26th April 2018 – Dyrham Park, near Bath, Gloucs. Cost: £12 (N.T.), £26 (Non N.T.)
Recorded in the Domesday Book, Dyrham derives from an Anglo Saxon word meaning an enclosure for deer. First belonging to William Denys, it was sold in 1571. The west front was commissioned in 1692 and includes an Italianate double staircase leading from the terrace to the grounds.
Coach leaves Waitrose at 9 a.m., Windsor End 9.10 a.m. Dyram Park 4 p.m.
10th May 2018 – Handbury Hall, Droitwich Spa. Cost: £12 (N.T.), £20 (Non N.T.)
Thomas Vernon (1624-1721) commissioned Sir James Thornhill to paint the recently restored wall and ceiling paintings for Handbury Hall as well as garden designer George London who designed the wonderful parterre, thus making a visit to this elegant property well worth while.
Coach leaves Waitrose at 9 a.m., THE BEACON CENTRE 9.10 a.m., Droitwich Spa 4 p.m.
14th June 2018 – Abingdon & The Country Cruise. Cost £51
After a tour of Abingdon with its historic houses and quaint traditions, a coach will go to Folly Bridge for a two hour cruise through Christ Church Meadow and Iffley Lock into open countryside.
Coach leaves Waitrose at 9 a.m., Windsor End 9.10 a.m., Abingdon 4.45 p.m.
28th June 2018 – Leeds Castle, Maidstone, Kent. Cost: £28
Leeds Castle has been a Norman stronghold; the private property of six of England’s medieval queens; a palace used by Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon; a Jacobean country house; a Georgian mansion; an early 20th century retreat for the famous and is now one of the most visited historic buildings in Britain.
Coach leaves Waitrose at 9 a.m., Windsor End 9.10 a.m., Leeds Castle 4 p.m.
23rd July 2018 – Uppark House, Petersfield. Cost £12 (N.T.), £22 (Non N.T.)
In 1989 disaster struck Uppark House when it was badly damaged by fire. Fortunately the state rooms and most of the contents were saved and the house has been restored. It contains 18th century collections of French furniture, ceramics and paintings as well as interesting Victorian kitchens which have survived in their original form.
Coach leaves Waitrose at 9 a.m., Windsor End 9.10 a.m., Petersfield 4 p.m.
8th August 2018 – Newark Park, Gloucestershire. Cost £13 (N.T.), £21 (Non N.T.)
Built as a hunting lodge in 1550, Newark Park was expanded and remodelled over the next 400 years. Although given to the National Trust in 1949, it was let out, notably to the American architect Robert Parsons, who restored the house over the next three decades. It is now a welcoming home full of quirky items set amongst beautiful countryside.
Coach leaves Waitrose at 9 a.m., Windsor End 9.10 a.m. Newark Park 4 p.m.
13th September 2018 – The People’s Post. Cost £53 to include lunch.
The story of the postal service, a visit to the Postal Museum and a ride in the hidden tunnels of the Mail Rail makes this a unique day to remember.
Coach leaves Waitrose 9 a.m., Windsor End 9.10 a.m., London 4.30 p.m.