Vita Sackville-West, of Sissinghurst in Kent (second from left)
Vita Sackville-West, of Sissinghurst in Kent (second from left)

5 Amazing Women Who Feature on Brightwater Holidays Trips

To mark International Women’s Day this year, we have decided to share a collection of our tours that celebrate women. From a fantastic horticulturist and sculptor, to a former monarch and a naturalist, delve into the worlds created by these fantastic women on a Brightwater Holidays trip this year.

1) Vita Sackville-West

Award-winning poet, fiction writer and gardener, Vita Sackville-West purchased the fabulous Sissinghurst Castle with her husband, Harold Nicolson, in 1930. Then a somewhat run-down Elizabethan mansion in need of some attention, the pair spent time lovingly renovating the building and its surrounding gardens. The pair opened their garden to the public in the late 1930s and they were the last private owners of Sissinghurst Castle, with the property falling into the worthy hands of the National Trust in 1967.

On our RHS Chelsea Flower Show & Classic English Gardens tour, we’ll pay an afternoon visit to Sissinghurst. This 7-day tour will depart on either May 20th or May 23rd, and it starts from just £1,295pp. Other visits include the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Capability Brown’s famous Stourhead Gardens, Wilton House near Salisbury, and the Harold Peto designed garden at Iford Manor.

2) Queen Victoria

2019 marks the 200th anniversary of her birth and we’ve put together a very special brand new tour to honour her life and legacy. The second-longest reigning monarch after our own Queen Elizabeth II, Victoria became queen shortly after her 18th birthday and remained so for 64 years. During this time, she had a remarkable life. Victoria fell deeply in love with her first cousin Albert, proposing to him just five days after his arrival at Windsor. His death in 1861 affected Victoria so strongly that she never stopped mourning and wore black until her own death, which followed in 1876.

If the stories surrounding Queen Victoria and the British monarchy fascinate you, treat yourself a place on this tour today. Departing on August 4th, it starts from just £695pp. Visits include Osborne House, Windsor Castle, the rarely-opened Frogmore House, and other sites on the charming Isle of Wight.

3) Barbara Hepworth

An English artist and sculptor, Barbara Hepworth was one of only a few women in her generation to receive such creative acclaim. Born in Wakefield in 1903, she went on to study at the Royal College of Art in London and won the West Riding travel scholarship, which allowed her to spend time in Italy learning from a master-carver in Rome. Hepworth moved to St. Ives in 1939, where the amazing Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden is located today. Her works are striking, bold and Modernist in style, and it is an experience to wander her Cornish gardens.

Join our Arts & Gardens in Cornwall tour, and spend a morning wandering among her sculptures in glorious St. Ives. This tour departs in either May or September, and starts at just £895pp for 5 days.

4) Lee Durrell

Born in Tennessee on September 7th, 1949, Lee Durrell showed a distinct love of animals from a young age – a theme that continued throughout her life. Her PhD thesis was on the call of mammals and birds, which she worked on during a two-year stint in Madagascar, and upon her return to America she met the founder of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Gerald Durrell, at Duke University during a lecture he was giving. There was instant chemistry between them and they married just two years later. Upon Gerald’s death in 1995, Lee succeeded him as the Honorary Director of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, and UK television network ITV produced a popular series about their life and adventures together in Corfu.

If you want to discover Corfu with Lee Durrell, treat yourself to a place on our tour departing May 17th. Along with meeting Lee for a private Q&A session, you’ll also pay a visit to Mouse Island, enjoy lunch at the White House (the Durrells’ former home), and tour the local area.

5) Gertrude Jekyll

A deeply talented British horticulturist, Gertrude Jekyll created around 400 gardens in her lifetime. Her influence on garden design is broad and she often worked in collaboration with the English architect, Sir Edwin Lutyens. Surprisingly, she came to gardening a little later in life than one might expect, after doctors advised her to halt her main passions – embroidery and painting – due to progressive short-sightedness.

Discover her legacy on a gardens tour with us unlike any other this year. Departing on May 19th, our Gertrude Jekyll tour will take you from the outstanding private estates of Buckhurst Park, immortalised by A A Milne in Winnie the Pooh as the Hundred Acre Wood, to Munstead Wood, where she lived until her death in 1932. 6-days start from £1,195pp.

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5 Amazing Women Who Feature on Brightwater Holidays Trips was published on 8 March 2019