Summer 2018


Monday 16 April 2018  |  Spring Lunch at the Shrubbery Hotel, Ilminster

Shrubbery HotelOur Spring Lunch will be held at the Shrubbery Hotel in Ilminster. Recently, the hotel’s reception, bar and restaurant areas have all been refurbished. It is on the B3168, which runs through the centre of Ilminster, and is only ½ mile from the A303.


Thursday 26 April 2018  |  Walk in the Bruton area

BrutonUp to 4 miles round Bruton; leisurely 2 hours.  Meet @ 10:00

Park at Hauser & Wirth BA10 0NL <;
The Roth Bar & Grill at Hauser & Wirth is available at the end of the walk for those wishing to stay to enjoy “honest, simple and seasonal food”.

Thursday 10 May 2018  |  Forde Abbey & Gardens, Chard

Forde AbbeyForde Abbey is a beautiful former Cistercian monastery near Chard in Somerset, and has been a family home since 1649. It is surrounded by 30 acres of award winning gardens. On arrival we will enjoy a 1-hour tour of the house before it is opened to the public.

The most striking feature in the garden is the Centenary Fountain, the tallest powered fountain in England. We have timed our visit to coincide with “Tulip Colour Week” when over 40,000 tulips should be in bloom.

Tuesday 29 May 2018  |  Frome town | American Museum, Bath

A morning visit to Frome with its quirky old mediaeval streets. Close by is Cheap Street with interesting little shops and an occasional café. Most of the buildings there date from the C16th and C17th – this is a well-preserved mediaeval street and leads up Vicarage Street and to the Church of St John.

American-Museum-BathThe American Museum in Britain opened its doors in 1961 and it is the only museum devoted to American decorative art outside the USA. Besides the Exhibition Gallery and Folk Art Gallery in the main house, there are extensive grounds with stables and coach house, a Colonial Vegetable Patch, Arboretum and parkland walk.

Somerset Rural Life Museum. Glastonbury | Shoe Museum, Street

~ ~  CANCELLED  ~ ~

We will start at Somerset Rural Life Museum in Glastonbury which re-opened last year after a £2.4 million redevelopment. Spread over 2 floors, the galleries showcase the stories of rural life and local people in Somerset from the 1800s onwards.  Our visit will start with a short introductory tour about the museum and its buildings (the former Abbey Farm).  After time to explore the galleries, we will move on to Clarks Village at Street, with its many restaurants and outlet shops.Shoe-Museum-Street

Mid-afternoon we have organised a guided tour of The Shoe Museum in Street, where the curator will explain both the Quaker management of Clarks shoe factory and the history of the shoes displayed there.

Wednesday 20 June 2018  |  Loseley Park, Guildford

Loseley-ParkLoseley Park outside Guildford is very much a family home. We shall have a conducted tour of the house, built in the 1560s, Grade 1 Listed and mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. The house has historic connections with Elizabeth I who visited on four occasions, and Sir Thomas More and more recently the poet John Donne.   As well as furniture from the C16th we will also see panelling from Henry VIII’s Nonsuch Palace in the Great Hall with its minstrels’ gallery and Grinling Gibbons carvings, and also a magnificent chalk fireplace and some fine 17th century works of art. The Walled Garden of 2.5 acres is based on a design by Gertrude Jekyll with separate “rooms” amidst box hedge divides.

Thursday 12 July 2018  |  Uppark, Sussex (NT)

UpparkUppark is an 18th century house set high on the South Downs with views towards the English Channel. It was badly damaged by fire in 1989 but completely restored and re-opened in 1995. It is surrounded by a landscaped garden designed by Humphrey Repton which is gradually being restored and a guided tour of the gardens will be available. The shop offers the usual retail opportunities.

 ~ ~  You will need your National Trust card.  ~ ~

Wednesday 18 July 2018  |  Wells Cathedral tour | Tour of Bishop’s Palace and garden

Wells West FrontOur visit is to the smallest city in England and its glorious Cathedral, an architectural masterpiece. The West Front, now undecorated stone, was originally a riot of colour. Inside the Scissor Arches (1338 – 1348), the Clock (circa 1390) and the Jesse Window must not be missed. After the morning tour you are free to enjoy lunch in the Cathedral Café or a café in the city and browse around the many shops and stalls in the Market Square.

In the afternoon we start an hour’s tour of the Bishop’s Palace. Afterwards there will be plenty of time to explore the surrounding gardens and have tea at the Bishop’s Table before we leave for home.

Thursday 9 August 2018  |  Hawk Conservancy, Andover | Heale House

falcon flyingOn arrival we have a welcome talk by one of the falconry staff. Then we make our way up through the Feathers Restaurant and past numerous Eagles, Owls, Vultures and Hawks for the flying display. We can view the birds at close range and at a distance, as they are controlled by the skilled falconers.

Heale HouseHeale House Garden is in the Woodford Valley, south of Amesbury. The House was built in the C17th and is set in 8 acres of beautiful gardens beside the river Avon. The garden was designed by Harold Peto in Edwardian and Tudor style. There is a luxuriant collection of plants, shrubs, musk and other roses in the formal setting of clipped hedges, and the mellow Chilmark stonework walled garden has tunnels of apple trees and a pear tree arbour.

Thursday 30 August 2018  |  Late-Summer Lunch. Holbrook Manor, Wincanton

Holbrook-ManorOur late-Summer Lunch will be held at Holbrook Manor, near Wincanton. From the A303, take the A371 sign-posted to Wincanton and Castle Cary. Follow signs to Holbrook House Hotel on the A371 for just over a mile, and the hotel is located on the right hand side.

Monday 10 September 2018  |  Dyffryn Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan

Dyffryn-HouseThe garden is an exceptional example of an Edwardian Garden, just west of Cardiff. The gardens cover 55! acres, featuring a stunning collection of intimate garden rooms, a large glasshouse, statutory collection and arboretum featuring trees from all over the world.  Designed by an eminent landscape architect Thomas Mawson in 1906, the gardens are the early 20th century vision of coal magnate John Cory and his son Reginald.

The Grade 2 listed house is built as a gallery from which to view the landscape but is a blank canvas to interpret the gardens and Cory family history.

Thursday 20 – Monday 24 September 2018
Holiday to the Peak District/Derbyshire

Chatsworth-HouseOne of our highlights will be a private visit to Chatsworth House home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire near Bakewell when we shall be shown round some areas not normally open to the public including guest bedrooms and Victorian theatre. Our hotel is conveniently situated on the outskirts of Derby so that daily travel will be kept to a minimum. Other visits planned include Hanbury Hall (NT), Calke Abbey (NT), Renishaw Hall, Bolsover Castle, Kedleston Hall (NT), Hardwick Hall (NT). We shall also be taking a ride in a steam train and we shall see some of the beautiful Derbyshire countryside and villages during our five day stay.