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Something about Suffolk

A six day exploration of East Anglia’s Great Houses & Gardens with Alan Mason, Chantal Cookson & London Festival Opera

  • 31 May 2020
  • Music
  • History and Culture

An Introduction by Andrew Cochrane, Noble Caledonia Founder & Director

  • Flatford Mill, Dedham

"Have you ever visited the Suffolk Heritage Coast? If so, you will know it is a wonderfully peaceful and scenic stretch of coast and an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’. It may only be slightly less than one hundred miles from London but could be 500 hundred miles in its unhurried atmosphere and gentle pace of life. Somehow, Suffolk and in particular the 50 mile stretch of Heritage Coast has survived the onslaught of the 21st century, making its towns and villages a pleasure to visit and its unspoiled landscape a joy. Nowhere is this truer than the seaside town of Aldeburgh, known the world over for its Music Festival, a magnet for cultural tourists. We have chosen Aldeburgh as our base for five nights because there is something very special about the town. Likewise, our choice of hotel, the Wentworth, is one of those rare owner managed properties of enormous charm with the added bonus of facing the sea and the fisherman’s huts and little boats which dot the beach.

The big skies and extraordinary light of East Anglia are unique and offer the most amazing conditions in which to create stunning gardens. From our Aldeburgh base we will visit some of the finest gardens in Suffolk and beyond and travel into North Essex and across the border into Norfolk. We will admire the big skies of Constable Country, stopping in lovely Dedham, spend a morning in Beth Chatto’s famous dry garden and enjoy a private visit to Helmingham Hall where London Festival Opera will entertain us in the splendid surroundings. There will also be visits to two other great houses and gardens: Somerleyton Hall and Raveningham Hall, two of the finest gardens in East Anglia. In contrast we will visit smaller but equally charming Priors Oak Garden in Aldeburgh. Finally, no trip to Aldeburgh would be complete without a visit to Benjamin Britten’s home the Red House in Aldeburgh.

I have been visiting Aldeburgh for over 30 years and it is difficult to put into words why it’s so special, but it does have a unique timeless quality rarely found on our coasts. To make the most of your visit our itinerary has been planned at a leisurely pace, no early starts and some free time to enjoy the hotel, Aldeburgh and its surroundings. The hotel has an excellent location being just a few minutes’ walk from the High Street with its speciality shops and art galleries. You may care to bring your walking boots as the area has some fine coastal, heath and marshland walks offering delightful views and bird watching. “

Useful links & Travel Advice

Please find a selection of useful websites to refer to for information from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, on visa requirements, NHS travel health advice and other useful travel tips.  


Something about Suffolk

Something about Suffolk

WENTWORTH HOTEL

For the duration of our tour we have taken over all the accommodation of this fine sea facing hotel. Having been run by the same family since 1920, we will be there during its centenary and be able to appreciate why the hotel has such a loyal following. At any time, the returning guests can number up to 75% of those staying and it is easy to see why. It is a traditionally run hotel of impeccable standards. Each winter the hotel closes its doors for a few weeks for refurbishment, which is readily apparent in its open plan sitting areas and guest rooms. The sea facing dining room is famous throughout the area for its fine food and in particular its fish which is supplied by the local fisherman. Outside, the hotel’s Tiffany garden is a lovely spot to read or enjoy a drink and take in the coastal views. The hotel also offers two cosy guest lounges with open fires and comfortable sofas.

The much-loved entertainer Joyce Grenfell stayed at the Wentworth during her visits to the Aldeburgh Music Festival between 1962 and 1979 and published a collection of her letters. Her book ‘Letters from Aldeburgh’ are full of her inimitable wit and love for life and a copy of the book will be provided to every booking, an ideal read for a stay in Aldeburgh.

View accommodation details

Itinerary

  • The Red House at Aldeburgh
  • Helmingham Hall and Gardens
  • Somerleyton Hall interior

Day 1 Aldeburgh.

A transfer to Aldeburgh from Ipswich Rail Station will be provided to those arriving by train. Those driving may park at the hotel’s car park. Meet in the evening for welcome drinks and dinner in the hotel.

Day 2 Helmingham Hall.

Enjoy a relaxing morning in Aldeburgh. Perhaps join an after breakfast walk along the coast to the village of Thorpeness, created in 1910 by Stuart Ogilvie as a fantastic holiday village of Tudor and Jacobean buildings. Depart at noon for Helmingham Hall for a private visit to the home of the Tollemache family since 1510. The Hall appears to float on the surface of its broad surrounding moat. After lunch in the Coach House, wander around the extensive and beautiful gardens including a tour with Lady Tollemache, who has over the past 30 years succeeded in melding the older garden forms into a harmonious whole. After tea, London Festival Opera will entertain us before we drive back to the Wentworth for dinner.

Day 3 Beth Chato Garden & Dedham.

Depart in the morning for the Beth Chatto Gardens, across the border in North Essex. Beth Chatto, OBE took an overgrown wasteland of brambles, parched gravel and boggy ditches in 1960 and created one of the most amazing gardens in the country. Beth oversaw the development of the gardens well into her 90’s and they remain a family-run business. Wonder at the Gravel Garden which was once a car park and is never watered, as well as the Scree Garden, Water Garden and Woodland. In the late morning drive into Constable County to the delightful village of Dedham for lunch at the historic Sun Inn located in the picturesque High Street. Enjoy some free time for a stroll through Dedham and then either return to Aldeburgh or visit Flatford Mill and see why Constable so loved this pretty hamlet and surrounding countryside. Enjoy dinner at the Wentworth this evening.

Day 4 Raveningham & Somerleyton.

This morning we drive through Suffolk to southern Norfolk and the Raveningham Estate, the family home of the Bacon family since 1735. Sir Nicholas Bacon, President of the RHS will meet us and join us for a tour of the wonderful historic gardens. Our next visit is Somerleyton Hall. After lunch in the wonderful glassed Winter Garden we will tour the splendid gardens and fine Hall, one of the finest private houses in East Anglia. After afternoon tea meet in the opulent Ballroom for a performance by London Festival Opera. Return to the Wentworth for dinner.

Day 5 The Red House & Priors Oak.

Just outside Aldeburgh is the home of composer Benjamin Britten and tenor Peter Pears. They shared the Red House for almost twenty years and today you will find it just as they left it, a charmingly informal snapshot as though Britten and Pears had just stepped out for a moment. We return to the hotel for some free time. This afternoon we will visit Priors Oak, a private garden in the leafy lanes of Aldeburgh. It is a tranquil 10 acre garden of herbaceous borders, ferns and Mediterranean plants. Skirting the wood are 100 buddleias, a magnet for butterflies. We drive back to the Wentworth for our farewell dinner and the music of Nick Raison.

Day 6 Aldeburgh.

After breakfast a transfer will be provided to Ipswich Rail Station for those returning home by train.

  • Flatford Mill, Dedham
  • Helmingham Hall
  • Raveningham Garden

Dates and Prices

Prices per person based on double occupancy
31 May to 5 June 2020
Category Price
Standard Double Room £1995
Standard King Size/Twin Room £1995
Darfield House King Size/Twin Room £2095
Standard Double Room - sea facing £2195
Standard King Size/Twin Room – sea facing £2195
Large King Size/Twin Room – sea facing £2395
Superior King Size/Twin Room – sea facing £2595
Standard Double Room for Sole Use £2795
Darfield House Double for Sole Use £2795
Standard Double Room for Sole Use – sea facing £2995

Tour Reference Code: LASUFFOLK

PRICE INCLUDES: Five nights hotel accommodation at the Wentworth Hotel on a breakfast and dinner basis • Lunch on days 2, 3 & 4 • Afternoon tea on days 2 & 4 • Excursions as described • Two London Festival Opera Performances • Tour Leader • Guest Speaker • Group transfers.

Not Included: Travel insurance, lunch on days 1,5 & 6.

Please note: The hotel does not have a lift and the majority of the rooms are located on the first and second floor of the hotel therefore only accessible by climbing a number of steps. We therefore do not recommend this holiday for those with walking difficulties.

Something about Suffolk

WENTWORTH HOTEL

For the duration of our tour we have taken over all the accommodation of this fine sea facing hotel. Having been run by the same family since 1920, we will be there during its centenary and be able to appreciate why the hotel has such a loyal following. At any time, the returning guests can number up to 75% of those staying and it is easy to see why. It is a traditionally run hotel of impeccable standards. Each winter the hotel closes its doors for a few weeks for refurbishment, which is readily apparent in its open plan sitting areas and guest rooms. The sea facing dining room is famous throughout the area for its fine food and in particular its fish which is supplied by the local fisherman. Outside, the hotel’s Tiffany garden is a lovely spot to read or enjoy a drink and take in the coastal views. The hotel also offers two cosy guest lounges with open fires and comfortable sofas.

The much-loved entertainer Joyce Grenfell stayed at the Wentworth during her visits to the Aldeburgh Music Festival between 1962 and 1979 and published a collection of her letters. Her book ‘Letters from Aldeburgh’ are full of her inimitable wit and love for life and a copy of the book will be provided to every booking, an ideal read for a stay in Aldeburgh.

 
  • Wentworth Hotel
  • Terrace Bar
  • Wentworth Hotel
    Terrace Bar
  • Lobby area
  • Lounge
  • Darfield House Double/King Size/Twin Room
  • Superior King Size/Twin Room
  • Restaurant
    Restaurant
  • Your Room

    Standard Double Room

    Located on the first or second floor, these rooms have a five-foot double bed and are inland or sea facing with en-suite shower room or bathroom.

    Standard King Size/Twin Room

    Located on the ground, first or second floor, these rooms have a six-foot king size bed (which can be split into two three-foot single beds) and are inland or sea facing with en-suite shower room or bathroom.

    Larger King Size/Twin Room

    Located on the first or second floor, these rooms have a six-foot king size bed (which can be split into two three-foot single beds) and are sea facing with en-suite shower room or bathroom.

    Superior King Size/Twin Room

    Located on the ground, first or second floor, these rooms have a six-foot king size bed (which can be split into two three-foot single beds) and are sea facing with en-suite bathroom. In addition, these rooms have a seating area or separate sitting room.

    Darfield House Double/King Size/Twin Room

    Located on the ground or first floor, these rooms have a five-foot double bed or six-foot king size bed (which can be split into two three-foot single beds) and are inland facing with en-suite shower room or bathroom.

  • Hotel Directory

    Hotel Directory

    Please find below further details pertaining to the hotel or click on the booklet to download. 

    For the duration of our tour we have taken over all the 35 guests rooms of this fine sea-facing hotel. Having been run by the same family since 1920 we will be there during its centenary and be able to appreciate why the hotel has such a loyal following. At any time, the returning guests can number up to 75% of those staying and it is easy to see why. It is a traditionally run hotel of impeccable standards. Each winter the hotel closes its doors for a few weeks for refurbishment, which is readily apparent in its open plan sitting areas and guest rooms.

    The overall feel of the hotel is relaxed and personal and you will find a first class and friendly service that only a small hotel can provide.The sea-facing dining room is famous throughout the area for its fine food and in particular its fish, some of which is supplied by the local fisherman. The hotel also offers two cosy guest lounges with open fires and comfortable sofas. Outside, the hotel’s Tiffany garden is a lovely spot to read or enjoy a drink and take in the coastal views.

    ADDRESS

    The Wentworth Hotel Wentworth Road, Aldeburgh Suffolk IP15 5BD

    CAR PARK

    The hotel has a car park which can accommodate 30 cars free of charge.

    CHECK IN/CHECK OUT

    Check in time is from 3.00 pm and check out is by 11.00 am.

    COMMUNICATIONS

    To contact the hotel please call 01728 452312. There is a phone in your hotel room which has access to an outside line. Outgoing call costs can be found on the information next to your phone. You can obtain an outside line by dialling ‘9’. The hotel can be contacted by email at stay@wentworth-aldeburgh.com. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel and the reception staff can show you how to connect if you require assistance.

    DIETARY REQUIREMENTS

    If you have any dietary requirements such as vegetarian and gluten free, please notify the Noble Caledonia Reservations Department. We will endeavour to accommodate your needs but regret that not all dietary requests can be guaranteed. Once checked in, please speak to the Maitre ‘D at dinner on your first night to reconfirm your needs.

    DINING & DRINKING

    Breakfast is served in the restaurant from 7.30 am to 9.30 am daily. Lunch is served in the restaurant from 12.00 noon to 2.00 pm or in the bar from 12.00 noon to 2.30 pm daily. Dinner is served in the restaurant from 6.30 pm to 9.00 pm daily. The residents bar is open daily from 11.45 am to 11.00 pm.

    DOCTOR

    If you require a doctor at any time during your stay, please dial ‘0’ from your room phone and speak with Reception.

    DRESS CODE

    You may dress however you feel comfortable during the day. Evening attire is smart casual.

    EMERGENCY PROCEDURES

    We request that as soon as you enter your room, you carefully read the safety instructions in the guest directory. In an emergency please contact Reception between 7.30 am and 11.00 pm or dial ‘0’ out of hours. Please be aware of the fire exits and in the event of an emergency close all doors and leave by the nearest fire exit. Guests staying in the Main Building should assemble on the terrace in front of the hotel. Guests staying in Darfield House should assemble in the top car park. If the alarm sounds, please vacate the hotel. Fire Alarms are tested every Monday between 11.00 am and 12.00 noon. The alarm will sound at this time but please do not follow the fire assembly drill during this test.

    END OF STAY QUESTIONNAIRE

    We are always looking for ways to improve our holidays and the services provided and in order to do this we welcome feedback from our guests. Your comments are important to us therefore we request that you complete the questionnaire that will be provided to you by your Tour Leader.

    IRONING FACILITIES

    Should you require an iron and ironing board, please contact Reception who will bring one to your room.

    LAUNDRY

    A laundry service is available and laundry bags can be obtained from Reception. Items are usually returned the next day, but this may not always be possible. If laundry is required the following day please hand it to Reception as early as possible.

    LIFT

    There are no lifts.

    LOST PROPERTY

    Before you check out, please check your hotel room to ensure you do not leave anything behind. If you discover you have left any items behind, please contact Noble Caledonia directly. If we are able to recover your item(s) we will contact you to arrange delivery or collection, and any costs incurred will be at your own expense.

    MAIL

    Letters or postcards can be left at Reception and the team will be happy to assist with postage. Postage can be bought and charged to your room account.

    NEWS

    News channels are available on your TV in your hotel room.

    PUBLIC AREAS

    One of just a few Aldeburgh restaurants with sea views, the hotel’s restaurant serves fresh, local produce with imaginative menus. Overlooking the characterful wooden fishing huts, the sea-facing restaurant offers a warm welcome and attentive service in a wonderful setting. The hotel also features a bar and two cosy guest lounges with open fires and comfortable sofas. In addition, there are also two sea-facing gardens, offering views of the beach.

    ROOM ACCOUNT

    All guests will have their own “room account”. This allows you to charge any expenses to your room and then settle your bill at the Reception Desk at the end of your stay. Prices are shown and charged in Pounds. Your room account can be paid by:

    • Credit Card (Visa or MasterCard) • Cash (Pounds)

    ROOMS

    The Wentworth has 28 rooms in the main hotel and 7 rooms in Darfield House located opposite. The hotel bedrooms in the main hotel are beautifully appointed, individually designed, and many have unrivalled views of the Suffolk coast, overlooking Aldeburgh beach. Darfield House offers large contemporary rooms with luxury bathrooms which have access to a pretty sheltered garden but have no sea views. All of the rooms throughout the hotel have en-suite bathrooms, TV, radio, Wi-Fi, direct dial telephones, hairdryers and tea and coffee making facilities.

    {MEDIA GALLERY DEFAULT}

    SAFE

    If you have any valuables please deposit them in the safe at reception.

    SMOKING POLICY

    Smoking is not permitted anywhere inside the hotel. Smoking is permitted on the terrace, and it is requested that smokers take the comfort of other guests into consideration.

    TELEPHONE DIRECTORY

    0 Reception 9 Outside line

    TELEVISION

    All rooms are equipped with televisions.

    TOILETRIES

    All hotel rooms are supplied with Gilchrist & Soames soap, shower gel, shampoo, conditioner and body lotion.

    WAKE UP CALL

    Wake up calls can be requested through the Reception Desk.

    WATER

    Bottled water is provided in your room.

  • View all tours
  • Your Room

    Standard Double Room

    Located on the first or second floor, these rooms have a five-foot double bed and are inland or sea facing with en-suite shower room or bathroom.

    Standard King Size/Twin Room

    Located on the ground, first or second floor, these rooms have a six-foot king size bed (which can be split into two three-foot single beds) and are inland or sea facing with en-suite shower room or bathroom.

    Larger King Size/Twin Room

    Located on the first or second floor, these rooms have a six-foot king size bed (which can be split into two three-foot single beds) and are sea facing with en-suite shower room or bathroom.

    Superior King Size/Twin Room

    Located on the ground, first or second floor, these rooms have a six-foot king size bed (which can be split into two three-foot single beds) and are sea facing with en-suite bathroom. In addition, these rooms have a seating area or separate sitting room.

    Darfield House Double/King Size/Twin Room

    Located on the ground or first floor, these rooms have a five-foot double bed or six-foot king size bed (which can be split into two three-foot single beds) and are inland facing with en-suite shower room or bathroom.

  • Hotel Directory

    Hotel Directory

    Please find below further details pertaining to the hotel or click on the booklet to download. 

    For the duration of our tour we have taken over all the 35 guests rooms of this fine sea-facing hotel. Having been run by the same family since 1920 we will be there during its centenary and be able to appreciate why the hotel has such a loyal following. At any time, the returning guests can number up to 75% of those staying and it is easy to see why. It is a traditionally run hotel of impeccable standards. Each winter the hotel closes its doors for a few weeks for refurbishment, which is readily apparent in its open plan sitting areas and guest rooms.

    The overall feel of the hotel is relaxed and personal and you will find a first class and friendly service that only a small hotel can provide.The sea-facing dining room is famous throughout the area for its fine food and in particular its fish, some of which is supplied by the local fisherman. The hotel also offers two cosy guest lounges with open fires and comfortable sofas. Outside, the hotel’s Tiffany garden is a lovely spot to read or enjoy a drink and take in the coastal views.

    ADDRESS

    The Wentworth Hotel Wentworth Road, Aldeburgh Suffolk IP15 5BD

    CAR PARK

    The hotel has a car park which can accommodate 30 cars free of charge.

    CHECK IN/CHECK OUT

    Check in time is from 3.00 pm and check out is by 11.00 am.

    COMMUNICATIONS

    To contact the hotel please call 01728 452312. There is a phone in your hotel room which has access to an outside line. Outgoing call costs can be found on the information next to your phone. You can obtain an outside line by dialling ‘9’. The hotel can be contacted by email at stay@wentworth-aldeburgh.com. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel and the reception staff can show you how to connect if you require assistance.

    DIETARY REQUIREMENTS

    If you have any dietary requirements such as vegetarian and gluten free, please notify the Noble Caledonia Reservations Department. We will endeavour to accommodate your needs but regret that not all dietary requests can be guaranteed. Once checked in, please speak to the Maitre ‘D at dinner on your first night to reconfirm your needs.

    DINING & DRINKING

    Breakfast is served in the restaurant from 7.30 am to 9.30 am daily. Lunch is served in the restaurant from 12.00 noon to 2.00 pm or in the bar from 12.00 noon to 2.30 pm daily. Dinner is served in the restaurant from 6.30 pm to 9.00 pm daily. The residents bar is open daily from 11.45 am to 11.00 pm.

    DOCTOR

    If you require a doctor at any time during your stay, please dial ‘0’ from your room phone and speak with Reception.

    DRESS CODE

    You may dress however you feel comfortable during the day. Evening attire is smart casual.

    EMERGENCY PROCEDURES

    We request that as soon as you enter your room, you carefully read the safety instructions in the guest directory. In an emergency please contact Reception between 7.30 am and 11.00 pm or dial ‘0’ out of hours. Please be aware of the fire exits and in the event of an emergency close all doors and leave by the nearest fire exit. Guests staying in the Main Building should assemble on the terrace in front of the hotel. Guests staying in Darfield House should assemble in the top car park. If the alarm sounds, please vacate the hotel. Fire Alarms are tested every Monday between 11.00 am and 12.00 noon. The alarm will sound at this time but please do not follow the fire assembly drill during this test.

    END OF STAY QUESTIONNAIRE

    We are always looking for ways to improve our holidays and the services provided and in order to do this we welcome feedback from our guests. Your comments are important to us therefore we request that you complete the questionnaire that will be provided to you by your Tour Leader.

    IRONING FACILITIES

    Should you require an iron and ironing board, please contact Reception who will bring one to your room.

    LAUNDRY

    A laundry service is available and laundry bags can be obtained from Reception. Items are usually returned the next day, but this may not always be possible. If laundry is required the following day please hand it to Reception as early as possible.

    LIFT

    There are no lifts.

    LOST PROPERTY

    Before you check out, please check your hotel room to ensure you do not leave anything behind. If you discover you have left any items behind, please contact Noble Caledonia directly. If we are able to recover your item(s) we will contact you to arrange delivery or collection, and any costs incurred will be at your own expense.

    MAIL

    Letters or postcards can be left at Reception and the team will be happy to assist with postage. Postage can be bought and charged to your room account.

    NEWS

    News channels are available on your TV in your hotel room.

    PUBLIC AREAS

    One of just a few Aldeburgh restaurants with sea views, the hotel’s restaurant serves fresh, local produce with imaginative menus. Overlooking the characterful wooden fishing huts, the sea-facing restaurant offers a warm welcome and attentive service in a wonderful setting. The hotel also features a bar and two cosy guest lounges with open fires and comfortable sofas. In addition, there are also two sea-facing gardens, offering views of the beach.

    ROOM ACCOUNT

    All guests will have their own “room account”. This allows you to charge any expenses to your room and then settle your bill at the Reception Desk at the end of your stay. Prices are shown and charged in Pounds. Your room account can be paid by:

    • Credit Card (Visa or MasterCard) • Cash (Pounds)

    ROOMS

    The Wentworth has 28 rooms in the main hotel and 7 rooms in Darfield House located opposite. The hotel bedrooms in the main hotel are beautifully appointed, individually designed, and many have unrivalled views of the Suffolk coast, overlooking Aldeburgh beach. Darfield House offers large contemporary rooms with luxury bathrooms which have access to a pretty sheltered garden but have no sea views. All of the rooms throughout the hotel have en-suite bathrooms, TV, radio, Wi-Fi, direct dial telephones, hairdryers and tea and coffee making facilities.

    {MEDIA GALLERY DEFAULT}

    SAFE

    If you have any valuables please deposit them in the safe at reception.

    SMOKING POLICY

    Smoking is not permitted anywhere inside the hotel. Smoking is permitted on the terrace, and it is requested that smokers take the comfort of other guests into consideration.

    TELEPHONE DIRECTORY

    0 Reception 9 Outside line

    TELEVISION

    All rooms are equipped with televisions.

    TOILETRIES

    All hotel rooms are supplied with Gilchrist & Soames soap, shower gel, shampoo, conditioner and body lotion.

    WAKE UP CALL

    Wake up calls can be requested through the Reception Desk.

    WATER

    Bottled water is provided in your room.

Travelling with You

  • London Festival Opera

    London Festival Opera

    We are delighted to be joined by London Festival Opera on many of our tours and cruises. We have long been associated with London Festival Opera and each year our music themed cruises grow in popularity. London Festival Opera have achieved a considerable reputation for presenting opera in palaces, castles, country houses, theatres, concert halls, embassies and private homes and gardens. Recent engagements have been throughout the UK, Europe and as far afield as Barbados, Marrakech and Moscow.

    Particular attention is given to the design and quality of our costumes which are as authentic as possible. Whether it is a period evening dress, such as Regency or Victorian to enhance a gala performance or a full production, the costumes will be of the highest quality and style.

    Bringing together artists from the major British opera companies including the Royal Opera, English National Opera and Glyndebourne Festival Opera, the company has a considerable reputation and has appeared in some of the world's leading venues including as a guest company in one of the Italy's greatest opera houses, La Fenice in Venice.

    London Festival Opera will be on the following tour dates: 31 May 2020 to 5 June 2020
  • Alan Mason

    Alan Mason NDT. F.Inst.G. Dip.Hort. M.CI. Hort. is one of Europe’s most experienced and best qualified garden designers and consultants. Having achieved the distinction of being the UK’s youngest head gardener at Bramham Park when still in his 20’s, and then Gardens Manager to the Queen's cousin Lord Harewood at Harewood House in Yorkshire - where he and his team elevated the gardens into the top ten most visited gardens in the country - he set up his garden design consultancy in 1987. He has since designed and created gardens for royalty and other leading public figures in the UK and France. Creating the gardens at Le Manoir du Hilguy for Holiday Property Bond, and at his own home, Le Manoir, Port de Roche in Brittany, brought Alan Mason Garden Design International success.

    During the 80s and 90s Alan also presented the long running ‘Gardens without Borders television programme, which featured gardens in France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Holland.

    His French links continue, particularly in Brittany and Normandy, which have a similar climate and challenges to the UK. Alan is currently developing a beautiful riverside garden near Nantes, selected by the Ecole National Superiore d'Architecture de Versailles as representing the best of quintessential English garden design in the 21st century.

    Alan Mason is a founder member of The Professional Gardener's Guild and the founder of the Senior Garden Advisors consultancy group which brings the services of  top former Head Gardeners' from Stately Homes such as Chatsworth, Castle Howard and Harewood House to a wider public. Alan is also a judge of the show gardens at the prestigious Sandringham Flower Show and a garden design lecturer for The Royal Horticultural Society. 

    Alan Mason will be on the following tour dates: 31 May 2020 to 5 June 2020
  • Chantal Cookson

    Chantal was born in Suffolk very near the sea and now lives in Northumberland where her husband farms and when possible, they go to their cottage in Suffolk.  Chantal has been associated with Noble Caledonia since the company was founded in 1991 and was part of the Expedition Team for many years on the MS Caledonian Star and has led tours, be it cruising or land, all over the world, including the Antarctic in 1999, aboard the Caledonian Star on her first voyage there and in 2017 was aboard the MS Island Sky on her first voyage to the Antarctic. Chantal’s initial experience of cruising was in British waters in 1991 when Noble Caledonia did the first cruise around the British Isles, which was a ground breaking voyage and led to a very successful and popular concept. Though her main job for over 25 years was working for Sotheby’s, she is now a Travel and Fine Art Consultant intertwining in her busy life still working periodically as part of the Noble Caledonia Expedition Team and also as a Tour Leader on Land Tours. From the Arctic to the Antarctica, South America to Australia, Africa, India, The Seychelles, Indonesian Islands and many other destinations including many times the West Coast of Scotland, she has been able to pursue her love of the oceans, zodiacing and photography. Chantal is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

    Chantal Cookson will be on the following tour dates: 31 May 2020 to 5 June 2020

Tour Extensions

    • For those who would like to extend their stay in Suffolk we have arranged a weekend visit to the 12th century fishing village of Orford. Located to the south of Aldeburgh it is one of the prettiest villages in East Anglia. Artists love it for its tranquil water views, bird watchers for the chance to spot a Dartford Warbler and other rare sightings and sailors for the snaking rivers Alde and Ore. Enjoy a panoramic view from the top of the imposing castle keep built by Henry II and eat in the Butley Orford Oysterage which opened in the 1950s and still offers the same menu featuring the locally caught fish by its own fishermen. Stay at The Crown & Castle Hotel, a charming 21 room property by the Market Square. Decorated in light contemporary colours with large comfortable beds it is an ideal hotel from which to enjoy this peaceful village, separated from the sea by the vast shingle spit of Orford Ness.

      Crown and Castle Hotel Crown and Castle Hotel

      The Itinerary

      Day 1 Orford.

      After breakfast check out of the Wentworth Hotel and drive to Orford, a village with historic town status in Suffolk. Those driving may follow our coach and parking is available at the hotel. Like many Suffolk coastal towns, it was of some importance as a port and fishing village in the Middle Ages. It still has a fine Medieval castle, built to dominate the River Ore and a Grade I listed parish church, St Bartholomew’s. We will be staying at The Crown and Castle Hotel for the two nights. We take a stroll to Orford Castle, built by Henry II to watch over the troublesome barons of East Anglia. Enjoy a splendid lunch at the Butley Orford Oysterage or join the ‘Lady Florence’ for an optional three and a half hour lunch cruise from Orford Quay cruising along the Alde and Ore rivers, with commentary covering the wildlife and the intriguing Ministry of Defence involvement as an Atomic Weapons Research establishment and the origins of radar. The evening is free to enjoy dinner under your own arrangements. There are two attractive country pubs and the Oysterage, for those who missed lunch there.

      Day 2 Orford.

      After a leisurely breakfast at the hotel we visit the Orford Ness National Nature Reserve. This National Trust Site on the Ness provides a fascinating insight into some of the activities carried out during the Cold War, including nuclear detonator test sites. It is also a haven for bird watchers. This afternoon we will visit Sutton Hoo, the inspiring Anglo-Saxon royal burial site. This hauntingly beautiful 255-acre estate, with far-reaching views over the River Deben, is home to one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time. We will take a guided walk around the Royal Burial Ground discovering the incredible story of the ship burial of an Anglo-Saxon king and his treasured possessions. Enjoy a farewell dinner at The Crown and Castle this evening.

      Day 3 Orford to Ipswich.

      Morning at leisure – perhaps visit the parish church, St Bartholomew’s or drop by the Pump House Bakery renowned for their outstanding bread and handmade pastries, all made daily in the village. Midday departure for Ipswich Station for those travelling back by train.

                                                                                                                                                                                 

      Your Room

      Terrace Room

      Good House Double

      These beautiful and comfortable bedrooms are at the front of the hotel, with pleasant views looking over the lane to neighbouring gardens.

      Better House Double

      Beautifully stylish bedrooms, with distant views towards the estuary and sea, or towards the market square.

      These rooms are situated adjacent to the main house. They are very spacious, light and airy and have their own private terrace Garden Double or Twin Garden bedrooms are of decent size, and particularly joyous in the summer because each has a semiprivate terrace on the lawn side.

      Courtyard

      Best House Room

      These rooms are situated adjacent to the main house. They are very spacious, light and airy and have their own private terrace.

      Terrace Double or Twin

      Spacious bedrooms with stunning views of the castle, or with handsome views of the gardens.

      Best House

      All the Best House bedrooms are large and airy, the perfect space to enjoy the charming distant estuary views. Suite The lovely, light-filled private suite has its own little balcony where you can sit and enjoy breathtaking views over the Ness.

    • Prices per person based on double occupancy
      5 to 7 June 2020
      CategoryPrice
      Better House Double; Courtyard; Garden Double or Twin £495
      Terrace Double or Twin; Best House £545
      Suite £645
      Good House Double for Sole Use £675
      Garden Double or Twin Sole Use £795

      Price Includes: Two nights hotel accommodation at The Crown and Castle Hotel with breakfast • Lunch on day 1 • Dinner on day 2 • Tour Leader • Excursions as described • Group transfers.

      Not Included: Travel insurance, meals other than those detailed, optional lunch cruise on day 1 (£39 supplement per person & limited places available).

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