Category Archives: Previous Day Visits

Day visits

Day – August 2017 – Hellens Manor

Thursday 17th August 2017 – Hellens Manor

Hellens Manor
© CopyrightPhilip Halling and licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons license.

Members enjoyed an excellent visit to Hellens Manor in Herefordshire. This is one of the oldest buildings in England with some 12th Century foundations and Tudor, Jacobean and Georgian architecture. After an informative guided tour, the day concluded with afternoon tea and cake in the sunshine.

The day also included morning coffee, a guided tour and lunch at Weston’s Cider Museum.


Click here for more details of Hellens Manor on their website

Day – May 2017 – Renishaw Hall

Wednesday 10th May 2017 – Renishaw Hall

Renishaw Hall
© Copyright Martin Thirkettle and licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons license.

This excursion was to Renishaw Hall, a grade 1 listed country house in Derbyshire. It was built in 1627 by George Sitwell but has been altered over the centuries. It has remained in the Sitwell family and in 2009 the 7th baronet, the nephew of Edith and Osbert, bequeathed it to his daughter, Alexandra.

It featured in the 1980 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and is said to have been Lawrence’s inspiration for Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

The house is only open to groups by private arrangement but the gardens, including a highly regarded Italianate garden, are open to the public.

Click here for more details of Renishaw Hall on their website

Day – 3 December 2015 Waddesdon

Thursday December 3rd 2015 – Waddesdon Manor

Waddesdon at night
Waddesdon at night

This was the first time that we had visited Waddesdon and it proved to be another successful and very enjoyable visit. The house was beautifully decorated with every room following a different theme but each having a huge Christmas tree. The decorations looked so fresh and as new as they must have looked when the Rothschild family occupied the house. Around the house was a Christmas Fair with many stalls selling food and other seasonal goods to help with the Christmas shopping. We had a superb lunch with turkey and all the trimmings, Christmas pudding with a glass of wine which was perfectly cooked and presented. When it got dark, a light show finished the visit and we all left Waddesdon feeling that the festive season had definitely started.

Day – 12 August 2015 – Capesthorne and Gawsworth

Capesthorne (c) Capesthorne
(c) Capesthorne

Gawsworth Hall © Gawsworth Hall
Gawsworth Hall
© Gawsworth Hall

Wednesday 12 August 2015

Capesthorne Hall and Gawsworth

Two historic houses near Macclesfield  in Cheshire proved to be another successful visit last August. We started  at Capesthorne Hall, an 18th century mansion originally designed by Smith of Warwick and set in beautiful grounds, where we had a very interesting and informative tour of the house followed by lunch. We then moved on to Gawsworth Hall, the  Tudor-built home of Mr and Mrs  Richards, who told us about the history of the house and showed us the beautiful little family  chapel with its  windows made  by William Morris. Once again the sun shone and there was time to visit the gardens and tea room.

Both of these privately owned houses showed us how the families had managed to keep and maintain the historic aspects of their homes in the present and also to take on new commercial activities to assist in the upkeep.


Day – 13th May 2015 – Chavenage

Wednesday, 13th May 2015 – Chavenage and Berkeley Castle.

Chavenage (C) Chavenage

Last May we visited these two spectacular places in Gloucestershire.

At Chevanage  we were entertained by members of the Lowesley-Williams family who told us about the history of the house as well as tales relating to the use of the house as Trewith Manor in the BBC TV drama production of Winston Graham’s ‘Poldark’. After a delicious lunch we moved on to Berkeley Castle. This  ancient castle has a complex history and is where King Edward II was imprisoned and murdered. There was also an opportunity to visit the butterfly farm and sit in the sun, having a cup of tea before the journey home.

Day – Grimsthorpe Castle August 2014

Grimsthorpe Castle August 14.

The visit to this little known house and parkland in Lincolnshire proved to be a great day out. A number of members consider this to have been the most enjoyable trip in recent years. Currently a member of the Historic Houses Association, part of the property was built was built in the 13th century but the majority was added by Baron Willoughby de Eresby on the occasion of his marriage to Maria de Salinas, lady–in–waiting to Katherine of Aragon, in 1516. It has remained in the family ever since. Sir John Vanburgh added the front of the house in the eighteenth century and it contains important collections of tapestries, portraits and furniture including several thrones from the Palace of Westminster. After coffee on arrival, an hour long coach tour of the 3000 acres park was led by Mr Ray Biggs, the property administrator, who gave an extremely knowledgeable and fascinating talk on the grounds and house. This included the history of the whole site, areas of special scientific interest within the park and potential problems and diseases relating to the many hundreds of different variety of trees some of which were re–planted in the 17th century. We had a good lunch of quiche, salad and potatoes followed by an afternoon touring the house in guided groups. This left time to explore the gardens and have an ice cream and cup of tea before departing for home. A truly enjoyable and memorable visit.



Vikings – Life and Legend ©British Museum

53 members travelled to the British Museum to see the blockbuster exhibition ‘Vikings – Life and Legend’. After coffee and biscuits, we had a fascinating talk on the Vikings and the artefacts displayed in the exhibition followed by a visit to the exhibition itself. This proved to be an enjoyable and educational day and complemented a previous study day and visit to explore items from the Saxon hoard.