Day Outings 2016

May 17th - Windsor Castle(coach)           


Windsor Castle, as a principal royal residences needs little introduction. The magnificent State rooms are filled with a famous collection of pictures and furniture, and artefacts from many parts of the world, for example the gold tiger head, seen in the Holburne museum recently The main banqueting hall is usually laid out with a themed exhibition and the areas which were restored after the fire are interesting to see. Queen Mary's Dolls house should also be on show. On leaving the main building you can walk down to St. George's Chapel, which has so many Royal associations especially with the Garter Ceremony. See their website Windsor Castle

May 23rd - Wightwick Manor, Wolverhampton(coach)     

Wightwick Manor was built in 1887 for the family of Theodore Mander, the paint manufacturer. It was built in the Old English style and was filled with decorations and artefacts of the Arts and Crafts movement. A delightful family home has been created using William Morris wallpapers furniture and textiles, Charles Kempe stained glass, William de Morgan ceramics, and many Pre Raphaelite paintings and drawings.

The manor is surrounded by a 17 acre Edwardian garden, designed by Thomas Mawson. There is a charming terrace in front of the manor which leads to lawns, then round to wooded areas, flower beds and an orchard. See their website Wightwick Manor

June 9th - Montacute House & Tintinhull Garden(coach)           

Montacute House is an Elizabethan masterpiece, built by Sir Edward Phelips, Master of the Rolls and Prosecutor in the trial of the Gunpowder Plotters. The house was completed in 1601 and is built in the local honey coloured Ham Hill stone. The house was owned by the Phelips family for over 300 years. The Long Gallery is the longest of its kind in England, and contains over 60 Tudor and Elizabethan portraits on loan from the National Portrait Gallery. The house lies in 9 acres of formal gardens and 300 acres of parkland. Montacute featured in the 1995 film "Sense & Sensibility" and in the more recent "Wolf Hall". Before going on to Montacute we will pay a visit to the gardens at Tintinhull, which are small but charming. see their websites Montacute House and Tintinhull Garden

June 15th - Sudeley Castle & Gardens(coach)                  

Sudeley Castle, in the charming Cotswold village of Winchcombe, just north of Cheltenham, was once the home of Katherine Parr, the last wife of Henry VIII. The castle was bought by the Dent-Brocklehurst glove making family over 150 years ago. It was restored by them and filled with art, furniture and (fittingly) textiles. After seeing the family rooms, you can visit the Dent collection of lace, gloves, and other textiles There are extensive lovely gardens to see, most notably the famous rose garden, as well as the family chapel. See their website Sudeley Castle

June 17th - Rectory Garden, Doyton(own transport outing)       

Doynton is recorded in the Domesday Book as land belonging to the Bishop of Coutances in the Pucklechurch Hundred, its value being £8.00! The 1747 Old Rectory is situated in the heart of the village of Doynton, 7 miles north of Bath in an area of outstanding natural beauty. The owners of the delightful five-bay Grade 2 listed house, have very kindly agreed to open their recently refurbished walled garden to us for a private visit. The estate manager and head gardener will be on site to help us and I’m sure will be eager to answer any questions.

The 12th century church of The Holy Trinity, largely rebuilt from 1864 – 1866, and a short stroll from the Old Rectory Garden, will also be open, as will the local hostelry, the Cross House (car park available) where light lunches or more substantial meals are available.

July 18th - Stonehenge(coach)                                                

Stonehenge, famous for its rings of standing stones, is now known to be the centre of a huge area of Neolithic Bronze Age sacred remains. Constructed between 2000 and 3000 years ago, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Recent employment of new methods of research have revealed many more ancient remains in the area than previously thought. The new Visitor Centre, located 1.5 miles from the stones, houses a large collection of artefacts, including jewellery You can enjoy the interactive exhibitions, including a 360 degree view from inside the circle and visit the Neolithic houses outside. Then you can catch the free shuttle bus for the 10 minute drive to the stones, or walk all or half way there. See their website Stonehenge

Before driving across Salisbury Plain to Stonehenge we will stop in Devizes where you may buy lunch and explore.

July 21st - Berrington Hall & Croft Castle Herefordshire        

Berrington Hall(NT) is a fine Georgian mansion sitting within Capability Brown's final landscape. The mansion designed by Henry Holland has been the home of the Harley, Rodney & Cawley families and has many jewel like interiors and also a hidden " below stairs". There is also a textile exhibition from the Embroiderers Guild.

The nearby Croft Castle is a smaller intimate house which has been the home of the Croft family since before the Doomsday Book. Both properties have gift shops and tea rooms serving snacks and light meals. There will also be a coffee break at the new Gloucester Service Station and Farm Shop.

July 27th - Sulgrave Manor, Banbury(coach)         

Sulgrave manor was built by Lawrence Washington, a wealthy wool merchant, in the middle of the 16th century. The manor remained in the family for 120 years. Towards the end of that time John Washington made an epic voyage to the colony of Virginia to found a dynasty there which resulted in the birth, in 1732, of George Washington, America's most famous son and "Father of the Nation". The Manor is not normally open to the general public during the week but we have arranged a special tour of the house for our group. We will arrive in time for a pre-booked lunch of soup, crusty rolls, coffee or tea. We will then be divided into groups for a tour of the house The three acres of gardens, designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield, a designer of War Graves after the GreatWar, are worth seeing. See their website Sulgrave Manor

August 5th - Sidmouth & Cadhay Manor(coach)                          

We plan to arrive in the pretty seaside resort of Sidmouth by late morning. It has an old-fashioned charm, with municipal gardens, cliff top walks, sand and pebble beaches, and a promenade lined with hotels, pubs and restaurants where you may buy lunch. (Don't forget your towel if the idea of a paddle is irresistible!)

After lunch a short drive takes us to Cadhay Manor near Ottery St. Mary. Cadhay is charming, a mediaeval house with a timber framed roof dating from the 1420s, and "modernised from the 1550s through to the early 17th century.” The present owner is a bespoke furniture maker. Some of his unique pieces may seen during the guided tour. The lovely gardens have herbaceous borders, yew hedges, mediaeval fishponds, and a large walled orchard and kitchen garden.See their website Cadhay Manor

August 21st - Churchill's Cabinet War Rooms & Whitehall(coach)       

Underground, below the official basements of Whitehall, are located the top secret cabinet War Rooms where Churchill chaired so many of the key strategic meetings which determined the course of the war. Much of the complex has been preserved exactly as it was left in 1947, and is very atmospheric. You can see Churchill's private apartments, the map room, conference rooms, and the War Cabinet Room, as well as the BBC broadcasting studio. There is also an excellent museum about Churchill himself with photographs and other memorabilia, as well as a café where you can buy a light lunch or snack. See their website Cabinet War Rooms


After our visit there will around two and a half hours free time for you to explore St. James's park or wander along to the National Gallery, or to Charles 1's magnificent Banqueting House,or to the Household Cavalry Museum on Horseguards.

September 20th - Royal Mint, Llantrisant(coach)               

The Royal Mint in Llantrisant, Mid Glamorgan produces all of the coinage used in the UK and for many other countries as well. Our visit will includes a guided tour of the factory to see the many processes required for making our coinage. Regretfully no free samples!  The newly re-opened visitor centre contains a museum showing a variety of specially minted coins and medals. For a small charge you can mint your own coin or be photographed surrounded by money. There is also a gift shop and a coffee shop.

October 4th - Dyrham Park (own transport outing)          

Members have been invited to a coffee morning with a chance to visit the House and Garden to celebrate the completion of the roof project and biomass boiler installation. Places are limited and will be allocated by ballot.

This outing gives us a privileged opportunity to visit the House's new exhibition "The King and the Courtier: Dyrham's Garden Revealed". Dyrham is part way through a 5 year project to transform the west garden to reflect elements of its original appearance in the late 17th century, based on the historically accurate engraving of the house and garden commissioned in 1710 by the owner, William Blathwayt, from the Dutch draughtsman Johannes Kip. Blathwayt had served in the English embassy at the Hague between 1668 and 1670 where he probably acquired his taste for all things Dutch.

This new exhibition tells the story of Blathwayt's career after 1688 in the service of William (III) of Orange and how this inspired him to create a state-of the art Dutch-style water garden and other features in his new west garden and on the east front of the house. We will also be able to visit the new Conservation Studio in the house where we can see conservation in action and items stored behind-the-scenes that are not normally on show.

November 16th - Bristol Blue Glass (own transport outing)      

Bristol has had an illustrious history of glassmaking. The skill, originally brought to the area by the Romans, was revived by the Normans. With its excellent trading links with both Europe, North America and the West Indies, Bristol became one of the principal glassmaking centres in Europe by the mid 17th century and was especially well known for its glorious royal blue glass, examples of which can be seen at Bristol Museum. The cobalt oxide used to colour the flint (lead crystal) glass used for tableware was imported all the way from Saxony. By the late eighteenth century there were over 20 glassmaking firms in Bristol and by the 1850s they had expanded their expertise to include the creation of ruby glass by adding 24 carat gold to the molten glass.

Sadly the last firm closed in 1922, but Richard Adlington revived the skill by opening Bristol Blue Glass in 1988 and the current firm still uses the traditional methods employed in the 17th and 18th centuries. Our tour will last about an hour, with tea and coffee provided. For an additional sum you can enjoy the opportunity to blow and take away your own glass bauble.