In our annual guided tour feature, Val Baynton highlights attractions and venues that offer expert led visits. Discovering the secrets of an attraction or looking behind the scenes are ways to make your group outings even more appealing!Up and down the country historic properties are very happy to organise bespoke tours for your group – whether its art, architecture or anecdotes about the owners there is something to intrigue your members.
Recently reopened, after renovation, is Fulham Palace House and Garden, the home of the Bishops of London for 1,300 years.
The restoration work has included creating a new museum and opening up rooms not previously available to visitors, the Tudor Courtyard and an expanded collection of historically significant plants in the 13-acre botanic garden.
There are five guided tours for groups to select from – a ‘Garden’, ‘History’, ‘Architecture’, ‘Palace and All Saints Church’ and the ‘Bishop’s Park’ tour – and each is led by an experienced guide.
These will allow your group to discover insights into the building’s and garden’s history and, afterwards, you can enjoy refreshments in the Drawing Room Café.
During a visit to Sudeley Castle & Gardens in Winchcombe, Gloucestershire groups can learn about its history and its famous former royal residents including Katherine Parr, the last of Henry VIII’s wives who is buried in St Mary’s Church.
Now home to Lady Ashcombe and her family, the castle rooms are open daily and there are 10 magnificent award-winning gardens to visit.
Options for groups include an introductory historical talk from one of the expert guides or a garden tour, or a bespoke tour can be tailored to the interests of your group to focus on a specific theme or period of history.
The castle is continually being restored and the gardens regenerated – and recently, an archaeological dig focused on discovering more about a long-lost Tudor Garden and a banqueting house that have been buried underground for hundreds of years!
Pre-booked groups of 15 or more people will enjoy discounted rates. This September groups visiting a special exhibition on the ‘Women of Sudeley’, can book to meet Emma Dent, one of Sudeley’s chatelaines from Victorian times, while enjoying a cream tea.