All tours on this holiday have now departed. Future departure dates will be confirmed in due course.
Stay at the atmospheric Barlaston House Hotel
Arts & Crafts masterpiece, Wightwick Manor
Privately owned Chillngton Hall , Heath House and Whitmore Hall
Shugborough Hall, a Staffordshire paradise
Two talks from country house and antiques expert, Nicholas Merchant
This tour takes in some of the country houses of one of England’s industrial powerhouse regions, Staffordshire. A wealth of styles from Arts & Crafts to classical and small to lavish offer a tempting selection of artistic, architectural design treats to be explored in the genial, witty and knowledgeable company of popular Travel Editions tour leader and lecturer, Nicholas Merchant, who will educate and entertain in equal measure.
Day 1: Arrive independently at Barlaston House at 15.30 and enjoy a cream tea. This evening there will be a welcome drink, private dinner with wine and an introductory talk by Nicholas Merchant: ‘Country Houses of Staffordshire’.
Day 2: Wightwick Manor and Chillington Hall
Two wonderful but contrasting styles of architecture and design today, as we head first to Wightwick Manor, one of the most famous Arts & Crafts houses in the country, built for the Manders paint family and filled with their Pre-Raphaelite paintings and William Morris designs. Then to Chillington Hall, the little-known house of the Giffard family, principally attributable to one of England's greatest architects, Sir John Soane, builder of the original Bank of England in Threadneedle Street. Second talk from Nicholas, 'The Lunar Society' and dinner at the hotel.
Day 3: Shugborough Hall and Heath House
This morning takes us to Shugbourough Hall, a National Trust House and formerly the seat of the Anson family. One of the biggest estates in the area with a mansion house, model farm, and servants’ quarters, with a fine collection of furniture, it was home to Patrick Lichfield, the famous society photographer, whose apartment is usually open to the public with some of his work on display. After time for lunch (not included) we head to Heath House, the Victorian pile of the Philips family, complete with its original chattels and impressive painting collection. Dinner at the hotel.
Day 4: Biddulph Grange Gardens, Spode Museum and Whitmore Hall
Biddulph Grange Gardens were created by James Bateman, plant-hunter, who travelled the world to collect rare flora. But this is not just a plantsman’s garden, it is dotted with fantastic topiary gardens including the Egypt garden, and a Chinese pavilion overlooking the lake. Next to the Spode Museum for a light lunch (included) and visit to the museum of one of the most famous names in the realms of ceramic manufacture. Finally, to Whitmore Hall, a small, intimate family-owned manor-house which has been in continuous occupation for many centuries. Return to the hotel for approximately 17.30.
NB: Exact order of excursions may vary according to local conditions and tour manager's discretion.
Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 23 passengers.
Upper House Hotel, Barlaston
The four-star Upper House Hotel, Barlaston is located in the village of Barlaston close to the Wedgwood Factory. Once the home of Josiah Wedgwood’s grandson it is now an elegant, boutique hotel with excellent restaurant and a high standard of comfort and service.
Complimentary car parking is available at the hotel.
Nicholas has been a lecturer and group leader for tours in the UK and France for Travel Editions for close to 15 years. Prior to Travel Editions, he ran his own book business, worked for Sotheby’s and was the West Yorkshire representative for the National Art Fund. His knowledge, wit and erudition illuminate any visit and his tours are informative, interesting and, above all, entertaining.
Please note that all our UK tours start and finish at the relevant hotel.
You can normally check in from 3pm onwards but hotels will always be happy to store your luggage if you arrive earlier in the day.
For full details of how to get to the hotel, directions and the nearest train station, please click on the hotel website or call our office for details. These will also be sent automatically with your confirmation.
The welcome reception and first evening dinner / talk will commence at about 7pm - full details will be sent with your joining instructions about 10 days prior to the arrival date.
Review by Anonymous who travelled 17-October-2021
Considering the recent problems the holiday was a great success and very enjoyable. The last minute changes the tour company made to the visits were excellent particularly Sandon. The hotel had been shut for seven months and were busy retraining new staff, where available, and we were very comfortable.
Review by Bramhill who travelled 17-October-2021
Excellent programme of interesting visits. Sandon and Spode Museum particularly good. Self service curled sandwich Lunch at Spode very poor. Only downside was inexperienced food service at the hotel. Breakfast there poor by 4 star standards. No fresh fruit or yoghurt. Nice hotel otherwise.
Review by Anonymous who travelled 17-October-2021
I would have given the hotel a "good" if the service at dinner had been better. A shortage of staff rather than indifference it must be noted ! Nicholas was his usual ebullient . knowledgeable and thoughtful self. However,all in all a great tour - interesting and varied
Review by Partington who travelled 17-October-2021
This is my second holiday with Nicholas Merchant and he is outstanding. The hotel was rather strange but I loved it - it has its eccentricities especially with the delay in providing dinner. The hotel needs to have a much smaller menu and to change it each evening
Review by Langdon who travelled 17-October-2021
An excellent very well organised break Nicholas as usual was was well organised with very interesting talks The hotel rooms were excellent However the delays in the dining room serving clients and the chaos at breakfast with certain foods on the menu not available eg yogarts fresh fruit and marmalade not acceptable
Review by Young who travelled 17-October-2021
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