Roots of the Mayflower

Travel through the countryside of this corner of “unknown England” and enjoy a personally guided visit to most of the main sites associated with the homes of the 1620 Pilgrims in one easy 5-hour trip.

Where? The Pilgrims’ homelands of Gainsborough and North Nottinghamshire

Tour provider Brackenbury's Britain


  • Address: 1 College Road, Mapperley, Nottingham NG3 6FD
  • Telephone: 0774 7034893 (M)
  • Email:
  • Travel Trade Contact: Richard Brackenbury



Experience the churches of Scrooby, Austerfield and Babworth used by Williams Brewster and Bradford and enjoy a guided tour of Gainsborough Old Hall, virtually unchanged since medieval times and former home of William and Rose Hickman.


First, visit Gainsborough Steps adjacent to the River Trent from where it is thought the Separatists first started their journey to Holland.

Then visit Gainsborough Old Hall, a glorious original half-timbered medieval hall and former home of the colourful family of William and Rose Hickman who allowed the Separatists a place of worship. Guided tour followed by a sumptuous afternoon tea.


Home of William Bradford, founder and governor of the Plymouth colony. See and touch the baptismal font where he was baptised in the ancient church of St Helena. The church was founded in AD702 and still has wonderful 12th century carvings. View the small manor house (from the outside) where Bradford lived.


A village seen by many as the true Pilgrims’ home as the birthplace of William Brewster, leader of the Mayflower pilgrims. View the medieval church of St Wilfrid and see some 16th century benches, (one known as “Brewster’s Pew.”) See the site of his home (note visits not possible)


The picturesque church of All Saints and known as the “Church in the Wood” 400 years later. The parish living was held by Richard Clyfton, minister and spiritual leader to the early Separatists in the time of their repression. A footpath to the north of the church is still marked as the “Pilgrims’ Way.”

Tour highlights

  • A 5-hour tour in West Lincolnshire and North Nottinghamshire, home of the leaders of the Mayflower Pilgrims, truly the “Pilgrim Roots.”
  • As well as visiting the main sites below, this trip also allows the visitor to gain a sense of that remoteness from the political and commercial centre of England which allowed the early Separatists to develop their faith in this area.
St Wilfrid's Church, Scrooby

St Wilfrid's Church, Scrooby

About Brackenbury’s Britain

Launched in 2014, Brackenbury’s Britain specialises in cultural and walking tours, led by Richard Brackenbury, lifetime Nottinghamshire resident with an extensive knowledge of this region of England. He is a law graduate of Cambridge University (and although 400 years later than William Brewster, from a neighbouring college!)

As chair of Nottinghamshire Historic Churches Trust, Richard has a real enthusiasm for the area’s ancient churches as well as its wider history and culture which he delights in sharing with his guests in a light-hearted and entertaining way.

Itinerary duration

Up to 5 hours

Recommended group size

  • 2-8 people (minibus transport provided)
  • 2-3 travelling in own self-drive car

Price per person

  • £540 net for up to 8 people (£67.50 pp net of commission)

  • £100.00 (self- drive in own vehicle)

Pick up location, distance from train station

Retford is on the main east coast line station and is just 2 miles from Babworth and 12 miles from Gainsborough.

Refreshments and meals

Afternoon cream tea included

Special equipment needed

Sensible walking shoes and waterproof coat

Availability Frequency and Advance Booking

Year round.  Min. of 14 days advance booking but always call!

Accessibility considerations and facilities

Fully accessible

Fitness Level (low, moderate or high)


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