Wells Evening Society

Trip Reviews

Wells Evening Society Trips 2013

Wells Evening Society Trip Reviews 2013
Click a link below to show the trip review.

Trip 1  A Spring Outing to the M-Shed Bristol - March 21st  

Trip 2  Isle of Wight Experience 20 - 23rd May 

Trip 3  Not decided yet
Wells Evening Society Trips 2012

Wells Evening Society Trip Reviews 2012
Click a link below to show the trip review.

Trip 1 March 14th - Guided Visit to Taunton Museum

Trip 2 May 11-14th - Worcestershire and Shropshire Adventure

Trip 3 September 19th - Art in Nature
Wells Evening Society Trips 2011

There were two Wells Evening Society Trips in 2011 and Reviews of these can be found by clicking on the links below

Trip 1 18th - 20th April Chichester Experience

Trip 2 18th May Windsor and Eton
Wells Evening Society Trips 2010

Three Wells Evening Society Trips in 2010. Please select a trip below.

Trip 1 18th - 20th April - Cardiff

Trip 2 18th May Chevanage House - Tetbury

Trip 3 8th July - Sedgemoor Battlefield Tour

Two Wells Evening Society Trips in 2009
Trip 1 Cornwall March 27-30th
Trip 2 Beaulieu July 2nd
Scroll below for the two Reviews

Wells Evening Society

Thursday July 2nd 2009
All 43 members were very timely in getting to Wells bus station so the coach was able to leave 5 minutes early and get on our way for an enjoyable day out to Beaulieu organised by John Barkle.

The first stop was just outside Salisbury for a very welcome cup of coffee at the Grassmere Hotel, where we sat on the terrace, which overlooked the river and gave us a splendid view of Salisbury cathedral.

Then back on the coach for the remainder of the run over to Beaulieu House which we reached about 12 pm.
The party then split up and went its own separate ways to explore the extensive grounds and exhibitions only coming together at 2 pm for a guided tour of the house. The staff were very knowledgable and provided us with a vivid impression of the history of the house.

The abbey ruins were well worth investigating and even the limited amount left gave a powerful idea of the grand scale of the whole operation.

However the highlight of the visit had to be a tour round the motor museum. This held a vast range of vehicles ranging from the earliest 19th century examples from Germany and France through to the rocket powered land speed vehicles of more recent years.

Of special interest to our group was the reconstruction of Mr Jack Tucker's garage from Wedmore that was bought complete and then re-built in the Beaulieu motor museum. It was very strange to walk through a building that one had driven past so many times.

Along the way one must not forget to mention the rides on the 1930's bus or the overhead monorail that took you right round the site.

There were lost of places around the site to satisfy ones hunger and as it was a particuarly warm day I think that a lot of icecreams were consumed. Most people finished off with a cup of tea and a cake in the cafe by the entrance before getting back on the coach at 5 pm for a leisurley and intersting drive back through the New Forest finally arriving in Wells at around 7 pm.

Thanks again for all the organisation John and well done for providing such an excellent day out.

Thursday July 2nd 2009

Our summer visit is to Beaulieu House and its Gardens, on the edge of the New Forrest. The 'Palace House' has been home to the Montagu family since 1538, although with additions, especially in Victorian times. The nearby Abbey, built on land given to the Cistercian monks by King John in 1204, sustained the ravages of the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th century, but there is still much of interest to be seen. Within the parkland setting there are a Victorian Flower Garden, an Ornamental Kitchen Garden and Wilderness Garden dating back to the 1770s. Other attractions include the extensive National Motor Museum, and The Secret Army Exhibition (which tells the story of wartime Beaulieu that housed the SOE during WWII and where agents were trained before entering occupied Europe to work with the Resistance) and the opportunity to ride on a monorail and a 1912 London bus.

9.00 am The coach will leave Wells Princes Road Coach Station

10.30 a.m Stopping at Grassmere House Hotel, Salisbury for refreshments in the Garden Room, which overlooks lawns leading down to the River Avon.

12.00 noon
(approximately): arrive at Beaulieu House where the Brabazon restaurant offers a wide range of food and drinks all day – from snacks to full meals.

2.00 p.m.
: Palace House tour of Lord Montagu's ancestral home with its exquisite paintings, antique furniture and stunning architecture and covering its history from its monastic beginnings to the present day.

3.00 – 5.00 p.m.
at your leisure to enjoy the attractions and gardens.

5.00 p.m.Leaving Beaulieu at we expect to arrive back in Wells at around 7.00 p.m.

Wells Evening Society 
Friday 30th May to Sunday 1st June 2008
The trip was organised by Ann Mills and was full of interesting activities. We drove north via a good coffee-stop to Compton Verney. 
This is a large stately home in spreading grounds which about five years ago was turned by one of the Littlewoods heirs into a vibrant gallery. There was a variety of paintings including a collection of Chinese works, but the great and lovely surprise to me was the huge collection of Folk Art. There were trade and shop signs, tools, iron-work, china and lovely naive paintings.  Much of this used to be in the Countess of Huntingdon’s chapel in the Paragon in Bath and after disappearing has been sadly missed.

We drove on to the Holiday Inn in Stratford.  This is very centrally placed and provided good help-yourself buffet dinners and breakfasts.

Some of us went to the theatre A Midsummer Night's Dream whilst others could and did explore the town in the evening sun.

On the Saturday morning there was time for more individual exploring.  We visited Holy Trinity Church where Shakespeare is buried and also Hill Croft, the 17th century doctor’s house where Shakespeare’s daughter spent her married life...

We then drove to Hidcote Manor to see the justly famous gardens. 

 In the Hidcote gardens “Rooms” of box hedge divided different areas of flowers and green abundance and were greatly enjoyed as shown by the happy visitor in the picture to the left. We were returned to the hotel in time for an early dinner if we wished to go to the theatre.

This was a brilliant production of the Merchant of Venice in modern costume.

The main theatre is being re-built so this took place in the Courtyard Theatre. There was a lanky, pacing, brooding Shylock - so different from the normal stereotype - and exciting lighting and music.

On Sunday we were driven to Coughton Court.  This is an Elizabethan manor house associated with the Catholic faith.  There was a priest hole and much about the gunpowder plot also lovely slanting views of the garden from the central part of the house. 

We had time to visit Cheltenham briefly on the way home.  Here we wandered amongst the wide 18th and 19th century streets and shops - so very different from 17th century black and white buildings of Stratford.  And in total contrast, we admired a powerful contemporary statue with a mythical theme: a giant hare and bull. 

It was an excellent, lively and interesting three days very much enjoyed by all.


May 2008 – 3 day visit to Stratford on Avon
Friday 30th May – Sunday 1st June 2008
Two nights in an excellent, 4-Star Holiday Inn Hotel in the centre of Stratford, breakfast and dinner included.

Free time in Stratford
Compton Verney, Warwickshire’s award-winning art gallery and grounds;
Hidcote Manor Gardens, designed in the Arts & Crafts style and
Coughton Court, one of England’s finest Tudor Houses.

Friday, 30th May:  We will leave Wells Princes Road Bus Station promptly at 8.30 a.m. and expect to arrive at Compton Verney at around 11.30 a.m.  A soup and sandwiches lunch is included.  This will be in two sittings, 12 noon for half our group and 1.00 p.m. for the remainder.  We will leave Compton Verney at around 3.30 p.m. for our Hotel in Stratford where dinner is included. 

Saturday, 31st May: 
Following breakfast, a free morning in Stratford on Avon.  Saturday afternoon, Weather permitting, at 1.30 p.m. we will leave the Hotel car park for an optional, but included, visit to Hidcote Manor Gardens.  This is not advised for those planning to visit the theatre that evening.  There is a licensed restaurant, National Trust shop.  Saturday evening – dinner in the Hotel.

Sunday, 1st June: 
After breakfast we will leave the hotel at around 10.30 a.m. and proceed to Coughton Court.  This is an imposing Tudor House in a beautiful setting with a walled garden, bog garden and river walk.  There is also a fascinating exhibition of the 1605 Gunpowder Plot.  We depart at around 2.30 p.m. for our return to home to Wells, but with a ‘suitable’ stop en route.  Estimated time of arrival in Wells Princess Road – 6.30 to 7 p.m.

The total cost per person for these 3 days away, as above, will be £225.  This includes staying at a 4-star hotel, dinner, bed and breakfast.  The Holiday Inn has a swimming pool, Jacuzzi, steam room and sauna.  It is by the river (next to the boat stop) and a few yards from the open top bus stop, the theatre and excellent shops are within easy reach.

Members are responsible for their own travel insurance (including cancellation) – see below.  Lunches on Saturday and Sunday are not included.  National Trust Members should bring their Trust Cards for free entrance to Hidcote and Coughton Court.  Non-NT members, will pay at the ‘group rate’.

Those wishing to go to the RSC theatre on Friday or Saturday night are advised to book their own tickets ‘well in advance’.  The play on Friday 7.15pm & Saturday 1pm will be A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Saturday 7.15pm, The Merchant of Venice.  The RSC hotline ‘phone number is 0844 800 1110 [website: www.rsc.org.uk].  Ticket prices are £14 to £38.  The Hotel will provide pre-theatre meals from 5.30 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday.

To book, please complete the tear off slip below, and send with your cheque – £40.00 deposit per person, or if required, £50.30 to include Barnes 3-day travel insurance (the balance will be requested in February) to the visit organiser (on behalf of Wells Evening Society): 

Mrs Ann Mills, 8 Carlton Mews, Wells BA5 1SG    Tel:  01749 678499

Wells Evening Society

Friday 20th to Sunday 22 April 2007
The trip was organised by Jill Huggins, enjoyed to the full by all 45 members who travelled and we were lucky with the weather as the whole three days were bathed in sunshine. Our excellent hotel was in Richmond, right up on top of the hill near the Star and Garter Home.

The three day trip introduced us all to aspects of London which many of us had never before seen.

En route to London on the Friday, we visited Osterley Park (National Trust) where we had lunch and toured the house.
Osterley is a formal 18th century neo-classical house with Adam interiors and landscaped park grounds. Perhaps it is most interesting for the many lovely details designed by Robert Adam himself: lamps, a bed and a garden house.

On the first evening we visited the offices of Deutsche Bank in the City, which has a fine collection of contemporary prints. The poor bus driver got completely lost finding the building. Gordon Mills had the presence of mind to commandeer a taxi, which lead us through the maze of streets to our destination! Deutsche Bank is a high rise office building surrounded by some of the City’s finest towers. We were just next to the Gherkin as we were entertained with wine and a talk about the Bank’s approach to collecting prints.

Next day we visited Ham House in the morning where we explored the lovely formal gardens and wilderness.

Then we proceeded on to Apsley House - “No 1 London.” This is the house donated to the Duke of Wellington by a grateful nation, where we had an excellent guide. The house was full of amazing paintings given by Spain after the Peninsular War. A huge naked statue of Napoleon in classical heroic pose rose up inside the circular staircase which one supposes must have given Wellington great pleasure. We climbed up inside the Wellington Monument opposite which is of course right in the middle of Hyde Park Corner, with traffic hurtling round. Winged Victory, the statue on top, is apparently the biggest bronze statue in Europe. We returned to another good dinner in the hotel.

On Sunday morning we visited Syon Park, the London home of the Duke of Northumberland. This is a wonderful Adam house and garden. Aeroplanes roared constantly overhead but we walked happily in the formal gardens enjoying the beautiful sunny weather and Adam’s magnificent conservatory. This is said to have inspired Joseph Paxton’s glass building for the 1851 Great Exhibition.