Wednesday 9th May 2018 – Oxford
To begin our day we will have private guides to take us on a walking tour of the city. Oxford is well known as ‘the city of the home of the University of Oxford, the oldest university in the English-speaking world. Buildings in Oxford demonstrate notable examples of every English architectural period since the late Saxon period. It is also known as the “city of dreaming spires” a term coined by poet Matthew Arnold.’
Included in this tour is a visit to New College. Despite its name, New College is one of the oldest of the Oxford Colleges, founded in 1379 by William Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester. It is one of the main choral foundations and is one of the wealthiest and most visited colleges in Oxford University.
We will then go to the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology which is the world’s first University museum erected 1678-1683. Here we will have lunch in the lecture theatre followed by a private lecture, not available to the public, on the history of the museum and its collections. We finish the day with free time to explore the museum.
Ticket price £45
Tickets will be on sale one hour before both lectures on 7th March 2018.
Photo by DAVID ILIFF. © Copyright. Used under Licence: Creative Commons by SA 3.0
Wednesday 15th August 2018 – Woburn Abbey
We will start the day with coffee before private guides take us round the Abbey.
Woburn is a country house and the family seat of the Duke of Bedford and is still the family home to the current Duke. It has historic landscape gardens and a deer park. Woburn Abbey, comprising Woburn Park and its buildings, was set out and founded as a Cistercian abbey in 1145. Today the building is listed in the highest category of architecture at grade 1.
The art collection is amongst the finest in private hands and encompasses a wide range of western artwork. The holdings comprise some 250 paintings, including works by Rubens, Van Dyck, Canaletto and Velasquez. Moreover, the collection encompasses examples of the most impressive manufactures of furniture, French and English in many periods, and a diverse and amazing collection of porcelain and silverware.”
A two course lunch is then followed by time to view the gardens, exhibitions, pottery and gift shop.
This is an excellent opportunity to see Woburn before it is shrouded in scaffolding for some time to come.
Ticket price £55 for concessions over 60
Full price £56.50
Tickets will be on sale one hour before the lectures on 2nd May 2018
Click here for more details of Woburn Abbey on their website
Thursday 15th November 2018 – Blenheim Palace
Blenheim Palace at Christmas & Living Crafts Fair
Blenheim Palace was built in the 18th century as a gift to the 1st Duke of Marlborough who won the battle of Blenheim on 13th August 1704. Between 1764 – 1764 the grounds were transformed by Capability Brown. Today most notably known as the birthplace of Winston Churchill.
On our visit, we will see the Palace dressed for Christmas, the Churchill Exhibition, “The Untold Story” film and enjoy the many food and drinks outlets.
In the Great Court at Blenheim, the “Living Crafts for Christmas Fair” showcases over 150 British designer-makers of high quality contemporary crafts. This will be a wonderful opportunity to buy all your Christmas gifts.
Ticket price £27 (for concessions over 60)
Full price £29
The ticket price includes the cost of the coach and admission; but because this is a special event, members will need to make own arrangements for lunch.
Tickets will be on sale one hour before both lectures in September 2018 and subsequent meetings if any remain.
Image – © Blenheim Palace website
Wednesday 8th May 2019 – Stonor & Hughenden
Stonor Park & Hughenden Manor
Stonor Park is one of England’s oldest manor houses housing outstanding displays of portraits, tapestries, bronzes and ceramics.
It has been the family’s residence for over 850 years making it one of the oldest family residences still lived in. We will have a private guided tour of the house and chapel before lunch in the restaurant in the manor.
After lunch, we travel to Hughenden Manor, the handsome home of Benjamin Disraeli set in a Chiltern valley.
It houses a fascinating collection of personal memorabilia of this colourful statesman. Disraeli’s hillside retreat later became the headquarters for a top secret Second World War operation that put Hughenden high on Hitler’s target list. The basement exhibition, 1940s living-room and ice house bunker bring wartime Britain to life. We will have free time to explore this fascinating house.
Ticket price to be advised
Tickets will be on sale one hour before both lectures in March 2019 and subsequent meetings if any remain.
Image – Hughenden Manor © Hans A. Rosbach – Attribution ShareAlike 3.0
Wednesday 14th August 2019 – Belvoir Castle
Belvoir Castle has been the ancestral home of the Duke of Rutland’s family since 1067. It is one of the finest examples of Regency architecture in the world.
The castle today was built in the early 1800s for the 5th Duke and is the fourth castle to stand on this site. It houses numerous paintings and treasures that have been collected by the family for nearly 1,000 years.
The gardens have undergone several changes over the centuries including bringing the lost plans of Capability Brown to fruition. There are also walks through formal gardens, woodland, Japanese, Duchess’s and Hermit’s gardens.
Ticket price to be advised
Tickets will be on sale one hour before both lectures in May 2019 and subsequent meetings if any remain.
Image – Belvoir Castle © By Nancy, Used under Licence: Creative Commons by SA 3.0