We check in to the Park Royal Hotel in the afternoon. Later, we enjoy a welcome drinks reception hosted by our tour manager followed by a three-course evening meal.
Friday: Adlington Hall & Bramall Hall
Today we begin at Adlington Hall, home to the Legh family from 1315. It was built on the site of a hunting lodge in 1040 and we’ll find out more about this property’s history on our guided tour, with tea and coffee provided. Highlights include the beautiful oak-panelled Dining Room, the 16th-century Great Hall and the Chinese Room.
We continue on to Bramall Hall. Set in 70 acres of parkland, this Tudor manor house has origins that date back to the Middle Ages and we learn more on our guided tour. Make sure to take in the Hall’s impressive 16th-century wall painting, Elizabethan plaster ceiling and the Victorian Kitchens.
In the evening we enjoy a three-course dinner and an interesting themed talk from a guest speaker.
Saturday: Chester & Chester Cathedral
This morning we explore the numerous charms of Chester, a city with a fascinating history that spans the centuries, from the remains of its Roman Amphitheatre to the eye-catching Medieval Rows that line its streets. We pay a visit to Chester Cathedral, typical of many English cathedrals in having been modified many times between 1093 and the early 16th century, although the site itself might have been used for Christian worship since Roman times. We enjoy a guided tour of the ground floor.
After some free time for you to find lunch, we enjoy a walking tour of Chester as we retrace the steps of our Roman and medieval visitors. There will then be some free time for you to explore at leisure. As well as its abundance of historical attractions, Chester also has a thriving shopping centre with a host of cafés, restaurants and pubs plus river cruises to tempt you.
This evening, we enjoy a three-course dinner back at the hotel.
Sunday: Arley Hall and Gardens & Henbury Hall Gardens
Arley Hall has been the much-loved home of Viscount Ashbrook and his forbears for over 500 years and we enjoy a guided tour here. The Hall provides a warm and intimate atmosphere with elaborate ceilings, oak-panelling and beautiful contents. Outside, the formal gardens are home to a huge variety of plants, including a magnificent double herbaceous border.
The final point of call today is Henbury Hall Gardens. Henbury Hall is set in just under 600 acres of park and farmland; however it is the garden that is the focus of our attention today. Surrounding two magnificent lakes, this 12 acre garden boasts some rare specimens of plants, some of which were brought back from China more than a century ago. The garden showcases varieties of Camellias, Magnolias and Rhododendrons to name but a few. The Walled Garden has been recently restored, now growing organic fruits and vegetables for the house too.
We return to our hotel for a three-course dinner.
After breakfast, we check out of the hotel for our journey home.