We organise several visits each year to various places, some National Trust properties, others not. At Christmas, 2018, we enjoyed a Christmas lunch at Waddesdon Manor (left).
Below are the visits we've got planned for this year - though some are awaiting final details.
The cost of the visit includes coach transport. The pick up points are either Grange Road/Manor Road, Dorridge or the bus stop outside the public house on the corner of Union Road/Warwick Road, Solihull, opposite House of Fraser.
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.
Thursday, 4 April
Osterley Park and House (NT)
Osterley Park and House is one of the last country estates to survive in London. Situated just off the M4 motorway near Hounslow, there is an extensive park and farmland, colourful formal gardens, and a magnificent Robert Adam house, containing some of Adam’s finest neoclassical interiors. Built for the Child family, founders of Child’s Bank, the house and its gardens are presented as they would have looked when they were built in the 1780s.
Departure will be at about 09.00, hopefully getting back at about 19.00.
Tuesday, 14 May
Middleton Hall and Buzzards Valley Vineyard
Middleton Hall is described as the hidden gem of North Warwickshire and is run by an independent charitable trust who will give us an excellent talk on the history of the property. The estate covers 42 acres which encompasses a historic manor house, beautiful walled garden and the oldest man-made lake in North Warwickshire. Also included within the hall is the Peel Museum celebrating the life of Sir Robert Peel and his family who lived just down the road at Drayton Manor. Finally behind the beautiful Tudor Barn is a courtyard, housing 11 independent small businesses including an excellent café for purchasing lunch.
In the afternoon we will enjoy a 1 hour tour (including wine tasting) at Buzzards Valley, a small family run vineyard established 50 years ago near Sutton Coldfield. Their latest venture is distilling gin and there is also an excellent café and gift shop selling local produce on site.
Tea or coffee on arrival at Middleton Hall is included in the cost.
Departure will be at about 09.40, hopefully getting back by 17.30.
Monday, 22 July
Ashwood Garden Centre and David Austin Roses
Situated in the Kingswinford and Albrighton areas, the journey to Ashwood Garden Centre should not take too long. Arriving there, you will be able to go to the restaurant and buy yourself a drink (not included in the cost) before starting out on your visit. Ashwood Garden Centre supplies plants of very high quality. We have arranged for lunch (not included in the cost) to be available here from about 12.00, but please keep in mind that we will have to leave at 13.30 for the short transfer to David Austin Roses where we will spend the afternoon.
Please note that, due to the small size of their restaurant/tea room, David Austin Roses do not allow members of large groups to use it. However, there will be a marquee especially for the use of organised parties, where a cream tea (included in the cost) will be available for us at 16.00. Refills of tea and coffee will be available.
Thursday, 26 September
Knutsford and Tatton Park (NT)
The prosperous little town of Knutsford, Cheshire - reputed to have the highest property prices in the north of England – has an old-world charm. Its residents and buildings inspired Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel ‘Cranford’, televised by the BBC some years ago. There, we shall have to opportunity to look around and, if we wish, have coffee in one of its many cafes before moving on to nearby Tatton Park (NT).
Set in 1000 acres of parkland, the site of the Royal Horticultural Society’s annual Flower Show in July, the elegant neo-classical mansion contains one of the National Trust’s largest and most important library collections, as well as Gillow furniture commissioned especially for the house. Tatton Hall is also noted for its glorious formal gardens, including a Walled Garden and Japanese garden, while its Stableyard provides plenty of opportunities for eating and shopping. We’ll conclude our outing with an included visit to Tatton Park Farm – a 1930’s working farm and cottage which is a picture of rural life “where time stood still”.
Departure will be at 9.00am from Dorridge and 9.15am from Solihull, returning between 6.30pm and 7.00pm (traffic permitting).
Wednesday, 16 October
Our planned visit in October is to Blenheim Palace, a gift to the 1st Duke of Marlborough from Queen Anne in recognition of his defeat of the French at the Battle of Blenheim in 1704. It is now the home of the 12th Duke. Here you will have the opportunity to explore the contents of this magnificent Palace, to discover its 300 years of history, stories and treasures with a complimentary video guide and to learn more about the life of Sir Winston Churchill including the room in which he was born.
In addition, Blenheim Palace is surrounded by 2000 acres of Capability Brown landscaped parkland with inspiring views and monuments plus relaxing formal gardens with water terraces, a rose garden and the Churchill Memorial Garden where you will be able to visit the Temple of Diana – the romantic spot where Churchill proposed to his beloved Clementine Hozier.
Thursday, 5 December
Royal Mint, Cardiff, with Christmas Lunch
The Royal Mint moved from London to Llantrisant, in the Cardiff area, at the time of decimalisation, and strikes an enormous number of coins for many countries throughout the world, in addition to our own. The process is fascinating and the statistics mind-blowing. Your guide on our tour will explain the history of the Royal Mint, and we will be shown the whole process of coin production from raw metal to finished product, as well as seeing the machinery in action. You will even have the opportunity to strike a coin of your own (for an extra charge), as well as to try to lift a bar of pure gold. Naturally, security will be high for the tour - there will be an airport-style check for everyone before the tour starts. At the end of the tour, there will be the chance to browse through the Royal Mint’s exhibition, and have a cup of tea before we set off on our return journey.
We will be leaving Solihull shortly after 08.00 and will enjoy a two-course Christmas lunch at the Royal Mint before the tour. Please inform us of any dietary requirements at the time of booking. We hope to be back in Solihull by about 19.00.
Please note that numbers will be strictly limited to 48.