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Epsom, Ewell and District Centre

 Supporting the National Trust since 1971

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Monday 2nd to 6th July 2018

Holiday: The Historic Houses and Heritage of Suffolk

On Monday 2nd July a luxury coach trundled round the district picking up a mixed company of members eager to enjoy the programme of visits proposed.


The sun shone and we enjoyed a comfortable journey into Cambridgeshire and to Wimpole Hall.  The huge and impressive house was the home of Rudyard Kipling’s daughter and had spectacular interiors designed by, among others, Sir John Soane. From Wimpole we drove to Sudbury and the Mill Hotel.  We settled into the comfortable hotel which, as the name implied, was situated on the banks of a river.  The rooms had the expected level of comfort and the dining room was animated by the sight of a revolving water wheel.  So to dinner and the end of our first day.



Something of a disappointment on Tuesday morning as the boat trip on the River Deben had to be abandoned because there was not sufficient access for the coach. With the resilience Margaret shows on these occasions, a visit to Sutton Hoo was quickly arranged. The size of the site and the work involved in burying a whole long ship was quite staggering. The sight of the exquisite gold and enamel ornaments was worth the journey alone. The bonus was to visit Tranmer House and to learn that it is now to close for a £5 million refit and redevelopment. We set off for Aldeburgh, associated with Benjamin Britten. We had a most interesting visit to the town museum, housed in the ancient Moot Hall. There was just time to visit the parish church and inspect the memorial to the lifeboat men who lost their lives trying to save others.


On the third day we were accompanied by a Blue Badge guide for our journey through Constable Country.  Firstly to Ipswich and specifically Christchurch Mansion, a fine Tudor mansion set in a green park although it is in the centre of the town.  There were interesting displays and a fine art gallery.  On to Dedham, East Bergholt and Flatford Mill.  Visiting the actual sites of some of Constable’s world famous paintings was an unforgettable experience.


The next day we headed for the National Stud at Newmarket where we had a most interesting account of the establishment responsible for the rigid control of the horse racing blood stock and the eye-watering fees involved.  A brief visit to the centre of Newmarket and then a complete change with a visit to Long Melford and Melford Hall, a home to the Admiral in Command at Copenhagen who offered Nelson the chance to break off the engagement and causing Nelson’s famous response “I really do not see the signal.  I have only one eye and have a right to be blind sometimes” and went on to achieve one of his most famous victories.  Back to the hotel for the last dinner and packing our bags ready for departure.


At 9.45am on Friday 6th July we set off round the town of Sudbury to visit Gainsborough’s house – the birthplace of the painter and now fittingly, an excellent art gallery as well as a museum.  We then set off seriously for home with one last call at the RHS garden at Hyde Hall in Essex.  A marvellous last site made even more glorious by the never ending sunshine.  On our journey we became accustomed to brown paper coloured fields so that the sudden experience of emerald green lush lawns stretching away into the distance at Hyde Hall came almost as a shock!  After a comparatively short trip we began to disperse to our homes.




Once again we are grateful to Margaret Bourne for a smooth and memorable holiday.  Along with our coach driver Lee, all the crises were smoothed out and the enjoyment of the trip ensured.  We must do this again sometime!

           Gerald Smith


Wimpole Hall

Sutton Hoo

Melford Hall

Hyde Hall

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