River Oaks Garden Club
The Cotswolds & London
May 25 - June 1, 2024
May is a vibrant time to visit English gardens. Herbaceous borders start to come to life and the importance of structure and form is at the forefront of every garden design at this time of year. A warm dry spring will bring early roses, the old favorites of Alchemilla, late camellias and tulips, and the mass blooms of clematis, and in sheltered spots sub-tropical blooms and trees. This tour brings together professional design, clever planting for all types of gardens and stunning variations, aiming to inform and amuse, while enjoying luxurious accommodations, good food and wine, the opportunity to quiz private owners and designers and interesting companionship along the way. We will be based in The Cotswolds and central London throughout.
Terry Harmon, Dorothy Cuenod, Cheri Fossler
Reservations will open at 9:00 am on Wednesday, June 7, 2023
Reload/Refresh this page at 9:00 am until you see the red submit button below. Then, fill in your first and last name, clicking submit to create your time stamp. You will then be sent to a registration page, which you must complete to be confirmed on the trip.
May 25, 2024
May 26, 2024
May 27, 2024
May 28, 2024
May 29, 2024
May 30, 2024
May 31, 2024
London Farewell Dinner
June 1, 2024
*B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner
Photo Credit: Kiftsgate Gardens
Trip Itinerary subject to change.
Sunday May 26, 2024: Arrive London - The Cotswolds
We will depart from the airport by private coach transfer, for the delightful Five Arrows Coach House on the world-famous Rothschild Waddesdon Estate.Here guests will be able to take a special brunch together, get to know your hosts and fellow guests and recuperate a little from the flight before we depart for our late morning tour of the four acre private garden of the financier and philanthropist, Lord Jacob Rothschild. Rare visitors are allowed to glimpse the glorious creation of Lady Mary Keen and Lord Rothschild at Eythrope, and although Mary is getting older, she is hoping to come and join us for our visit. The head gardener Sue has been at Eythrope throughout Mary’s designs and is now in charge of the whole Estate and is a delight herself, full of knowledge but easily approachable. Mary’s book ‘Paradise and Plenty’ details the garden and is well worth adding to your reading list. She is one of our most celebrated designers and writers and is a regular contributor to the Daily Telegraph as well as a member of the National Trust Gardens Panel and has worked all over the world from Corfu to California.
Our late morning tour gives us plenty of time to depart for our drive to our accommodation for 3 nights at The Lygon Arms Hotel, Broadway.
Broadway is possibly the most famous quintessential Cotswold villages; nestling below Fish Hill and the Cotswold Way, filled with honeystone buildings and quaint shops and cafes. Broadway Tower offers an amazing folly and viewing point for miles above the village; on a clear day you can see the Welsh mountains.
The Lygon Arms is a 15thC former coaching inn which is now owned by the group who has Chewton Glen and Cliveden in their stable. Staff offer a warm welcome throughout this very comfortable and highly popular five-star hotel, and the celebrated television chef, James Martin, oversees the Grill and Tavern menus.
Pretty gardens behind the hotel offer some peace and solitude, and right outside the front door guests will find gift shops, artisan emporiums and bustling cafes for a little downtime.
There is a 14m indoor heated swimming pool and spa for those who wish to take some exercise.
A chance to unpack and settle in before we gather for a Champagne reception and
Early dinner together in private dining room, wine and mineral water.
Accommodation: The Lygon Arms - Broadway - Village of The Cotswolds
Monday, May 27, 2024: The Cotswolds
Departing after breakfast we will arrive at the glorious Buscot Park estate for morning coffee and a private out-of-hours tour of the gorgeous house and celebrated Faringdon Collection. Alexandra has known Lord and Lady (Charles and Sarah) Faringdon for nearly 40 years and although they have now handed the reins of the estate to their son James, they are still very involved. Lord Faringdon has done much to preserve and expand the collection which had been started by his uncle, saving many important and historic pieces for the nation and there are countless treasures of furniture, paintings and silverware in every room, including stunning Burne Jones stained glass windows.
After our tour of the house led either by the superb Curator or Lord Faringdon, we will then be given a private tour of Sarah’s domain, the stunning gardens surrounding this very special 18th Century house. May at Buscot is a special time, particularly with the lollipop puffball viburnum parterre in the Four Seasons Garden, an original kitchen garden, drifts of late tulips and one of Britain’s finest water gardens, an unusual marriage of Italianate formality with an archetypal English parkland landscape and some unusual features including a stunning David Harber feature. Truly one of my favorite gardens – and owners!
Departing before lunch, we will make the short drive to another beautiful home, the 17th Century house of Victoria and Martin Nye at Cadenham Manor.
We will be entertained to lunch here – two courses with wine and drinks and coffee by our hosts in the drawing room or if the weather is particularly fine outside in the shade, and will have an introductory chat from Victoria before our personalized tour of the gardens.
This glorious 4-acre garden surrounds the manor house which was the home of Victoria’s grandmother who created much of the garden you will see today. The tour will be self-guided as the paths are quite narrow, and Victoria will be on hand to answer questions and explain in some areas. Divided by yew hedges and moats, the many garden rooms are furnished with specimen trees and fountains or statues to focus the eye. Known for stunning displays of spring bulbs, wisteria, iris and a water garden, there are also extensive vegetable and herb gardens.
Leaving Cadenham we will make our way to the historic spa town of Cheltenham, where we will take dinner en route back to the hotel at the Brasserie Raymond Blanc, seated together in main restaurant. Raymond is regarded as one of our premier chefs, with his flagship Michelin starred hotel Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons believed to be one of the finest restaurants in the world. His Brasserie is true to his French countryside roots and uses the best seasonal produce to offer an eclectic menu of French brasserie standards and some fresh new ideas.
We will return to our hotel after dinner.
Tuesday, May 28, 2024: The Cotswolds
Departing after breakfast we will this morning have coffee and a private tour of the gorgeous gardens of Daglingworth House with Etta and David Howard. A walled garden, temple, grotto and pools inset in the classical style garden of 2 ½ acres with a humorous contemporary twist. Hedges, topiary shapes, pergolas, and herbaceous borders abound, together with a wildflower meadow, sunken garden and a cascade. The pretty village setting is a pure chocolate box scene too, what’s not to love?
Lunch at the Bell at Sapperton, winner of the ‘idyllic country pub 2021’ award! Locally sourced ingredients, good wines and meats produced two fields away, this is a true country pub from field to fork. Sapperton is a very pretty country hamlet.
Afternoon tour of The Coach House, privately guided by Mel and Nicholas Tanner.
Mel Tanner started the well-known English garden lecture days known as The Generous Gardener many years ago and has now handed the baton on to others nearby. Her own garden is a 1.5-acre delight, full of structure and design. A rill garden, gravel garden, lime alee and potager compliments herbaceous borders and a wildlife pond, created over 30 years.
Our tour will be followed by afternoon tea and homemade cake.
Leaving the Coach House, we will drive towards our dinner destination at the delightful restaurant at Kingham, The Plough but before we head to eat we will have a chance to stop in at one of the most celebrated organic farm and gardening successes, Daylesford Organic. Daylesford was the brainchild of Lady Bamford of the JCB manufacturing dynasty, and she has turned her hand to making this not only a fabulous emporium of food and gardening, but household, gift and floral wares, clothing and candles, and the vast area of gifts available to browse make this a very special spot to drop in for some retail therapy and gifts to take home!
Wednesday, May 29, 2024: The Cotswolds – London
This morning we will check out of our hotel for onward accommodation in London.
First though, greeted with morning coffee on our arrival, we will this morning enjoy a talk and private tour of Kiftsgate Court with owner Anne Chambers and joined by Vanessa Berridge who has written a wonderful book about the garden.
Vanessa will be on hand to sign her book for those who wish to purchase a copy; she is a well-known garden writer and was the first editor of Country Homes and Interiors magazine, going on to become a freelance writer and gardens specialist. She has written books on the history of Kew Gardens and Kiftsgate and several more.
Kiftsgate is magnificently situated with views right across the Cotswolds ridge, and is home not only to the famous rose but also tree peonies, abutilons and many unusual plants and shrubs. The newest addition is a contemporary water garden providing tranquility and order in contrast to the exuberance of the flower gardens. Regularly voted one of the nation's favorite gardens, this is particularly special as it has been curated and looked after by three generations of lady gardeners of the family.
Lunch will be served in the tearoom before we depart and transfer to The Milestone, London W8.
The Milestone Hotel is located opposite Kensington Palace and is within easy walking distance of Kensington High Street, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. It is a delightful five-star hotel and is one of our personal favorites. Lots of bar and drawing room space with nooks and crannies to sit and relax, well-appointed bedrooms and charming helpful staff.
This evening guests will have the opportunity to explore dining and theatre options under their own arrangements; a list of suggestions will be given nearer the time and assistance with cars, taxis, and reservations.
Accommodation: The Milestone Hotel – London
Thursday, May 30, 2024: - London
An early start today out of town, with a very special private guided tour of the celebrated estate of Highclere, aka Downton Abbey.
Greeted at 10 a.m. with morning coffee, guests will enjoy a private guided tour of the State Rooms and if the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon are free they will come and have a chat and say hello.
12 noon departure for the celebrated former home of Lord Sainsbury at West Green House. Now under the charge of Australian garden designer Marilyn Abbott, the gardens and grounds here have been transformed into paradise.
Another of Alexandra’s favorite gardens, this special and distinctive place surrounds one of the prettiest manor houses in England. Created over two decades by Marilyn it combines neo-classical style with contemporary design. A grand water staircase by architect Quinlan Terry, the magnificent walled garden restored to its original lines is entered via an arbor of wisteria, and an alley of apple blossom divides an elaborate potager. Signature perennial borders are exuberantly planted with subtle hues. Fritillaries carpet the fields around the lake and garden of the Five Bridges and meander on to the woodland glades.
We will first have a private lunch and talk before we take group guided tours around the gardens. A fabulous gift shop here also awaits, filled with eclectic and unusual garden wares and gifts including topiary frames and botanical scents and we will have a chance to enjoy a cup of tea and cake before we depart.
Early Dinner enroute at the Beehive, White Waltham with award winning chef patron Dominic Chapman. Dominic is the son of one of our foremost hoteliers in the West of England, noted for bringing on exceptional talent in chefs. The Chapmans have made a significant investment in the area with a second inn now within their portfolio and guests are assured of excellent local and seasonal cuisine with interesting menus and choices, in a bucolic country setting on a village green close to Windsor Castle.
Return to the hotel late evening.
Friday, May 31, 2024: London
Morning coffee, private guided tour, lunch, and then free flow Kew Royal Botanic Gardens
No visit to the UK is complete without a visit to Kew, the most famous of our garden collections and a vast space dedicated to plants and nature. A World Heritage Site, Kew has over 50,000 living plants, from the vast Arboretum to the alpine rock garden, there is something to see everywhere and for everyone. Discover rare and threatened species in the world’s largest glasshouse, stroll in the Mediterranean garden and King William’s temple, the Great Pagoda and enjoy special exhibitions throughout.
Lunch together, possibly with a talk on the history of tea with the curator of The Tea Journey: 175 years of tea at Kew. Alexandra is a member of the Tea History Association Board who works with Kew, who house a cache of tea leaves and material collected since 1759. Alexandra has also curated a history of tea walk for those visiting the City of London, documenting the import of tea, the sociological importance of tea and the history of afternoon tea through the centuries.
For those who are interested, a visit to Queen Charlotte’s Cottage is a gem, tucked away in the south-west end of Kew Gardens. A self-guided tour of the cottage is available, which was used as a favorite place for tea by the Royal family. In 1898 Queen Victoria gave the cottage and its grounds to the public to commemorate her Diamond Jubilee.
Return to the hotel to pack and change for our final, special dinner together, and depart by coach for the riverside restaurant of The River Café on the banks of the River Thames at Hammersmith. Perhaps one of our most celebrated London gourmet retreats, the River Café was started some years ago by American cook Ruth Rogers and her partner the late Rose Gray. Arguably one of London’s finest fine dining restaurants, we will this evening have a Farewell Gala Dinner in the private room, Sylvia’s, overlooking the river.
Accommodation: The Milestone Hotel – London
Saturday, June 1, 2024: London
Transfer to London Heathrow Airport for your flight home.
Photo Credit: Mcgallery by Sofitel
Land Package Includes
**Trip is limited to 40 members**
Final Payment is due December 11, 2023
Land Only Pricing - Air is Not Included
**$2,500.00 per person deposit**
A passport valid through December 18, 2024 is required for this trip.
Terms and Conditions
Please read the following information and conditions carefully.
NOT INCLUDED: Air transportation, meals, sightseeing, and transportation not mentioned under included features, personal and baggage insurance, and any items of a personal nature.
NO REFUNDS WILL BE GIVEN FOR UNUSED BUS TRANSPORTATION, HOTEL ROOMS, MEALS, SIGHTSEEING TRIPS, & OTHER SERVICES NOT USED.
CANCELLATIONS: If cancellation is received between:
TRIP CANCELLATION INSURANCE: Beyond Group Travel, Inc. and River Oaks Garden Club recommend "Trip Cancellation" insurance to protect you against non-refundable monies should you have to cancel for accident or medical reasons prior to or while on your trip. Beyond Group Travel, Inc. will provide the registrant with the appropriate insurance application upon receipt of the registration form and deposit. The receipt of the insurance application by the traveler will constitute the traveler's acceptance or waiver of insurance coverage.
ACCIDENT & BAGGAGE INSURANCE: Beyond Group Travel, Inc. suggests that you have adequate accident and baggage insurance. Beyond Group Travel, Inc. and The River Oaks Garden Club and are not responsible for personal injury, accident or illness, loss, damage or theft of luggage or personal belongings.
RESPONSIBILITY: Beyond Group Travel, Inc. and River Oaks Garden Club act only as agents for the suppliers of travel conveyance, transport, accommodation or other service and has no responsibility in whole or in part for any delays, delayed departure or arrival, missed carrier connections, loss, death, damage or injury to person or property or accident, mechanical defect, failure or negligence of any nature howsoever caused in connection with any accommodations, transportation or other services or for any substitution of hotels or of common carrier equipment, with or without notice, or for any additional expenses occasioned thereby. Further, the passenger participates in this tour at his/her own risk. Hiking, walking, use of various transportation and recreational vehicles, and other physical activity involve greater risk of physical injury than the activities which the passenger may participate in during daily life, and by taking part in those activities, the passenger incurs and assumes all risk that these activities present. RATES QUOTED ARE BASED ON INCLUDED TRIP COMPONENTS AT THE TIME OF RESERVATION AND ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGES THEREIN AT OR BEFORE THE TIME OF DEPARTURE. No revisions of the printed itinerary or its included features are anticipated; however, the right is reserved to make any changes, with or without notice, which might become necessary, with the mutual understanding that any additional expenses will be paid by the individual passenger. Package pricing is based on a minimum number of participants for trip to operate. Beyond Group Travel. Inc. reserves the right to cancel program with a partial refund of deposit when the number of participants is below the critical level. You will be informed of trip cancellation at least 2 months in advance. Baggage is at the owners’ risk throughout the trip, unless insured by the passenger. The right is retained to decline to accept or to retain any person as a participant of this trip at any time, subject only to the requirement that the portion of the total amount paid which corresponds to the unused services and accommodations be refunded. If the entire program is canceled for any reason, participants shall have no claim other than for a partial refund. By forwarding the deposit, the participant certifies that he/she has no physical, mental or other condition or disability that would create a hazard for him/her or other participants and accepts the terms of this contract. The airlines and other transportation companies concerned are not to be held responsible for any act, omission, or event; during the time participants are not on board their conveyances. If Beyond Group Travel, Inc. is the merchant on your credit card transaction, you agree to the following: Beyond Group Travel, Inc.’s services consist of facilitating the sale and paying the Suppliers, and once Beyond Group Travel, Inc. provides said services, you agree not to dispute the credit card charge. The tour staff is responsible for the group as a whole and will not be able to assist individuals extensively, either on a regular basis or in the case of serious illness or injury.
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This is a moderate to active program requiring participants to be able to walk during tours. We request you be in good health with good mobility to best enjoy this trip.
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