East Anglia: The Country Houses of Norfolk and Suffolk


May 16–24 & June 6–14, 2023

Discover the bucolic eastern reaches of England, renowned for lush landscapes, spectacular manor houses, and sites serving as inspiration to generations of artists and authors. Once an ancient Anglo-Saxon kingdom, East Anglia today primarily comprises the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk, the focus of our exploration of the region’s architecture and art. Beginning in the storied university city of Cambridge and concluding in the medieval village of Lavenham, our journey covers a fascinating assemblage of buildings, collections, and history. Brock Jobe, President of the Trust’s Board and Emeritus Professor of American Decorative Arts at Winterthur Museum, leads both tours with special assistance from Louisa Brouwer, the National Trust’s Cultural Heritage Curator for the East of England. Participants benefit from the insight of curatorial colleagues and the privilege of private and bespoke visits throughout. The grandeur of its houses, the richness of its fine and decorative arts heritage, the splendor of its vistas, and the camaraderie of fellow Trust travelers make this Study Trip one not to be missed. 


ITINERARY  (subject to amendment)

May 16 and June 6 

We gather for an introduction to East Anglia in the august city of Cambridge, where our accommodations are at the posh University Arms Hotel. After opening remarks, we head to Audley End, a magnificent early-17th-century country house and one of the finest in the Jacobean style in England, for a tour with Dr. Peter Moore, National Trust Curator of Collections and Interiors, before returning to the hotel for welcome drinks and dinner. 

Included: R, D 
Overnight: CAMBRIDGE 

May 17 and June 7 

Our morning activities begin at Anglesey Abbey, an Augustinian priory-turned-Jacobean manor house largely designed and curated in the 20th century by Lord Fairhaven, a wealthy American expat. A curator-led exploration reveals opulent holdings of fine furnishings, books, paintings, silver, and clocks. A brief intermission for refreshments precedes a guided stroll through the grounds with head gardener David Jordan. The nearby Wimpole Estate is our next stop for lunch and an afternoon investigating the house and collections with National Trust Curator Dr. Jane Eade. The gardens have been modified by a succession of distinguished landscape designers including Capability Brown and Humphrey Repton, and we have the opportunity to admire Wimpole’s recreation of an 18th-century model farm focused on rare breeds. Participants enjoy a free evening in Cambridge. 

Included: B, L 
Overnight: CAMBRIDGE 

May 18 and June 8                                                                                    

Our journey continues in Norfolk, where a beautiful rolling landscape meets miles of spectacular coastline. Shifting our attention from rural to urban sites, the privately held Clifton House in King’s Lynn is a remarkable merchant townhouse retaining elements from the Tudor, Elizabethan, Jacobean, Stuart, and Georgian eras. Following lunch, we proceed by special arrangement to Houghton Hall (on the heels of its 300th anniversary) for a survey of the collection with Tessa Wild, Honorary Curator. A collaboration between the two defining British architects of the age—Colen Campbell and James Gibbs—and with lavish interiors by William Kent, Houghton is one of the finest Palladian houses in England. Built in 1722 for Sir Robert Walpole, Britain’s first Prime Minister, this magnificent edifice has been restored to its former grandeur with many original furnishings. Upon reaching Wolterton Hall, a stately Palladian country house built by Thomas Ripley for Horatio Walpole, brother of Sir Robert, we are treated to champagne and canapes with the owners. The house’s chic accommodations overlook a park designed by Charles Bridgeman in the 18th century with a ten-acre lake and 500 acres of fields and woodland. We savor a splendid dinner with our hosts in the library. 

Included: B, L, R, D 
Overnight: AYLSHAM 

May 19 and June 9 

We spend the morning with National Trust curator Emma Slocombe at Blickling Hall, a breathtaking Jacobean estate boasting interiors filled with fine furniture, paintings, and one of the most important libraries in England. We proceed to examine the National Trust’s Textile Conservation Studio, where the staff addresses a variety of intricate conservation challenges in a specially converted building on the Blickling estate. We then travel to Raynham Hall for lunch and to appreciate its splendid William Kent-designed interiors. A late-afternoon return to Wolterton Hall allows us to take advantage of the beautiful landscape and onsite activities, before sharing dinner at the nearby Saracens Head

Included: B, L, D 
Overnight: AYLSHAM 

May 20 and June 10                                                         

Felbrigg Hall is one of East Anglia’s most elegant country houses and showcases within its 17th-century walls a marvelous global collection, including luxury exports acquired through the East India Company. Louisa Brouwer orchestrates our introduction, which is followed by a study session with rare architectural drawings led by David Adshead, former Head Curator and Architectural Historian for the National Trust. We proceed to the Gunton Arms for a traditional English pub lunch of local fare and a stroll through the adjoining sculpture park. Our day concludes at Sheringham Hall, designed by the architect and landscape designer Humphry Repton and his son John Adey Repton, where we are received privately for a visit and libations. A casual supper awaits our return to Wolterton. 

Included: B, L, R, D 
Overnight: AYLSHAM 

May 21 and June 11 

Our final stop in Norfolk is Holkham Hall, a superb Palladian pile, with the opportunity for special focus tours of its staggering holdings, including renowned decorative and fine arts. A walk through the 18th-century Walled Gardens precedes a private lunch at The Model Farm. We then turn southward to Suffolk, noted for its enchanting villages and significant Bronze Age archaeological sites. The afternoon journey concludes in Lavenham, where picturesque lanes lined with Medieval timber framed buildings lead us to our accommodations at the charming Swan Hotel, where we indulge in a convivial dinner. 

Included: B, L, D 
Overnight: LAVENHAM 

May 22 and June 12 

A morning outing brings us to Euston Hall, home of the Dukes of Grafton. The Hall was remodeled in 1750, using designs by Matthew Brettingham, who also worked at Holkham. Euston is surrounded by bucolic pleasure grounds laid out by King Charles II’s celebrated landscape designer, John Evelyn, and later extended by Capability Brown. After lunch, we venture to Ickworth House to marvel at the Classical Rotunda before the treat of a special close look at an extraordinary assemblage of Georgian silver with James Rothwell, Decorative Arts Curator and Silver Specialist for the National Trust. After returning to Lavenham, participants enjoy an evening at their leisure. 

Included: B, L 
Overnight: LAVENHAM 

May 23 and June 13

Our final day in East Anglia begins in Sudbury, a major silk manufacturing center with a long-established textile industry dating back to the 14th century. We tour Humphries Weaving, a distinguished manufacturer of fine silk fabrics. At Otley Hall we delight in a pleasant lunch and a chance to analyze this impeccable example of late Medieval architecture. Our visit to Belchamp Hall, a red-brick Queen Anne gem in the heart of Suffolk, precedes a celebratory dinner, capping off a glorious survey of East Anglia. 

Included: B, L, D
Overnight: LAVENHAM 

May 24 and June 14 

Participants transfer to Heathrow for stateside departures or remain in East Anglia for independent travel. 

Included: B 


Land Arrangement Cost: $8,875 per person, based on double occupancy for 8 nights. 

Included in Trip Cost: Hotel accommodations in 4-and 5-star hotels, 8 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 3 receptions, and 6 dinners. Private coach transportation, local guides, admission in museums, historic houses, and gardens, gratuities for professional guides and coach drivers, and porterage. 

Not Included in the Trip Cost: Airfare, airport transfers other than specified above, alcoholic beverages other than when provided, personal expenses, and trip insurance are not included. Transatlantic airfare is not included. Please do not make your airline reservations until you have received written confirmation of your registration from the Trust.

Reservations: A deposit of $1,500 per person is required at time of registration. You will receive written confirmation from the Decorative Arts Trust when we receive your registration and deposit.

Single Supplement: The single supplement is $975 to be paid with the final balance.

Final Payment: Will be due by January 30, 2023.

Membership: Membership at the Sponsor level is required for participation in Study Trips Abroad. Your membership contribution is tax-deductible. If an increase in your membership level is necessary, the Trust will invoice you for the appropriate level upgrade with your final payment. 

Contribution: A donation to the Decorative Arts Trust of $500 per person is required for Study Trips Abroad. This gift is fully tax deductible and helps support the Trust’s mission and programs.

Itinerary: The schedule outlined in this itinerary is contracted at this time but subject to change as necessary. The itinerary is strenuous and requires a significant amount of standing and walking.

Participation: The trip is limited to a maximum of 25 members and requires a minimum of 15. The trip will be canceled if under-subscribed, and deposits will be refunded. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination will be required. Participants should be prepared to test and wear masks when requested. 

Cancellation and Refunds: If you must cancel your reservation, you are urged to do so as soon as possible in writing to the Decorative Arts Trust. All cancellations are subject to a $500 administrative fee per person. Deposits are non-refundable after November 30, 2022. Cancellations arriving by February 28, 2023, will receive a 50% refund. Cancellations arriving by March 31, 2023, will receive a 25% refund. There will be no refunds for cancellations received after March 31, 2023. THE TRUST STRONGLY ENCOURAGES ALL PARTICIPANTS TO PURCHASE TRAVEL INSURANCE TO PROTECT AGAINST CANCELLATIONS DUE TO ILLNESS, INJURY, AND DISRUPTIONS CAUSED BY THE PANDEMIC. 


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