Lunch at The Star, Leather Road, Chessington - January 2017
|Hampton Court Palace and Gardens - April 2017|
|Trip to Norfolk - May 2017|
|Lunch at The Cricketers on Epsom Common - July 2017|
|Trip to Preston - September 2017|
|Pub lunch at the Hare & Hounds, Claygate - 30th October 2017|
|Lunch at The Hogsmill, Worcester Park - November 2016|
|Christ’s Hospital School - October 2016|
|London Walk - September 2016|
|Warren House Conference Centre - September 2016|
|Lunch at The Ditton, Long Ditton - July 2016|
|Trip to York - Spring 2016|
|Lunch at The Shy Horse, Chessington (pub lunch)- April 2016|
|Lunch at The Brewery Inn, Ashtead (pub lunch)- January 2016|
Trip to Preston
On Monday 25th September 2017, 26 0f our members, partners and friends boarded a coach that took us to the Preston area for five days. On the way up there, we stopped at the National Trust property Charlecote Park, near Warwick.
Charlecote is still the family home of the Lucy family after 900 years and whose grounds were landscaped by Lancelot "Capability" Brown. After lunch, we travelled on to Preston International Hotel in Preston where we stayed for the next 4 nights.
On Tuesday, we went by coach to the well known shopping centre in a building that was a 19th century cotton mill. We then left for the National Trust property Rufford Old Hall. Built in about 1530 for Sir Robert Hesketh, only the Great Hall, survives from the original structure. A brick-built wing in the Jacobean style was added in 1661, at right angles to the Great Hall, and a third wing was added in the 1820s. Quite a small house compared to most NT properties but very cosy and homely.
After lunch we then travelled back to the hotel for an early dinner. After dinner, we were taken to Blackpool to see the illuminations.
On Wednesday, we travelled to Haverthwaite, where most of us boarded a steam train for a ride to Lakeside on Lake Windermere. This was then followed by a cruise on the lake to Bowness where we had lunch. The few that wished to went by coach from Haverthwaite direct to Bowness where they spent their time on long walks in the surrounding areas. After lunch, our driver gave us an interesting tour of the area around Windermere before heading back to our hotel.
On the Thursday, we travelled to Liverpool and spent the day at leisure. Members spent happy hours doing the tourist bits of the city, such as a ferry trip across the Mersey to Birkenhead and "the Cavern" night club where the Beatles and other Liverpudlian groups and singers were "discovered". Pictured below are the famous Royal Liver Building and the bronze statues of the "Fab 4" Beatles.
On Friday, we left for home, but stopped for lunch at the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA). The NMA is a national site of remembrance at near Lichfield, Staffordshire, and is a 150 acre arboretum of over 30,000 trees. Scattered throughout the site are memorials to those who have died in the service of our country. Memorials have been put there by various organisations, not only the armed services but also other civil services. It is a place of tranquillity and reflection to people of every faith or none. This shows us at the NMA.
We had a thoroughly enjoyable autumn break and, in Keith's temporary absence, well done to Laurie for the organisation.
On Monday 8th May, 20 of our members, partners and friends boarded a coach that took us to Norfolk for four days.
On the way, we stopped at the National Trust’s Ickworth House, a country house near Bury St. Edmunds that was built as an 18th century Italian-style showcase for the Hervey family’s collections of Georgian silver, Regency furniture, books and fine paintings – the grand central rotunda dominates the landscape.
Ickworth has an impressive Rotunda that was commissioned by the 4th Earl of Bristol to house his priceless treasures collected on tours around Europe in the 18th century. The craftsmanship of the silverware collection is amazing, and has many outstanding portraits by Gainsborough, Hogarth and Reynolds.After lunch, we continued our journey to the Wensum Valley Golf and Country Club where we stayed for the next 3 nights.
On Tuesday, we went to Aylsham where we boarded a train on the Bure Valley narrow gauge railway.
Bure Valley is Norfolk’s longest narrow gauge railway, running between Aylsham and the town of Wroxham, at the heart of the Norfolk Broads.
The 18 mile trip runs through the pretty Bure Valley countryside following the meandering River Bure through meadowland. Along the line were wayside halts serving the villages of Brampton, Buxton and Coltishall.
When we arrived at Wroxham, the coach was there to transport us to the town centre. After a leisurely lunch and stroll around we boarded the “Belle of the Broads” boat for a 90 minute tour of the river and surrounding Broads.
A full commentary from the skipper explained the origins of the Broads, identifying points of interest along the way and showed us local water birds as they came into view. It was a bit cold on the boat but happily the bar provided hot drinks to help us enjoy the scenery. We then went back to the hotel.
On Wednesday, we went to Norwich where a Blue Badge guide gave us a fascinating guided coach tour of the city. We then went to Sandringham for lunch and a tour of the house, church and gardens.
In 1862, the hall was purchased by Queen Victoria at the request of the Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VII) as a home for himself and his bride, Princess Alexandra. Two years after moving in, the prince found the hall's size insufficient for his needs, and he created a larger building. The resulting red-brick house was completed in late 1870 in a mix of styles. The building was ahead of its time in amenities, with gas lighting, flushing water closets, and an early form of shower. Sandringham House has been the private home of four generations of the British Royal Family. Along with Balmoral Castle, Sandringham House is the private property of the British royal family and not part of the Crown Estate.
At dinner that night we decided we’d have a group photo.
On Thursday, early in the morning, our holiday co-ordinator Keith Waller was sadly taken ill and was admitted to Norfolk and Norwich Hospital. The others in our party went back to Norwich where we were able to tour the city at our leisure before going on to Lavenham to visit the National Trust owned Guildhall.
Lavenham is one of the UK's most beautiful medieval villages located in the heart of Suffolk. It is noted for its 15th century church, half-timbered medieval cottages and circular walk.
Lavenham has over 320 buildings of historic significance including Lavenham Guildhall, otherwise known as the Guildhall of Corpus Christi, is possibly one of the best examples of them all.
In the 16th-century this picturesque village was the 14th wealthiest town in Britain, paying more tax than populous cities such as York and Lincoln, thanks to the quality of its renowned blue woollen cloth, which was in great demand.
However, by 1525 the bubble had burst. The demise of the cloth trade, for which Lavenham was famed, meant that the merchants had left looking for their next new venture. The local population was unable to maintain the timber-framed buildings, which had previously been funded by the enormous wealth created by the cloth trade and the buildings began to crumble. It is lucky that the Guildhall and other building of the same era are still standing.
In the late 18th century, the village was home to poet Jane Taylor, where she wrote the poem The Star, from which the lyrics for the nursery rhyme Twinkle Twinkle Little Star are taken.
A brilliant mini-break and well done again to Keith for organising it.
Hampton Court Visit
On Friday 7th April, some members of Surbiton Probus Club visited Hampton Court Palace where they had a tour of the Palace and Gardens led an experienced London guide, Graham Harvey.
We met at the Palace at 11am and started the tour of the Palace, where Graham showed us the best parts. We entered through the main gate into Base Court and on into Henry VIII’s Great Hall, the Great Watching Chamber, his Council Chamber and into the gallery of the Chapel Royal. A copy of his crown is on display in the Chapel Royal. In addition we saw the rooms of William III’s apartments, the Mantegna Gallery and the Tudor Kitchens.
The Great Hall Detail of the Chapel Royal ceiling
We had lunch at the Tiltyard Café, after which some members left for home. The rest of us then had a tour of the various gardens of the Palace.
Members and partners in the gardens
Graham’s outstanding knowledge of the history and layout of the Palace provided us with a fantastic visit experience.
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