17th - 22nd September 2021

 

Normandy has a remarkable history and heritage, from the magnificent Mont Saint-Michel Island and the 11th-century Bayeux Tapestry to the D-Day beaches and don't forget the food. Normandy is famous for its delicious cheeses, terroir cider and Calvados. Our base for the tour is Caen – capital of the Basse Normandie region and founded by William the Conqueror in the 11th century. The city was massively damaged during the 1944 Battle of Normandy, but considerable history and heritage survives to make it a very good-looking city, especially in its central areas. Visitors will discover the imposing bastions of a superb medieval château, two ancient abbeys and a clutch of excellent museums, including an outstanding and enthralling museum of war and peace, largely dedicated to D-Day, WWII and its aftermath.

Friday
A morning departure from the Manchester. We will be visiting Jane Austen’s House in Chawton, Hampshire, the picturesque country cottage, where Jane Austen lived. It is the most treasured Austen site in the world. It was here that Jane’s genius flourished and where she wrote, revised and had published all her novels: Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.

After our visit we travel on to Portsmouth for some free time before boarding our overnight sailing to Caen.

Saturday - Arrive in Caen, with a visit to the Tapisserie de Bayeux (admission and audio guide included).

The Bayeux Tapestry is an embroidered cloth nearly 70 metres long and 50 centimetres tall, which depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England concerning William, Duke of Normandy, and Harold, Earl of Wessex, later King of England, and culminating in the Battle of Hastings.

After our visit you free time in Caen and check in at your hotel.

Sunday - A full day guided D-Day Landing tour including the visits to the Arromanches Landing Museum (admission included) and the Arromanches 360 Cinema (Admission included).

D-Day Museum - Musée du Débarquement: this central museum focuses on the D-Day landings and the crucial months of Allied action afterwards. It goes into fascinating detail about the setting up of the Mulberry Harbour here via models and displays. There are also powerful videos to view.

Arromanches 360°: images bombard you from all sides in this circular cinema opened for the 50th anniversary of the D-Day landings. The clips take you racing through the 100 days of the Battle of Normandy to liberate the region before the Allies moved on to free the rest of Europe from Nazi occupation. During the day guide will take you through some of the history of the D Day landings and surrounding area.

Monday - Full day to Mont St Michel including the visit to the Abbey.

The Mont-Saint-Michel is one of Europe’s most unforgettable sights. Set in the mesmerising bay where Normandy and Brittany merge, the island draws the eye from great distances.

The staggering location has long inspired awe and the imagination. The story of how the mount turned into a great place of Christian pilgrimage is colourful. Aubert, bishop of the nearby hilltop town of Avranches early in the 8th century, claimed that the Archangel Michael himself pressured him into having a church built atop the island just out to sea.

From 966 onwards, the dukes of Normandy, followed by French kings, supported the development of a major Benedictine abbey on the Mont-Saint-Michel. Magnificent monastic buildings were added through medieval times, one vertiginous section being nicknamed The Marvel. The abbey became a renowned centre of learning.

Tuesday - Excursion to visit Fromagerie Graindorge for a cheese factory audio guided tour & tasting of cheese. Also a visit to Chateau du Breuil for a tour and tasting of Calvados.attracting some of the greatest minds and manuscript illuminators in Europe. Vast numbers of pilgrims visited, despite warring cross-Channel royals. However, the ramparts at the base of the island were built to keep English forces out. Other fine buildings went up along the steep village street, now converted into museums, hotels, restaurants and boutiques for today’s tourists to discover and enjoy.

Fromagerie Graindorge - Since 1910, E. Graindorge Cheese Dairy has been passed down from father to son. The company specializes in the production of the four Norman Protected Designations of Origin or PDO cheeses, Livarot, Pont-l’Eveque, Camembert de Normandie, Neufchatel. The milk is collected from a hundred producers. Historically, it ensures high quality raw milk, the Norman race and manufacturing in compliance with the rules established by the Protected Designations of Origin.

Château du Breuil - Be fascinated by the activity at the Château du Breuil distillery and discover thedistillation process for Calvados Pays d’Auge, a genuine symbol of the gourmet heritage of our region, Normandy. Our experts will share their knowledge and introduce you to the distillation process for Calvados Pays d’Auge Château du Breuil. Fill your senses with the beauty of the stills, the sound of the distillation and the fragrance of the freshly created nectar…

After our excursion we will make our way back to the Caen for our departure on the overnight ferry back to Portsmouth.

Wednesday – Arrive in Portsmouth and take an en-route free flow visit to Kenilworth Castle. With time to explore and have lunch.

From medieval fortress to Elizabethan palace, Kenilworth Castle has been at the centre of England's affairs for much of its 900 year history. Today, you can scale the heights of the tower built to woo Queen Elizabeth I and marvel at the mighty Norman keep. Explore the exhibition in the Gatehouse, and imagine the majesty of the Great Hall playing host to medieval monarchs and early Tudor kings.

After lunch we will continue the journey home, arriving in Manchester early evening.

Your Hotel: The Ibis Styles Caen Centre Gare Hotel is located close to the city centre and Caen train station. The hotel features a fitness room and bar. Each of the hotels en suite modern bedrooms come equipped with TV, telephone and hairdryer in the bathroom. Hotel Website: https://all.accor.com/hotel/9086/index.en.shtml?

Price Per person: (Based on twin/double 2 adults sharing) -

  • Member Plus (Members with Lottery Shares) - £659
  • Members (No Lottery Shares) - £669
  • Non-Member - £679
  • Single Supplement £200
  • Insurance - £POA

Look What's included:

  • Executive coach travel
  • 3 Nights bed & cold buffet breakfast at Ibis Styles Caen Centre Gare Hotel
  • City Tax
  • 2 Nights Inside Cabin (2 sharing) accommodation on board Brittany Ferries Portsmouth – Caen sailing
  • Entrance to Jane Austen’s House Museum and Kenilworth Castle
  • Admission to La Tapisserie de Bayeaux including audio guides
  • Full day with guided to Arromanches and area, including guided visit to the Arromanches Landing Museum admission included) and admission Arromanches 360 Cinema.
  • Full Day visit to Mont St Michel, including admission into the Abbey with Audio Guide
  • Excursion to visit Fromagerie graindorge (local cheese factory) for audio guidd visit, including a tasting of the cheese, followed by a visit to Chateau Breuil for a tour and tasting of calvados served with Normandy Apple Pie

What's NOT included:

  • Meals and Entrance to attraction fees other than those stated in the itinerary
  • Any Items of a personal nature such as drinks, souvenirs etc

For further details and bookings, you can either use the Reservation Form or contact Bob Walker 

Please include your Name, Home Address, Contact Telephone Number, Membership Number and the Number Places Required (Member/Non-Member)

 

A Short Break in Athens - 21th - 24th November 2021

 

For this 3 Night break in the Greek capital you will be based in the centrally located Dorian Inn Hotel.

Athens breaks are an ideal mix of traditional and trendy. You’ll find modern bars and shopping centres sat in the shadows of thousand-year-old ruins.

Greece and history go hand-in-hand. And in Athens, this is amplified at every turn. With over 3,400 years of recorded history on the books, each neighbourhood and city sector’s like an individual exhibit at a museum. Ancient Greek temples rub shoulders with Byzantine-era churches from the 4th century, and signs of the Second World War still linger around the capital.

Sunday: Flying Easyjet direct from Manchester to Athens, arriving early afternoon. 

 

From the airport we will transfer to the hotel for check-in. Once settled in, there will have free time to explore the city at leisure.

Monday: After breakfast we will have a half day tour of Athens which includes admission to the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum.

You’ll find the Acropolis on a hill in the centre of Athens. Dating back to the 5th century BC, this giant marble ruin’s seen as one of the world’s greatest cultural monuments. Its home to the Parthenon, an ancient temple originally built to worship the Goddess Athena, who the city’s named after. These days, it’s a favourite with history lovers and photographers, thanks to the well-preserved state of the ruins and the 360-degree panoramic views.

After the tour we will have the rest of the day at leisure.

Tuesday: Full day at leisure in Athens.

The Plaka district a must-see on any tour of Athens. It’s the oldest

neighbourhood in the city, and serves up a slice of Athens a lot of people don’t know exists. The cosy cobbled roads have a Greek-island feel to them, with souvenir shops, family-run cafés and plenty of blooming trees for

decoration. And the entire place sits in view of the Acropolis, which you can get to in a 10-minute walk.

Wednesday: After breakfast we will check-out and make the transfer back to the airport for the flight back to Manchester.

Hotel: The Dorian Inn is centrally located in Athens, from its top floor, guests can enjoy views of the Acropolis and the Saronic Islands. The hotel features a restaurant and pool situated on the top floor, along with a bar and each of the modern en suite bedrooms come equipped with safe deposit box, telephone, TV and hairdryer.  Hotel Website: https://www.dorianinnhotel.com/

Price Per person: (Based on twin/double 2 adults sharing) -

  • Member Plus (Members with Lottery Shares) - £489
  • Members (No Lottery Shares) - £499
  • Non-Member - £509
  • Single Supplement £69

Look What's included:

  • 3 Nights Accommodation including Buffet Breakfast
  • ½ Day Guided City Tour including entrance to the Acropolis and Acropolis Museum
  • Direct Easyjet return flights from Manchester to Athens
  • Return Airport transfers in Athens

What's NOT included:

  • Meals and Entrance to attraction fees other than those stated in the itinerary
  • Any Items of a personal nature such as drinks, souvenirs etc

For further details and bookings, you can either use the Reservation Form or contact Bob Walker 

Please include your Name, Home Address, Contact Telephone Number, Membership Number and the Number Places Required (Member/Non-Member)

Leisure or Walking in Kent - Your Choice! - 19th - 22nd March 2021

 

Why not join us on this tour based in the Tudor Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club, Maidstone, Kent.

Friday: Travelling to Hever Castle, Kent for our first visit of the weekend. Dating back to the 13th century, Hever Castle was once the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII and Mother of Elizabeth I. It formed the unlikely backdrop to a sequence of tumultuous events that changed the course of Britain’s history, monarchy and religion. Its panelled rooms house fine furniture, tapestries, antiques and what is regarded as ‘one of the best collections of Tudor portraits after the National Portrait Gallery’ by David Starkey. The Book of Hours Room beautifully illuminates two prayer books which belonged to Anne Boleyn and bear her inscriptions and signature.

It is recommended that you bring a packed lunch with you as we are not scheduled to arrive at Hever Castle & Gardens until early afternoon. After exploring Hever we will re-join the coach for our onward journey to the Tudor Park Marriott Hotel & Country ClubIt will be a late afternoon check-in. After we have checked-in there will be time at leisure prior to dinner.

Saturday: Leaving the hotel after breakfast we will travel to Margate. 

 

Today’s walk starts at Margate and is an 8 mile, generally on the level walk, along the coast from Margate to Ramsgate via Broadstairs. Although some sections of the walk can be completed at beach level, it is not possible to complete the whole walk at this level. Beginning at Margate, you’ll follow the Thanet coastal path and sections of the Viking coastal trail through nine bays, including Viking Bay at Broadstairs and the surfer’s paradise of Joss Bay. Many of the bays were used by smugglers in the past to hide their contraband. We don’t think any of this remains today, but there are some bars and cafés along the way - some of these may be seasonal.

For the non-walkers, then you will have time at Margate and Ramsgate and possibly Broadstairs (if time permits) before returning to Maidstone for the rest of day prior to Dinner.

Sunday: After breakfast we make the journey to Wye, the starting point of today’s walk (4.5 miles approx).  This is a clockwise circular walk starting and ending in the village of Wye.  It is advisable to use good walking shoes or boots and to take walking poles - there is one steep uphill section, and one steep downhill section.  The paths and tracks are generally good throughout, but some of them do cross fields and these may be muddy or wet depending on the ground conditions on the day.

After the walk, we will re-join the coach and there will be some free time in Canterbury.

For the non-walkers, you will be taken to Canterbury after dropping off the walkers in Wye, where you will have time to explore, before returning to the hotel, late afternoon.

This historic English city and UNESCO World Heritage Site, is graced by the magnificent Cathedral

 

which is situated in the heart of Canterbury.

Monday: After breakfast you will check-out of the hotel and travel to Chartwell.

Chartwell was the much-loved Churchill family home from 1922 and the place from which Sir Winston drew inspiration until the end of his life.

The rooms remain much as they were when he lived here, with pictures, books and personal mementoes evoking the career and wide-ranging interests of a great statesman, writer, painter and family man. New to 2019, is a new exhibition to give unique insight into the life of Churchill through 50 Objects.

 

The hillside gardens reflect Sir Winston’s love of the landscape and nature. They include the lakes he created, the kitchen garden and the Marycot, a playhouse designed for his youngest daughter Mary.

Early afternoon we will depart Chartwell to head back to Manchester, arriving approx. 20.00hrs

Hotel: Tudor Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club, Maidstone is located right in the heart of the Garden of England, nestled in the Kent countryside.  All Bedrooms include en-suite bathroom, tea & coffee making facilities, hair dryer, Wi-Fi and television. The hotel also has a Pool, Spa, Gym and 18 hole Golf Course.

 

 

Price Per person: (Based on twin/double 2 adults sharing) -

  • Member Plus (Members with Lottery Shares) - £259
  • Members (No Lottery Shares) - £264
  • Non-Member - £269
  • Single Supplement £84

Look What's included:

  • 3 Nights Accommodation including Breakfast and Dinner
  • Entry to Hever Castle and Gardens, and Chartwell
  • Transport throughout the tour as per itinerary
  • Maps & Walks Itinerary

What's NOT included:

  • Meals and Entrance to attraction fees other than those stated in the itinerary
  • Any Items of a personal nature such as drinks, souvenirs etc

For further details and bookings, you can either use the Reservation Form or contact Bob Walker 

Please include your Name, Home Address, Contact Telephone Number, Membership Number and the Number Places Required (Member/Non-Member)