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In Wellington's footsteps by Maggie O'Sullivan

Posted in DESTINATIONS By Maggie O'Sullivan

With Richard III safely reburied, it’s time to turn our attention to another historical figure: Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington. It’s the bicentenary the Battle of Waterloo this summer and a whole raft of events, exhibitions, tours and even a re-enactment are planned to mark it. Here are just some of the ways we can all get in the spirit.

Take a Saga Tour

Saga’s 'Journey through History: Waterloo to Agincourt' tour (above) begins in Kent with a walk led by a guide from the local Shorncliffe Trust. The Kent coast is studded with Martello Towers built as a defence against Napoleon, though they were never needed. The tour then travels to Waterloo to visit the Duke of Wellington’s former headquarters, now a museum, and the battlefield itself (participants travelling on June 18, the date of the battle, will be able to watch the re-enactment). The tour then moves on to Agincourt, site of an earlier English victory. The four-night tour cost from £499, with departures between April and October 2015. Further information, Saga Holidays  Stay in a battlefield apartment

The Battle of Waterloo was fought at the gates of Château Hougoumont and the defence of the château – actually a large farmhouse – played a pivotal role in the battle. Hougoumont has recently been restored and you can rent a two-bedroom self-catering apartment (above), in what was once the gardener’s house, through the Landmark Trust. The apartment has been furnished in Napoleonic style, and looks out on the ancient sweet chestnut trees that would have witnessed the battle. Bookings open on April 12 for stays from the July 3. Prices and further information, The Landmark Trust See Wellington’s boots at Walmer Castle

Wellington died at Walmer Castle (above), in Kent, in 1852. The castle was built as a coastal fortress by Henry VIII. It became the official residence of the Lords Warden of the Cinque Ports in the 18th century, and Wellington was made Lord Warden in 1829. To mark the bicentenary of Waterloo this summer, the castle will be staging a special exhibition covering Wellington's career and life story. On display will be those famous boots and even the armchair in which he died. Further information, Walmer Castle Visit Wellington’s London home

Apsley House stands on Hyde Park Corner, opposite the Wellington Arch. Wellington bought the opulent Regency property in 1817 and it remained his London home until he died. It houses a staggering collection of fine and decorative arts, as well as a museum built by the second Duke to display the gifts given to Wellington by the monarchs whose thrones he had saved from Napoleon. The house reopens to the public on April 18 and promises its own commemoration of the battle of Waterloo. Further information, Apsley HouseWatch Wellington’s funeral

As part of its ‘Wellington: Triumphs, Politics and Passions’ exhibition, The National Portrait Gallery is displaying the largest portrait in in its collection – a 67ft print by Samuel Henry Gordon Alken and George Augustus Sala depicting the entire funeral procession of the Duke of Wellington (above; © National Portrait Gallery). Accompanying the work will be a screen displaying the whole length of the work as a moving image. The exhibition also includes 59 portraits and other artworks as well as rarely-seen loans from the family. Further information, National Portrait Gallery

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