With the Mayflower Pilgrims 400th anniversary due in 2020, people are starting to ask how they can cover the main places of interest with limited time. We provide free travel advice about Christian history, so here are our suggestions to get you started.
Firstly, decide if you are interested in the ship/voyage or the Faith that inspired them. If the former, you can easily plan a trip from London that includes Harwich (where it came from), Rotherhithe (home port, historic pub), Southampton (where they embarked), Dartmouth and Plymouth – the final calling point.
If you are interested in the Faith, though, we suggest starting in London with the great people at London Christian Heritage who will take you on a tour and explain the religious history of 1540-1620. Fascinating! Then a short trip to Cambridge, where most of the Mayflower Pilgrim leaders went to university, and where there is another Christian Heritage group based at the historic Round Church.
From there it is an easy two hour drive to ‘Mayflower Pilgrim Roots’ country – the villages around Retford and Gainsborough where Clifton, Brewster, Smyth, Robinson and Bradford lived and challenged the rules of the Church. We can take you on a half-day, one or even two day tour of the main places (Babworth, Scrooby, Austerfield) including Gainsborough from where they finally left for Holland. We can also take you to Europe’s best cathedral at Lincoln and the area from which the later Pilgrims came around Boston.
From local airports it is barely an hour to Amsterdam, but for fun you could take the overnight ferry from Hull and fit in a visit to the Wilberforce Museum there. Once in Holland go to Amsterdam where early separatists formed the Ancient Church, the first English Baptists began – and see the Pilgrim window in the English Church and Richard Clifton’s burial place at Zuiderkerk.
Then it is barely an hour to beautiful Leiden, where Robinson developed the congregation that formed the core of the ‘Mayflower’ group, There is a lot to see in this charming town with good evidence of Robinson, Brewster etc. You can also visit Delfshaven, where they left on the ‘Speedwell’. Flights back to the USA from here are easy, or you can take the train to Paris…..
Pilgrims & Prophets can help with some details of this route and we also know of good agencies in the UK and USA like Reformation Tours who can handle all your bookings. You can arrange a tour with us through our website at https://pilgrimsandprophets.co.uk/tours/