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There's some important information that applies to all outings. This includes our scheme for refunds to members of the RHS when we visit some properties. Please click here to read it.

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You will need to book using the forms that came with the latest Newsletter.

 Please remember to enclose a stamped addressed envelope with all bookings


Outing details

Wed 24 April 2019

Coach start 8.30am







Closing date for booking
8 April

Bicton Park Botanical Gardens

Bicton Park, set in the picturesque Otter Valley near the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site of East Devon, is one of Britain's most beautiful historic gardens. With a blend of 18th-century tranquillity and modern facilities it offers enjoyment for people of all ages throughout the four seasons. The park is designed to provide all-year interest. Bicton’s centrepiece is the formal Italian Garden, with its fountains, lake, flowerbeds and ornamental trees. Some of the world's rarest conifers form a dramatic landscape in the Pinetum. Other special areas include the American Garden, Stream Garden, Mediterranean Garden and Rose Garden. The Italian Garden was laid out in c1735. Many features were added in the 19th century by Lord John and Lady Louisa Rolle. The gardens were opened to the public by Lord Clinton in 1963.

A 25-minute trip on the Bicton Woodland Railway gives visitors, especially the less able, an ideal way of viewing the parkland. The train can accommodate wheelchairs. The cost of the train ride is included in the price.

The historic Palm House and other 19th-century glasshouses appeal to plant-lovers, while the Countryside Museum features traction engines among hundreds of other exhibits. The quaint Shell House contains an international collection of seashells. The park is wheelchair friendly, with smooth paths in the main garden areas and easy access to the train and toilets, however, there are some steps and slopes.

Lunches, teas and light refreshments are served in the Orangery Restaurant.

We leave for home at 4pm

Members £26.50 Non-members £28.50, including train ride.

Wed 22 May 2019

Coach start 10am





Closing date for booking
26 April


Mapperton House and Gardens

We leave Swanage at 10 am on our way to Mapperton, first stopping for lunch at the Olive Tree seafood restaurant in Bridport (lunches will be available at your own expense, but must be pre-ordered). Menus will be sent on booking. We leave Bridport for Mapperton at 1.10 pm. The first tour is at 1.30 pm. The Sawmill cafe at Mapperton offers sandwiches, cream teas, coffee/teas and cakes.

Described by Country Life Magazine as "the Nation's Finest Manor House",  Mapperton, in West Dorset, is a sandstone manor house and the home of the Earl and Countess of Sandwich. It has a collection of pictures and furniture which reflect the Montagu family’s naval history. It is set within 15 acres of gardens, including an Italianate formal garden with fountains, a topiary, wild garden and an orangery.

The property has been used on a number of occasions as a film location, most recently for the 2015 film “Far From the Madding Crowd”, with Carey Mulligan, and earlier for “Emma” with Gwyneth Paltrow.

We will be split into three groups on arrival for the tour of the house. The gardens can be explored independently. There is wheelchair access to 50% of the gardens.

We leave for home at 4.30pm

Members £27 Non-members £29

Wed 5 June 2019

Coach start 10am



Closing date for booking
17 May

Three-River Cruise from Southampton

We will be catching the Blue Funnel Cruise Ship at Town Quay to enjoy a Harbour Tour along the River Test to see the lively sights of Southampton Port such as cruise liners (when in dock) together with visiting the Itchen and Hamble rivers - the historic home of yacht builders.

A fish and chip lunch will be provided which will include tea or coffee.

The boat has full facilities with a large open deck and an interior saloon - suitable for all weathers. Sit back and relax after lunch and enjoy the cruise!

The cruise is scheduled to end at 3.15pm, so we should be on our way home by 3.30pm.

Disabled facilities are available but need to be requested at time of booking.

Members £38.50 Non-members £40.50

Thurs 11 July 2019

Coach start 8.30am






Closing date for booking
18 June

Wells Cathedral and Bishop's Palace

This is an opportunity to explore the historic centre of the city of Wells. Our coach will drop us just two minutes walk from the 800 year old Bishop’s Palace. We will go directly to the Gardens and commence our  guided tour of the grounds (cost included). We will hear how water has influenced this whole area hence the name of Wells.

After the tour you are free to buy refreshments in any of the several cafés within the Bishop’s Palace, the Cathedral or adjacent city. After a break for refreshments you may visit the interior of the Palace at any time, using your own group entry ticket.

The Cathedral is very close and admission is free, although a donation of £6 is suggested. There is a free lunchtime organ recital from 1.05 to 1.45. Watch the 14th century astronomical clock in the North Transept on the quarter hour. Climb the short staircase to see the Chapter House.

Our coach will pick us up at 4.00 pm where we were dropped.

Members £23 Non-members £25

Wed 11 September 2019

Coach start 8.30am




Closing date for booking
26 August

Powderham Castle

Powderham Castle was built by Sir Philip Courtenay in 1391 and has remained in the family ever since. Having withstood the ravages of the civil war in the 17th century, it was embellished in the 18th century with fine interiors. During the Victorian period the exterior was transformed into the spectacular building you see today. You will discover over 600 years of Courtenay family history and see magnificent architecture and splendid interiors on a most enjoyable State Room Tour of the ground floor.

We will make our way to Bridport where we will have a short break at Grove's Garden Centre before continuing to Powderham Country Store. Here we will have lunch (at your own expense). This will be taken in the Orangery Restaurant and will be pre-ordered (menus nearer the time). It is booked for 12.30 and we will be able to use any spare time to peruse the plants in the garden section and the splendid shop.

At around 2 pm the coach will drive the short distance to the Castle. Our tour will start at 3 pm so there will be time to explore the gardens or enjoy a cup of coffee in the courtyard where there is also a small shop.

We will leave at about 4.15 pm for our journey home.

Members £28 Non-members £30


This page was last updated 09 March 2019

© The Purbeck Association of The National Trust