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Whitwick & District U3A

 

Friday, 22 June 2018

Friday, 22 Jun 2018

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This gallery is split over several pages. Each page displays pictures from a particular year or years as taken by members illustrating some of the events of the Days Out and Days of Interest groups. The most recent are at the top of the page. The links below can be used to select the relevant year.

Jump to 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018

2018

4 Day Excursion based in Newcastle - May 2018

The 2018 Days Out 4-Day Excursion, based in Newcastle upon Tyne, proved to be another very enjoyable event. Twenty-six members participated in this visit to the North East which began on 14th May.

Happily, there were few hold-ups on the northbound journey. After a comfort stop, our first call was a short break at the Angel of the North, the 20 metre steel sculpture designed by Sir Antony Gormley. Most of the group had seen it from some distance away but close to, it is an amazing structure and looked very impressive against a clear blue sky.

Soon afterwards, we arrived in Newcastle where there was time to "stretch our legs" and have some refreshment before we met the guide for the walking tour of the city. Gwen, our guide, was excellent and her local knowledge kept us all engaged and often enthralled. Newcastle is a splendid city with a centre and riverside that are full of wonders and historical significance. The beautiful buildings, monuments, broad thoroughfares and iconic bridges are stunning. We were, however, rather surprised to discover that it is quite a hilly city.

After our tour, we drove to our hotel, the Jurys Inn, which had been chosen for its good accessibility to the city. After a busy day with an early start, most of the group were ready to relax.

Day two was spent at Beamish Open Air Museum which tells the story of life in the North East during different periods. The weather was perfect. There were no crowds which meant no queues at the numerous attractions. The site is huge but there are regular buses and trams to take you around. The Museum has something for everyone: transport, industry, shops, homes, a colliery and much more. It is all set in pleasant countryside too. Undoubtedly, we all had a day to remember, doing as much or as little as we chose.

Day three was planned as a day by the glorious Northumberland coastline. First we drove to Holy Island / Lindisfarne so that we could cross the causeway at low tide. Walking to and from Lindisfarne Castle gives lovely views of the coastline to the south and the small settlement of Lindisfarne, with its ruined Abbey. This unique place certainly has a very special atmosphere.

The afternoon was spent at Seahouses where our group had free time to explore. Some chose to walk along the coastal footpath, others to saunter around the town and some just to sit and gaze at the sea. A few were spotted enjoying fish and chips in the open air. Martin, our driver, took us back to Newcastle along the scenic coastal route. The small resorts we passed, such as Alnmouth, looked so picturesque that many of us determined to return.

Our final day was spent in the city of Durham. The magnificent cathedral was a popular destination; it undeniably has the "Wow" factor. The castle, city centre and River Wear were explored also.

At 2pm, it was time to board the coach and begin the journey back to Leicestershire. Again we were fortunate to have no problems with traffic, giving us another relaxed ride in our very comfortable coach.

Our partners for this venture, Roberts Coaches, provided an exceptional service throughout. Mandy, our link person in the office, and Martin, our driver, did their utmost to support Group Leaders Lynda and Sue. Thanks must go to all the members who came along: we were a very friendly, sociable and cheerful party. The warm and sunny weather which had been especially ordered, was a bonus.


Our group by the Angel of the North


Grey Street, with the Theatre Royal on the left


Grey's Monument


Newcastle Castle


An evening shot of The Tyne Bridge with the Sage Gateshead


Gateshead Millennium Bridge in the evening


The Sage lit from inside to reveal the images of 3 ships


The Jurys Inn, our hotel


Stables Office at the colliery


The Colliery: Mahogany Drift opened in the 1850s; closed 1958.


The Town with its rescued and reconstructed buildings


Transport at Beamish


Ruins of Lindisfarne Abbey and the Northumberland coastline


The Harbour at Seahouses


Durham Cathedral


The Cathedral from the River Wear


Statue of monks from Lindisfarne Abbey carrying the coffin containing St. Cuthbert

 

Chester - April 2018

The destination for the April Day Out was Chester, Britain's most Roman city, according to a recent TV programme. Over fifty members had decided to come along and explore the city.

Unfortunately, it was a wet day but everyone was suitably attired and determined to make the most of the opportunity to have a pleasant outing. The splendid Cathedral, interesting Grosvenor Museum (with a fine collection of silver ware), The Rows and the city walls were all popular choices and, in spite of the weather, everyone enjoyed themselves.

With trouble-free journeys in both directions, the whole day was a convivial excursion. As usual, Lynda and Sue would like to thank everyone who supported this Day Out and look forward to welcoming members on future Days Out.


Chester Cathedral


Part of the original Roman wall


Eastgate clock


Part of The Rows, Chester's unusual shopping area


Time to go home - waiting for our coach.

 

Birmingham March 2018

Those members who joined us for the first Day Out of 2018 enjoyed a pleasant visit to Birmingham. The weather was definitely spring-like, which enhanced everyone's experience, particularly after the cold, wet conditions of recent days.

We were all free to spend the day as we wished so that some indulged themselves in a relaxed saunter around the shops with some retail therapy, whilst others took advantage of the many cultural attractions that Birmingham has to offer. The photographs show the renowned and stunning windows designed by Sir Edward Burne-Jones inside Birmingham Cathedral and the NT property, the "Back to Backs".

Ray, our driver from Roberts Coaches, did a marvellous job negotiating the ubiquitous roadworks in the city and the busy traffic on our homeward journey, which all helped to make the day a success.


West window in St. Philip's Cathedral


The NT property - "Back to Backs"


Inside the "wash house" with boiler and mangles


The courtyard at the "Back to Backs"

2017

Festive Gift Fair - November 2017

The final Day Out of 2017 was to the popular Festive Gift Fair at the NEC. Twenty-four members took the opportunity to join us and enjoy a day of browsing and shopping amongst approximately 200 stalls. With a stress-free journey and drop off at the entrance, it was a relaxed outing. Most of our party found something tempting to buy and many made a start on their Christmas shopping.


Members enjoying the atmosphere at the Festive Gift Fair

 

Quarry Bank Mill - September 2017

The National Trust property Quarry Bank Mill at Styal in Cheshire was the destination for September's Day Out. Thirty-eight members came along, all suitably attired against the wet weather which had been forecast.

Unfortunately, there were clouds both physically and metaphorically as heavy traffic on the M6 delayed our arrival. As the coach pulled into the parking area, we had torrential rain and finding shelter and a warm drink was a priority for most of the party.

There is plenty to engage a visitor indoors at this property so wet weather does not spoil the experience. Quarry Bank Mill has a wealth of exhibits and working textile machinery to see. The demonstrators are excellent and eager to talk about the processes involved in such an enterprise as a cotton spinning and weaving mill. Watching the different machines being operated was fascinating and made it easier to imagine what working at the mill must have been like for the men, women and, particularly, the children employed there.

Happily, the weather improved so that in the afternoon we could all enjoy being outside. Included in our visit was an informative tour of the Apprentice House which everyone found interesting. Most of the group took the opportunity to explore the beautiful gardens too.

There were no hold-ups on the homeward journey so we arrived back on schedule. Lynda and Sue would like to thank everyone who supported this event and helped to make another successful Day Out.


Samuel Greg's Cotton Mill


Weaving demonstration


Waiting for a tour of the Apprentice House


Newly restored curvilinear glasshouse and picturesque garden


Admiring the stunning walled garden


A view of the mill and gardens


The Apprentice House


The sleeping quarters in the Apprentice House


Our guide explaining some 19th century ailment remedies.


The Unitarian Norcliffe Chapel in the village of Styal........


........and some of the mill workers' cottages.

And below some of the cotton working machinery inside the mill.....





This one is called The Mule.

Finally, an active water sculpture called "Waterforce". Can you make out the two words WATER FORCE?.......


 

Saltaire 12th July 2017

Saltaire, the World Heritage Site near Bradford, was the destination for the July Day Out. Fifty members set off early on a pleasant summer's day to make the journey to West Yorkshire.

We had no problems with traffic and had time to refresh ourselves before meeting our guides for the pre-arranged tours. The three guides, dressed in nineteenth century style costumes, were excellent. They entertained and informed our party, with some amusing inter-action, about the background and manufacturing genius of Titus Salt, the founder. Each guide took on the role of a historical character from the 1861 census of Saltaire. This brought history alive.

After talking to us inside the church, they led us around the village of Saltaire, explaining the significant buildings and the numerous rules and regulations upon which Titus Salt insisted. It was fascinating.

Afterwards, everyone was ready for lunch and free time to explore individually. Salts Mill, Roberts Park and boat trips were all popular choices. At 5pm we assembled for the journey home after a thoroughly enjoyable Day Out.


A view of Saltaire, from Salts Mill, with Victoria Hall in the background.......

and below, Victoria Hall itself.....


   
Waiting to meet our guides outside the United Reformed Church


Inside the Church after the introductory talk


With one of the guides: Maria (aka Mrs Dooley)


In one of Saltaire's residential streets with one of our guides , the well-to-do "Mrs Hill".


Salts Mill


Titus Salt Hospital


Part of the David Hockney 1853 Gallery housed inside Salts Mill

   
Waiting to board our coach for the journey home

 

Chatsworth RHS Flower Show, 8th June 2017

After weeks or eager anticipation, the Days Out visit to the first RHS Flower Show at Chatsworth took place on 8th June. Everyone arrived in Stenson Road for a prompt departure suitably attired in all-weather outfits.

All was well until we left our luxury coach in the coach park at Chatsworth when we were confronted by chaos and queues. The challenge of getting into the event seemed daunting. Happily, once inside, as the crowds dispersed to visit the various attractions and the weather improved, we began to enjoy ourselves.

There was much to admire: the location itself is spectacular. There were huge marquees stocked with beautiful plants and flowers and a modern reconstruction of Paxton's magnificent Great Conservatory. The inventive Show Gardens created interest. There were many rows of small cabins where a huge range of quality garden-themed objects and arts and crafts items were on sale. Unusual art installations were placed around the showground. In fact, it was impossible to see everything.

The day seemed to pass very quickly and then it was time to board our coach for the journey home. Our driver chose the scenic, non-motorway route which made a pleasant end to a very enjoyable outing. Lynda and Sue thank everyone who supported this Day Out and, as usual, look forward to welcoming all members on future excursions.

 


Inside the Flower Marquee: gladioli


Inside the Flower Marquee: sweet peas


Show Garden : Best in Show - The Granite Garden


Show Garden




Inside the Plant Marquee

 

Three-Day Excursion to Yorkshire, May 2017

Early on Thursday 11th May, forty-eight members set off on a journey to Yorkshire for a short break. This, our second three-day excursion, was based near Hull, chosen because it is UK City of Culture 2017. Once again, our partner was Roberts Coaches, with Elton, our driver, giving the high level of service we have come to expect. The coach, just a few months old, was extremely comfortable.

We drove directly to our hotel, The Hallmark Hotel at North Ferriby, for a refreshment break. This gave everyone the opportunity to appreciate the marvellous views from the hotel towards the Humber Bridge. We found the hotel staff to be friendly and helpful throughout our stay.

The next stop was Hull itself where everything looked at its best in the pleasant sunshine. Most of our party joined a guided walking tour which had been arranged as an optional extra. Paul, our guide, was excellent and related fascinating stories of Hull with infectious enthusiasm. Afterwards, everyone was free to explore the numerous museums (all free); the Ferens Art Gallery; Holy Trinity Church (which became a minster two days later); The Deep or indulge in some retail therapy.

Back at our hotel, dinner and the rest of the evening was pleasant and relaxed with opportunities to chat and enjoy each other's company. On the second evening, an unexpected appearance by a Mr Trump caused much hilarity. (In fact one of our party had been unable to resist the face masks on sale at a famous joke shop in Hull!)

After an early breakfast on Day 2, Elton drove us to York. The weather was dull and overcast but did not restrict anyone's enjoyment of York's numerous attractions. The Treasurer's House; Jorvik Viking Centre; the National Railway Museum; the Minster; sight-seeing tours and the Castle Museum were all popular destinations along with wandering around the Shambles and indulging in the delights of Betty's Tea Room.

The final day was spent in Beverley. Another optional guided walking tour had been arranged for those who wanted to learn a little of the town's heritage. Beverley is a lovely, thriving market town with many pleasant streets, independent shops and places to eat. The Minster is magnificent.

All too soon it was time to join the coach for the smooth and uninterrupted journey back to Ellistown where our short holiday ended.

Lynda and Sue would like to thank everyone who supported this venture and helped to make it a success.

 


The Weeping Window at Hull's Maritime Museum


Exploring Hull on the guided walking tour


Guided Tour Group at the Scale Lane Bridge (River Hull)


With Paul, our guide, in Beverley


Sign spotted in Beverley

 

Days Out - Shrewsbury - 25th April 2017

Forewarned about cold weather, 56 warmly-clad members joined the Day Out in Shrewsbury recently.

After a few hold-ups due to traffic, the journey to Shropshire was smooth and we arrived safely in the town with plenty of time to enjoy its attractions.

Shrewsbury is a town which has retained its historic buildings, with many dating from Tudor times. The whole group seemed to appreciate the fine black-and-white architecture, the terrific choice of eateries and the exceptional number of independent small shops.

Whilst it was rather too cold to wander in the extensive public gardens or take a trip on the River Severn, several members spent time in the Museum and Art Gallery.

Guided walking tours had been arranged to take place after lunch and the majority of our party participated in these. The guides took us to see quiet corners of Shrewsbury which would have been easy to miss. We learnt about the history and development of the town and about some of the famous inhabitants such as Charles Darwin.

Afterwards, there was time to warm up again with refreshments before we set off on the coach back to Leicestershire. Happily, there were no delays but we did drive through some unseasonable weather.

Lynda and Sue thank everyone who supported this Day Out and look forward to your company on another excursion. Everyone who went on the trip thank Lynda and Sue for organising it.

 

  
The Square, with the statue of Clive of India


Above and below, a couple of views of the River Severn


A view of Welsh Bridge through the Quantum Leap memorial structure in honour of Charles Darwin


St. Chad's Church


One of our two guides, the very tall Town Crier of Shrewsbury

   
One of the tour groups in Fish Street, at the top of Grope Lane, a haunt of ladies of the night


In Grope Lane, pointing out the markings used for lining up the timbers when the building was moved wholesale


One of the groups at the 15th Century Abbot's House


One of the stained glass windows in St. Mary's Church


The Library, formerly Shrewsbury School


The castle


Dingle Gardens in Quarry Park

 

Peterborough - March 2017

The first Day Out of 2017 took place on 8th March when 44 members enjoyed a day in Peterborough.

It proved to be a day of pleasant surprises. In spite of a disappointing weather forecast, we actually experienced dry weather with some warm sunshine. Peterborough had plenty of attractions for all tastes and many fine buildings to admire, such as the Town Hall and the Butter Cross..

The Museum is larger than we had expected and well worth a visit. The star attraction for many was the artefacts made by French prisoners of war during the Napoleonic Wars which are amazing. Queensgate Shopping Centre has all the high street stores, whilst Cathedral Square is an attractive open space in which to saunter.

Peterborough Cathedral is one of the finest Norman cathedrals in England. Guided tours had been arranged and these were excellent. Members learnt about the building itself; the tomb of Katharine of Aragon and the devastation caused during the Civil War, amongst many other interesting facts.

With a smooth journey to and from Peterborough, this was a positive start to the year's programme of outings. Lynda and Sue thank everyone who supported this Day Out and look forward to welcoming you, and many other members, on future trips.

 


One of the Cathedral guides explaining features of the Cathedral's West Wall


The impressive West Wall


Some of our members after the guided tour of the Cathedral


Peterborough's Butter Cross building

2016

Harrogate - November 2016

The Christmas Market in Harrogate was the location of the final Day Out for 2016. Although an early start was necessary, we had a trouble-free journey to Yorkshire so members could relax and chat comfortably.

The weather forecast had been disappointing but, in fact, it was possible to stroll around the market and the town without getting too wet or cold.

The Christmas Market was enjoyable with plenty of variety amongst the stalls. Betty's, of course, was a major attraction and the pleasant atmosphere of Harrogate was charming.

Members, many laden with shopping bags, met promptly for the journey home which was another smooth ride. The coach, however, was noticeably quieter after so many hours of activity.

Lynda and Sue wish to thank all members who have supported our Days Out programme during 2016. We feel that we have visited some wonderful places and each trip has been enhanced by the friendliness and companionship which is so characteristic of Whitwick & District U3A.

 


Reindeer by the Christmas Market


Part of the Christmas Market


Window Display at Betty's

 

Salford Quays - July 2016

Our Day Out in Salford Quays lived up to expectations with warm, dry weather as a bonus. Fifty-two members participated and ensured that we enjoyed a friendly and convivial atmosphere throughout the day.

The main attraction at Salford Quays, The Imperial War Museum North, proved to be very popular. The iconic building represents a shattered globe, a symbol of the effects of warfare. In addition to the permanent displays, "Fashion on the Ration", the current special exhibition was found to be very interesting.

The best of L S Lowry's work can be seen in the Lowry Galleries, which was also a favourite refreshment stop. The Lowry Shopping Outlet appealed to some, whilst two members headed for Media City. (Be sure to watch the current series of "Mastermind" and scrutinise the front row of the audience for familiar faces!) A small group travelled to nearby Manchester and explored the city centre.

Feedback was overwhelmingly positive with many members requesting that we make a return visit. Lynda and Sue were delighted with this response and thank everyone who supported this Day Out. We are taking a break now but look forward to welcoming you again during the autumn.

 


Imperial War Museum North


The Lowry Galleries


Media City


Having a good sit down


A group of our members at the end of a successful visit

 

Malvern - June 2016

So many members had been keen to join our Day out to Malvern that we had hired an extra-large coach. Fifty-nine of us set off from Coalville to travel to Worcestershire in glorious weather.

Great Malvern was a new destination for most of the party and we found it to be a delightful town. Its location beneath the Malvern Hills gives it a very attractive setting and, in the sunshine, we saw everything at its best. It developed in Victorian times due to the popularity of its water which was used for hydrotherapy. There are fine buildings, beautiful gardens and open spaces. The retention of gas lamps in the town adds to the charming atmosphere.

The Priory was a "must see" for many of us. Founded in 1085, it is larger than some cathedrals. There are several interesting features to admire, such as the medieval wall tiles and the splendid windows.

Some of our party had taken up the option of a guided walk during the afternoon. This proved to be excellent: our guide was first-class. We learnt about individuals and events that had influenced and shaped the town.

Altogether, it was a very pleasant Day Out which had surpassed expectations. Lynda and Sue thank everyone who supported this trip and look forward to future outings.

 


Enjoying morning coffee in the warm sunshine


The impressive interior of Great Malvern Priory........


.....and its just as impressive exterior


Members on the guided walk


Listening to our guide (she is there somewhere!!) under a Tulip Tree. The insert shows a closeup of the tulip-like leaves


Great Malvern seen from Rose Bank Gardens

   
The Foley Arms, an old coaching inn (now a Wetherspoons), and the Unicorn which C. S. Lewis used to visit.


Partaking of the spring water

   
Sir Edward Elgar...................................................................looking down Church Street


Birds of Prey in Rose Bank Gardens - they can sometimes be seen flying over Malvern

 

Three Day Excursion to Kent - May 2016

After months of planning and anticipation, forty-two members of our U3A assembled at Roberts Coaches' depot in Hugglescote ready for an early departure. Paul, our helpful colleague at Roberts, was there to ensure everything went smoothly and to introduce our driver, Ivor.

Throughout our holiday Ivor proved to be an excellent driver and our coach was extremely comfortable. Ivor's patience was soon tested as we met heavy traffic on the M1. However, the congestion disappeared in the second half of the journey and this was matched by an improvement in the weather. It stopped raining as we drove into Kent.

When we arrived in Canterbury, Ivor drove us into the city so we could make the most of our afternoon. The Cathedral was a favourite destination. It is a marvellous building with so much to see and admire. Canterbury itself is easily explored on foot and several of the party took the opportunity to do just that.

At the end of the afternoon, Ivor brought the coach to collect us and delivered us to the hotel. The entrance to the hotel grounds was a challenge each time we drove in or out but he coped admirably. Our first glimpse of the Abbots Barton Hotel was promising and we were not disappointed. Our rooms were clean and comfortable; the staff were efficient and pleasant and the food was well-presented and tasty. It was very heart-warming at meal times to look around our party and see everyone relaxed, chatting and enjoying each other's company in the pleasant surroundings.

On Day 2, after a hearty breakfast, we set off to Whitstable. The town is famous for oyster fishing. Most of us walked by the harbour and along the seafront to the brightly coloured traditional beach huts. It is a charming town with numerous independent shops and cafes.

After lunch, we were driven to Margate, a traditional seaside town undergoing regeneration. By the time we arrived, there was very warm sunshine and clear blue skies. Just gazing at the sunlight sparkling on the sea was enjoyable. Several of our party even had a paddle. Margate has hidden charms and was worth exploring. The Turner Contemporary, unfortunately, was between exhibitions so there was limited access.

Dinner at the hotel was another convivial occasion and the laughter and fun continued on into the evening. On our final morning, there was time to enjoy a relaxed breakfast before setting off to Sissinghurst. The drive through Kent gave us views of charming countryside with orchards, oasthouses and pretty villages, all shown to advantage in the glorious weather.

The world-famous garden at Sissinghurst Castle was one of the highlights of the holiday. The garden has several "rooms" each very different in their planting schemes, colours and scents. It was all superb with each area revealing new delights. With seventy-eight steps to the top, the tower attracted many of us who were then rewarded by marvellous views over the gardens.

By mid-afternoon, it was time to depart and begin the drive back to Leicestershire. This proved to be taxing for Ivor as there were several traffic problems. In spite of this, Ivor gave us another smooth journey and everyone expressed their gratitude for his calmness and skill.

All too soon our first U3A holiday was over. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and take pleasure in being with fellow members. Roberts Coaches were ideal partners. Lynda and Sue thank everyone who supported this venture and are looking forward to our 2017 holiday in Yorkshire.

 

Canterbury Cathedral

The magnificent Cathedral dominating the skyline


The West Window


Inside the Cloisters

Day 2 - Whitstable

A famous oyster bar


Dressed for the weather along the sea front

Day 2 - Margate

Inside the Turner Contemporary


The Turner Contemporary in sparkling sunshine


The Tudor House in Margate's Old Town

Day 3 - Sissinghurst

The entrance to the gardens


Some of our members - ready to explore and enjoy


More of our members - ready to explore and enjoy


One of the glorious colour-themed flower beds


The Tower - its 78 steps are worth the climb; the views from the top are splendid


Getting ready to leave


The whole group plus coach driver just before we left the hotel

Some other views

A dappled steam


Getting the right shot

 

Leeds - April 2016

A Day Out in Leeds proved to be another pleasant event for our members. The weather was perfect: a sunny, warm spring day. The journey in each direction was smooth and comfortable, with no delays.

Leeds has much to offer the visitor. Most of our party began by enjoying tea and coffee in the magnificent Tiled Hall. The Tiled Hall opened in 1884. The marvellous tiles covering the walls were made in Coalville. Refreshed, we all set off to explore the city.

Popular attractions included the Corn Exchange; the Kirkgate Markets (where "Marks and Spencer" began in 1884); the Victorian Quarter with its splendid arcades; Leeds City Museum; the banks of the River Aire and the Leeds-Liverpool Canal. There is so much to see that it was impossible to visit all the sights yet, wherever we wandered, the impressive Victorian buildings added special interest.

Lynda and Sue wish to thank everyone who supported this enjoyable Day Out and look forward to seeing everyone on our forthcoming excursions.

 


The splendid County Arcade in the Victorian Quarter


The M&S Market Stall in Kirkgate Market where Michael Marks began his Penny Bazaar


Inside the Tiled Hall, part of Leeds Central Library, opened in 1884


Enjoying the spring sunshine: Victoria Gardens

 

Stoke on Trent - March 2016

Days Out began its 2016 programme with a visit to Stoke on Trent and the Gladstone Pottery Museum.

The Museum was our first destination and guided tours had been arranged. After a brief refreshment break, our party set off to learn about the making of bone china. The Gladstone Pottery Museum is the last complete Victorian Pottery factory in the country. We were able to see what conditions were like for the men, women and children who worked there. Our knowledgeable guides helped us to get the most from our visit.

The highlights included seeing inside a coal-fired "bottle kiln" and watching the demonstrators. We watched in amazement as a pot was "thrown" to create a vase and bone china flowers were created and painted. Not only were the results perfect but every process was completed at speed. We learnt also how all the hard work then depended upon the skills of the men in charge of firing the kilns.

Afterwards, our coach drove us to Hanley so that we could have lunch and enjoy some free time. The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery and the Potteries Shopping Centre were favoured destinations.

At 4pm we departed to take the scenic route home through rural north Staffordshire and Ashburton. Fortunately, the rain, which had been falling steadily all day, disappeared to give us delightful views over the countryside.

 


Gladstone Pottery Museum: our members listening to one of the museum guides


Museum demonstrator using a wheel to throw a pot


Making china flowers; the demonstrator is one of only four such workers in the industry


Saggars inside a kiln (saggars are used to hold the items during firing); several members could recall "saggar makers bottom knockers" from TV's "What's My Line?"


Demonstrator of painting and transfer work

2015

Worcester's Victorian Christmas Fayre - November 2015

Almost fifty members set off on Thursday 26th November to enjoy all the delights of Worcester and its unique Christmas market. Unlike many other seasonal events, Worcester's has a focus on local arts and crafts, food and drink, supplemented by stalls selling unusual festive gifts. Stall holders help to create a Victorian atmosphere by wearing costumes.

The setting, in Worcester's attractive city centre, is perfect. Along the narrow streets, entertainers were mingling with the visitors. Several stalls were selling mulled wine, hot chestnuts and food which smelt delicious. There was even a traditional fairground carousel which added to the Victorian theme.

The cathedral was a "must see" for many of our party, as was the NT property Greyfriars House, where the interior decorations were based on "A Christmas Carol". The Guildhall and several churches were open to visitors too.

The weather was fine throughout our visit and our coach driver provided excellent service. Altogether our visit to Worcester was a marvellous finale to the 2015 programme of Days Out.

 


Men on stilts preparing to entertain


Greyfriars House decorated with "A Christmas Carol" theme


Lots of sparkle on this stall


A very aromatic display


Entering into the Victorian atmosphere

 

London and the Palace of Westminster – October 2015

Forty-nine members left Coalville very early (7am!) for a full Day Out in London on Monday 19th October. Our main purpose was to visit and tour the Houses of Parliament, by arrangement with Andrew Bridgen MP for NW Leicestershire..

After driving through heavy traffic, we arrived in Westminster just in time for our guided tours which we took in two groups. Our guides, who were pleasant and knowledgeable, escorted us along a route which included the Royal Gallery; House of Lords Chamber; the Central Lobby; House of Commons Chamber; St Stephen’s Hall and Westminster Hall.

It was all marvellous: there was so much to see, admire and learn. Several members commented on how their perceptions from photographs and TV were different to the reality. The House of Lords Chamber, with its sumptuous decorative architectural design and the Throne, was particularly memorable.

Afterwards, we were taken to Portcullis House where we met Andrew Bridgen. It was pleasing to see “Whitwick U3A” displayed by the door to the Meeting Room. We were given the day’s Order Paper as a memento. Andrew spoke about his work and answered our questions.

After leaving the Palace, everyone was free to enjoy several hours in our capital city. A late lunch was a priority for most and the National Gallery a favoured destination.

A prompt departure at 6.30pm was followed by a stress-free journey home. Everyone was tired but content after such a successful Day Out. Lynda and Sue thank everyone who supported this visit and look forward to welcoming you again soon.

 


Part of the Palace of Westminster


Group 2 waiting in Westminster Hall to begin their tour.


View from the National Gallery along Whitehall


The current exhibit on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square: Gift Horse. The electronic ribbon displays the live FTSE 100 ticker of the London Stock Exchange.

 

Stamford - July 2015

Stamford was the UK's first conservation town and has over 600 listed buildings of mellow limestone and several ancient monuments. On our recent Day out there, we saw it at its best in glorious sunshine and with the extra hustle and bustle of market day.

Most members chose to take part in the guided walk which had been arranged. Our guide, Jill, gave an excellent introduction to the history of Stamford with fascinating facts and interesting anecdotes, all delivered with pleasant humour

. In addition to the walking tour, there was plenty to engage everyone: walking by the River Welland; investigating the historic churches and alms houses; locating the grave of Leicester-born Daniel Lambert; sauntering through the street market; shopping in the town centre and eating in the tempting variety of pubs and food outlets.

With trouble-free journeys in both directions, the whole Day Out was very successful. Thank you to all members who supported us.

 


Listening to Jill, our guide, in St. George's churchyard


Barn Hill, reputedly the most attractive street in Stamford with its mix of architectural styles.


Outside Barn Hill House


Swithland slate headstone on Daniel Lambert's grave


Lord Burghley's Hospital (alms houses)

 

King's Lynn - June 2015

Although the Day Out to King's Lynn did not start well, due to traffic congestion caused by closure of the M1, our guides responded in a positive way and we were able to proceed with our walking tour despite the delay.

We knew that King's Lynn was a town with a fascinating history and several significant buildings but we were all amazed at how much there was to see. The Minster was well worth a visit with its leaning pillars and arches; its remarkable organ and the largest monumental brasses in England. During the tour, we saw the unusual Town Hall, the Custom House and merchants' warehouses including the sole remaining Hanseatic warehouse in England. Our guides took us into courtyards hidden behind merchants' houses which were charming places and not accessible to the casual visitor. Since 1958, the preservation work undertaken in King's Lynn has been exceptional..

Afterwards everyone was free to explore King's Lynn at their own pace. Some discovered The Walks, a historic town walk; some ventured onto the Foot Ferry and others wandered around the shopping area. Most came away with the impression that their expectations had been exceeded.

Unfortunately, we had less success with the weather: it was unseasonably cold and windy, as some of the photographs reveal. We must do better next time. Lynda and Sue thank everyone for their support and look forward to further outings.

 


King Lynn's Minster


With one of our walking tour guides in Hampton Court, originally the site of warehouses and shops


Walking by the Hanseatic Warehouse, the only one remaining in England.


In the courtyard of Thoresby College, an example of the preservation work undertaken


A Look-out Tower, used by a wealthy merchant to spot his ships returning to port.

 

Evesham - May 2015

Fifty members participated in the Day Out to Evesham on General Election Day 2015. Our route had been planned to include the Blossom Trail in the Vale of Evesham. After a comfort stop, our coach driver took us through charming villages such as Salford Priors, Ab Lench and Cropthorn. The narrow lanes tested his skills to the full but, as passengers, we had wonderful views of the beautiful houses and gardens.

Unfortunately, fruit trees in the orchards we passed were not in blossom..

Once in Evesham, lunch was the priority. Refreshed and energised, everyone set off to explore the town. The area near the River Avon and the site of the former Abbey were both very pleasant. The story of the Battle of Evesham (1265) and Simon de Montfort along with the Almonry were all interesting features to learn about.

In spite of the disappointment over the lack of blossom, it was another enjoyable Day Out and we were back in Leicestershire with time to vote. Lynda and Sue thank everyone for their support and look forward to further outings.

 


A quiet area of Evesham.


Abbey Park.


Evesham's stocks.


The Almonry.


Three happy Members.

 

Dunham Massey - April 2015

The visit to the National Trust property Dunham Massey was one of the most remarkable undertaken by a Days Out group. The Hall holds the showcase exhibition by the National Trust to mark the centenary of WW1. Entitled "Sanctuary from the Trenches", Dunham Massey Hall has been transformed into the Stamford Military Hospital which was there from 1917 to 1919. By the time it closed, 282 soldiers had found sanctuary from the trenches in Dunham's beautiful surroundings.

The recreated hospital is based on original records from the archives and information on patients is displayed in an imaginative way, as some of the photographs show. Young actors portraying staff and patients brought the reconstruction to life in a manner which added much to the whole experience.

As with many NT properties, Dunham Massey also has beautiful grounds. One special feature which many of our party enjoyed was the Winter Garden. Some had the added advantage of a guided tour by a knowledgeable member of the team.

The forty-nine members who participated in this recent visit found that all their expectations were exceeded. Lynda and Sue wish to thank everyone for their support and look forward to seeing them on another excursion soon.

 


A recreation of how the hospital beds were made up with information on a patient displayed on his night shirt.


An actor wearing the uniform of a hospital patient, about to act out a scene based on archive evidence.


The main entrance to Dunham Massey Hall, formerly home to the Stamford family.


A bed in the Winter Garden.


Camellia "Midnight", a show-stopper in the Winter Garden.

 

Lincoln - March 2015

The first destination of our Days Out Programme for 2015 was Lincoln. On 17th March, forty-nine members boarded our executive coach for a full-day visit to that historic city.

Everyone found something to explore and enjoy despite the dull and damp weather. Lincoln Cathedral is one of Europe’s finest medieval buildings. The current programme of cleaning the stonework is revealing its attractive original lighter colour. As always, just being close to the Cathedral was breath-taking.

A visit to the Museum of Lincolnshire Life was a popular choice too with plenty to see and read about amongst its varied displays and exhibits.

Most of the party took a steady stroll down Steep Hill and found time for some retail therapy in Lincoln’s shops. The journey home was straightforward so that we arrived back in Whitwick at 6 pm.

Altogether, it had been a pleasant and successful Day Out. Lynda and Sue thank everyone for their support.

 


Lincoln Cathedral seen from the west side.


In the secret garden at the Cathedral Centre (the rose bush is approximately 250 years old).


An exhibit at the Museum of Lincolnshire Life.


An unusual post box at the museum.


A view of Steep Hill looking rather damp.


The leaning lamp post of Lincoln.


Inside the Cathdral.


The Empowerment Sculpture over the River Witham.

 

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