Riva Del Garda, Lake Garda

A Capital Weekend - 6th - 9th October 2023

 

Why not join us on this Capital Weekend based at the The Bull Hotel, Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire.

FridayTravelling to Windsor for our first visit of the weekend. Located on the River Thames, the delightful town of Windsor is home to one of the official royal residencies of Her Majesty The Queen – Windsor Castle. Built in the 11th century by the formidable William the Conqueror, it is steeped in rich British history. From Windsor you will get to enjoy a beautiful cruise upstream on the Thames taking in the sensational views of Windsor Castle from the river. During the cruise you will be treated to an Afternoon tea and afterwards there will be some free time to explore the town. You will then re-join the coach for the short journey to the The Bull HotelAfter you've have checked-in there will be

 

time at leisure before dinner.

Saturday: Leaving the hotel after breakfast we will travel to Central London.  This morning we will have a  ‘Behind the Scenes’ Tour at Royal Albert Hall, going behind the curtain of this much-loved Grade I listed building and see parts of the Hall usually off limits to the public. The Behind the Scenes tour takes you under the stage, into our dressing rooms and deep underground into our bustling loading bay. These special tours are an opportunity to acquire a rare insight into how the show, hospitality and technical teams come together to stage over 390 different events in the main auditorium per year.

Following the tour you will have the rest of the afternoon at leisure to explore London, before returning to The Bull Hotel prior to Dinner.

Sunday: After breakfast we will leave the hotel travelling to Greenwich. This morning you will visit the Painted Hall at the Royal Naval College. From a Tudor Palace to the centrepiece of Maritime Greenwich, the Old Royal Naval College is a UNESCO world heritage site.  This iconic riverside estate boasts 500 years of rich history linking an incredible cast of monarchs and famous British figures including King Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth I, William Shakespeare, King William and Queen Mary and Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson. Built on the site of  Greenwich Palace, this extraordinary building, designed by esteemed architect Sir Christopher Wren, has seen life as both a Royal Hospital and a Royal Naval College. From Henry VIII’s birthplace to Lord Nelson’s lying in state, these walls contain a wealth of key historical moments. Become one of the 1.2m annual visitors exploring this fascinating Greenwich campus. Drop into the Visitor Centre to understand the many layered histories of these grounds, visit the iconic Painted Hall, known as the ‘UK’s Sistine Chapel’ or spend time in the St Peter & St Paul Chapel to find out why it is considered to be one of the finest 18th century interiors in existence.

You will have some free time for lunch, before our afternoon visit to the Cutty

 

Sark. Built in 1869 to carry tea back from China, Cutty Sark visited nearly every major port in the world and gained fame for its record-breaking passages. Delve into the adventures of this iconic ship and meet the colourful cast of characters on board the ship who tell their story of what life was like on board.
Picture yourself as the ship's captain, take the helm at the ship's wheel and marvel at the towering masts and 11 miles of rigging. Learn about the ambitious conservation project and go inside and underneath an authentic piece of history. Find out about the incredible work that has saved Cutty Sark for future generations.

After your voyage on the Cutty Sark, you will depart Greenwich returning to the hotel late afternoon, prior to dinner at the hotel.

 

Monday: After breakfast you will check-out of the hotel and travel to Leonardsee GardensIn 2019, Leonardslee Lakes & Gardens opened its doors after a closure of 10 years, this magnificent Grade I listed garden was nearly lost forever and has been the subject of the largest garden restoration in England and possibly Europe. These spectacular and ancient gardens are now open for the public to enjoy once again. Many people in the local area have fond memories of their visits and life around these gardens, and the aim is to protect this magnificent heritage so that future generations get to enjoy these beautiful green spaces and flora and fauna within.  “The finest woodland gardens in England”. 

You will have time to explore these lovely gardens and grab some lunch, before an early afternoon departure from Leonardsee to head back to Manchester, arriving early evening.

Hotel: The Bull Hotel is located in Gerrards Cross, Bucks. Set in landscaped gardens in a conservation area of Buckinghamshire, The Bull retains the cosy spirit of an historic coaching inn, and its 4-star rooms and suites are ideal for today’s traveller. All rooms offer comfortable beds and en-suite bathrooms and many feature modern artworks and views over landscaped gardens. (www.sarova-bullhotel.com)

 

Price Per person: (Based on twin/double 2 adults sharing) -

  • Member Plus (Members with Lottery Shares) - £399
  • Members (No Lottery Shares) - £409
  • Non-Member - £419
  • Single Supplement £87

Look What's included:

  • 3 Nights Accommodation including Full English Breakfast and 3-course, choice menu dinner
  • Porterage (if required)
  • Executive Coach & Professional Tour Driver throughout the tour as per itinerary
  • Cruise with Afternoon Tea in Windsor
  • Admission to The Painted Hall
  • Admission to Cutty Sark
  • Tour of Royal Albert Hall
  • Admission to Leonardslee Gardens

     

What's NOT included:

  • Meals and Entrance to attraction fees other than those stated in the itinerary
  • Driver/Guide Gratuities
  • Any Items of a personal nature such as drinks, souvenirs etc

For further details and bookings, you can either use the Reservation Form or contact Bob Walker 

Please include your Name, Home Address, Contact Telephone Number, Membership Number and the Number Places Required (Member/Non-Member)

 

 

10th - 16th September 2023

Counties Galway & Mayo form the heart of west coast Ireland, and running through them is a section of the Wild Atlantic Way – Ireland’s spectacular coastal route. The vibrant city of Galway is surrounded by the jaw-dropping terrain of the romantic Connemara Peninsula, known for its looming mountains and vast lakes. Windswept islands dapple the coastline, rugged with cliffs. The dramatic Killary Harbour, Ireland’s only glacially formed fjord, forms the county border and to its north, County Mayo shares these wildly beautiful landscapes, yet sees far fewer tourists. Alongside this incredible scenery, the region offers a strong sense of tradition, a warm welcome, and is packed with historic sites.

ITINERARY

Day 1: Depart Manchester area to catch the morning ferry from Holyhead to Dublin. On arrival in Dublin we will travel directly to Powerscourt House & Gardens (Entrance included).

Powerscourt House and Gardens today offers the warmest of welcomes to our visitors and some of the best views in Ireland, overlooking the breath-taking Sugarloaf Mountain. It’s a wonderful place to relax and enjoy browsing our splendid range of stores or to indulge in a coffee and dessert in the famous Avoca Terrace Café. The Gardens stretch over 47 acres and offer visitors a sublime blend of formal gardens, sweeping terraces, statues and ornamental lakes, secret hollows and rambling walks.
Managed by Head Gardener, Alex Slazenger and a team of four gardeners, Powerscourt Gardens were designed from 1731 onwards, with the desire to create a garden which was part of the wider surrounding landscape. Powerscourt Gardens include The Walled Gardens, The Italian Garden, The Dolphin Pond, The Japanese Gardens, Pets Cemetery and Pepperpot Tower, among other features and attractions. Sadly we have to leave Powerscourt and make our way to our overnight hotel.  After check-in we will have time to relax before dinner. 

Days 2 -6: 

  • A visit to Galway City. Richly historic, the bohemian city of Galway heaves with remnants of medieval history, lively Irish pubs and Gaelic culture. Galway Cathedral and the Spanish Arch are
     amongst the town’s most interesting sights, and the Galway City Museum tells the story of this colourful port.  It is the capital of the west of Ireland and sits where the River Corrib meets the Atlantic Ocean. The city’s hub is 18th-century Eyre Square, a popular meeting spot surrounded by shops and traditional pubs that often offer live Irish folk music. Nearby, stone-clad cafes, boutiques and art galleries line the winding lanes of the Latin Quarter, which retains portions of the medieval city walls. Known as The City of Tribes, Galway is a beautiful city. So beautiful is it, that it was once described as the “Venice of the West” by well-known Irish poet, William Butler Yeats. 
  • Full day excursion to Ceide Fields & Connacht
     Distillery. 
  • The remarkable neolithic site at Céide Fields in County Mayo, Ireland, contains the oldest known stone-walled fields in the world – dating back nearly 6,000 years. Céide Fields overlooks the mighty Atlantic Ocean which gently laps (or vigorously pounds …. depending on the weather!) up against the cliffs below. The landscape itself has been forged from the dramatic upheaval and movement of the earths crust over millions of years. The soil at Céide Fields has been constantly subjected to the conflicts of the weather. The warm Gulf Stream comes up past the American continent between Ireland and Iceland. In the opposite direction, cold deep waters flow south from the icy Arctic Ocean. The combination of all these factors has resulted in the wild beauty and uniqueness of this region in County Mayo, Ireland.

    The Connacht Distillery story starts on the northwest coast of Ireland, in the wild, rugged, landscape of County Mayo in the province of Connacht. founded by master distiller Robert Cassell and a team that saw the potential in irish whiskey, the derelict old duffy’s bakery site in Ballina was painstakingly renovated, with whiskey production commencing in 2016. Situated where the River Moy’s pure, fresh, water rushes down to meet the in-flowing salty Atlantic Ocean, dramatic shifts in atmospheric pressure exert an ever-changing influence on the whiskey maturing in our barrels. During our visit you will have a guided tour of the distillery and a tasting of 2 Whiskeys and 1 Gin.

  • Full day excursion along part of the stunning Wild Atlantic way from Louisburgh - Delphi with a stop at the waterfalls and Kylemore Abbey. Spectacular mountain ranges dominate this part of the Wild Atlantic Way.The first of these appears just after leaving WestportCroagh Patrick – Ireland's sacred mountain. According to legend, St. Patrick spent 40 days and nights fasting, praying and doing penance on this mountain and at the same time banishing snakes from the island of Ireland. Evidence has been found that Croagh Patrick was a place of great importance in the pre-Christian era. A Celtic hill fort was discovered encircling the summit of the mountain.Continuing in a southerly direction the Wild Atlantic Way meanders through the valley of Doo Lough and Delphi finally reaching Ireland's only fjord – Killary harbour, extending 15 km inwards, sheltered on all sides by lush green meadows.Majestic mountain peaks, magic sandy beaches and continuously changing landscapes are the landmarks of the Connemara National Park. Before it flows into Killary Harbour the river Erriff presents a small (about 3.5 meters high) but impressive Aasleagh Falls.  Kylemore Abbey & Gardens – the jewel
    in the Connemara crown! Kylemore Abbey & Garden has a superb picturesque lakeside setting, surrounded by woodlands at the foot of the Twelve Bens Mountains. The Abbey (which looks more like a charming fairy tale castle) is said to be one of the most admired buildings in Ireland, with its very impressive neo-gothic style exterior standing out against the backdrop of wild and beautiful Connemara. The Victorian Walled Garden is another must see attraction at the Kylemore Lough. t was originally called Kylemore Castle and was built around 1863 as a residence for a wealthy English politician named Mitchell Henry. It took about 5 years to complete the castle. Kylemore Abbey & Garden is the home of the Benedictine Order of Nuns in Ireland who have lived here since 1920. The nuns decided to open a boarding school for girls, although the school closed in 2010. The boarding school is presently located in the abbey part of the castle. The Benedictine nuns also ran farm and a guesthouse here, but the guesthouse had to close in 1959 due to a fire. The nuns lead a monastic life of dedication to prayer and work and a section or the Abbey is sectioned off and strictly accessed only by the nuns. One of the most notable features of the abbey is the magnificent neo-gothic church (which looks like a miniature cathedral!). The building of this church started in 1877 when Mitchell Henry decided to dedicate it as a memorial to his dead wife. In the Victorian Walled Garden Abbey. A stream runs through the heart of the garden and divides it into Flower Garden and Kitchen Garden. The Visitors Centre is also well worth a visit to learn more about the abbey through its video displays. It also has a 200-seater restaurant, which specialises in traditional Irish dishes and a craft shop where you can purchase some famous Kylemore Abbey Pottery.
  • Full day excursion Clare Island -  Encapsulated in the Saw Doctor’s song ‘The Green
    and Red of Mayo’, Clare Island is located 3.5 miles off the west coast of County Mayo, Ireland. The ferry crossing  takes approximately 25 minutes and there is every chance that you will be accompanied on your journey by a school of dolphins. Clare Island is the largest (5 miles long and 3 miles wide) of the 365 islands in Clew Bay. Famous as the ancestral home of the legendary Pirate Queen Grace O’Malley a population of about 160 people. Clare Island’s silhouette is dominated by the peak of Knockmore at 462 metres on her North-Western edge and the more gently sloping Knocknaveen to her centre. Her western cliffs are among the most dramatic in Europe and are home to large numbers of nesting sea birds. Once on Clare Island, there is so much to see  – Granuaile’s Castle, the 12th century Cistercian Abbey, the Lighthouse, the Napoleonic Tower and the various Bronze-Age sites.  Why not call in and see the Heritage Centre or Ballytoughey Loom? 
  • A visit to Westport House included a 30 minute guided tour and self entry to the gardens. One
    of the few privately-owned historic houses left in Ireland, Westport House was built by the Browne family whose connections to Mayo date back to the 1500s. Their lineage relates them and the house to the trail-blazing pirate queen and chieftain, Grace O’Malley.
    The current Georgian stately home was built upon the castle ruins in the 18th century, and boasts classical symmetry and beautiful balustraded terraces. Inside, the house is architecturally stunning with fascinating collections, including fine antiquities and paintings by Sir Joshua Reynolds.
 

Day 7: Check out of the hotel for return journey to Manchester via Dublin and Holyhead. 

Our Hotel:   

Westport Woods Hotel & Spa 

The 4* Westport Woods Hotel is a gorgeous hotel wonderfully located between Westport Quay (10 minute walk) and Westport town (15 minute walk). Away from the hustle and bustle and set in seven acres of beautiful woodland, the hotel offers all the action and fun of Westport but also the tranquillity of the lovely spa and leisure centre. 

All of the Non Smoking rooms offer the usual amenites you expect from a 4-star hotel, including en-suite, Toiletries, Tea & Coffee making facilities, TV equipped with 16 channels, Wi-Fi, Iron, Hair Dryer, safe deposit box and a hair-dryer. And of course you can relax in the indoor swimming pool, hot tub, spa and wellness centre.

https://www.westportwoodshotel.com/index.html

Price per person (Based on 2 Adults sharing Twin/Double Room):

  • Member Plus Adult - £905
  • Member Adult - £930                    
  • Non Member Adult - £955                 
  • Single Supplement - £154 (double/twin for sole occupancy)

Price Includes:

  • Coach Transport throughout the tour
  • Return ferry crossing (Holyhead - Dublin)
  • Porterage at the Westport Woods Hotel & Spa if required
  • Welcome tea/coffee on arrival at the Westport Woods Hotel & Spa
  • 1  nights accommodation at Overnight Hotel with Breakfast and Dinner
  • 5 Nights half board accommodation with Breakfast and 3 Course Dinner including Tea/Coffee after dinner
  • Free Use of the Leisure facilities
  • Live Music on 1 night
  • Entrance to Powerscourt House & Gardens 
  • Orientation tour and time at leisure in Galway
  • Entrance to Céide Fields Visitor Centre including Soup & sandwich lunch
  • Connacht Distillery Guided Tour & Tasting (2 whiskey's and 1 gin)
  • An excursion to Clare Island with lunch of soup and sandwiches
  • A Guided Tour of Westport House - Includes a 30 minute guided tour of Westport House and self-guided entry to the gardens
  • An excursion along the stunning Wild Atlantic Way from Louisburgh - Delphi with stop at Aasleagh Falls
  • Admission to Kylemore Abbey

Not Included:

  • Single Supplement
  • Any items of a personal nature such as meals, drinks, etc
  • Guide/Driver Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance

For further details and bookings, you can either use the  or contact Bob Walker 

Please include your Name, Home Address, Contact Telephone Number, Membership Number and the Number Places Required (Member/Non-Member)

 

Leisure or Walking in Mid Wales - Your Choice! - 31st March - 3rd April 2023

 

Why not join us on this tour based in the The Metropole Hotel & Spa, Llandrindrod Wells, Mid Wales.

Friday: Travelling to British Ironwork Centre for our first visit of the weekend. If you were told there was a place where you can put your arm in the mouth of a shark, walk with elephants and meet Spiderman and SpongeBob SquarePants, all in the same day – whilst following up with a delicious home baked delicacy or lunch – you may think you were getting confused with a dream you've had. But you can do all this, and more, at the British Ironwork Centre!  After exploring the centre we will re-join the coach for our onward journey to the The Metropole Hotel & SpaAfter we have checked-in there will be

 

time at leisure before dinner.

Saturday: Leaving the hotel after breakfast we will travel to Borth. 

Today’s walk starts at Borth and follows the Ceredigion Coast Path  to Aberystwyth (approx 6 miles). There are some steep climbs on this walk as is synonymous with coastal paths. Overall, it is a moderate walk with great views of the coast and Aberystwyth. It is advisable to use good walking shoes or boots and to take walking poles.

For the non-walkers, you will have time in Aberystwyth before returning to Llandrindrod Wells prior to Dinner.

Sunday: After breakfast we will leave the hotel which is our starting point for today’s walk (5 miles approx). The circular Shakey Bridge walk which will start and end at the hotel.  It is advisable to use good walking shoes or boots and to take walking poles - there are two short steep uphill sections.  The paths and tracks are generally good , but some of them do cross fields and these may be muddy or wet depending on the ground conditions on the day.

For the non-walkers, you will have a free day to explore Llandrindrod Wells.

Monday: After breakfast you will check-out of the hotel and travel to Shrewsbury. The Birthplace of Charles Darwin,

 

Shrewsbury is set amidst the glorious Shropshire countryside near to the Welsh Borders and is one of England’s finest medieval market towns. The town sits inside a loop of the River Severn, and its Tudor centre is lined with half-timbered houses. The medieval, red-brick Shrewsbury Castle houses the Shropshire Regimental Museum, where military artefacts include uniforms and weaponry. St Chad's Church is defined by its unique circular nave, and St Mary’s Church has elaborate stained-glass windows. Shrewsbury Prison, for example, is one of the country’s oldest jails. You can take a tour walking in the footsteps of prisoners and viewing one of the last working execution rooms in the country. There are plenty of places to shop, eat and drink or you could relax in beautiful Quarry Park or take a boat trip on the River Severn. 

Mid afternoon we will depart Shrewsbury to head back to Manchester,  arriving early evening.

Hotel: The Metropole Hotel & Spa is located right in the centre of Llandrindrod Wells. Beautifully furnished en suite bedrooms with flat screen colour television, trouser press, hair dryer, complimentary tea and coffee making facilities and free Wi-Fi access. The hotel also has a Pool, Spa and Gym.  

 

A bit of history: On the 1st December 1897, Elizabeth Miles bought The Bridge Hotel from James Lewis Wilding for the sum of £7,850. The Bridge Hotel, now known as The Metropole Hotel, is still owned and run by the same family to this day. On 1st August 1911, the name of the hotel was changed from The Bridge to The Metropole. The story behind the change of name revolves around a sale of hotel stock in Norfolk. Mrs Miles bought a large quantity of linen, cutlery and crockery as well as numerous carpets. The price must have been low enough for them to have borne the cost of the long journey back to Wales. When her sons pointed out that to her that the monogram ‘M’ on her purchases was wrong for ‘The Bridge’, she quietly explained that in a month or so her hotel would be re-named ‘The Metropole’. We are privileged to be the custodians of a wonderful, historic building and are proud of the achievements of our family and staff in maintaining The Metropole for over a century and the part it has played in the history and growth of Llandrindod Wells.

Price Per person: (Based on twin/double 2 adults sharing) -

  • Member Plus (Members with Lottery Shares) - £289
  • Members (No Lottery Shares) - £299
  • Non-Member - £309
  • Single Supplement £30

Look What's included:

  • 3 Nights Accommodation including Full Welsh Breakfast and 3-course, choice menu dinner with tea/coffee
  • Complimentary Use of the Leisure facilities
  • Transport throughout the tour as per itinerary
  • Maps & Walks Itinerary

What's NOT included:

  • Meals and Entrance to attraction fees other than those stated in the itinerary
  • Any Items of a personal nature such as drinks, souvenirs etc

For further details and bookings, you can either use the Reservation Form or contact Bob Walker 

Please include your Name, Home Address, Contact Telephone Number, Membership Number and the Number Places Required (Member/Non-Member)