Exploring Essex
Sunday 15th - Friday 20th April 2018

Essex is a county I had very little knowledge about until I did the recce and I have to admit that I’ve very much changed my opinion of the county. It is far more rural than I had expected and has such a wealth of interesting places it is a case of what to leave out of the itinerary. We will be staying at the Crown Plaza Five Lakes Golf Spa Hotel near Maldon for dinner B&B.

Crown Plaza Five Lakes Hotel

Chelmsford Cathedral

Stow Marines WW1 Museum
RHS Hyde Hall

Paycocks House & Garden N.T

Beth Chatto’s Garden

Colchester Castle

Bourne Mill N.T

Beeleigh Abbey Gardens

Chelmsford church was probably first built about eight hundred years ago. It was rebuilt in the 15th and early 16th centuries and in 1914 became the Cathedral for the newly created diocese of Chelmsford. We will have a guided tour and the opportunity of joining Choral Evensong.

Monday we’ll visit the Stow Marines Great War Aerodrome - the only WW1 military aviation museum based in WW1 buildings. It's in its very early days having recently received Lottery finance to buy the listed buildings.

From here we will make our way to R.H.S. Hyde Hall, this 360 acre is constantly creating new and interesting areas, one of the most recent is the global growth vegetable garden. An optional guided tour is arranged for those who are interested.

Tuesday the 13th C Grange Barn NT at Coggeshall is a monastic barn and one of Europe's oldest timber-framed buildings. It has a cathedral like interior and is linked to a local Cistercian Abbey. A short distance away is Paycockes House NT - it has been called one of the most attractive timber framed houses in England. Built around 1500 this lovely half-timbered merchant's house has a fascinating history. Beth Chatto’s Garden is world renowned and has inspired many thousands of gardeners; it is somewhere I'm sure you will enjoy visiting.

Wednesday we are lucky enough to have the services of a Blue Badge Guide, Bob Finch who is also a NT volunteer, he will take a guided tour of Colchester, or you can visit the Museum in Colchester Castle. Later we will visit Bourne Mill NT and the headquarters of Essex Wildlife Trust.

Thursday - Maldon I found to be a very interesting town and I've arranged a town walk with Stephen Nunn. There is an interesting museum to visit or you can just wander round the riverside and enjoy a coffee. Later we will visit the delightful Beeleigh Abbey Gardens.

Friday we will stop for lunch on our way back to Somerset so you won't need to cook again when you get home!

Cost: Includes travel in a Ridlers executive coach, five night's dinner B&B at the Crown Plaza Five Lakes Hotel, entrance to properties & tours as mentioned, two lunches and gratuities. The single supplement will be £125. Sharing a twin/double room £495
Leader: Sue Shapland