4th – 8th December 2023
Once a leading light of the Hanseatic League in the Middle Ages, Hamburg remains one of the most exciting cities in Europe today. The combination of a bustling cultural scene and the sense of calm found in the plentiful parks and lakes, makes Hamburg the perfect destination. We will visit the epic Elbphilharmonie concert hall, some of the best museums in Europe, as well as the UNESCO recognised Speicherstadt (the port warehouse district). We will also make a day trip to Lübeck to see the exquisite architecture of the medieval capital of the Hanseatic League. Hamburg embraces its rich historical legacy while also marching into the future with confidence to celebrate cutting edge architecture and a contemporary art scene.
We will be staying in the heart of the city, just a stone’s throw from all the major sites. There will be a boat trip on the Elbe, the option for a performance at the Elbphilharmonie concert hall, an excellent art exhibition and of course the traditional Hamburg Christmas Markets.
Monday 4th December
We will arrive in Hamburg in time for a light lunch. Once we have checked in and dropped our bags at the hotel, we will head out for an introductory walk to the city and its fascinating history. We will start in Speicherstadt, the UNESCO recognised port warehouse district, which was originally developed on timber-pile foundations on a group of narrow islands in the Elbe River in 1885. From the winding network of streets, canals and bridges, we will move to the neighbouring district, Hafen City. Here, we will find an exciting contrast to the neo-gothic brick buildings of Speicherstadt , in the contemporary steel and glass architecture by Rem Koolhaas and Renzo Piano. We will finish at the breath-taking Elbphilharmonie, popularly nicknamed Elphi. Supper be at an excellent restaurant close to the hotel.
Tuesday 5th December
We will start our day at the Hamburg Kunsthalle, which courses through European art from the Middle Ages to the present day. We will then make our way to the Krameramtswohnungen, a very picturesque narrow street dating from the 17th century that housed widows of the members of the Guild of Small Shopkeepers. The historic street is now full of shops and restaurants and is the perfect place for us to enjoy some lunch before an afternoon of churches. We will start with St Michael’s, one of the finest Hanseatic Protestant baroque churches. We will then wander to St Nicholas, which was designed by Gilbert Scott and was the tallest building in the world from 1874 to 1876. Our tour of churches will conclude with a visit to St Peter’s. We will eat supper in a good restaurant in the centre. There is also the option to attend ‘Festive Sounds for Advent’ at the Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall. See below for details.
Wednesday 6th December
The day will start with a short train ride to Lübeck, the medieval capital of the Hanseatic League. When we arrive, we will enter the Altstadt (old town) via the Holstentor, which is the best surviving medieval gate. We will take in the elegant Town Hall, and, if it is open, the Katharinenkirche, among other things. We will have lunch together in a charming restaurant. During the afternoon you will be free to choose what you’d like to see. We will visit the Museums Quarter, which, in addition to an art collection, includes a church, a synagogue and other medieval buildings. However, if you have literary interests you could choose to visit the Thomas Mann and/or Günter Grass Museums, or if you want to get to know more about the Hanseatic League there is a superb museum located in two patrician town houses, with a fine collection of German art from the 19th century and beyond. We will then meet up to return to Hamburg where we will enjoy supper together and swap tales of our afternoon’s discoveries.
Thursday 7th December
A boat trip down the River Elbe will take us to Jenischpark, the oldest park in Hamburg and home to two fabulous museums. We will begin with Jenischhaus, a neoclassical country house built by Hamburg Senator Martin Johan Jenisch in 1831. With much of its original interior intact, you feel like you are stepping back into the 19th century as you move through the house and experience the lifestyle of a well-to-do Hanseatic merchant. The second museum is in a fabulous light-filled building and celebrates the work of expressionist sculptor, graphic artist and writer Ernst Barlach (1870–1938). After lunch nearby, we will return to the city centre for a choice of two museums; the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe (Art and Design Museum) and the Hamburg History Museum. Both have excellent collections for us to cherry-pick the best of Western European tradition from. We will end the day at one of our favourite restaurants in the city.
Friday 8th December
For our final morning together we will visit the Bucerius Kunst Forum and see the fascinating exhibition Ingenious women. Painting from the 16th to the 18th century, presenting works by women artists over three centuries including Sofonisba Anguissola, Judith Leyster, Marietta Robusti (Tintoretto‘s daughter), Artemisia Gentileschi and Angelika Kauffmann, among others. After lunch, you will have some free time to explore the city further and do a spot of shopping, before we head to the airport for our flight home.
8th December Hamburg 18.45 – 19.30 London Heathrow BA0967
There will be airport transfers to meet the recommended flights and we will take the train to Lübeck.
There is quite a bit of walking on this trip, as well as uneven cobbles. As is the case for all our courses, there is a lot of standing while we discuss the works we are looking at.
Dinner is by no means compulsory, but we book a table for the group each night at different restaurants and divide the bill equally between everyone.
Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall – Festive Sounds for Advent
5th December Baroque Soloists / Gottfried Von Der Goltz – Oboe concertos and symphonies by the Bach family
“The need for contemplation is rarely as great as during the Advent season. At the same time, it is often difficult to find peace and quiet amid all the pre-Christmas stress. Sometimes only a few ingredients are needed for a perfect Advent break: festive baroque music from the Bach family, excellent musicians from Berlin and the pleasantly warm sound of Albrecht Mayer’s oboe, for example.
The versatile solo oboist of the Berliner Philharmoniker has been inspiring audiences for many years with varied programs that have given his instrument the right place on the concert stage. Albrecht Mayer likes to work together with the Berlin Baroque Soloists and, as always, presents himself as a first-class soloist who, with a fine sense of chamber music, blends brilliantly into the overall sound of the ensemble.” More information
Please let me know as soon as possible if you would like tickets and what price: €27.60 | €61.30 |€78.20 | €95.10 | €106.30. These come on sale 6th June. NB tickets are subject to availability.
Please complete the online application form and pay a deposit of £600 per person via bank transfer.
Please call 01379 871800 or email [email protected] if you have any queries.
NB you must buy your own Flights