Tour overview

The Holy Land

Following in the Footsteps of Jesus

Led by

Revd Dr Rob Marshall

Rector of Digswell & Hon Canon of St Albans Cathedral, Broadcaster & Writer

8th – 15th February 2024

Dear Pilgrims,

Every Christian, if possible, should visit the Holy Land at least once in his or her lifetime. To walk amid the towns and villages where our Lord lived and worked is life-changing. It reminds us that our faith is not in an idea or abstraction but in a Person who lived and died and rose again at a particular time and in a particular place.

We do not just visit the Holy Land, however – we go on pilgrimage to it. Not only because that is what our ancestors in the faith have done over the centuries but because pilgrimage is what our whole life is: a sacred journey home to God. To engage in that sacred journey on sacred soil is a wonderful gift and opportunity for our faith. To renew our Baptismal vows in the River Jordan, to renew our Marriage vows at Cana in Galilee, to celebrate the Eucharist in Jerusalem adds a whole new dimension to our worship.

To go on pilgrimage teaches us that we are saved together, as part of the Body. We deepen and make new friendships, we re-learn that our journey is not made alone and we share this holy place with those with whom we share worship Sunday by Sunday.

I hope you can join me.

Rob Marshall


  • Flights on British Airways from London Heathrow
  • All airport departure & passenger taxes (UK & Israel)
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • All entrance fees and local government taxes
  • Qualified English speaking guide throughout the tour
  • All touring in modern air-conditioned tourist coaches

Not Included

  • Single room price per person £2325
  • Any items of a personal nature
  • Travel insurance
  • Gratuities £80

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Day 1, Thursday 8th February

We gather at London Heathrow Airport for our morning British Airways flight to Tel Aviv. Meal served in-flight. We will be met on arrival and transferred to our hotel in the city of Tiberias by the Sea of Galilee for the first of three nights stay. Dinner and overnight stay in Tiberias.

Day 2, Friday 9th February

We begin our pilgrimage after breakfast by driving across the green and fertile plains of Jezreel (the biblical scene of Armageddon) to visit the Basilica on the summit of Mount Tabor, claimed to be the site of the Transfiguration of Jesus before Peter, James and John. On descending Mount Tabor we visit Nazareth, the town associated with the beginning of the gospel message, to see how the Good News is both remembered and lived out today. We will visit the site of the only spring in town, where Jesus’ mother will have drawn water, the Basilica of the Annunciation and the Synagogue Church. After a break for lunch we will visit Cana, the site of Jesus’ first sign and where we will have the opportunity to renew marriage vows, before we return to our hotel. Dinner and overnight stay in Tiberias.

Day 3, Saturday 10th February

Today will be devoted to a leisurely exploration of the area that was the base for Jesus’ ministry by the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. We will visit sites associated with the call of the first disciples, the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount and the village of the excavations of the ancient fishing village of Capernaum, known as the `Town of Jesus" where we will view The House of Peter and a partially reconstructed fourth century Synagogue, foundations of which date back to the time of Jesus and is probably the site where Jesus often preached. We will end our day with a visit to the exciting excavations at Magdala, the home town of Jesus’ close friend and follower, Mary Magdalene (Mary of Magdala). It was a major first-century port and specialised in salted and smoked fish and exported its products all over the Mediterranean and southern Europe. The excavations to date have unearthed sections of the port walls, a market, several homes, shops and most importantly a first century synagogue that was probably destroyed by the Romans around 67CE. Return to our hotel in good time to freshen up before dinner. Overnight stay in Tiberias.

Day 4, Sunday 11th February

We leave our hotel after an early breakfast, bidding farewell to Galilee as we head south along the Jordan Valley stopping enroute at Qasr al Yehud, on the banks of the River Jordan to visit the site believed to be close to where Jesus was baptised by John where we will have an opportunity to renew our baptism vows. We will stop briefly for a view of the Mount of Temptation before breaking for coffee in the oasis city of Jericho, the city of Palms. Leaving Jericho we drive up through the hills of the Judean wilderness towards Bethlehem. We pass through the Check-point in the 9 metre-high separation wall and enter Bethlehem and break for lunch. In the afternoon we will visit the Shepherds Fields where we will celebrate Mass, before continuing to the Church of the Nativity. We will also include a visit to the St Vincent Creche/Orphanage, the only facility of its kind in the West Bank offering Christian love and compassion to over forty abandoned babies and small children. We then continue to Jerusalem and check-in to our hotel situated by the Old Walled City (Herod’s Gate). Dinner and overnight stay in Jerusalem.

Day 5, Monday 12th February

This morning we leave our hotel after breakfast and drive up to the summit of the Mount of Olives where we will stop for a breathtaking view of the Old City and its beautiful medieval walls, before we trace Jesus’ Palm Sunday journey from Bethphage down the mountain. We will stop at two churches on the way, the Church of Dominus Flevit and the Church of the Pater Noster before finally reaching the Garden of Gethsemane and the profoundly moving Church of the Agony. We will spend some time here and in the adjacent garden. After a break for lunch we drive up to Mount Zion to visit sites associated with the Last Supper, the Day of Pentecost and the falling asleep of Mary, before finishing our day at the church of St Peter in Gallicantu and recalling Peter’s betrayal of Jesus. Return to our hotel in good time to relax and freshen up before dinner. Overnight stay In Jerusalem.

Day 6, Tuesday 13th February

After an early breakfast we leave our hotel and drive around to the Dung Gate and proceed through to the Western Wall, a section of the original retaining wall of the second temple esplanade which is the holiest site in Judaism. If permitted we will ascend the Temple Mount to view the Dome of the Rock and Al Asa Mosque. We then make our way to the remarkable church of St Anne and the Pools of Bethesda before proceeding to the Ecce Homo Convent where we will celebrate Mass. We then make our way through the narrow alleys of the Old City following the traditional Way of the Cross (Via Dolorosa) culminating in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. After a break for a late lunch we drive to the village of Ein Karem, venerated as the birthplace of John the Baptist and the church associated with Mary’s meeting with her cousin Elizabeth. From Ein Karem we drive to the Israel Museum to view the detailed scaled model of Jerusalem based around the time of Jesus and the Shrine of the Book that houses the Dead Sea Scrolls. Finally we make our way to our hotel in good time for dinner. Overnight stay in Jerusalem.

Day 7, Wednesday 14th February

After breakfast we leave our hotel and drive down into the Dead Sea basin, the lowest point on the earths surface (1,388 feet below sea level). We begin by visiting Qumran to view the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered by a Bedouin shepherd and to view the excavated monastery of the Essene community which may have produced the famous scrolls. There will then be an opportunity to bathe in the unique mineral-laden waters of the Dead Sea before returning to Jerusalem. The rest of our last afternoon will be free to relax, shop in the Old City or visit sites of particular interest. Farewell dinner and overnight stay in Jerusalem.

Day 8, Thursday 15th February

After breakfast and packing our bags, we will head west towards the Mediterranean and Tel Aviv airport, stopping at the town of Abu Ghosh, one of the possible sites of Emmaus, to celebrate our final act of worship together and a break for a snack lunch before heading on to the airport for our journey home to tell all those whom we meet about what has happened to us on the road…

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