Visit to Stratford upon Avon and Charlecote Park 29 May 2018

It was a dry morning, a little misty and cool when a group of members boarded the coach bound for Stratford.  We had a very quick journey and arrived at approx 10am.  We had 3 hours to explore and have lunch.  The medieval market town has more than 800 years of history. The most well-known, of course, being Shakespeare well known for his plays and sonnets such as “Romeo and Juliet” and “Hamlet”.  It was enjoyable to be able to wander to the River Avon and watch the boats and barges, some going through a lock.  Many swans, geese and ducks with their young were around this area.

We were back on the coach at 1pm and made a 20-minute journey to Charlecote Park which is a splendid 16th-century country house, surrounded by its own deer park.  The house is owned by the Lucy family who still reside in one wing. 

A five-minute walk down a wide driveway took us to the house. (There was a shuttle) for those that needed it. We were able to explore the centre of the house and discover the Victorian interiors created by George Hammond Lucy and his wife Mary Elizabeth.  Entry to the house was through the porch built to impress Elizabeth I.  The visit began in the Great Hall, surrounded by 400 years of Lucy family portraits, through the Drawing Room, Library, and Billiard Room. Upstairs was the Ebony bedroom and the Orange bedroom, all with stories to tell.

Outside in the courtyard was the scullery which was used for washing huge quantities of vegetables and crockery. Across the courtyard was an immaculately-preserved laundry, brewhouse and tackroom which were so vital to the efficient running of the house. The comprehensive carriage collection of vehicles used by the Lucy family was fascinating, lovers of romantic historical fiction – here you can compare the merits of a phaeton, a barouche or a brougham.

Charlecote’s tranquil parkland is the perfect place to picnic, play or wander all year round. The herds of deer were a sight to be seen.In the grounds, is the Church of St Leonard, which was originally built in the Medieval period but was completely rebuilt in 1851 by John Gibson. It contains Lucy family memorials from the 16th and 17th centuries, and there is also a 12th century font.  We were unable to visit as a service was taking place.

Several bought plants in the small garden centre which we passed through on the way back to the coach.

The journey home was good and we reached Carterton approx 5.30pm just as it started to rain.

Another enjoyable day out.  Pam

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