ENGLAND: British Libraries and Country House Collections



The Study Trip will be accompanied by Helen Scott Reed, Trust Governor, Matthew Thurlow, Director of the Trust, and Frances Roxburgh of Specialtours.

The area north of London offers a rich variety of history, architecture and decorative arts spanning Gothic to contemporary. British libraries, both private and public, are revered for their historic collections as well as their architectural elegance. Oxford and Cambridge and the surrounding country houses and estates have some of the country’s best. Collections of furniture, paintings, and decorative arts, spanning generations and adorning interiors of architectural variety will be seen at Holkham Hall, Blenheim, Waddesdon Manor, and other private houses on our schedule.


ITINERARY  (subject to amendment)

Monday, September 8

Independent morning arrivals at the traditional
Randolph Hotel, Beaumont Street, Oxford OX1 2LN. Tel: 01865 256 400.

We will start off early afternoon with an introductory walking tour of the University, including the Sheldonian Theatre by Christopher Wren and Blackwell’s famous bookstore. We will visit the Bodleian Library complex, founded in 1320, reestablished in 1602, and later restored by Thomas Bodley. Henry V’s brother, Duke Humfrey, established a library there in 1488 for his large manuscript collection, which we will see.

Returning to the hotel by way of the Radcliffe Camera, the Baroque rotunda designed by James Gibbs, we will dine together at the hotel.

D included
Overnight: OXFORD

Tuesday, September 9

The morning starts with a curatorial visit to the important Ashmolean Museum with its Wellby Silver collection, new wing, and impressive reinstallations.

Lunch will be in the medieval kitchen of Brasenose College where Lawrence Washington, great-great-grandfather of George Washington attended in 1623.

We continue on to Merton College (1264) with the Old Library, 1371-78, and Chapel that established models for many great universities, then to Christ Church, known as the aristocratic college, having produced thirteen prime ministers. We will see the Hall and Cathedral with its stained glass by the Pre-Raphaelite William Morris’ group, including designs by Edward Burne-Jones. There will be time to relax before attending the 6 p.m. choral Evensong at the Gothic Christ Church.

Dinner is independent.

B, L included
Overnight: OXFORD

Wednesday, September 10

Our coach takes us for an early (before public entry) visit to National Trust’s Waddesdon Manor, the late-19th-century French Renaissance mansion built by the Rothschilds to showcase their art collections, primarily 18th-century French.

Continue to Brightwell Baldwin and lunch at the Lord Nelson Inn.

In the afternoon, we have the pleasure of a private visit and tea at Wormsley Park, the 2500-acre estate and 18th-century country house, by kind arrangement with Sir Mark Getty. His late father, Sir Paul, created the library, which includes precious early manuscripts and a first edition of The Canterbury Tales.
Afterwards, we will return to the hotel. Dinner in Oxford is independent.

B, L included
Overnight: OXFORD

Thursday, September 11

We leave by coach (with luggage) to see Drayton House, guided by the archivist Bruce Bailey (by kind arrangement with Mr. and Mrs. Charles Stopford Sackville).

We continue to Boughton House, owned by the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch and Queensberry, a Tudor monastic building enlarged around seven courtyards! The collections of 16th- to 18th-century furnishings and art are outstanding.
Lunch in the Boughton House Café.

We continue to Ely to visit the Gothic Cathedral, which confirms the strength and wealth of the Medieval church in England.
Travel on to the Garden House Hotel, Granta Place, Mill Lane, Cambridge CB2 1RT, Tel: 01223 259988.

Dinner independently.

B, L included
Overnight: CAMBRIDGE

Friday, September 12

We leave for a walking tour of Cambridge to include the “Grand Tour” Bridge of Sighs at St. John’s College and the iconic King’s College Chapel. We will visit Trinity College with its Christopher Wren Library, 1676, loaded with carvings by Grinling Gibbons.

Lunch is independent.

In the afternoon, we will visit the Fitzwilliam Museum, started in 1816 with exceptional grand tour collections and considered today as the greatest small museum. A curator-led tour of the Department of Applied Arts (decorative arts) will be followed by free time for the picture collections.

Evening dinner will be at Peterhouse College, the oldest of the constituent colleges in the University of Cambridge. It was founded in 1284 by Hugo de Balsham, Bishop of Ely.

B, D included
Overnight: CAMBRIDGE

Saturday, September 13

Depart by coach to visit Blickling (National Trust) before it opens to the public. This great 17th-century Jacobean brick house, with Anne Boleyn and Russian connections, boasts an important library, which we will see with librarian John Gandy.

Afterwards, we bus to the North Sea coast for spectacular Holkham Hall, a Palladian masterpiece designed by William Kent (aided by the architect and aristocrat Lord Burlington) for Thomas Coke, 1st Earl of Leicester. Holkham’s important interior celebrates Kent’s genius and Italian magnificence in rural England. The estate is still owned by the Earls of Leicester. Kent’s work was recently featured in the major Victoria and Albert Museum and Bard Graduate School collaborative exhibit in New York.

Lunch will be at the Victoria Inn before the visit.

Dinner in Cambridge is independent.

B, L included
Overnight: CAMBRIDGE

Sunday, September 14

We leave by coach (with luggage) to Aylesbury Vale for a visit to Claydon House (National Trust) and a guided tour to include the important and extraordinary Chinese Room.

Lunch will be in a nearby pub.

Our afternoon starts with a patriotic visit to Sulgrave Manor, the delightful 16th-century ancestral home of George Washington, now maintained by the Colonial Dames of America.
Next, we will stop at Blenheim, the vast, magnificent, baroque, Vanbrugh-designed palace built by Queen Anne for the Duke of Marlborough after his decisive 1704 victory over Louis XIV. Still owned by the family, it was the birthplace of Winston Churchill and features extensive landscaping by “Capability” Brown.

Continue on to Calcot Manor, Tetbury, Gloucestershire GL8 8YJ, Tel: 01666 891203.

Dinner is independent and the Gumshoe Pub at Calcot Manor will be expecting us.

B, L included
Overnight: TETBURY

Monday, September 15

Leave by coach via the picturesque Cotswold town of Burford to visit exotic Sezincote, the outrageous and notable example of Neo-Mughal architecture built in the early 19th century by family members returning from Bengal, India.

Next, we venture to Asthall Manor, a gabled Jacobean Cotswold manor house built about 1620. Early in the 20th century the house was the childhood home of the Mitford sisters and is the home location used in several of their books.

We continue to Quenington Old Rectory for a visit and lunch with Mr. and Mrs. David Abel Smith at their typical Cotswold manor where they have created an unusual library pavilion in their riverside garden.

Later, a tour of Kelmscott Manor (by kind arrangement with the Society of Antiquaries), home of William Morris, founder of the Arts and Crafts movement of the late 19th century and designer of fabrics and wallpapers.
We return to Tetbury and Calcot Manor for our Farewell Dinner.

B, L, D included
Overnight: TETBURY

Tuesday, September 16

Depart by coach (with luggage) for London Heathrow airport.

B included

Terms and Conditions

Land Arrangement Cost:
$5,650 per person based on twin occupancy. This cost is based on the current rate of exchange of one British pound = US$1.64 and subject to the rate changes.
Final invoice may reflect currency rate change.

TransAtlantic airfare is not included. Please do not make your airline reservations until you have received written confirmation from The Trust.

An $830 per person deposit is required by March 31, 2014.
Reservations and deposits are taken on an “as received” basis. You will receive a written confirmation in the mail from The Decorative Arts Trust. Do not make any irrevocable airline reservations until you receive your written confirmation. If not registering online, please make your check payable to: The Decorative Arts Trustand mail to 106 Bainbridge St., Phila., PA 19147.
Deposit is non-refundable after March 31, 2014. Cancellation insurance is strongly advised.

A donation to the Decorative Arts Trust of $500 per person is required for this trip.
This donation is fully tax deductible. Please use separate check.

Membership Class:
For participation in Study Trips Abroad, a Benefactor membership class is necessary.
Membership is fully tax deductible. If an increase in your membership level is needed, the Trust will invoice you for a Benefactor-level upgrade.

Single Supplement:
$1,320 additional for a single supplement. These are limited.

Final Payment:
Will be due by July 7, 2014.

Travel Documents:
A valid United States passport is required for this itinerary.

All schedules mentioned in this itinerary are contracted for at this time but are subject to change if necessary. A Study Trip reading list will be sent to you.

Trip Participants:
The trip is limited to a maximum of 25 people and requires a minimum of 17 people. The trip will cancel if under-subscribed. We will organize and maintain a waiting list on the basis of the time registrations are received. This is a strenuous trip. We regret that we cannot be responsible for those needing assistance on this trip. By registering for the trip, you are certifying that you do not have any mental, physical or other condition of disability that would create a hazard for yourself or other passengers. The right is reserved to decline to accept or decline to retain anyone as a member of this study trip should the person’s health, actions or general deportment impede the operation of the study trip or the rights, welfare or enjoyment of others.

Included in Trip Cost:

  • Hotel accommodations in 4–5 star hotels
  • 8 buffet breakfasts, 6 lunches, 3 dinners
  • Private motor coach transportation, local guides, museums, parks, and historic houses
  • Porterage for one suitcase only. This is particularly important.

Not Included in the Trip Cost:

  • Air travel, bar drinks, any other personal extras, and tips only for the accompanying professional guide (suggested $5 per person per day) and motor coach driver ($3 per day), which will be collected at the end of the trip.

Cancellation and Refund:
If you must cancel your reservation, you are urged to do so as soon as possible in writing to The Decorative Arts Trust. However, deposits are non-refundable after March 31, 2014.

  • Cancellations received 42 days before the start of the tour will receive a 50% refund.
  • Cancellations received between 42 and 22 days before the start of the tour will receive a 25% refund.
  • Cancellations received between 21 and 8 days before the start of the tour will receive a 15% refund.
  • For cancellations occurring within one week of the tour starting, there are no refunds.

Cancellation and accident insurance are strongly advised. Check to see that baggage and personal property are covered on your householders insurance. 


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