Alfred the Great Tour?

by Ken
(Memphis, Tennessee)

Is there any sort of Alfred the Great tour or itinerary that would offer insights to this amazing leader and the era in which he lived and ruled?


You could start your tour in Wantage, Alfred's birthplace. There's a statue of Alfred in the market square (it keeps losing its sword).

From there you could drive to Ashdown in Berkshire, where Alfred and his brother defeated the Danes in 871.

Across the South Downs to Somerset, where Alfred hid after he refused to pay tribute to the Danes in 876/877.

From Somerset, follow Alfred and his army to Edington, where he defeated the Danish King Gudrum in 877.

Then to Winchester, his capital when he was King of Wessex and into Dorset to the town of Shaftesbury (with its famous Gold Hill), which was founded as an abbey site by Alfred and where his sister was the first abbess.

(This tour could be done leisurely, with a few other sites in between, in a week)

Other Anglo-Saxon sites (if your trip is a longer one) would be Maldon in Essex (Battle of Maldon and the event commemorated in one of the few bits of Anglo-Saxon poetry that have survived) and Sutton Hoo in Suffolk, the famous ship burial. London's British Museum has a good exhibition and some wonderful manuscripts like the Lindisfarne gospels and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.

And then, of course, there's the amazing Anglo-Saxon treasure hoard that's been making all the headlines recently. Once it's been fully catalogued and conserved, it will go on display in the Midlands...

Bernard Cornwell's set of King Alfred novels can also give you an idea of life in Anglo-Saxon England.

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