as well as further research.
Date published: 2019-08-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful pictures, great details I have watched segments of this course more than once. The scenery is lovely and the historical details are interesting. You also get practical tips for traveling to the locations.
Date published: 2019-07-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not what I expected I thought this was going to be more of a “tour” and less of a history lesson. Much of the video is spent watching the professor talk. I would have liked it better if they had shown more video of the places he discusses, with a voiceover of him talking about it. I’ve only made it through the first section of the first dvd. I’d like to return this.
Date published: 2019-07-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A thorough and satisfying travelogue This excellent course provides a thorough travelogue on Great Britain taking us to small villages, towns and countryside covering the history, geography, culture and connection of each place. A tantalizing journey to places well known and unknown to us. Now we want to go back and see it all!
Date published: 2019-07-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Not Just A Tour! I love history and this course really filled in the gaps that a real tourist would have missed. The professors insightfulness gives a real grasp on the subject.
Date published: 2019-06-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Essential before a Great Britian visit Professor Allitt is very easy on the ears with a pleasant, understandable voice delivered at a perfect pace. The photos and graphics are excellent as is the content. We have been to the UK a couple of times and enjoyed "revisiting" many of the places we experienced before. The course prompted us to add several must see places to the list for our next trip. This is one of the best Great Courses we have watched.
Date published: 2019-06-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Splendid Course My wife and have very much enjoyed this course. We watch one or two lectures every evening, and, when we will probably go through it all again. Britain, Scotland and Wales are very small countriries, when compared to the USA, so the great number of interesting and exciting things they have there, plus the wide open places are just astonishing. And many things there are so very old, when compared to this country. And there are so many interesting places there, that a visitor can visit many of them in a single trip. Also, the lecturer will sometimes recommend less well known places, because the better known ones are often more crowded. I have usually given courses I've taken away to friends when I finish them, or sold them, but we plan to keep this one, and enjoy it again, more than once, in the future.
Date published: 2019-06-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Glad I got this one! Have only started into this course but already am enjoying it a lot! Instructor is well versed in the subject material and helps the student make well informed decisions about deciding where to visit “intelligently” to accomplish your goals of seeing what you want to see. Very happy with this course so far.
Date published: 2019-06-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Informative Professor Allitt not only gives advice for travelers, but also a lot of interesting history facts. In addition, he talks about the great literary giants of Great Britain
Date published: 2019-06-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Enjoyable and Informative for Travelers I purchased this title in anticipation of planning a trip to visit England, Scotland and Wales. The course is beautifully done, the presenter is engaging and the material is inspiring and informative. I am enjoying this course and I expect it will be useful in planning my travels.
Date published: 2019-06-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good, but... You definitely want to get the video version of this course. It has such great potential. It includes beautiful locations & interesting information. Unfortunately, the narrator focuses a wee bit too much on his self and his hometown and his personal interests. He talks a lot about where he grew up and about trains and misses many other interesting topics. I sometimes wondered if I was watching a video about trains or about England. I would have enjoyed more information about topics such as footpaths, bike trails & castles. If he would have cut back on some of his personal stories, he could have also touched on more historical events. In general though, how can you go wrong with a tour of England, Scotland & Wales?
Date published: 2019-06-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Allitt Rules Brilliant topic selections - great regional balance - and lovely, invariably fascinating and often wryly funny presentations. Professor Allitt's course offers a unique informed, hype-free guide for foreign visitors to the British Isles - AND - an eye-opener for home-grown islanders. Please send Allitt to Ireland.
Date published: 2019-06-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Enjoyable tour! I have only watched three episodes so far and have thoroughly enjoyed them all. I look forward to seeing the entire course.
Date published: 2019-06-13
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