Essex Gardens and Ghouls – NEW TOUR
The only way is Essex! RHS Hyde Hall is a peaceful garden and a perfect destination for groups. Here we will enjoy a guided tour to discover the unique terrain and plants of note. Next we step into spooky territory with a haunted history tour around Colchester, Britain’s oldest town. Our horticultural theme continues with a visit to Audley End House and Gardens.
Dates throughout 2022 & 2023
Suggested itinerary by coach
Travel to Essex
Arrive at your hotel and relax before dinner.
RHS Garden Hyde Hall
The RHS Garden Hyde Hall is a peaceful garden and a perfect destination for groups; the beautiful hilltop garden, rose garden, woodland, meadows and pasture are all available to explore. Highlights include the fascinating Mediterranean inspired Dry Garden which showcases an array of drought tolerant plants that will thrive in an area of very low rainfall (Hyde Hall is actually in the driest part of the UK). We will take part in a guided tour to learn more about this unique garden. There is a restaurant onsite for a delicious lunch or afternoon tea.
Haunted Colchester with lunch
We meet our guide and head to Colchester Castle and its museum that takes you through 2000 years of British history. Next we visit Hollytrees Museum which houses toys, costumes and decorative arts. It is reputed to be haunted by the ‘White Lady’, whose ghost can often be heard running past the Gun Room. We have lunch at the Red Lion Hotel, reputedly one of the most haunted hotels in England! After lunch our guide takes us to Manningtree, once home to Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins, famous for the hanging of over 300 women suspected of witchcraft, and Mistley, by the River Stour where Hopkins’ own ghost is said to haunt Mistley Pond.
Audley End House and Gardens
After breakfast, we visit Audley End House & Gardens, once a palace in all but name and renowned as one of the finest Jacobean houses in England. It is now one-third of its original size, but there is still much to enjoy in its architectural features and varied collections. The gardens at Audley End are a tranquil landscape with stunning views across the unspoilt Essex countryside. It’s possible to see elements of English gardening on a grand scale carried out by the most influential designers of the day such as Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. Return to your hotel via the picturesque Medieval Town of Saffron Walden, and maybe a visit St Mary the Virgin, the largest church in Essex, with a total length of nearly 200 feet, and one of the most lavishly designed.
After breakfast start your journey home. If time permits, you may wish to call into Braintree Freeport outlet mall for some shopping.
Suggested Hotels – Inspected by Greatdays staff in March 2018
Marks Tey Hotel SureStay Hotel Collection by Best Western, Colchester ****
Located close to Colchester, with all local attractions within easy reach and excellent transportation links to East Anglia, London and the M5, this hotel is the perfect base to explore the area. Enjoy contemporary brasserie style food in the restaurant or indulge in the delights of afternoon tea, light bites and relaxed drinks in the Bar & Lounge. Leisure facilities include an indoor pool, spa, sauna, steam room, gym and tennis courts. There are 110 comfortable en-suite bedrooms, each of them equipped with TV, trouser press, hairdryer and tea and coffee making facilities. This hotel does not have a lift but there are plenty of rooms on the ground floor. Coach parking is available on site.
Holiday Inn Colchester ***
A warm welcome awaits at this hotel, situated in the village of Halstead, three miles from the centre of Colchester. Guests can keep in shape in the gym and indoor pool and relax and treat themselves in the spa, steam room and sauna. The casual, barn-style restaurant serves modern British cuisine and the bar offers drinks and burgers while showing live TV sports. Relax in one of the cosy bedrooms which feature private bathrooms, hairdryer, TV and tea and coffee making facilities. This hotel has coach parking and rooms adapted for disabled use.
|Dates||5 days / 4 nights|
|2022 dates||From £345.00 per person|
|2023 dates||From £355.00 per person|
Single room supplement available upon request.