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Past Visits

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Kingston Bagpuize House remains a family home. Surrounded by garden and parkland this beautiful
early Georgian style house is in red brick with stone quoins, banding and window surrounds.
The entrance hall is dominated by the handsome cantilever staircase. The elegant reception rooms have
period furniture and paintings.
The gardens are notable for a large collection of plants which give year-round interest including
snowdrops and magnolia in spring, flowering trees and shrubs in summer and autumn colour from
September. The raised terrace walk which leads the visitor to the charming 18th-century pavilion also
has views towards the house and over the Woodland Garden.
There is a tea room

Kingston Bagpuize House

Tuesday 19th September 2023 

Near Abingdon, visiting Dorchester on Thames en route with time to visit the abbey and have lunch.
Departure –9.45am from Alma Road Coach Park – car park end. Please ensure you are there by 9.40am so we can leave on time.         

Visit -Toad Hall Garden Centre, Henley for coffee and a look round. 

Midday – Waterfront Café, Benson which provides a wide range of light refreshments in a very pleasant setting on the River Thames.

2.30 Kingston Bagpuize, Abingdon

Departure – 4.30pm from Kingston Bagpuize – Arrival at Alma Road coach park – approx. 6.00pm.


Thursday 15th June 2023 – Leeds Castle, Kent


Applications for this must be received by Wednesday 7th June 2023

Cost£36 This includes coach fare, entrance to the castle and a tip for the driver.


Leeds Castle has been a Norman stronghold; the private property of six of England’s medieval queens; a palace used by Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon; a Jacobean country house; a Georgian mansion; an elegant early 20th century retreat for the influential and famous; and in the 21st century it has become one of the most visited historic buildings in Britain. The resulting New Leeds Castle has externally changed little today and was finished by 1823. Unfortunately, the cost of the rebuild caused Wykeham Martin financial difficulties and he was forced to sell the contents of the Castle at auction, but his son Charles, with the help of his wife’s substantial dowry, was able to rebuild the family fortune. When the Wykeham Martins acquired land at Hollingbourne in 1895, Leeds became one of the largest private estates in Kent. By 1925 the family was forced to sell the property to pay death duties and it was acquired by the Anglo-American heiress the Hon. Olive Paget, then Mrs Wilson-Filmer, who, looking for a country retreat in Kent, saw its potential, and had the style, imagination and funds to carry out the necessary modifications.

Wednesday 5th April 2023 – Kelmscott Manor, Lechlade

Applications for this must be received by Friday 17th March

(Kelmscott require final numbers and payment before 22nd March)

Cost£48 This includes coach fare, entrance to manor, tea/coffee on arrival, cold buffet lunch, introductory talk and a tip for the driver.

Kelmscott Manor was the country home of William Morris – poet, craftsman and socialist – from 1871 until his death in 1896. The manor was reopened in April 2022 after a major restoration project undertaken by the Society of Antiquaries. The house contains a collection of his possessions and works of Morris and his associates, including furniture, textiles, carpets and ceramics. Visitors can explore all three floors of the manor, including the attic spaces which would originally have been used for farm labourers. Morris’s bedroom contains many of his original books, and a collection of Dürer prints. Other rooms display furniture from Red House in Bexleyheath, Kelmscott House in Hammersmith and other family homes. There are also further works by Rossetti, Sir Edward Burne-Jones, and Pieter Brueghel the Younger. The garden includes many old trees, including a very old black mulberry at the rear of the house. The front garden is walled with a summer house in one corner, and both the wall and the summerhouse are Grade II listed. William Morris named both his London residence “Kelmscott House” and the “Kelmscott Press” that he founded, after Kelmscott. He was buried in the village churchyard in a tomb designed by his friend and colleague Philip Webb.

Monday, 14 October 2019 – Bletchley Park

Bletchley Park is a nineteenth-century mansion and estate near Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire, constructed during the years following 1883 for the English financier and politician Sir Herbert Samuel Leon in the Victorian Gothic, Tudor, and Dutch Baroque styles. It became famous as the central site for British (and subsequently, Allied) codebreakers during World War II, although at the time of their operation this fact was a closely guarded secret.

During the Second World War, the estate housed the British Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS), which regularly penetrated the secret communications of the Axis Powers – most importantly the German Enigma and Lorenz ciphers; among its most notable early personnel the GC&CS team of codebreakers included Alan Turing, Gordon Welchman, Hugh Alexander and Stuart Milner-Barry.

Thursday, 13 June 2019 – Cirencester & Rodmartan Manor

The first stop will in Cirencester where there will be time for lunch before going the short journey to Rodmartan Manor.  The Manor is a supreme example of a house built and all its furniture made according to Arts and Crafts ideals and was one of the last country houses to be built and furnished in the old traditional style when everything was done by hand with local stone, local timber and local craftsmen.  Ernest Barnsley and the Cotswold group of Craftsmen, who built and furnished the house for Claud and Margaret Biddulph, beginning in 1909, were responsible for the revival of many traditional crafts in the Cotswolds which were in danger of dying out. The gardens are delightful and the visit will end with tea and cakes.

Thursday, 11 April 2019 – Bowood House, Calne

Bowood House is home to the Marquis and Marchioness of Lansdowne.  It hosts a wealth of unique art and antiques with many historical treasures – the Library and Chapel, the laboratory where Joseph Priestley discovered Oxygen in 1774, the Sculpture Gallery, the Orangery and a range of exhibition rooms.  Nearly 300 years of amazing artefacts and antiques from the family history are on display.   The House surrounded by 2,000 acres of Grade 1 listed ‘Capability’ Brown parkland  with a mix of plantations and sweeping lawns leading down to a mile long lake and the Italian inspired terrace gardens and the herbaceous border surrounding the Georgian house.

Thursday, 18th October 2018 – Eltham Palace, Greenwich

We had an excellent journey and arrived in glorious sunshine and  immediately made for the Orchard House Café for morning coffee.  The Art Deco mansion was built in the 1930s by Stephen and Virginia Courtauld and is a wonderful example of architecture blending beautifully alongside the Great Hall of the medieval Eltham Palace and Gardens.  The Great Hall was built for Edward IV in the 1470s and Henry VIII spent much of his childhood here.  You  enter the Palace  and are immediately in the circular entrance hall, a mix of Art Deco and cutting-edge Swedish design,.  The panelled dining room is characterised by geometric and stylised shapes.  Virginia Courtauld’s bedroom and luxurious golden bathroom is set in a lavish gold mosaic niche containing a statue of the goddess Psyche.  Virginia’s walk-in wardrobe contains beautiful period dresses, hats and accessories.  Even the  Courtauld’s pet lemur, Mah-Jongg, had centrally-heated sleeping quarters on the upper floor.  As you go from Art Deco into the magnificent medieval Great Hall with it’s. minstrels’ gallery and glorious hammer-beam roof built for Edward IV five hundred years ago – the third-largest hammerbeam roof in England.  There are  19 acres of historic gardens to explore including the Rock Garden with its series of pools and cascades running down to the moat and the sunken rose garden.  We arrived back in London around 5.30 and I think everyone agreed that we had a very enjoyable day.  28 members took part in this visit.