Coach outings

johnson_coach_postcardFor coach outings the pick up points are either Grange Road/Manor Road, Dorridge or the bus stop outside the public house on the corner of Union Road/Warwick Road, Solihull, opposite House of Fraser. Note: These are the ONLY pickup points.

For each day event please complete a separate application form, a cheque and suitable size s.a.e. (Ideally 9” x 4” or C5) and remember to state on the form your Centre membership number and, where appropriate, the required pick-up point (either Grange Road/Manor Road, Dorridge, or the bus stop outside the public house on the corner of Union Road/Warwick Road, Solihull, opposite House of Fraser). Also please state if over 60 as admission concessions help to keep costs down.

Post-dated cheques are acceptable, provided they are dated no later than 28 days before the event. Cost of coach outings includes luxury coach travel, gratuities and admission charges.

Cheques should be made payable to: National Trust Solihull Centre and sent to the organiser: Margaret Brookes, 176 Longmore road, Shirley, Solihull B90 3EG, tel: 0121 745 1761.


Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Milestones Museum, Basingstoke  

Think Black Country Museum, but indoors, and you will begin to get an idea of the Milestones Museum. There is much to see here, from historic streets with old-fashioned shops, to a traditional pub, to rooms showing life in different decades. There is also a fine collection of vintage vehicles and agricultural machinery, a reconstruction of a small railway station and a section dedicated to Thornycroft road vehicles, which used to be made in Basingstoke.

A free audio-guide is available, and if you’re not sure you have the stamina to walk around the museum, a free wheelchair or mobility scooter hire service is available, but this must be pre-booked.

The museum café serves anything from sandwiches to hot meals.

Departure will be at about 08.30, hopefully getting back at about 18.30.

Leader: Geoffrey Biggs
Cost: £32.00

Wednesday, 11 April 2018
Berkeley Castle and Dr Jenner’s House   

Berkeley Castle was begun around 1067 shortly after the Norman Conquest and the later version of this Gothic style castle was erected by the third Baron of Berkeley in the 14th century.  The castle is the third oldest continuously occupied castle in England after the Tower of London and Windsor Castle and is the oldest to be continuously owned and occupied in England by the same family.

The contents of the castle are items collected by the family throughout the centuries, including Francis Drake’s cabin chest, Queen Elizabeth 1st’s bedspread, and many of the unusual tapestries, paintings, ceramics and silverware have a story to tell. The castle is surrounded by terraced gardens and acres of parkland including Elizabeth 1st’s bowling green.

We then plan, mid-afternoon, to visit Dr Jenner’s house and Museum, which is accessed through a gate in the castle’s car park.  This is where Dr Jenner’s pioneering work on vaccination against smallpox helped to change the world.

The cost of the outing includes coach travel, entrance to Berkeley Castle and to Dr Jenner’s  House plus a tip for our driver.

We will be departing Dorridge at about 9.15 am, and plan to leave Berkeley Caste at 4.30 pm.

Leader: Gill Turner
Cost: £33.00

Tuesday, 1 May
Hampton Court Castle and Gardens  

Hampton Court Castle, in Herefordshire, is nearly a century older than the other, more famous building of the same name. The original manor house, of which substantial parts remain, was built by Sir Rowland Lenthall in 1427 on land gifted by King Henry IV, when he married the King’s cousin, Margaret Fitzalan. Rowland had been knighted at the Battle of Agincourt twelve years earlier. The house was sold to Sir Humphrey Coningsby in 1510 and remained with the family until the early 19th Century, when it was sold to Richard Arkwright, son of the inventor and industrialist. It has passed through many hands since the family sold it in the early 20th Century, and has only recently been opened to the public.

The cost includes a guided tour of both the Castle and the Gardens, as well as afternoon tea.

Please note that numbers are limited to 40.

Leader: Julia Challans
Cost: £41.00

Wednesday, 18 July  
Dyffryn Gardens, Cardiff (NT)       

Dyffryn Gardens, near Cardiff, has only been in the care of the National Trust since 2013.  The site includes not just the magnificent gardens, but also the imposing Dyffryn House, dating from 1893/4 and one of the last large country manors to be built in Wales.  Its architectural style has been described as “vaguely Second French Empire,” but could equally be labelled muddled Victorian Romantic!  It is unfurnished, but the rooms have many fascinating architectural features.

The extensive gardens were awarded Grade I status in 2000 as “the grandest and most outstanding Edwardian gardens in Wales,” and have recently been restored to the original design of 1904, with many different themed areas, and statues, both stone and bronze, scattered throughout.

Please note that refreshment facilities are limited here, and do not stretch to a main meal, but there are plenty of lovely spots to have a picnic.

Departure will be at about 08.30, hopefully getting back at about 19.30.

Leader:  Geoffrey Biggs
Cost:  £25.00


Thursday, 16 August
Hartlebury Castle 
(The Bishop’s Palace)

We last visited Hartlebury in March 2011, when we were told that the Trustees were contacting various charitable organisations with a view to restoring the Bishop’s Palace.   The property has been closed to the public for about four years while the restoration work was undertaken.

Hartlebury was the official residence of the Bishops of Worcester when they were in office.  The Bishop’s Palace is only accessible by prior arrangement and we will be one of the first groups to visit post restoration.  There are several other rooms to visit, apart from the Palace.

There is a restaurant which has also been updated.  A picnic site and nature reserve are also available for visitor use.

Leader:  Pat Pope
Cost:  £27.50


Unfortunately, due to ill health on the committee, it has not been possible to organise an outing for September.  We do need more members if this is not to happen again.  If you think you can help, or would like to find out more about your coach outings committee, please contact Geoffrey Biggs on 0121 743 9426, or e-mail

Thursday, 18 October
Belton House (NT)                

Belton House was begun for Sir John Brownlow in 1685.  It is one of the foremost stately homes in Lincolnshire and was modelled on Clarendon House (since demolished).  The interior has a range of styles including Regency, Victorian and 1930’s style. Features of the house include wood carvings by Grinling Gibbons and, in the Chinese Room, hand painted 18th century wallpaper.  The house contains a collection of fine porcelain, silver, paintings and tapestries.  It is set in large Italian and Dutch formal gardens and has featured in both television and films, including ‘Moondial,’ ‘Jane Eyre,’ ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and ‘Tom Jones.’

Timings (subject to confirmation) are:- depart about 09.00, return about 19.00.

Leader:  Julia Challans
Cost:  £22.50