BBC History Magazine’s History Weekends to take place in Winchester and Chester this autumn

BBC History Magazine’s History Weekend festivals are back this autumn for the seventh year running, with a new venue, and its best line up yet.  Set in two idyllic locations across two weekends, the team travels to a new location, in Chester, at Chester Town Hall between 25th and 27th October and then back to the medieval city of Winchester between 1st and 3rd November. Over the course of these two packed weekends, we’ll have 40 diverse and engaging talks, interactive Q&As and book signings from the world’s leading historians and authors including Michael Wood, Alison Weir, Dan Jones, Tracy Borman and BBC Radio 4’s Jenni Murray.

BBC History Magazine’s History Weekend heads to the historic walled city of Chester for the first time from Friday 25th October with a fantastic programme with nearly 30 talks from leading historians and authors at the beautiful Chester Town Hall – a Gothic Revival town hall built in 1865. The Chester line-up includes bestselling author and historian Tracy Borman, who, inspired by her debut novels (The King’s Witch and its sequel, The Devil’s Slave), will take us into the turbulent world of the early Stuart court, where King James I waged a war on witches and Catholics alike. Tudor historian and archaeologist Robert Hutchinson delves into the life of Henry VIII, who towards the end, was a vulnerable king, thwarted in his ambitions. Meanwhile, historian and broadcaster Michael Wood, will discuss how when clearing out his parents’ house two years ago, he found a photograph from 1884 showing a group of eleven Peterloo veterans from Failsworth, his father’s town. It’s the only surviving photo of people from Peterloo. So, who were they? What were their stories?

BBC History Magazine’s History Weekend returns to Winchester from Friday 1st to Sunday 3rd November after last year’s hugely successful event. This time round, the venue is the magnificent Guildhall, the Victorian building that sits at the heart of the historic city. Historian Alison Weir will be discussing Anna of Kleve: Queen of Secrets, revealing a charming woman loved by all who knew her – even by the king who rejected her. Historian and broadcaster Lucy Worsley’s illustrated talk takes a tour of the country to see where Jane Austen lived. Dispelling the myth of the cynical lonely spinster, Lucy instead offers us a witty and passionate woman of her time, who refuses to settle for anything less than Mr Darcy. Bestselling author Dan Jones examines the Crusades, in an epic and deeply human history of an enthralling age.

David Musgrove, BBC History Magazine Content Director, says: “We’re very excited to have new venues for our annual weekends. Winchester and Chester are both great places to visit for history enthusiasts, all the more so when you can come along to our events and listen to such a fantastic range of speakers. We are delighted that so many great historians and writers have been able to join us once more, and we look forward to what promises to be two more great weekends of history this autumn”.

Several guests will be appearing across both weekends, including Suzannah Lipscomb, Tracy Borman, Alison Weir, Michael Wood and Tom Penn.

History Fringe also returns this year where, as well as the main lectures series, festival visitors can also enjoy free short sessions guaranteed to keep you occupied and informed between talks. Taking place throughout Saturday and Sunday, the History Weekends have partnered with scholars from the universities of Winchester and Chester who will host these educational taster sessions on a broad range of fascinating topics. 

See the full line-up for both events, and details of how to buy tickets at or call 0871 620 4021. Subscribers to BBC History Magazine can take advantage of a reduced rate for all ticket options, and there are discounts for visitors buying tickets for both festivals.

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