Day 2 - Tunbridge Wells
After a relaxing morning breakfast you will embark on a 2 hour walking tour of Tunbridge Wells. Learn all about the historic spa town of Royal Tunbridge Wells on a guided stroll through the Pantiles and the historic heart of the town. Discover its 400-year history and hear about the many famous visitors – from Anne Lister to Queen Anne, Queen Victoria and Samuel Pepys who made Tunbridge Wells the place in which to see and be seen. You will see where the Royal Kentish Hotel was located where Anne Lister stayed on her way back from Hastings to London with Vere Hobart. Your tour will be conducted by a qualified Blue Badge Guide. Spend the afternoon at your leisure.
Day 4 - Knole House
After breakfast we can arrange for a private taxi or you can take a train to Sevenoaks where you will spend the day visiting Knole House, the beautiful ancestral home of Vita Sackville-West. Knole house is a grand and remarkably preserved early Jacobean remodelling of a medieval archiepiscopal palace. After it was built and extended by the Archbishops of Canterbury c1456 it became a royal possession during the Tudor dynasty when Henry VIII hunted here and found the place a useful residence for his daughter, later to become Mary I. From 1603, Thomas Sackville made it the aristocratic treasure house for the Sackville family, who were prominent and influential in court circles. Victoria Mary Sackville-West, known as Vita, was born at Knole in 1892 and grew up there, an only child of Victoria and Lionel. Vita was a poet, gardener, novelist, biographer and journalist. Vita's love for Knole led her to write a history of the house and her family, Knole and the Sackvilles, and one of her best-known novels, The Edwardians, uses Knole as inspiration for the grand house Chevron. After spending time at Knole you will have the afternoon at your leisure to in the market town of Sevenoaks before returning to your hotel.
6 - Sissinghurst Castle
Your final visit durng your stay in Kent takes you to the stunning gardens and marital home of Vita Sackville-West. After breakfast you can take a private taxi or train to Sissinghurst Castle, which was once a Saxon pig farm, it would have been originally called 'Saxenhurst', with 'hurst' having meant woodland.. The tudor buildings were used as a prison for up to 3,000 French sailors who were captured by the British during the Seven Years War, between 1756 - 63. When Vita Sackville-West and Harold purchased Sissinghurst in early 1930 it looked quite different to the present day. The buildings were used to house farm workers, the current famous garden had yet to be laid out and was mostly growing vegetables for the workers. The garden at Sissinghurst Castle opened to the public in the late 1930s. The admission fee was 1 shilling, hence Vita's name for visitors to the garden - shillingses. Visitors would often leave their admission charge in an old tobacco tin on a table under the entrance archway. Spend the day exploring the grounds and house with lunch taken in the National Trust cafe with afternooon taken before your departure.
Your Hotel - Hotel du Vin
Nestled in the glorious Kent countryside, Royal Tunbridge Wells is a leafy, laid-back corner of 'the Garden of England'. The charming and historic town is a rousing mix of momentous architecture, specialist independent shops, art galleries, hip cafés and bars. It's filled with character and charm, just like this magnificent, boutique Tunbridge Wells hotel. Lovingly converted from a Grade II-listed mansion, Hotel du Vin Tunbridge Wells is one of this beautiful spa town's architectural landmarks. Immerse yourself in one of our 34 unique rooms and suites complete with luxuriously fluffy towels and robes, and overhead showers or roll-top bath. Stroll in the beautiful gardens, enjoy the clink of glasses on the terrace with wonderful views across lush lawns to the ornamental gardens of Calverley Park.
DAY 1 - Arrive in Tunbridge Wells
Arrive at the Hotel du Vin, located in the historic town of Royal Tunbridge Wells, nestled in the beautiful county of Kent, also referred to for hundrends of years as the Garden of England. With the county's stunning coastline views and the White Cliffs of Dover, rolling green hills and breathtaking scenery, all blending in specataularly with the many historic buildings and points of interest. Some of which you will see during this wonderful week.
Day 3 - Hastings
We can arrange for a private taxi or you can take a train to the historic seaside town of Hastings. It's here where Anne Lister stayed in 15 Pelham Crescent with Vere Hobart to not only escape the Cholera epidemic that was sweeping England but to also pursue her quest of persuading Vere Hobart to become her partner. The town gives its name to the Battle of Hastings, which took place 8 miles (13 km) to the north-west at Senlac Hill in 1066. It later became one of the medieval Cinque Ports. In the 19th century, it was a popular seaside resort, as the railway allowed tourists and visitors to reach the town. You wll be taken on a 2 hour guided walk of Hastings exploring the Old Town, the fishing quarter, the 'Piece of Cheese' house, and other historical gems. After your tour you'll have time for lunch and the afternoon to explore this historic seaside town further or take a taxi to Battle, just a 20 minute drive. Take your private taxi or train back to Tunbridge Wells.
Day 5 - Monks House and Charleston
After we can arrange a private taxi or you can take the bus from Tunbridge Wells to Lewes and from there take a taxi to Monks House where you will have the opportunity to explore the country retreat of the novelist Virginia Woolf, where she wrote many of most celebrated novels. As you enter the house it's like stepping back in time as you see many of Virginia and Leonard's personal items and impressive art collection. The unique charcter of the house is saturated with the spirit of not only the Woolfs but of the Bloomsbury Group and the many artists, writers and thinkers who visited. The walls and furnishings are covered in artwork by Viriginia's sister Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant whose bohemian house is the next house on your trip. The Bloomsbury group included some of the 20th centuries most pioneering artists, writers and thinkers including Vanessa Bell, sister of Virginia Woolf. You will start your visit with a private guided tour of this unique house where the presence of the Bloomsbury set can be felt and seen in every room. You will then have time to enjoy the beautiful garden of Charleston followed by afternoon tea in the new Barn Cafe. Take a taxi back to Lewes for your onward journey by bus back to Tunbridge Wells
EXTEND YOUR STAY IN HALIFAX FOR THE "ANNE LISTER EXPERIENCE"
Take the train to London and then on to York or Halifax and spend a few days exploring Anne Lister country. We can arrange specialist walking tours of York and Halifax with entry to Shibden Hall and Halifax Minster PLUS MORE!
We can tailor make your trip to suit your interests and requirements. Please email us firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us what you would like to do and when.