Five days in Devon
By coach from Dorking, staying in the three-star Livermead Cliff hotel in Torquay on a half-board basis with guided excursions to these historic houses, gardens and places of interest:
- Athelhampton House and gardens
- Exeter city and cathedral
- Knightshayes Court
- Greenway House and gardens
- Powderham Castle
- World of Country Life
- Sherborne Castle
Day 1 En route to our hotel we visit Athelhampton House and Gardens in Dorset. Athelhampton is one of the finest 15th-century manor houses in Britain and is surrounded by a Grade I-listed garden, dating from 1891. The walled gardens include the world-famous topiary pyramids and collections of tulips, roses, magnolias, clematis and lilies.
Day 2 Our guided tour of Exeter this morning takes in sights such as the cathedral, one of England’s finest examples of decorated Gothic architecture. The National Trust’s Knightshayes Court is our destination this afternoon, a Victorian country house with rich interiors, giving an atmospheric insight into grand country life.
Day 3 On arrival in Dartmouth this morning we spend some time at leisure. We then take a boat transfer to the National Trust’s Greenway House and Gardens. Offering an atmosphere of wildness and timelessness, this true secret garden of peace and tranquillity offers wonderful views of the Dart Estuary and once featured on the BBC’s Hidden Gardens. The house was the private holiday home of Agatha Christie and contains many of the family’s collections, including archaeology, Tunbridgeware, silver, china and books. We return to Dartmouth by boat.
Day 4 We visit Powderham Castle this morning for a guided tour. Set alongside the Exe Estuary and dating back to 1391, it is home to the 18th Earl of Devon and one of the oldest family houses in England. This afternoon we visit the World of Country Life. Originally a working farm, the attraction includes a museum of working farming machinery, and a Victorian street with thatched cottages, blacksmith’s forge and pub, and the Hall of Transport. During our visit we enjoy an included Deer Train Safari ride.
Day 5 On the way home we visit Sherborne Castle in Dorset. Built by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1594 and the stately home of the Digby family since 1617, our guided tour of the castle introduces us to a fine collection of art and furniture. There will be some time at leisure to admire the 42 acres of Capability Brown’s landscape gardens.
£549 plus £29 insurance (single room supplement £59).
Contact organiser Ianthe Cox: email email@example.com or telephone 01737 843105.