Travel, Pleasure and Politics: The European Grand Tour, 1670-1825

This information is for the 2014/15 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Paul Stock E490


This course is available on the BA in History, BSc in Government and History and BSc in International Relations and History. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.

Course content

Throughout the eighteenth century thousands of young British men and women embarked on extensive journeys to continental Europe – an activity known as the Grand Tour.  'Travel, Pleasure and Politics:  The European Grand Tour 1670-1825' explores who these people were, where they went, and the reasons for their expeditions.  For some, the Tour was the final stage of formal education; to others an opportunity for sexual adventures and pleasure-seeking.  The course discusses the practical challenges of eighteenth-century travel, the political, religious, and cultural contexts of the Tour, as well as the key places to visit and the reasons for their popularity.  It also considers what the Tourists brought back with them:  from physical artefacts for public and private collections, to new ways of seeing and understanding the world.  'Travel, Pleasure and Politics' introduces students to the actual writings of the Tourists, showing how they experienced international travel and shaped the modern tourist industry.


20 hours of seminars in the MT. 20 hours of seminars in the LT. 4 hours of seminars in the ST.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 piece of coursework in the LT, 1 piece of coursework in the ST and 2 essays in the MT and LT.

Specifically, the course's formative coursework will consist of two essays (MT and LT), one document analysis (LT) and one mock exam (ST).

Indicative reading

Jeremy Black, The British Abroad:  the Grand Tour in the Eighteenth Century (New York:  St Martin’s Press, 1992) D915 B62

Brewer, John. The Pleasures of the Imagination: English Culture in the Eighteenth Century (New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1997) DA485 B84

Buzard, James, ‘The Grand Tour and after (1660-1840)’, in Peter Hulme and Tim Youngs, eds., The Cambridge Companion to Travel Writing (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2002) PR756.T72 C17

Edward Chaney, The Evolution of the Grand Tour:  Anglo-Italian Relations since the Renaissance (London:  Frank Cass, 1998) DA47.9 .I8 C45

Tony Claydon, Tony, Europe and the Making of England, 1660-1760 (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2007) BR757 C62

Stephen Conway, Britain, Ireland, and Continental Europe in the Eighteenth Century:  Similarities, Connections, Identities (Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2011) LSE ebooks library

Brian Dolan, Ladies of the Grand Tour (London:  HarperCollins, 2001) Women’s Library@LSE 914.0425 DOL

Clare Hornsby, ed., The Impact of Italy:  the Grand Tour and Beyond (London:  The British School at Rome, 2000) DA47.9.I8 I31

Rosemary Sweet, Cities and the Grand Tour:  the British in Italy, 1690-1820 (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2012)

John Towner, ‘Venturing Abroad:  The European Grand Tour’, in An Historical Geography of Recreation and Tourism in the Western World 1540-1940 (Chichester:  John Wiley, 1996) G155 T74


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: International History

Total students 2013/14: Unavailable

Average class size 2013/14: Unavailable

Capped 2013/14: No

Lecture capture used 2013/14: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills