To book tours you can make initial inquiries via the contact area on our web-site, or on 01295 712 272, and we will get back to you as soon as we can to discuss your needs.
We are also able to conduct Holocaust tours of the concentration camps and Jewish slave labour projects, in the Boulogne area of the Nord-Pas-De-Calais and on the Island of Alderney - areas where JTrails has completed ground-breaking field work and research, on the Holocaust in sight of England. The sites around Boulogne can be completed as a day or week-end excursion and provide an economic alternative to going to Eastern Europe to understand the Holocaust.
We provide tours to a wide variety of groups, both large and small. We have provided tours for synagogue groups, friendship groups, veteran groups, charity fund-raising excursions, historical societies, special interest groups and student groups. All of the tours will be lead by, either the JTrails Director, who has directed professional tours since 1986, or a JTrails trained and accredited guide, and all of the tours are tailored to the requirements and interests of each party. The guided trails offer the advantage of additional insights and local information, from our knowledgeable guides, as well as pre-arranged inside visits and access (where applicable),and the advantage of not getting lost. This is in response to popular demand and as part of our longer term development plans to help place Jewish heritage firmly on the tourism map of England.
Tours and excursions are available in all of the JTrails locations including:
Brighton and Hove
Richmond and South London
Keswick and the Lake District
The City of London
The East End
Boulogne and the Nord-Pas-De Calais
All of the JTrail locations are available, as well as other locations, by request.
The tours will be suitable for both smaller and larger groups, who can either meet their guide, at the chosen tour location, for a walking tour, or have their guide conduct and manage their entire journey. At some locations kosher lunch facilities may be available as well. The walking tours will typically cost between, £4 - £8.50 per person, for the services of a JTrails guide, on a walking tour only basis, where the guide meets the group at the trail location; though the actual cost of each tour group will be agreed by an individual quotation in advance, and half or full day coach tours with a tour director, are costed separately. Longer, multi-location, excursions can also be arranged. Proceeds from the tours will support the work of JTrails and the promotion of our nation's Jewish Heritage.
The following are a sample of tours we have led to JTrails locations and give a flavour of a typical JTrails tour.
Our walking Tour of Jewish Oxford will discover the unexpected and fascinating history and sites of Jewish Oxford. Find out how Jews were involved in founding Oxford's first fully constituted College in 1264. Visit the sites of the medieval Jewish cemeteries and a possible Jewish ritual bath (mikveh) as well. Tread on 'Dead Man's Walk', the path of Jewish funeral processions of antiquity. See the alleged 'Counting House of Jacob the Jew'. Find out the spot where Jews were forced to raise a penitential cross after a religious riot. Tour the major sites of the Medieval Jewish quarter on 'Great Jewry Street' and discover Oxford's famous medieval rabbis and writers. Hear how the Town Hall is built on confiscated Jewish property. See where Sir Isaiah Berlin's rooms were at All Souls College and discover how Oxford Jews have contributed to modern Town and Gown life. Finish your tour at England's first Coffee house, founded by a Jew in 1665.
Places of interest on the Tour Route*
• Merton College
• St Aldates or Great Jewry Street
• Moyses Hall
• The Houses of Moses ben Isaac, and David of Oxford
• Sir Isaiah Berlin's Study
• The Botanic Gardens and Magdalen College
• Christ Church Meadow and Deadman's Walk
• Site of The Medieval Synagogue
• Site of Jacob's Hall
• Oxford Castle and the 'Jew's Mount'
• Balliol College, Basevi Building (1826)
• Jacob's Coffee Houses, High Street
The tour will be conducted at a sedate pace, with frequent stops, over largely level ground and will be suited to most walkers. It will last 1 hour and 30 minutes. Please ask for advice if you feel you may have any difficulties with the walk, or regarding access.
* All inside visits in Oxford subject to availability on the day.
The first walking tour of Northampton's Jewish Heritage, explores the rich but often hidden Jewish Heritage, of medieval and modern Northampton. Northampton had an important medieval Jewish community and the tour will cover its life, times and history, including that of its important scholars and explore the sites of the Jewry, with its synagogue, houses and cemetery. The tour will publicise the most recent archaeological discoveries and we will visit the site of the medieval synagogue and its remains found by ground penetrating radar and view medieval walls which belonged either to the synagogue or an adjacent Jewish house. We will also visit the important cemetery and identify the locations of burials still in situ, as well as see the medieval Jewish tombstone in Northampton Museum, which was re-identified by the JTrails Director, Marcus Roberts, in 1991.
The role of Jews as founders of the 19th c. modern boot and shoe industry will be explored and the sites of their factories and business will be shown on the tour. The tour leader, Marcus Roberts is the Director of JTrails (the National Anglo-Jewish Heritage Trail) and has reserched Northampton's Jewish heritage since 1990 and has led the recent archeologoical survey of the medieval Jewry
Lincoln is a Jewish heritage destination of the first importance and should be visited; it was one of the most important medieval Jewish communities and has perhaps the greatest number of surviving medieval Jewish heritage-sites in the country and vividly illustrated Jewish life in the time of the Crusades. Also, there is a powerful, but little known Jewish heritage at both the medieval castle and the magnificent cathedral.
Our tours starts at the Castle, which was central location for Lincoln's medieval Jews in their daily lives and we see the remains of Aaron's Tower, which was used by Aaron of Lincoln, one of Lincoln's most famous Jews and we relate how Jews are mentioned in the copy of the Magna Carta housed at the castle.
The tour continues to the Cathedral and we discover that the Cathedral, which may have been rebuilt in part with funds provided by Aaron of Lincoln, contains many important links to the medieval Jews of Lincoln, who probably assisted in the design of the West Front Freize of the cathedral, which is replete with Jewish legend and story. It also contains the remains of the Shrine to Little Hugh of Lincoln - one of the most tangible relics of the medieval Blood Libels in the whole country, an episode which lead to the deaths of 19 innocent Jews of Lincoln. The tomb of St Hugh of Avalon, a patron and saviour of English Jews, is there, along with many other direct references to Jewish legends, traditions as well as Christian anti-Semitism, in the art and iconography of the Cathedral.
We then walk down the hill, firstly to the Bishop's Place, which was built with money loaned by Aaron of Lincoln, and then to the sites of Aaron of Lincoln's houses.
We continue down Steep Hill and the Strait, to three medieval 'Jew's Houses', including the 'Jew's House', originally the property of Belaset, daughter of Solomon of Wallingford, it is now celebrated as the oldest occupied house in Europe, and 'Jew's Court', which is on the site of the medieval synagogue and which was also involved in the Blood Libel. There is an excursion to see medieval Jewish artifacts in the museum at 'The Collection', including the Lincoln Lamp, a medieval Jewish ritual lamp.
At the bottom of the Strait, the site of the second synagogue is visited, and in Grantham Street, the sites of other Jewish houses are discovered. The houses of 19th century Jewish traders are also visited and it is revealed that Lincoln has been home to no less than three separate Jewish communities over the centuries.
Brighton and Hove
Brighton and Hove has a considerable and fascinating Jewish history. There are many Jewish sites, buildings and associations in the resort, and it is no surprise that 'London by the Sea', has long held a special place in the hearts of English Jews. Jewish settlement in Brighton goes back to the 1770's, when the town was still a fishing port of 2,500 souls called 'Brighthelmstone'. The Jewish community was attracted by the commercial opportunities presented by the growth of the port, this association was cemented as Brighton became a sea bathing resort that was to receive the all important Royal patronage.
Later Brighton's exponential growth, both in population and Jews, was assured when the resort was linked to London by a railway promoted by Sir Isaac Lyon Goldsmid. Brighton became home to Jews of most social classes, principally those providing services for the resort and those who enjoyed them. In the town's heyday most of the most important Anglo-Jews visited the town on holiday and many had temporary or permanent homes in Hove (the most fashionable quarter), some even died there.
The most notable Jews of Brighton were the Sassoon and Goldsmid families, who enjoyed a long tenure by the sea. The history of Brighton and Hove is decorated not just by the Jewish great, but also by the worthy - the first Jewish police chief was appointed and later murdered in Brighton, and Levi Emanuel Cohen established the Brighton Guardian Newspaper and became a campaigning editor, a fore-runner of the modern tabloid tradition.
Brighton now has a Jewish population of around 5,000 - 6,000, and while the population has declined in recent years, there is very active Jewish life and culture in the town - there is even an annual Jewish film festival.
The tour of Jewish Brighton and Hove will tell the fascinating story of an important and distinctive Jewish settlement. The highlight will be Middle Street Synagogue, where we will visit inside one of the finest synagogue interiors in the country. Our walking tour will take in the newly launched Brighton and Hove JTrail, from the Italianate Brighton Railway Station, designed by Jewish architect David Mocatta, to Brighton Palace Pier financed by Jewish entrepreneur, Sir John Howard, and from Kemp Town to Grand Avenue, the JTrails heritage tour takes you on a journey into both the distant and the more recent history of Brighton & Hove's Jewish communities and their lives and work in the city.
In Brighton's centre the trail stops off at Sugarmans Sweet Shop on Queens Road, passing Jacob & David Rosen Gents Outfitters, established 1918, en route to Frankie Vaughan's residence in Kensington Gardens, down Gardner Street where the Cork Shop used to be, now to be viewed in the City Museum. From there to Jew Street and the Old Steine where the earliest Jewish community and synagogues were established and on to East Street, home to the first recorded Jew in Brighton - Israel Samuels Cohen in the 18th c. Jew Street's former synagogue, the first in the city, no longer exists but the trail takes in the splendour of Middle Street Synagogue, and its predecessor at Devonshire Place, close by the home and mausoleum of Sir Albert Sassoon. The trail then continues over to Hove to Hove Hebrew Congregation in Holland Road, The Brighton &Hove Progressive Synagogue in Lansdowne Road, and the Brighton & Hove Reform Synagogue in Palmeira Avenue - all in quick uccession. Not far from here is St Ann's Well Gardens, with its plaque commemorating Flora Sassoon's donation, building on the earlier gift of the Goldsmid Estate. Nizells Avenue, Goldsmid Road, Somerhill Road, Palmeira Avenue, Davigdor Road, Lyons Close, Osmond Road and more were all developed on land belonging to the former Goldsmid Estate, bought in 1830 by Sir Isaac Goldsmid, the names now honouring and recalling family, friends and former residences.
Amongst these better- known places, the trail also calls in at lesser known ones. To Manchester Street, and St Michael's Place, former lodgings of Eleanor Marx, daughter of Karl Marx, and the poet Amy Levy; to St Andrew's Church re-designed by George Basevi brother of Maria Basevi, mother of Prime Minister Disraeli; to Charles Street, home of Brighton's first Chief Constable Henry Solomon, murdered in his offices at the Town Hall; to Victoria Park and its Sassoon statues, the Howard Charity at Richmond Terrace and the Anne Frank Memorial Peace Tree in Patcham Gardens.
There will be opportunities to walk in free time, around the picturesque Lanes area and the sea-front, with their numerous shops and restaurants, and to visit the Town Hall - formerly the old Police Office and the scene of the murder of, Henry Solomon, the first Chief Constable of Brighton, in 1838. If time permits there will be a visit to the Florence Place Jewish cemetery, Brighton's oldest cemetery, as well as to Hove, Old Parish Church to see the monuments to the Sephardi Basevis and Lindos families, after their conversion to Christianity. The mother of Benjamin D'Israeli, Maria Basevi, resided in Hove until she married Isaac D'Israeli in 1802.
Richmond, Isleworth and South London
There is a rich and varied Jewish history and heritage South of the River that is unknown to most. From at least late 17th century rich and important Jews - mainly Sephardim - settled in comfortable mansions and estates along the picturesque stretches of the Rivers Thames and Wandle. Richmond was especially important as the watering hole and country seat of the Sephardi elite, wanting to mix with the aristocracy. Later, several major Jewish institutions, such as the Norwood Home and Nightingale House, settled in South London due to its reputation as a health spa.
Our full day tour will take in as many Jewish sites and associations as possible and will present a fascinating insight into Jewish South London. There will be a detailed inside visit to historic Nightingale House, one of England's much loved and most venerable Jewish charities founded in 1840 as a response to the New Poor Laws that were especially harsh to the Jewish elderly and destitute. The history of the home, from its origins in the City and the East End, will be recounted. There will be a tour of the house and grounds.
A motor tour will take in the Jewish sites and stories of Mitcham and Morden. We will see Eagle House, built in 1705 for Fernando Mendez, physician to Queen Catherine: a time when Mitcham was considered the 'Montpelier of England'. Close by we will pass through the former estate of Lord Nelson and discover his close friendship with Abraham Cohen, who lived in the adjacent Morden Lodge. The stories of his suicide on an island in the Wandle, following a financial disaster, will occupy us as we stop at the attractive National Trust property of Morden Hall Park for lunch.
After lunch we will go to Richmond itself, where the Jewish history of Richmond will be introduced. A circular walking tour of Richmond's major Jewish sites and stories, will be conducted. An account of the brilliant and witty Judith Levy, the so called 'Queen of Richmond Green', will be given. The tour will pass down Cholmondley Walk and take in Asgill House, built by Benjamin Cohen, as well as Heron Court, the centre of 18th Century Jewish Richmond as well as other sites. On returning to North London we will pass by nearby Isleworth House, if time permits, the former country seat of the Franks family for over a century.
The commentary during the day will also answer such questions as to why there is a Jew's Walk in Sydenham. The story of Samuda's revolutionary Atmospheric Railway at Crystal Palace will also be covered, as well as the history of Jewish identity and assimilation south of the river.
Jewish Chatham and Canterbury
This tour will explore the very important medieval Jewry of Canterbury as well as the modern community re-established after 1720. It will also include a visit to the Chatham Memorial Synagogue - a little known architectural gem which epitomises the history of a once thriving Jewish community hailing from the Napoleonic era.
The tour will call first at Chatham Synagogue founded in memory of Captain Lazarus Simon Magnus, who died in tragic circumstances, of toothache. Magnus was one of the most illustrious sons of the provincial Jewries - an entrepreneur, railway magnate, philanthropist and patriot. The Memorial synagogue is uniquely designed to symbolise his virtues and has an exceptionally ornate and beautiful interior.
The tour will then proceed to Canterbury and trace all of the major sites of the medieval Canterbury Jewry, including the medieval synagogue, which are readily identifiable. This will take place around the County Hotel which still contains some of the fabric of 'Jacob the Jews' house of the 13th century. After a full visit will be made to the Synagogue of 1847 and its surviving mikveh building. This synagogue is in a unique Egyptian Style - it is somewhat Cecil B de Mille in appearance and is undoubtedly fascinating.
Afterwards a visit will be made to the sites of 19th century Jewish businesses and to the site of the synagogue of 1762. A high light of the tour will also include the old cemetery of 1760 (recently restored) which is nearly impossible to find if you do not know the secret. Important grave sites includes those of prominent local Jews, such as the Harts, as well as that of Nathaniel Isaacs, one of the first white explorers of Africa, a founder of Natal as well as a one-time mercenary of the despotic Zulu King Chaka. There are other items of Jewish interest in the Cathedral and Castle all around the picturesque city centre - all in all a full day can be spent in and around Canterbury. This tour will provide an exceptional insight into some of the high-lights of Anglo-Jewish provincial history and culture.