Kendra’s Pilgrimage to England: All the Details

by | Jan 24, 2024 | Blog, Parenting, Travel | 0 comments

If you haven’t seen it yet, I’m going on a pilgrimage to England with Fr. Tim Grumbach! Our friends at Select International Tours have planned the whole thing, and I worked with them to pick the BEST of the best stops for the ultimate Catholic trip.

I would love for you to come too! We can bond over our favorite English saints and writers, pray together, and drink tea together. You can find the whole pilgrimage itinerary (and trip details) in this PDF, but it’s all words and no pictures which is a bummer because we’re going to see some amazing sites.

Enter this blog post; your pilgrimage preview, or photo itinerary as it were . . .

So without further ado, I present our pilgrimage!

Day 1: Leave the USA

The pilgrimage includes airfare from the USA to London Heathrow Airport. If you’re already in England and want to join just choose the “land only” option when you’re signing up and you won’t be charged for airfare from the USA!

Us on the airplane leaving for the pilgrimage ⌄⌄⌄⌄

via GIPHY

Just kidding we’ll hopefully all be sleeping because the flight is an overnight flight with breakfast and dinner served on board.

Day 2: Arrive in London

We’ll say hi to our tour manager, and head to Mass at the magnificent Church of St. Etheldreda! This is the oldest Roman Catholic Church in England. We’ll also take a panoramic tour of London, seeing Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, and St. Paul’s Cathedral. Then we can explore a bit on our own before checking into the hotel, grabbing some Yorkshire pudding and roast beef, and then hitting the hay.

Church of St. Etheldreda

The first two images come from the St. Etheldreda website. The second two show the full interior of the church! Image 3: Source. Image 4: Source. The statues on the walls are of English Martyrs during the Elizabethan era.

Check out the fascinating history of St. Etheldreda’s here. And take a virtual 3D tour here!

Our other Day Two stops!

Image 1: Buckingham Palace, Image 2: Trafalgar Square, Image 3: Trafalgar Square, Image 4: St. Paul’s Cathedral

Day 3: The Feast of Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher

Can I just say how cool it is that we’ll be in London for these fellows’ feast day!? Day three of our pilgrimage is ALL about the English martyrs. We’ll start with Mass at Brompton Oratory which was founded by Cardinal Newman.

Images from The London Oratory website!

Then it’s off to have a tour of Tyburn, the home of the infamous Tyburn Tree (aka. The Elms, the Elms near Tyburne, Tyburn Tree, the Deadly Never Green Tyburn Tree, the Triple Tree) the gallows in the town of Tyburn, a favorite spot for executions in the 15 and 16 hundreds, and home now to the shrine of the English Martyrs.

Images 1 and 2: Source, Image 3: Source.

We’ll also visit: the cell of St. Thomas More in the Tower of London, Tower Hill, the site of his execution, St. Peter ad Vincula, to pray before his remains, and visit All Hallows Chapel, where his daughter, Margaret, prayed for her father during his execution.

Images above: 1. St. Thomas More’s Cell, 2. The Bell Tower where his cell is, 3. Tower Hill Memorial, 4&5. St. Peter ad Vincula, and 6. All Hallows Church

Day 4: Thames Dinner Cruise

First, Mass, of course, 🙌! Today we’ll be celebrating Mass at the Westminster Cathedral. Then a visit to Westminster Abbey, St. Edward the Confessor, the Poets Corner, and the 17 British monarchs who are buried there. Afterward, we’ll head to Westminster Hall where St. Thomas More’s trial was held. And then in the evening a cruise on the Thames River! Food, wine, entertainment (the classy kind), and some sweet views of the Tower of London, the London Eye, Tower Bridge, and others all lit up for the night!

These are all of the Westminster Cathedral. As you can see it’s quite glorious 🤩. Images 1, 4, and 5 are from the cathedral website. Image 2: Source. Image 3: Source.

St. Edward the Confessor’s Tomb, The Oldest Door in Britain (conveniently located at the Abbey for our viewing pleasure), The Nave of the Abbey, the Poet’s Corner, and Westminster Hall. All images of the Abbey are from the Westminster Abbey website.

The London Eye, Tower Bridge, and The Tower of London.

Day 5: Canterbury and Aylesford

Today we’ll be visiting the Canterbury Cathedral, The Friars – Aylesford Priory, and the Shrine of the Glorious Assumption and St. Simon Stock

The first three images are of the Canterbury Cathedral (Image 1: source, Image 2: source, Image 3: source), and the second three images are from the Aylesford Priory and Shrine of the Glorious Assumption and St. Simon Stock. The images of the Priory are from their website.

Day 6: Norwich and Walsingham

Today’s all about the mystic St. Julian of Norwich and Our Lady of Walsingham! First we’ll visit the shrine of St. Julain of Norwich in . . . Norwich 😁. Then we’ll visit the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist before hitting the road to Walsingham to celebrate Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham 😍😍!

The first two images are of the shrine of St. Julian of Norwich. Image 1: Source, Image 2: Source. The second two are of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. Image 3: Source. Image 4: Source.

The images above are of the beautiful grounds at the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham!

Image 1: Source. Images 2, 3, and 4: Source.

Day 7: A Day to explore in London

Today’s a free day!

Is there anything in London that you’ve been dying to do?! I need some ideas so drop them in the comments! Here are a few ideas to get you started 🤩 Stop by the Natural History Museum or the Tate Britain to see classics by English artists. Enjoy high tea at one of the many tea houses in the city. Or see what’s playing at one of the many theaters in the West End! You could see The Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Hamilton or bunches of others!

Image 1: Source, Image 2: Source, Image 3: Source, Image 4: Source, Image 5: Source, Image 6: Source

Day 8: Oxford and our literary heroes!

Today we’ll be heading to Oxford to visit the favorites spots of some of our favorite authors, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis 🥳 We’ll start with a visit to the graves of Tolkien and Lewis, then stop by Lewis’ home “the Kilns” before visiting and celebrating Mass at the Christ Church Cathedral. We’ll also spend the night in Oxford 😍

Image 1: C.S. Lewis’ grave, Image 2: J.R.R. Tolkien’s grave, Image 3: The Kilns, Image 4: Christ Cathedral Choir and Organ, Image 5: Christ Cathedral Nave and Alter, Image 6: Christ Cathedral Quad

Day 9: Oxford again!

First, we’ll take a jaunt (literal walking through quaint Oxford) to Littlemore, home of St. John Henry Newman. Then we’ll attend Mass in the chapel where he converted, and visit Bermingham Oratory where both St. John Henry Newman and J.R.R. Tolkien lived! We’ll top it all off with dinner at a local restaurant!

Image 1: The College At Littlemore, Image 2: The Bermingham Oratory, Image 3: The Bermingham Oratory, Image 4: The Bermingham Oratory

Day 10: Oford, then Stratford, then London

Today will be the last full day of our trip 🥲. First, Mass at St. Aloysius Catholic Church. Then it’s off to Stratford Upon Avon to visit the home of Shakespear, there will be time to walk around and explore before heading to London for dinner and our last overnight before hitting the road back to the U.S.!

Image 1: St. Aloysius Catholic Church, Image 2: St. Aloysius Catholic Church, Image 3: St. Aloysius Catholic Church, Image 4: Anne Hathaway’s Cottage (Shakspears future wife, not the actress!), Image 5: Chedham’s Yard in Stratford, Image 6: Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park in Stratford, Image 7: Shakspears Home, Image 8: Shakspears Home

Day 11: Goodbye to dear old England!

And today we’ll say goodbye to our new friends, and head for home!

As you can see this trip is PACKED, but not hectic.

We’re going to visit so many beautiful churches, and be able to pray in the hallowed halls where so many saints and martyrs have prayed over thousands of years. We’ll get a taste of the city, AND get to enjoy the English countryside. It really is going to be a marvelous trip.

I hope I’ll see you there, and if you have any questions you can send an email to helpdesk@catholicallyear.com or reach out to Select International Tours directly!

Join me in England!

Read more about the pilgrimage in this blog post! Or go directly to sign up here!

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Hi! I’m Kendra.

For twenty years now, I’ve been using food, prayer, and conversation based around the liturgical calendar to share the lives of the saints and the beautiful truths and traditions of our Catholic faith. My own ten children, our friends and neighbors, and people just like you have been on this journey with me.

If you’d like to learn more about what Catholics believe and why, and to be inspired by saints from every era all over the world, you’ve come to the right place. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of how to teach your kids about the faith in a way that’s true, engaging, and lasts a lifetime, we can help!

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