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A night in the gardens of Holborn

A night in the gardens of Holborn
Posted on Monday, 5th August 2019

The Bedford Hotel in Southampton Row, Holborn, is something of an underrated asset. Refurbished a few years ago, our second visit at the end of July showed it at near its best, with a long bar and restaurant and a pleasant tree-lined patio outside running the full length of both. As before, the dinner was excellent and very reasonably priced, with service so efficient we finished our dinner in good time to start the social. Despite the odd bit of rain, it was a warm evening and we all gravitated outside to chat amongst the greenery (left).

Our May Weekend Plus in Kent and Sussex

Our May Weekend Plus in Kent and Sussex
Posted on Sunday, 7th July 2019

Tunbridge Wells may not have quite the allure of Bucharest and Transylvania, but the 5-day tour of historic parts of Kent and Sussex in May, was as enjoyable as last year’s Romanian venture. The town acted as a pleasant base from which to explore numerous castles, country houses, stately gardens, inns, restaurants, historic towns and not least, a winery. Phillip (pictured third from left), who so efficiently organised it all, thoroughly deserved the ‘thank you’ gift from the group, a quality pair of cuff-links of his favourite ‘chain-link’ type.

An evening at Leeds

An evening at Leeds
Posted on Sunday, 7th July 2019

Soon after we checked into our hotel, we were off to visit Leeds Castle (left, and nowhere near Yorkshire!) which despite looking impressively medieval, is more of a elegant country house inside. It began in the 12th century, was acquired by Kings Edward I, Henry V and Henry VIII. More recently in the 1930s, it became a fashionable country house presided over by the formidable Lady Baillie, who held glamorous parties there. We contented ourselves with an excellent dinner overlooking the moated and floodlit castle from the opposite bank.

A medieval day with wine and food

A medieval day with wine and food
Posted on Sunday, 7th July 2019

The next day was action-packed, first to Bodiam Castle, its classic outline preserved intact from the 14th Century, though a ruin inside (left). We went on to the winery at Gusbourne where there was some serious wine-tasting, and an interesting eulogy to the virtues of English wine, provoking some of us to buy some - a happy discovery! After strolling around the charming town of Rye, we returned to base to get suited up for our traditional Saturday dinner, at the hotel’s ‘Seventeen’ restaurant.

The group celebrates a splendid few days in Kent and Sussex

The group celebrates a splendid few days in Kent and Sussex
Posted on Sunday, 7th July 2019

Sunday was hardly a day of rest. After an interesting guided tour round the well-known 17th century ‘Pantiles’, we were off to 14th Century Penshurst Place, once home to Anne of Cleves, third wife of Henry VIII who managed to keep her head despite his calling her ‘The Flanders Mare’. We had a good lunch in the local 'Leicester Arms’ – a mere 16th century upstart! - and moved on to 14th century 'Ightham Mote’. Next day was our final castle, Hever, dating from 1270 and the home of Queen Anne Boleyn. With more visits to follow, the group (pictured left) felt we had been given a splendid tour of a beautiful area.

 

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