Bluebell Railway
Bluebell Railway
£50 deposit

Houses and Gardens of West Sussex featuring the Bluebell Railway

West Sussex is home to some wonderful houses, filled with great works of art and sumptuous furnishings, and surrounded by glorious gardens with a quintessentially English appeal. As we tour the county we will visit some of the outstanding properties as well as enjoying a nostalgic excursion on one of the country’s top heritage railways.

We begin at Petworth House, with its parkland by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown and exceptional collection of fine art. From our base in Arundel we set out on a series of excursions including a trip on the Bluebell Railway, frequently used as a location in period dramas such as Downton Abbey; a cruise round Chichester Harbour and visit to the architectural masterpiece of Lancing College. We also visit Sheffield Park with its dream-like landscape; the 11th century Arundel Castle; the award-winning gardens of Parham House and finally glorious Goodwood House with its stunning art collection.

What's included?

  •  Accommodation
  •  Comfortable coach travel throughout
  •  Meals - as per the itinerary
  •  Train travel
  •  Services of a professional tour manager

Today's Price

Benefit from this limited time offer:

  • Pay a low deposit of £50, was £100.

Single supplement: £120

Tour highlights:

  • Guided tour of Arundel Castle and Gardens
  • Cruise round Chichester harbour with wildlife spotting
  • Stunning works of art at Petworth and Goodwood
  • Breath-taking architecture at Lancing College
  • Trip on the Bluebell Railway, with all the sights, sounds and smells of a steam train

Tour details

Dates 7 September 2020 - 10 September 2020
Duration 4 days
Today's Price

Benefit from this limited time offer:

  • Pay a low deposit of £50, was £100.
Single supplement: £120 Balance due by 15 June 2020
Activity Level
Tour code BWSX200907

Departure Points

Location Depart Return
Tothill St, Westminster
09.45 18.45
Copthorne Gatwick Hotel
11.00 17.30

Please note all timings are approximate and may be changed. They will be confirmed when the joining instructions are sent out, approximately ten days prior to departure.

Book Now or call 01334 657155 if you have any questions

7 September 2020: Itinerary

We depart by coach from London and Gatwick and travel into West Sussex where we will visit Petworth House. We will have an opportunity for lunch on arrival (not included) before exploring the mansion, along with its 700-acre deer park landscaped by none other than Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. The house itself is in possession of arguably the finest collection of art in the care of the National Trust, including works by Turner, Reynolds, Blake and Van Dyck.

Following our visit we continue to our hotel, the 4-star Hilton Avisford Park, Arundel. All rooms are en-suite with television, Wi-Fi and tea/coffee making facilities. The hotel also has a pool and sauna. This evening we will enjoy a drinks reception after which dinner will be served. We will then be treated to an evening walk around Arundel in the company of our tour manager.

Meals include: Dinner

Hotel: Hilton Avisford Park

This morning after breakfast we depart for the station at Sheffield Park, the starting point for our journey on the Bluebell Railway, which has been voted as the Best Steam Railway in England. It was one of the first preserved heritage railways in the country, resulting in one of the finest collections of vintage steam locomotives and carriages, many of which were preserved straight out of service from British Railways. Recreating trains from the 1880s through to the 1960s, the Bluebell is popular with film and television productions and Horsted Keynes station has been seen regularly on television and in films, including Downton Abbey. Our train journey will take us at a leisurely pace over the 11 miles to East Grinstead and back to Sheffield Park, where we will enjoy a special guided tour of the station, museum and locomotive shed.

In the afternoon we visit the nearby National Trust property of Sheffield Park. There is something dream-like about Sheffield Park and it is certainly one of the most memorable of all gardens. The house sits on an eminence at the head of a broad valley, with a series of four descending lakes extending far into the distance, attributed to a plan devised by Capability Brown in 1776. The appearance of the garden today is due to Arthur Gilstrap Soames who bought the estate in 1910 and embarked on a great programme of planting, especially rhododendrons. Leading away from the lakes are paths edged with herbaceous planting – ferns, gentians, lilies, primulas and trilliums.

Following our visit we return to our hotel where dinner will be served this evening.

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

Hotel: Hilton Avisford Park

This morning after breakfast we visit the breath-taking Lancing College Chapel, an architectural masterpiece which attracts several thousand visitors fascinated by its attractive interior, in addition to its regular worshippers.

We then head for Itchenor where we join our boat for a leisurely cruise around bustling Chichester Harbour and if we are lucky we may see some seals.

In the afternoon we travel to Arundel Castle and Gardens where we enjoy a guided tour. Set high on a hill, its aspect gifts it with spectacular views across South Downs and the River Arun. It has been home to the Dukes of Norfolk and their ancestors since its founding in the 11th century.

From here we travel the short distance to our hotel, where dinner is served in the evening.

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

Hotel: Hilton Avisford Park

After breakfast this morning we begin with a visit to Parham House and its award-winning gardens. It was featured in Simon Jenkin’s England’s Thousand Best Houses, where he wrote that “nothing at Parham is superfluous, nothing unloved. It is a house of magic.”

We conclude at Goodwood House, where we will have a guided tour. Here, the glamour of the great English country house is tempered by the warmth of a family home, that of the Earl and Countess of March. Don’t let the cosiness fool you though, Goodwood House is also home to one of the most significant private art collections in the United Kingdom, and the State Apartments remain a paean to the opulence of the period in which it was built.

Following this we will return to our original departure points in the afternoon.

Meals include: Breakfast

7 September 2020: Additional Info

7 September 2020: Accommodation

Retreat to the beautiful English countryside at the elegant Hilton Avisford Park, Arundel, one of the UK’s finest unsung leisure destinations.

7 September 2020: Enquiries

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