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Special interest holidays
Make your own way
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Grand private houses
A very special visit is arranged at Madresfield Court which dates back to the 12th century and was remodelled in the 19th century, as well as a private visit to Kentchurch Court, home of Jan Lucas-Scudamore where we will enjoy a homemade lunch. We will also visit nearby Dore Abbey in the Golden Valley in Herefordshire which was founded in 1147 and the private residence of the impressive Eastnor Castle, a monument to members of the Somers-Cocks/Hervey-Bathhurst family which stands on an outlying hill in the Malvern's range, just inside the Eastnor Deer Park. The castle is visible for miles with views of Wales in the west, the cotswolds in the east and the Forest of Dean in the south.
- Two nights bed and breakfast at the four star Hilton Puckup Hall (20 July 2014) or Thistle Cheltenham (22 September 2014), based on shared occupancy of a twin/double room
- Welcome reception
- First night dinner with wine
- Two-course lunch at Kentchurch Court
- Second night dinner in the hotel restaurant
- All talks, guided tours and admissions
- Coach transfers and tour manager throughout
- Single room supplement
- Extra nights on bed and breakfast basis
- Holiday insurance
- Meals other than those stated
- Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, telephone calls etc
- Porterage and gratuities
Arrive independently at the Hilton Puckrup hall/ Thistle Cheltenham from 15.00. This evening there will be a welcome reception, dinner with wine and an introductory talk by host Mike Stone.
We begin our story with Ralph Scudamore, who arrived from Normandy to build a castle in Ewyas Harold in 1042, whose family moved to a moated manor at Kentchurch in the 14th century. The house you will see now was modernised by renowned architect John Nash between 1773 and 1795 and contains carvings by Grinling Gibbons and a fine collection of portraits dating back to the 16th century. Filming for Regency House Party and Country House Rescue has taken place here and as part of your visit a two-course lunch has been organised for you (included) and there will also be time to visit the gardens. On to nearby Dore abbey, daughter house of the Cistercian abbey at Morimond, which was founded in 1147. Large parts of the 12th to 13th century buildings of the main Cistercian abbey survive as they were incorporated into the later parish church. The abbey was dissolved in 1536 and was bought by a local landowner. This evening dinner will be included at the hotel restaurant.
To Madresfield Court which began its life as a great hall in the 12th century. In 1593 the house was rebuilt and again in the 19th century it was substantially remodelled to resemble a moated Elizabethan house. The Court chapel was decorated in the Arts & Crafts style and the Lygon family have owned the house and estate for several centuries. The novelist Evelyn Waugh visited the house and may have based the Flyte family in Brideshead Revisited on the Lygons. After lunch (not included) you visit Eastnor Castle (July only). In the 16th century the Cocks family purchased land and married into the Somers and Nash families. Between 1812 and 1820 an imposing medieval castle was built to the designs of the architect Robert Smirke and has been used to film Oscar Wilde's 'The Canterville Ghost' and 'The Box of Delights'. In September, you will visit Harvington Hall, a moated medieval and Elizabethan manor-house built in the 1580s by Humphrey Pakington. Many of the rooms still have their orignal Elizabethan wall-paintings and the hall contains the finest series of priets hiding places in the country. Return to the hotel for approximately 17.30.
NB: Exact order of excursions may vary according to local conditions and tour manager's discretion.
Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 49 passengers.
Located on the edge of the Cotswolds and set amongst 140 acres of parkland, the four star Hilton Puckup Hall offers a restaurant, bar, indoor pool, spa and fitness room. Bedrooms are en-suite with bath/shower, TV, telephone, hairdryer and tea/coffee making facilities. Complimentary car parking is available on-site at the hotel.
Thistle Cheltenham (22 September 2014)
Located in the Cotswolds, close to the historic town of Cheltenham, and set within its own landscaped gardens the four star Thistle Cheltenham offers a restaurant, bar, indoor pool and health club. Bedrooms are en-suite with bath/shower, TV, telephone, wifi, safe, hairdryer and tea/coffee making facilities. Complimentary car parking is available on-site at the hotel.
This holiday is booked by phone. Click 'book now' to make a reservation request to our travel partner who will call you back to confirm your booking details and take payment. To speak to a representative now please call 0330 333 6761.
The actual tour went well and guides etc were good The hotel was not so good. The room was reasonably well appointed, but a fan would have been nice, bearing in mind the v hot weather.. Other rooms seemed to have one.