Thursday 8th: Depart from your home area in the morning travelling to Bedfordshire and
the Bedford Swan Hotel.
Friday 9th: We visit some of the pretty villages and towns in rural Essex including
Finchingfield and Thaxted. Our next stop is in medieval Saffron Walden. We take a break
here and have time for lunch and to explore. This afternoon we visit Wimpole Home Farm,
a working estate near Royston, in the care of the National Trust. Contrast the traditional
farmyard with the noisy modern piggery and cattle sheds.
Saturday 10th: Our day begins with some free time to explore and discover the town of
Bedford or relax in and around the hotel. In the afternoon we head for Castle Ashby, the
ancestral home of the Marquess of Northampton. We visit the stunning gardens – 25 acres
– a mixture of many different styles including butterfly garden, rainbow border, fuschia
house and Italian Gardens.
Sunday 11th: Leaving the hotel after breakfast we head for Leighton Buzzard and
‘Buzzrail’ – the Leighton Buzzard narrow gauge railway. With its gentle pace, sharp curves,
steep gradients, level crossings and roadside running, the railway offers a unique and
relaxing experience. We start our journey at Page’s Park station and head out into the
rolling Bedfordshire countryside to Stonehenge Works station. Take a look in the museum
and craft shop before the train leaves for the return ride. This afternoon our destination is
Stockwood Discovery Centre, near Luton. Stockwood is a paradise for garden lovers and
the collections of memorabilia from bygone times is fascinating. The site covers 8 acres
and you can end your visit in the café for refreshments.
Monday 12th: After breakfast we leave and begin our homeward journey.