We organise several visits each year to various places, some National Trust properties, others not. Our first post-lockdown visit to Attingham Park (left) last year was particularly popular. We were able to raise about £1500 to help the National Trust's activities.
Below are the visits we've got planned so far for this year. We're planning more, so check back with us regularly to find out where we're going.
The cost of the visit includes coach transport. The pick up points are either the Bentley Heath Community Hall in Widney Lane, Dorridge or the bus stop outside the public house on the corner of Union Road/Warwick Road, Solihull, opposite House of Fraser.
Admission to non-National Trust properties is included in the cost, but please note that if you are not a National Trust member, you will have to pay the entry fee for Trust properties on arrival.
Bookings for our visits are reviewed about 4 weeks before the departure date, at which point, the visit will be cancelled if numbers have not reached a certain minimum. So please try to make your booking before then – a date has been listed for each visit. We do appreciate that for some, it may be difficult to do this, so please do not worry, as we usually can accommodate a few late bookings.
Our coach operators do have at least one wheelchair-accessible coach. If you would like to come on one of our trips and need to travel in a wheelchair, please contact us as soon as possible and we will see if can reserve it.
Where a visit includes a meal, please advise us of any dietary requirements you may have when you book.
If you are interested in joining one of our trips, or have a general enquiry about them, please send us a message using this contact form.
Wednesday, April 26, 2023
Anglesey Abbey, near Cambridge, is a scenic Jacobean style house featuring a unique collection of paintings and objects, spanning a 350-year period, and a 114-acre 20th-century garden with a working watermill. Originally a medieval Augustinian priory, then an Elizabethan manor house, Anglesey Abbey was restored in the early 20th century by Lord Fairhaven to create a richly decorated showcase for his collection of fine art. The house retains parts of the original medieval buildings and Elizabethan decoration.
The gardens were designed around his personal taste and for entertaining his guests, with something to show them every season. Today the gardens still follow the same seasonal pattern, with something to see all year round.
Thursday 6 July, 2023
Cirencester and Rodmarton Manor
We will drive to Cirencester, arriving mid-morning. There we will have the opportunity to look around and to have some refreshment. Cirencester’s origins lie in Roman times and there is a large Roman collection in the Corinium Museum. There is an extensive park where you can stretch your legs, as well as shops and the parish church.
After lunch, we will move on to nearby Rodmarton Manor, which is widely regarded as the single best example of the Arts and Crafts style of building in the country. It was built for the Biddulph family over a 20 year period either side of the First World War, and all the materials used in its construction were sourced locally and hand-worked, as is everything within the house. We will be given a guided tour of the house, followed by free time to explore the gardens. The afternoon will end with tea and cakes, which are included in the cost.
Please try to book by 8 June
Tuesday 1 August, 2023
Lyme Park, Cheshire
Lyme sits in 1,400 acres (570 hectares) of parkland, with glorious views across Manchester and the Cheshire Plain. There are many footpaths on the estate including links to the Gritstone Trail. The lavish interiors of the house reflect the life of a great estate. This year the main exhibition speaks of Lyme in the Landscape. Over seven centuries of life at Lyme, the water courses have changed and been altered to adapt to the needs of the time.
Lyme has featured as “Pemberley” in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth. Who can forget the famous lake scene? Lyme’s gardens with the Reflection Lake, Orangery and Rose Garden are lovely places to stroll.
There are several places to eat including The Timber Yard Café, The Refreshment Kiosk and the Servants’ Hall.
We have also been offered a behind the scenes tour on our visit, which will take us around the servants’ quarters. Please state on your booking form if you would like to book this tour and add £2 to the cost of the trip.
Please try to book by 4 July
Wednesday 13 September, 2023
Once home to Queen Victoria’s favourite Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, Hughenden is equally significant for its role as a WWII base for a top-secret map making operation.
The manor, first recorded in 1086, had a succession of owners until Disraeli inherited the house in 1848. Originally a Georgian white stuccoed building, architect Edward Buckton-Lamb transformed it into a Victorian country retreat. There is a 20 min talk for those interested.
The gardens are extensive with carefully designed walks, rare chalk streams and a medieval church. There is also a cafe for light snacks, hot meals and drinks.
The coach will pick up at Bentley Heath 9.00 and Solihull 9.10. We hope to be back by 6.30.
Booking is still open for this visit but will have to close at the end of August.
Tuesday 17 October, 2023
Gloucester Cathedral & Docks
We start the day in Gloucester with free time to explore. Gloucester was founded by the Romans and later was an important centre in medieval times. The building of the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal in the 19th century was another period of economic growth. Wander round the Historic Docks and maybe visit the National Waterways Museum. Spend some time at Gloucester Quays Outlet Centre which has a mix of high street and designer labels. There are plenty of places to eat in the Quays and Docks area. Walk round the medieval streets near the Cathedral and spot one or two of the oldest buildings remaining and the House of the Tailor of Gloucester (Beatrix Potter shop and museum).
In the afternoon we meet at Gloucester Cathedral for a guided tour followed by tea and cakes which are included in the cost. Please indicate any dietary requirements when booking.
We will leave Bentley Heath at 9.00 am and Solihull at 9.15 am and hope to be back in Solihull by about 6.15 pm.
Please try to book by 19th September
Wednesday 6th December, 2023
World of Wedgwood (with Christmas Afternoon Tea.)
Something a bit special for the Festive Season!
World of Wedgwood is based in Barlaston in the heart of the Staffordshire countryside. The site houses the Wedgwood factory, made famous by world renowned master potter, Josiah Wedgwood, as well as their Creative Studies department, a tearoom and a range of retail outlets.
Setting off at about 9.30 a.m., we will first have a guided tour of the factory, lasting approximately 45 minutes. There is no seating along the way, but the route is wheelchair friendly and wheelchairs and folding seats can be reserved at reception. The tour will be a behind the scenes experience where, as well as viewing the factory at work, we will see how Wedgwood is designed, created and crafted. The tour includes visual displays such as film, written interpretation and audio.
After the tour we will head to the tearoom for a special Christmas-themed Afternoon Tea. This will be a group sitting, served at 1.00 p.m. Please indicate any dietary requirements when booking. Afterwards, there will be plenty of time to explore the V&A Wedgwood collection and maybe do some Christmas shopping. We will leave Barlaston at 4.00 p.m. and hope to be back in Solihull by 6.00 p.m.
Please note: We will need to have a minimum of 30 definite bookings by Friday, 27th October for this visit to proceed. Also, it may not be possible to accept last minute bookings.