Whitecroft Tours: Release of New Itinerary for Jane Austen Tour May 2017
* The Fashion Museum, Bath * Montacute House, Somerset * Jane Austen's House, Chawton * Winchester Cathedral * Chawton House Library * Stoneleigh Abbey * Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire * Lacock & Lacock Abbey * Lyme Regis * Wells Cathedral * The American Museum in Britain * The Roman Baths * Workshop with Katrina Hadjimichael
Day 1 - arrive at the hotel - Bath Spa Hotel - a beautiful house built in 1835 by General Augustus Andrews, who had retired from the Indian Army. Set in seven acres of gardens with exotic trees and shrubs, the hotel was renovated over a 3 year period and restored to its former glory. It has stunning views over the City of Bath and is only a 10 minute walk away from this wonderful Georgian city. Refined and quintessentially English, this is a luxurious hotel with an award winning restaurant and it offers guests the various facilities of a spa. Settle into your room before meeting for afternoon tea and an introduction by Katrina Hadjimichael and Helen Bertram of Whitecroft Tours. Dinner this evening will be in the hotel. (AT, D)
Day 2 - this morning after breakfast, we will have a walking tour of Bath, led by a local blue badge guide. We will see all the places familiar to Jane Austen and visit the Fashion Museum - one of the largest and finest collections of fashionable dress in the UK. The extensive displays include some 200 dressed figures and many are shown in period room settings or against painted backdrops of Bath. Dinner this evening will be in the hotel. (B, L & D)
Day 3 - today we will take a very sentimental journey to Hampshire - a county well known to Jane Austen and her family. Our first stop will be Chawton and Jane Austen's House. A charming red-brick 17thC house, where Jane spent the last and most productive years of her life,completing the last three novels and living happily in a female household with her Mother, Sister and family friend, Martha Lloyd. Here we will see the patchwork quilt, of the old English Medallion pattern, that was made by Jane and her Mother and Sister, whilst they were at Chawton. A tour of the cottage and the surrounding village will give us further insight into her life.
We will also visit Chawton House Library which was home to Jane’s brother, Edward. In the nearby churchyard are buried, Jane’s Mother and Sister.
We will then make the journey to Winchester and visit the Cathedral - Jane's final resting place. We will also have a walking tour of the city and see the home where she lived and died. Dinner this evening will be in Winchester, before returning to our hotel. (B, L & D)
Day 4 - after breakfast in the hotel, we will have a free morning in Bath to visit many of the attractions of the City – perhaps spend some time in the Therme Spa or visit the Holburne Museum or the Jane Austen Centre – or perhaps just shop or relax in this delightful city. We will then meet for lunch in the Pump Rooms – and enjoy a meal together in this elegant building – just as Jane Austen and all her contemporaries would have done.
We will then return to the hotel before visiting No 1 Royal Crescent – a magnificently restored Georgian townhouse in Bath’s world famous Royal Crescent – a fine example of Palladian Revival architecture. Designed by John Wood, the Younger, it was built between 1767 and 1774. Dinner this evening will be in a restaurant in Bath. (B,L& D)
Day 5 - after breakfast in the hotel, we will make the short journey to the village of Lacock, by the banks of the River Avon. A village that is often seen in films - a living film set - where we can walk in the footsteps of the stars of Cranford, Pride & Prejudice and, even, Harry Potter. We will visit Lacock Abbey, with its golden cloisters and mediaeval nunnery rooms. We can also visit the Fox Talbot Museum which celebrates the invention of photography and offers unique topical exhibitions set within the timber framed gallery. After lunch in the village, we will travel south to the Cathedral city of Wells and enjoy a guided tour of this magnificent Cathedral and enjoy dinner in this beautiful and ancient city. (B, L & D)
Day 6 – today we are planning a visit to the Malvern Quilt Show. However, at the time of releasing this tour, we are still awaiting final confirmation from the organisers of the dates for 2017. However, we are very hopeful that we will be able to spend our day at the Show. However, should the dates be changed by the organisers we have other visits relating to Jane Austen in the programme. (B & D)
Day 7 - today will be the long awaited day of our workshop with Katrina. Dinner this evening will be in the hotel with a pre-dinner performance by Kim Hicks on the life of Jane Austen. (B, L & D)
Day 8 – after breakfast in the hotel, we will travel north to Gloucestershire and the beautiful town of Winchcombe. Just a short distance outside the village is the magnificent Sudeley Castle, the former home of Tudor Queen, Katherine Parr, the sixth wife of Henry VIII. Nestled in the Cotswold Hills, this wonderful castle is known as ‘The Queen of the Cotswolds’. We will see their magnificent collection of textiles and the rose garden, which is amongst the finest in the country. Following our visit to Gloucestershire, we will travel across to the county of Warwickshire and visit the hidden jewel of Stoneleigh Abbey, whose history began in 1154 when Henry II granted the lands to a community of Cistercian monks. More than 800 years later the structural development of the main house and adjacent buildings can be seen, providing a rich tapestry of architecture and landscape. For 400 years, Stoneleigh Abbey was the country seat of Jane Austen's relatives, the Leighs. In August 1806, Jane, with her Mother and Sister, travelled to Stoneleigh Abbey. Jane was so inspired by the house, the parkland and the family intrigues that she wove descriptions of the interiors, views of the grounds and cameos of the family into her novels. Elizabeth Lord, known to the Leigh family as Aunt Betty, whose romantic story inspired that of Persuasion's Anne Elliot. Dinner this evening will be en route back to our hotel in Bath. (B, L & D)
Day 9 – today we will make the journey to Lyme Regis - tranquilizing and refreshing, its beauty lingered on in her memory to be recalled in Persuasion twelve years later. We will be guided around the town and shown the important features relating to Jane Austen. A walk along the Cobb and dinner in a local restaurant overlooking the sea and this well known landmark.
En route to Lyme Regis, we will stop at Montacute House – a masterpiece of Elizabethan Renaissance architecture and design.
We will have a private tour of the house and see the Long Gallery – the longest of its kind in England. The gallery houses over 60 Tudor and Elizabethan portraits on loan from the National Portrait Gallery. Beautiful gardens surround Montacute and the house and gardens were the setting for scenes in the recently filmed ‘Wolf Hall’ (B, L & D)
Day 10 - after breakfast, we will make the very short journey to the American Museum in Britain and enjoy a private tour of their wonderful quilt collection. There is also an amazing collection of furniture and other artefacts that are a 'must see' during a tour to this part of England.
Tonight we will have our final dinner - but prior to dinner, we will enjoy a private tour of the Roman Baths and the Spa waters that make this City so famous throughout the world. (B & D)
Day 11 - our final morning together in the magnificent city of Bath - home and inspiration to our heroine, Jane Austen. We will all return to our various parts of the world full of memories and treasures from this time spent together and enjoying the enthusiasm of Katrina Hadjimichael, who has dedicated all her quilts and work to the memory of Jane Austen. (B)