Corsham Court


JUNE 15-16 2018

We are delighted to have secured three exclusive visits on our tour to the West Country this summer. We will enjoy two private openings of the magnificent stately homes Buscot Park and Corsham Court, both famous for their outstanding art collections, and a private opening of Great Chalfield Manor where we will be welcomed by the owners for lunch followed by a house and garden tour. We will also explore the splendid Palladian mansion Lydiard House and have free time to stroll through the charming village of Bibury, where afternoon tea is booked at the famous Swan Hotel.

We will stay overnight in an elegant 4-star hotel nestling on the edge of the Cotswolds, and dinner with wine is included.

Booking is now closed but let us know if you would like to join a waiting list as spaces do sometimes become available




You will be picked up at 8.00am from Cobham in Surrey* and we then drive by executive coach to Buscot Park in Oxfordshire, the family home of Lord Faringdon who looks after the property on behalf of the National Trust. The consultant curator will introduce us to the house and talk to us about the family’s outstanding private collection known as the Faringdon Collection, comprising pictures, drawings, furniture and objets d'art. This includes masterpieces such as Rembrandt's portrait of Pieter Six and Rossetti's portrait of Pandora. Lord Faringdon's great-grandfather commissioned Harold Peto to design a famous Italianate water garden, much in keeping with the Italian influence found in the Palladian architecture of Buscot Park, and there will be time to enjoy the gardens after our tour. Coffee/tea will be served before our visits commence, and both the house and gardens will be closed to the public during our private visit.

We then drive to Lydiard Park, another exceptional Palladian property whose history can be traced back to the medieval period. It was the home of the St John family for 500 years, who acquired it when Oliver St John married its owner Margaret Beauchamp, who would through a later marriage become grandmother to Henry VII. A private light buffet lunch (included) will be served on arrival, after which there will be a guided tour of the house and then time to explore the restored Georgian walled garden and park at leisure.

We also make a stop in the picturesque Cotswolds village of Bibury, once described by William Morris as "the most beautiful village in England". There will be some free time to stroll through the village, perhaps visiting the famous trout farm or stopping to admire the cottages in Arlington Row, built in 1380 then converted into weavers' cottages in the 17th century. Afternoon tea or coffee (optional) at the famous Swan Hotel has been booked for those who would like to join the group.

We then check in to Sudbury House in nearby Faringdon, an elegant and recently refurbished 4-star hotel which extends a warm and friendly welcome to its guests. All rooms are comfortable and spacious and equipped with tea and coffee making facilities. Single rooms are doubles based on single occupancy. After some time to rest, a 3-course dinner with wine (included) is served.


After breakfast we depart at 9.15 for Corsham Court, a magnificent privately owned historic house which boasts an exceptional art collection including masterpieces such as Sofonisba Anguissola's portrait of her sisters and brother, an Annunciation by Fra Filippo Lippi and an intriguing allegorical portrait of Queen Elizabeth I. The current owner of Corsham is descended from Sir Paul Methuen (1672 - 1757), a distinguished diplomat and ambassador who amassed the initial nucleus of the collection including many notable Flemish, Dutch and French paintings. Corsham Court was acquired specifically for his godson in 1745 and then extended in order to display the paintings more advantageously. 

Our private visits continue with an exclusive opening of Great Chalfield Manor and Gardens. We will be welcomed by its delightful owners Robert and Patsy Floyd who manage both the house and garden for the National Trust. After a seated lunch with wine in the splendid Great Hall we will have a guided tour followed by time to explore at leisure.

Orignially built in the mid 15th century for Thomas Tropenell who made his money as a clothier, the property was expanded and altered in the 19th century and then again at the turn of the century under Major Robert Fuller (grandfather of the current owner) under the guidance of Sir Harold Brakspear. The gardens, orchards and water features were designed at the same time by Alfred Parsons on Arts and Crafts principles and are lovingly maintained today by horticultural expert Patsy Floyd. The house may look familiar as it has appeared in many films and television dramas including The Other Boleyn Girl, Wolf Hall and Poldark.

We return to Cobham in the afternoon and should arrive home by 6.30.

* For those for whom Cobham is not so convenient and wishing to join us en route, there will be an optional pick-up on Friday from the Sudbury House Hotel before we arrive at Buscot Park. You will then be able to leave your car at the hotel and join us in the coach for the itinerary on Day 1, then follow us by car on Day 2. Please let us know when booking if you prefer to select this option as we will need to make alternative arrangements with you.

Further Tour Information

Overnight accommodation including breakfast has been arranged in standard classic rooms (double, twin or double-for-single-use). All rooms are elegantly furnished and facilities include tea & coffee making facilities, iron and ironing board, flat screen TVs and Wi-Fi. Please enquire if you are interested in requesting a Junior Suite.

Sudbury House enjoys a peaceful setting surrounded by gardens. There is a restaurant where breakfast and dinner are served, as well as a large bar area where you can enjoy a drink before or after dinner.

Itinerary and Meals
A detailed, confirmed itinerary including timings will be provided approximately two weeks before travel and all reservations made where necessary. Further information regarding travel will also be provided but our coach will depart at 8.00am from Hollyhedge Road in Cobham, Surrey.

A three-course dinner with wine in the Sudbury House Hotel is included as is breakfast on Saturday, coffee on arrival at Buscot Park and lunch on both days. Tables at the Swan at Bibury have been booked on Saturday afternoon, but tea is not included.

Please inform us when booking of any food intolerances, allergies or special dietary requirements so that these can be catered for. Thank you

How Strenuous?
Please note that there is some walking and standing involved in the trip, although at a gentle pace and not strenuous. It is not necessary to visit the gardens in all the properties if you prefer to just visit the houses and then rest.

The price will be £360 per person for those sharing a standard double room (twins are also available, please let us know when booking) and a single room supplement of £45.

The price includes 4-star hotel accommodation for 1 night including breakfast and dinner with wine; transfers by private coach; guided tours and specially arranged private visits; 2 lunches (one with wine); reservations and all entrance fees in the itinerary. It does not include refreshments other than those indicated, insurance or personal spending.

Some of the properties belong to the National Trust but as they are being opened privately by the donor families we regret that there is no reduction for National Trust members for our visits.

The full payment is payable on booking (hence the "deposit" tab shows as the full price). For single rooms please pay the full payment (tour price plus single supplement) at the time of booking. Thank you.

If you would like to join the tour please complete the online booking form. If you would prefer to send a booking form by post please download a copy hereUK tours do not involve flights and so you will not receive an ATOL certificate with your booking receipt, nor do we require any Advanced Passenger Information (passport details). Please leave this section blank on the online booking form, thank you. Travel insurance is optional for all UK tours, so you may also prefer to leave this section blank.

Once your booking has been accepted, we will notify you by email. A full itinerary and practical details will be sent two weeks in advance. We regret we are unable to offer refunds on unused tickets, but tickets may be transferred to someone else for the event you have booked (please do let us know if you would like to do so, and give us the name of the person who will be taking your place). Availability is limited but friends and relatives are as always welcome!

Please refer to our Terms and Conditions for booking this event


  • Private openings of Corsham Court, Great Chalfield Manor and Buscot Park
  • Afternoon tea in Bibury
  • Outstanding private art collections including works by Rembrandt, Rubens, Sofonisba Anguissola, Burne-Jones and Fra Filippo Lippi
  • Lunch with the owners of Great Chalfield Manor followed by garden tour
  • All-inclusive price: two lunches and dinner with wine included


  • Tour Price: £360.00
  • Single Supplement: £45.00
  • Room Upgrade: per room per night
  • Deposit: £360.00
  • Lecturer: Siân Walters
  • Guest Speakers: Various


Booking is now closed.

If you have any questions regarding the tour or booking please send us an email or
call on +44 (0)1932 267322

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