2013 Day Outings

25th March 2013 - Holburne Museum

Come and explore the newly expanded and redeveloped Holburne Museum guided by a member of the museum staff. Our morning tour will include their special exhibition of nine portraits of the Suffolk family by William Larkin (1580 – 1619), on loan from Kenwood House. Larkin was famous for his portraits of the court of James I and for his exquisite depiction of the sumptuous textiles of the day ~ lace, silks and oriental carpets ~ and to complement the portraits, the Holburne will be displaying rare seventeenth century costumes on loan from other collections. The Suffolk pictures were described by the art
historian Sir David Piper as having “a strange and fascinating splendour” and are really not to be missed.

See their website Holburne Museum

25th April 2013 - Lasketts, Sir Roy Strong's Garden      

This is a visit to the beautiful small garden in Herefordshire created by Sir Roy Strong and his late wife. It is exquisitely planned, where every turn brings a different vista leading to an interesting garden feature. We hope the spring flowers will be in bloom for us to enjoy. There is a small shop with exclusive items for sale. After about an hour we will drive to a nearby garden centre where you may have tea and explore the other features on the site. In the morning we plan to stop at the Toby Inn at Highnam where you may buy lunch and you might also have time to visit the excellent farm shop next door.

See their website Laskett Garden

8th May 2013 - Chichester & Fishbourne Roman Palace       

Fishbourne Roman Palace, discovered by accident in 1960 and slowly uncovered in the following years, proved to be the largest Roman site in Britain. It has several striking mosaic floors which can be viewed in the museum which now covers them, along with an excellent model of the site, a shop and a film studio. There is a cafe where you may buy tea. Outside, a Roman-garden, which formed the centrepiece of the palace, has been recreated by studying traces of former plants in the soil. Before we drive to Fishboume we will spend lunch time in Chichester, with its lovely cathedral which you may have time to visit after you have had lunch in one of a good selection of eating places including a House of Fraser and the cathedral refectory.

See their website Roman Palace

21st May - Gatcombe Court near Flax Bourton                

Mentioned by Simon Jenkins in his '1000 Best Houses', Gatcombe is built on a Roman site within a great wall (no longer visible), where a Roman scent bottle was found a few years ago. The oldest building is Norman, and this was added to until the seventeenth century. For about four hundred years the house was let to tenants, so few alterations were carried out. Thus we will see a family home with many original features, and filled with a century of family possessions. The tour tells the story of the house starting in the oldest section, then moving upstairs with some old costumes displayed, and ending in the main reception rooms. Tea and cake will be served in the terraced garden, where roses are a feature. Before visiting the Court an excellent carvery lunch may be obtained at the farm next door.

See their website Gatcombe Court

6th June - Minterne, Dorset                                                

Minterne, the home of the Digby family, is a house rich in history, which is described as we are conducted round by family members, of whom Lord Digby himself is particularly interesting. The present house is 19th century Arts & Crafts, built on the site of an earlier house. We are privileged to be able to visit it as it is not normally open to the public. It is sited above a valley garden which is over a mile round, and filled with a collection of rhododendrons, azaleas and magnolias, with irises around the stream in the valley bottom. In places the paths are fairly steep. Tea, included in the price, is served in the family dining room and is beautifully presented. Before driving to Minterne we will stop in Sherbome for you to explore and have lunch.

See their website Minterne

19th June 2013 - Aberglasney Gardens, South Wales        

Aberglasney is one of the finest gardens in Wales. Within 10 acres of garden are six different garden spaces including three walled gardens. At its heart is a unique, and restored, Elizabethan/Jacobean Cloister garden and a parapet walk which is the only surviving example in the UK. The garden contains a magnificent collection of rare and unusual plants which are seldom seen elsewhere in the country. An indoor winter garden, called the Ninferium (after the medieval garden in Rome) has been created filled with exotic plants from round the world. There will be a coffee stop on the way, and a small cafe at Aberglasney serves light lunches and snacks. In the summer tea may be taken on the terrace overlooking the pool garden. There is a shop and plant sales area.

See their website Aberglasney

17th July 2013 - Powderham Castle, Devon                           

Powderham Castle is an imposing building erected in 1391 near the estuary of the river Exe. It is the family home of the Earl & Countess of Devon, and an entertaining guided tour has been booked. You will see the lavish music room among others, and hear tales of the Courtney family who have always owned the castle. Outside there are extensive grounds, with a rose garden overlooking the deer park, a peaceful woodland garden, and wonderful views from the Belvedere tower if you want a longer walk. There is a slight incline up to the castle. In the courtyard tea room you may buy a home cooked lunch or snack, and visit the gift shop and gallery. Outside the castle walls there are picnic areas, and near the exit are the Orangery restaurant, food hall, and plant centre.

See their website Powderham

6th August 2013 - Wimbledon - Behind The Scenes & Tennis Museum         

There will be a stop en route to Wimbledon. On arrival we will be given a tour by a Blue Badge guide of the most recognisable and exclusive places in this world famous tennis arena. This will include Centre Court, Number 1 Court, Henman Hill! Murray Mound, Millennium Building and the Press Interview Room. After this there will be time for you to purchase lunch in the cafe, and then the afternoon is free for you to explore the fascinating tennis museum, which contains Championship Trophies, and much tennis memorabilia including data on the evolution of the game.

See their website Wimbledon Tour

23rd August 2013 - Wells Cathedral & Bishop's Palace        

After a short drive to Wells there will be time for a cup of coffee before a guided tour of the world famous Cathedral. The building of the present Cathedral, on the site of an earlier church, began in 1175 and took over 80 years to complete. From the restored statues on the west front and dramatic support arch in the nave, to the great Chapter House, 1392 astronomical clock, and recently laid out exhibition space in the undercroft there is much to be seen. After the tour you will be free to get  lunch in the Cathedral Refectory, or the coffee shop in the Bishop's Palace, or one the cafes in town. After lunch a guided tour of the 13th century Palace of the Bishop of Bath & Wells has been arranged to see the result of several years of work to open up more areas for visitors.

Websites Wells Cathedral  & Bishops Palace

4th September 2013 - Beaulieu Palace & National Motor Museum         

Beaulieu has long been an inhabited site, as the ruins of the Abbey testify. There is a small exhibition of monastic life inside the ruins, as well as a church still in use. Nearby, the 18th century family home is open for you to visit. Stretching away from the house are lawns leading to rose and vegetable gardens. From there you may walk or take the monorail back towards the extensive Motor Museum. Between.the museum and the entrance is a large restaurant where you may buy hot and cold meals, sandwiches, drinks etc. There are also picnic areas you may use. An additional exhibition you may visit is the story of the training of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) used during the second World War.

See their website Beaulieu

12th September 2013 - Chenies Manor House & Amersham Old Town        

Chenies is a charming Tudor manor house, visited by Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. It is built on the site of a Saxon manor mentioned in the Domesday book. It was granted to the Russell family who eventually became the Dukes of Bedford. It was only sold to the present owners In the last century. They have restored it and filled it with their own possessions, making it a charming family home, which still retains memories of Tudor Privy Council meetings. There is a very beautiful flower garden, a kitchen garden, a tea room serving delicious cakes, a shop and an exhibition space. Before we visit Chenies we will stop in old Amersham, with its pleasant period high street where you will find a variety of places where you may buy lunch.

See their website Chenies Manor

5th October 2013 - St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol                                        

St Mary Redcliffe is a beautiful church with a fascinating history linked to the seafarers and merchants of Bristol. Whilst guided tours are not available to the casual visitor we have arranged a tour led by a Blue Badge Guide starting at 11am and lasting about an hour, after which you are free to explore Bristol if you wish.

The oldest surviving parts date from 1185, the Lady Chapel, south porch and south transept date from the 14th century and most of the other parts were built in the 15th century. The current building is a treasure of international importance. A masterpiece of Gothic architecture – soaring walls, crowned with a ceiling of gilded roof bosses, flooded with light from the vast clerestory and stained glass windows. Queen Elizabeth the first is said to have described it as the “fairest, goodliest and most famous parish church in England.”

There is a cafe selling light lunches.

See St Mary Redcliffe

19th October 2013 Walking Tour of Saltford Village                       

We will have a walking tour of Saltford village which has Saxon origins, the earliest lived-in Norman manor house in England, and an agricultural, a brass industry, river and rail story to tell.