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

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Paul Stock SAR 2.15


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

HY323 will be available to General Course students starting in the Michaelmas Term only in 2020/21.

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.


Learning engagement may include recorded content, live sessions, small group meetings, asynchronous Moodle posts, and short presentations. This course operates reading weeks in the MT and LT. 


Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 piece of coursework in the LT 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). Students will also have an opportunity to sit a mock exam.

Indicative reading

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

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

James Buzard, ‘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 summer exam period.

Unseen examination paper, in-person or online as circumstances permit.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: International History

Total students 2019/20: 12

Average class size 2019/20: 12

Capped 2019/20: Yes (15)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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