Summer 2021

We hope that the easing of restrictions will allow our summer programme to go ahead this year! We have to take into account any restrictions in place at the time of the visit – both in England and Wales.

If you have any queries, please contact:

Malcolm Thompson | 01935 814 360 |

Thursday 20 May
Bicton Park Botanical Gardens | Donkey Sanctuary, Sidmouth

Bicton Park is a beautiful historic garden, but offers so much more. The formal C18th Italian garden is the centre piece. Included is a ticket for a 25-minute ride on the Bicton Woodland Railway, the last remaining 18” gauge leisure line in Britain. This is an ideal way of viewing the lake, park and gardens.

The Donkey Sanctuary was founded in 1969 by Elisabeth Svendsen, MBE. Since then, they have made a profound difference to the lives of donkeys and people all over the world. A world where donkeys and mules live free from suffering and their contribution to humanity is fully valued.

Thursday 10 June
Mottisfont | Hillier Gardens

Mottisfont Garden is home to the National Collection of old-fashioned roses, numbering over five hundred pre-1900 roses. The house, originally a Mediaeval Priory, is set amongst the river side gardens containing huge old yew trees, cedars and lawns. It is full of surprises from the beautiful vaults and columns of the C13th Cellarium to Rex Whistler’s extraordinary trompe l’oeil drawing room.

Hillier’s Arboretum was established in 1953. It is now home to 14 National Collections, including over 400 Champion Trees and 42,000 plants from temperate regions. It is considered to be one of most important modern plant collections in the world.

Tuesday 6 July
Sandham Memorial Chapel | The Vyne, Basingstoke

Sandham Memorial Chapel at Burghclere houses a series of large-scale paintings by the acclaimed artist Sir Stanley Spencer. These were inspired by his experiences in the First World War as a medical orderly and soldier.

The Vyne. Explore a former Tudor powerhouse turned C17th family home, set in gardens, woodlands and wetlands. Take in historic gems including a pre-Reformation chapel, Tudor oak gallery with C16th wood carvings and neo-classical staircase hall.

Vyne Virtual Tour 12-May-20

Thursday 29 July
Tredegar House | Raglan Castle

Tredegar House was the home of the powerful landowning Morgan family for 500 years. It is one of the most significant C17th houses in the British Isles and is set in 90 acres of gardens and parkland. The house contains carved oak panelling and much of the former family furniture and pictures.

Raglan Castle is set in a splendid open country location. It was built by Sir William Ap Thomas a very powerful Welshman, from the 1430s onwards when grand country houses were intended to impress as much as intimidate, hence the thick stone, battlements and serious defensive but elegant features.

Wednesday 8 September
Royal Mint Experience | Dyffryn Gardens

You will learn about the history of the Royal Mint and see coins being manufactured in secure conditions. This will be followed by time to explore the Mint exhibition at your own pace to see historic artefacts and a unique collection of rare coins.

After our visit to The Royal Mint we plan to go to Dyffryn Gardens nearby. The gardens feature a stunning collection of intimate garden rooms, a large glasshouse, statuary collection and arboretum featuring trees from all over the world. The Grade 2 listed house is built as a gallery from which to view the landscape. Light refreshments can be obtained at The Gallery Café.

Wednesday 29 September

The RNLI College is the home of the RNLI volunteers.   Crew members from across the UK and Ireland train there to become the lifesavers we see all around our coast. After lunch we will have a guided tour of the College. We will find out how the crews and lifeguards are trained with a behind-the-scenes look including the world class Sea Survival Centre, which hosts the wave tank and Lifeboat simulator.
Before the RNLI visit there will be time to explore the historic quayside in the heart of the Old Town: tall ships, fishing vessels and luxury Sunseeker powerboats.

Updated March 2021