Historic Houses and Castles of the West Midlands
On this tour of the historic houses and castles of the West Midlands we cover all eras from Medieval to Elizabethan, Victorian to Georgian. Our first highlight is Stokesay Court, a grand country estate in the Shropshire hills made famous recently as the filming location for the film Atonement. Nearby is Stokesay Castle, one of the best-preserved fortified medieval manor houses in England.
Hodnet Hall is where we head next, this 19th century Victorian house was built in a Neo-Elizabethan style and remains the home of the Heber-Percy family. Although we can only see the Hall from outside, we have some time to explore the delightful gardens spanning 60 acres and brimming with brightly coloured flowers, magnificent forest trees and vast sweeping lawns. At the Georgian manor house Chillington Hall, we will enjoy a private guided tour and an afternoon restorative accompanied by some delightful sweetmeats, which will be well earned after exploring the landscaped gardens designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown.
We also have the chance to see where Medieval and Elizabethan combine at the ruins of Moreton Corbet Castle, while Sunnycroft is our glimpse into suburban Victorian life, a red-brick villa positively packed with all manner of trinkets and items, some you may even recognise. We enjoy the rolling grounds of Dudmaston Hall that has been a family home for more than 875 years, a grand 17th century house that is home to an eclectic selection of artefacts and home to a wide collection of art, and continue to Hagley Hall, the ‘last of the great Palladian houses’, which hosts us for a private tour and refreshments. Finally, last but not least, we spend some time at the splendid medieval fortress, Kenilworth Castle.
The Best Western Valley Hotel is a Georgian listed building and the ideal place from which to explore the surrounding area. Situated in the heart of Ironbridge, the hotel is within walking distance of the Gorge museums and enjoys a breath-taking riverside setting. Boasting 2AA rosettes for culinary excellence, the restaurant provides a delightful variety of sumptuous cuisine. Each room features an en-suite as well as complimentary WIFI, TV and tea and coffee facilities.
Coach Bays on Tothill Street, Westminster
Outside Luton Parkway Railway Station
Outside the Railway Station
Bus stop outside New Street Station
Bus stop outside Anglia House, Derrys Cross Roundabout
Bus stop, South Street, outside Newham Stores
Bus stop on Castle Way, outside Mecca Bingo
Gordano services (Bristol)
Coach parking bays, Welcome Break Gordano
Bus stop at Arle Court Park & Ride, Cheltenham, Jcn 11, M5
Coach parking bays, Croft Road car park
Bus stop outside New Street Station
Please note that all timings are approximate and subject to change. Final timings and pick-up points will be confirmed with your joining instructions approximately 10 days prior to departure.
£895 (including offers)
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The price above includes any applicable early booking discount and a pay in full discount, and applies only if you pay the full balance at time of booking.
Deposit: £100 Single supplement: £160
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Day 1 -
We depart for the West Midlands with local pick-ups on route.
Our first visit is the ‘last of the great Palladian houses’, Hagley Hall. Built in 1760 by George, 1st Lord Lyttlelton, Hagley Hall remains within the family to this day. The Grade I listed building is brimming with Rococo decoration and is encompassed by beautiful parklands and is a true tribute to the artistic accomplishments of the 18th century whilst remaining a cherished family home. Here we enjoy a private guided tour followed by tea or coffee with cake.
In the afternoon we head to the 17th Century house Dudmaston Hall, which is nestled in enchanting woodland and vast sweeping gardens. Dudmaston has been a well-loved family home for over 875 years, and we will see evidence scattered throughout the rooms. The unexpected galleries were created by the last owner, Rachel Labouchere, to house an eclectic collection of art. The gardens provide a stunning range of vistas and areas of tranquillity can be found throughout
Later, we continue to our hotel.
|Hotel||Valley Hotel in Ironbridge, Telford|
Day 2 -
We set off heading to the Shropshire estate of Hodnet Hall, an imposing Victorian manor house built in a Neo-Elizabethan style in the 19th century to replace a 16th century timber framed Tudor Mansion House. Although we can only view this impressive manor from the outside, we still have plenty to explore. There are some 60 acres of gardens positively bursting with colorful flowers, grandiose forest trees and extensive lawns. The current owner’s father Brigadier A.G.W Herber-Percy was the person behind the gardens current layout when in the 1920s he made it his mission to forge a union between the old grounds of the earlier mansion and the newer gardens of the present house.
This afternoon we head to the Staffordshire border where we have the afternoon to discover Chillington Hall. This Georgian country house is Grade I listed and has been home to the Giffard family for over 800 years. What we see today is the third house to have been constructed on the same site and in the 12th century there was a stone-built castle, of which a small piece remains today as part of the cellars. The landscape park and lake in which Chillington Hall sits was designed by the renowned Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown during the mid-18th century. Nestled in the grounds we can also find a Grecian Temple with an iconic portico and low dome above an attic story which has pedestals for four statues as well as an Italian-style temple. After a guided tour we have the chance to enjoy the surroundings with some light refreshments before we head back to the hotel for the evening.
Day 3 -
Today we head towards the town of Shrewsbury, where in the village of Moreton Corbet we find the remains of Moreton Corbet Castle. This Grade I listed building is what remains from two very different eras, a medieval stronghold and an Elizabethan era manor house. A product of over 500 years’ worth of building, Moreton Corbet Castle’s earliest remains are those of the stone castle which was first started in around 1200 and included a fine gatehouse. During the 16th Century the Corbet family then remodelled the castle, and the Elizabethan south wing is a rare survivor of Italian-inspired design as much was lost during the Civil War.
In the afternoon we transfer to the National Trust property, Sunnycroft. This little gem is hidden away on the edge of Wellington and is a rare example of a Victorian suburban villa and mini estate. As we approach the red-brick villa from the avenue we can just begin to imagine the estate in eras past. This tiny time capsule is filled to the brim with original wallpaper, Maw’s tiles and award-winning fireplaces. As we wander through the rooms of Sunnycroft, we become unexpectedly transported to pre-First World War country living. The house is bursting with everyday items that have belonged to the families that have previously lived here. Despite having many attributes of a grander house there is a familiarity at Sunnycroft that is much like ‘visiting your grandma’s’. After our private tour, we have some time to enjoy the tranquil gardens with a refreshing Elderflower cordial accompanied with fresh strawberries and cream.
Day 4 -
Today we visit what is quite possibly one of the best-preserved fortified medieval manor houses in England, Stokesay Castle. We have the chance to explore the great hall which has remained largely unchanged for the last 700 years, spot characters intricately carved into the timbers of the 17th-century gatehouse and ascend to the top of the fairy-tale tower to enjoy jaw-dropping views over the surrounding hills. First constructed in the 13th century, Stokesay Castle remains largely bypassed by time and is one of the best places to take a glimpse at what medieval life was really like.
This afternoon’s visit is the Grade II listed building, Stokesay Court. Nestled in lush, landscaped grounds with stunning views of the south Shropshire countryside this late Victorian mansion is home to a breathtaking double height Great Hall lined with oak carvings. It was originally constructed in 1889 for John Derby Allcroft, a partner of the glovemakers J&W Dent, and the architect Thomas Harris utilized the most modern technology of the time - today some of the earliest uses of electric lighting and heating are still visible. Stokesay Court has achieved fame in more recent years as the setting for the Tallis House in the 2007 blockbuster, Atonement starring Keira Knightly and James McAvoy.
Later we return to our hotel
Day 5 -
We head to the medieval fortress of Kenilworth Castle. We explore one of Britain’s biggest historical sites and experience over 900 years’ worth of history. We can see the dominating medieval keep, climb the towers for spectacular view and imagine how imposing the great hall would once have been. We can also follow in the footsteps of Queen Elizabeth as we wander the wonderfully recreated Elizabethan Garden full of dazzling colour and fragrant walkways. After our tour and a spot of lunch we depart and return to our original joining points.
|Meals included||Breakfast, Lunch|
Tour dates & prices
Included in your cost:
- Services of a professional tour manager
- Comfortable coach travel throughout
- Meals - as per the itinerary
|Tour Departure||Tour ID||Departure date||Return Date||Guided by||Price||Deposit||Single supplement||Offer||Availability|
|1 September 2022||BCWM220901||1 September 2022 (Thursday)||5 September 2022 (Monday)||£995
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