Royalty and Revolutionaries: The Glories of St. Petersburg

This tour has already taken place and is now here as an archive
Dr Marie-Anne Mancio

St. Petersburg is renowned for being one of Europe's most elegant cities and the cultural capital of Russia. It was founded in 1703 by Tsar Peter the Great who imported talented architects to create baroque extravaganzas that would rival Versailles and canals to rival Amsterdam. Among the highlights of the European architecture, art and decorative art collected or commissioned by the Russian aristocracy are the unbelievably opulent Catherine Palace, once home to the legendary Amber room; the splendid interiors of the Yusopov Palace with its little theatre; and, of course, the enormous Winter Palace which houses the Hermitage Museum, possibly the best collection of art anywhere in the world. Contrast this with a parallel history of the development of Russian art from the icon to Kandinsky at the Russian State Museum and with works in situ such as the stunning mosaics of the Church of Our Saviour on Spilled Blood for an unforgettable experience.

There will be an opportunity to attend a performance at one of St. Petersburg's famous theatres (subject to the programme and availability of seats). The programme is usually published 2–3 months prior and subject to change at short notice. We will contact all tour participants with details of the performances offered together with the cost of tickets and transfers.

Your lecturer

Dr Marie-Anne Mancio trained as an artist before gaining a DPhil in Art History and Critical Theory from the University of Sussex. She has lectured on art for various institutions including The Course, Tate Modern, Art in London, University of Hertfordshire, and the City Lit. She has also written on art and architecture for Make, Art and Design, Europaconcorsi, and others. She has led private tours to Paris, Venice, and Florence. Since gaining an MPhil in Creative Writing, her practice is mainly text based and includes a conceptual art work for New York duo Praxis and James Franco's Museum of Non-Visible Art and Whorticulture, a novel about four migrant women in antebellum America. She is currently working on her second novel, Bouche, about the artist François Boucher.

Portrait of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, Nikolai Kornilievich Bodarevsky, Tsarskoe Selo, Russia, 1907

Your Hotel

Corinthia Hotel St. Petersburg (5*) view website »
JNevsky Prospect, 57, St. Petersburg, Russia
Tel: +7 812 3802001, Fax: +7 812 3801937

The Corinthia is a luxury 5* hotel situated in the heart of St. Petersburg on the famous Nevsky Prospect, within walking distance of the major museums. An award-winning renovation of three majestic 19th century buildings offers an opulent interior whose restaurants and bars are among the best in the city. The Corinthia collection of hotels founded by the Pisani family of Malta in 1962 offer every conceivable modern luxury.

Fabergé egg with gold stand
Palace of Catherine the Great

The price includes:

  • Lecturing by Dr Marie-Anne Mancio
  • Return scheduled flights from London Heathrow to St. Petersburg
  • All airport taxes, security charges and local taxes
  • 4 nights' bed and breakfast accommodation at 5* Corinthia Hotel
  • 4 lunches
  • 4 dinners
  • all coach transfers to and from St. Petersburg airport
  • all coach transfers in and around St. Petersburg as per itinerary
  • all entrance charges to visits as per the itinerary
  • services of a qualified, English speaking guide throughout

The price does not include:

  • Teas or coffees during mid morning/mid afternoon breaks
  • Refreshments
  • Any incidental and personal expenditure (laundry, telephone, etc)
  • Taxis or other transport not specified
  • Personal insurance
  • Visas
    • A 10 year passport with minimum of 6 months' validity after your return is required by all people travelling to Russia. Visas are required by all and are not included in the tour price. We are unable to apply for visas on your behalf but we will forward the necessary documentation in due course. We anticipate the cost to be in the region of £100.00.

A £300.00 deposit is needed to confirm your place on the tour.

This tour is organised by Heritage Group Travel who are responsible for all the arrangements. Please refer to Heritage Group Travel Booking Terms and Conditions which can be sent upon request. The Company holds ATOL number 3707 and ABTOT licence number 5093 for your protection. This itinerary is subject to change should local conditions or unexpected restrictions occur. As the tour is arranged many months in advance visits may be subject to amendment.

The Hermitage Winter Palace, Jordan staircase, 1866

Book your place

Places are limited so please book early. For further information:

Mary Bromley
020 7266 7815
E Mail:
The Course, 105 William Court, 6 Hall Road, London NW8 9PB

The Tour: Itinerary

Day 1 / Saturday 21 March 2015

London – St. Petersburg
British Airways from London Heathrow Airport

Arrival at St. Petersburg and transfer to The Corinthia Hotel


Day 2 / Sunday 22 March 2015

London – St. Petersburg

Orientation tour by private coach to admire the architectural gems of the ​Nevsky Prospekt from the gold-spired Admiralty building to the Alexander ​Nevsky Laura ​(monastery), with palaces and buildings by Stasov, Quarenghi, ​Rastrelli and Rossi.

By private coach to St. Isaac's Cathedral

This nineteenth century cathedral is one of the city's landmarks, notable for its enormous doors decorated with biblical scenes, a vast ceiling painting by Karl Bryullov, and a mock Baroque and classical chapel.

By private coach to The Cathedral of Christ's Resurrection (Church on Spilled Blood)

Built between 1883–1907 on the site of Tsar Alexander II's 1881 assassination and dedicated to his memory, this church is unusual in St. Petersburg for its medieval style architecture and stunning mosaic interior.

Lunch in a local restaurant

By private coach to the Hermitage Museum

The first of two visits to the world-renowned Hermitage Museum, housed​ mainly in Rastrelli's Winter Palace, completed in 1762. The Imperial art collection had its origins in the Small Hermitage, built as a private retreat for Catherine the Great; it grew with the Large Hermitage and again with the New Hermitage, opened in 1852 as St. Petersburg's first purpose-built public art gallery. Comprising over 400 rooms, highlights include works by Leonardo, Titian, Giorgione, Tiepolo, Rembrandt, Matisse, and many many more.

Dinner in a local restaurant

Day 3 / Monday 23 March 2015

St. Petersburg

By private coach to The Russian Museum

Russia's first state museum of Russian fine arts was established in 1895 by Emperor Nicholas II's decree and opened in 1898. From twelfth century Russian icons to the Russian school of painting of the eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth centuries with stars like Ilya Repin to post-1945 works, Russia's incredibly rich and colourful history is revealed through her national art.

Lunch in a local restaurant

By private coach to the Alexander Palace

Built by Giacomo Quarenghi on the orders of Catherine the Great as a present for her favourite grandson Alexander Pavlovich (the future Alexander I) to mark his wedding, the Alexander Palace was completed in 1796. Alexander himself spent little time here and once he ascended the throne he presented it to his brother, the future heir, Nicholas I. It then became a tradition for the Alexander Palace to be the summer residence of the heir to the throne.

Dinner in a local restaurant

Day 4 / Tuesday 24 March 2015

St. Petersburg

By private coach to the Hermitage Museum for the second time

Lunch in a local restaurant

By private coach to the Yusupov Palace

This is one of four palaces owned by wealthy anglophile Prince Felix Yusupov and boasts splendid interiors complete with Venetian mirrors and detailed inlaid floors, porcelain collections and even a little theatre. It also relates the tale of ​Rasputin's assassination in 1916.

Dinner in a local restaurant

Day 5 / Wednesday 25 March 2015

St. Petersburg – London

Check out of hotel

By private coach to The Catherine Palace

Originally a two-storey building commissioned by Peter the Great for his wife Catherine in 1717, this Palace was redesigned on the orders of their daughter Empress Elizabeth. Bartholomeo Rastrelli, Chief Architect of the Imperial Court, would recreate it on a scale to rival Versailles and it once housed the legendary Amber room. Its parks feature enchanting pavilions, grottoes and a Chinese Pagoda.

By private coach to the Pavlovsk

​Pavlovsk is famous for its immense landscaped park of sloping hills, meandering river and acres of wild forest. See the Great Palace, designed in the 1780s in Palladian style by Scottish architect, Charles Cameron, then extended. Interiors include rooms by Cameron, Brenna, Quarenghi and Rossi.

Lunch at Podvorye, an iconic restaurant where typical Russian cuisine is accompanied by live folklore music.

Depart by private coach for airport

Depart British Airways
Arrival at London Heathrow Airport