Gin, Duke Humfrey, Palladian Elegance and Spode Italian Blue | TravelResearchOnline

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Gin, Duke Humfrey, Palladian Elegance and Spode Italian Blue

Just in case you think that I dream up these ideas for my own amusement, almost every one of this week’s collection plays an important role in customised itineraries I’ve recently created for enterprising travel counsellors.

The top story provides the foundations for a small group, pre-cruise extension in September and the Artist Village is in a 2020 Chelsea Flower Show itinerary. A visit to Duke Humfrey’s Library is part of a C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien literary tour for a family of 7 in June and Palladian Elegance appeals to another travel agent as something different for next year. I don’t yet have any takers for the Bluebells at Hole Park (working on it) but Spode and Wedgwood are in a long weekend shopping trip to the World Capital of Ceramics.

Tell me what fires your imagination.

Just Bring Your ImaGINation

I recently received a press release from the internationally renowned Bombay Sapphire distillery in the south of England. Intrigued and responding to several recently received requests for the Cotswolds, I had a look at what that lovely corner of England had to offer. I’ve found 7 of them and they’re all located close to some very interesting attractions. It has led to me creating a gin-infused stately homes and gardens tour of the region’s sleepy, honey-coloured limestone villages and sheep-clad hillsides—which also doubles up as a pre, or post, cruise extension sailing in or out of Southampton. Email me for details.

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An Artist’s Village

Located between London and Southampton, The Watts Gallery is a wonderful Arts & Crafts gem with a wonderful collection of Victorian paintings, sculpture and the De Morgan collection of richly decorated ceramics and the former home of G.F. Watts, the most famous artist of the Victorian era. He was the first British artist to have a solo exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1884, was known as England’s Michelangelo and is recognised as influencing Rossetti, Picasso and former President Obama. Art-loving clients will thank you for including a visit in their itinerary.

 

Duke Humfrey’s Library, Oxford

A visit to Bodleian Libraries adds something very special to a walking tour of the University Colleges, especially if the routing takes in places associated with C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lewis Carrol. This also includes a pub lunch at the 17th century Bird and the Baby, correctly known as the Eagle and Child. The Bodleian is home to more than 13 million printed items, outstanding special collections including rare books and manuscripts, classical papyri, maps, music, art and printed ephemera. During this stroll through history, you’ll see The Divinity House, Convocation House, Chancellor’s Court and Duke Humfrey’s medieval library.

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Palladian Elegance

Magnificent, Palladian Holkham Hall is a joy to discover. It’s full of treasures in every room, from incredible architecture and stunning paintings by Rubens, Van Dyck, Poussin and Gainsborough, to collections of original furniture, tapestries and classical statuary. To make this a truly stand out new tour offering, include a visit to the university city of Cambridge and the inspirational collection of medieval and modern stained glass in Ely Cathedral, a place of worship for over 1400 years. Then add Her Majesty The Queen’s retreat at Sandringham, the award-winning gardens at Houghton Hall, the Burnham Market Hat Shop and a walking tour of the graveyard at St Edmundsbury Cathedral (best done after 9 pm).

A Bluebell Spectacular

Located close to the fabulous gardens at Pashley Manor, Sissinghurst Castle and Great Dixter, four generations of the Barham family have turned Hole Park into a wonderful 16-acre garden of immaculately trimmed yew hedges in a magical parkland. Between 15th April and 10th May, it hosts an annual Bluebell Spectacular event, generally regarded as one of the best places in Britain to see bluebells. It is well worth visiting as a June/July garden tour or an imaginative detour for Dover cruise arrivals or departures.

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Spode Italian Blue

With the increasing number of non-stop flights to the northern gateway city of Manchester, Stoke on Trent, aka The World Capital of Ceramics, is a great place for a Girls Getaway Shopping trip. In addition to being the home of Wedgwood, the Spode Museum Trust Heritage Centre, is also the birthplace of bone china. During a visit you can see fine ceramics, watch demonstrations of hand-painting, transfer-printing and raised-paste gilding and visit the famous Blue Room Collection. Finish with English Afternoon Tea in the Blue Willow tea room. If you’re looking for bargains, Portmeirion’s factory shop is just a few minutes’ walk away.


Paull Tickner, owner of U.K.-based Custom GB, is known for his expertise in creating and operating imaginative, value-added tours of Great Britain and Ireland. Visit his website at www.customgb.co.uk or email him at ptickner@customgb.co.uk.

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