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Which Venues have Re-opened Nearby?

These next few weeks are very important for venues as they start to re-open to the public. Looking at the venues’ websites, it is clear that they are very aware of staying Covid-secure. Only if they can open safely will our groups feel safe in returning to them for days out.

Pallant

Chichester

Arundel

Castle

Subtitle

Borde Hill

Gardens

We are blessed in Sussex to be so close to so many excellent National Trust properties. They have re-opened 135 properties around the country. They are limiting the number of visitors. Tickets go on sale on Friday. Mostly tickets have to be bought by 3pm at the latest on the day before the visit.

Chichester: (read a review)

  • Festival Theatre: www.cft.org.uk Has started to advertise outdoor plays and cinema. Highlighted so far is a multi-star run between 28th August and 31st August.
  • Pallant Gallery: www.pallant.org.uk Re-opens on 5th August. Read a review
  • Planetarium: Is open again with limited numbers.
  • Canal Trips: sadly canal trips, with their famous ‘fish and chips’ and ‘pie and mash’ themes, are still suspended
  • Weald and Downland Museum: www.wealddown.co.uk. A trip back to the middle ages is open but you need to pre-book. Read a review here.

Arundel: (read a review)

  • The Castle: www.arundelcastle.org Their fantastic gardens have suffered in the lock-down but with the help of technology the castle has been able to give a view of the mind-blowing work undertaken by the garden team. The castle re-opens from 5th August.
  • The wetlands and boating lake are open

East Grinstead

Handcross

Haywards Heath

Leatherhead

Lower Beeding

  • Leonardslee Gardens: After a considerable financial investment, the gardens are back for the public to savour! Leonardslee Gardens is open and you don’t need to pre-book. Read a review here.

Ardingly

  • Wakehurst Place: www.kew.org/wakehurst Famed for its seed bank but as beautiful as any of our fantastic local gardens. Open but you need to pre-book a slot. Read a review here

Amberley

Balcombe

  • Wings Museum: This delightful, volunteer-run museum has had to postpone some of its more adventurous events (such as re-starting an original Merlin engine). It is open now. Pre-booking is needed. Read a review here.

Tangmere

Petworth

Not everywhere is open yet and we await the figures to see whether it is safe again for more vulnerable people to start to return.

Holt coaches, which normally carry 16 or 19 people, can carry up to 10 passengers maintaining a metre distance between each. Masks should be worn. Hand sanitiser used when getting on the coach. The re-circulating air-con will not be used. All hard areas are sanitised after each journey. Embarking will be less of a scramble, filling up the back seats first.

To recognise the lower capacity on the coaches we are offering reduced prices for bookings made before 1st September 2020 for the remainder of the 2020 season.

  • Trips in Surrey and Sussex – £200
  • Trips in Kent and Hampshire – £245
  • Pick up from Heathrow Airport – £245 (plus pick up fee)
  • Pick up from Gatwick Airport – £190 (plus pick up fee)
  • Trips in London – £275

(Subject to availability. New bookings only. Offer can be withdrawn without notice). If you think now is safe for you to start visiting again, we can help with your coach transport.

Holt Services Ltd

Where is now open to the public?

Through limiting numbers and imposing distancing policies, and so without putting lives at increased risk, many venues are now hoping that groups feel safe enough to start visiting again. The common-sense of the great British public (most of them anyway) are sticking to social distancing and helping in our recovery. Here are a few of the venues that have re-opened over the past few weeks:

Kew

Hever

Wisley

Kew Gardens and Wakehurst Place – book a time slot online

RHS Wisley and Hyde Hall – book a time slot online

Windsor (including Windsor Great Park, Savill Gardens, Virginia Water and Valley Gardens) – book tickets online. The castle is open from 23rd July.

Winchester Cathedral (excluding the Kings and Queens Tour) is open from 10am til 4pm.

Hever Castle opened again 4th July. Book tickets online

Leeds Castle has not fully re-opened but some of their amenities are still available to visit.

Cutty Sark, London looks fantastic again. Pre-booking online required

Somerset House, London has re-opened with access to their courtyrad and the amazing Mushroom exhibition.

Holt coaches can carry up to 10 passengers maintaining a metre distance between each. Masks should be worn. Hand sanitiser used when getting on the coach. The re-circulating air-con will not be used. All hard areas are sanitised after each journey. Embarking will be less of a scramble, filling up the back seats first.

To recognise the lower capacity on the coaches we are offering reduced prices for bookings made before 1st September 2020 for the remainder of the 2020 season.

  • Trips in Surrey and Sussex – £200
  • Trips in Kent and Hampshire – £245
  • Pick up from Heathrow Airport – £245 (plus pick up fee)
  • Pick up from Gatwick Airport – £190 (plus pick up fee)
  • Trips in London – £275

(Subject to availability. New bookings only. Offer can be withdrawn without notice). If you think now is safe for you to start visiting again, we can help with your coach transport.

Holt Services Ltd

Green Shoots of a Return to Normality?

Without doubt the Covid-19 pandemic has been the biggest shock the Boomer generation has experienced. But we are now hearing of more and more venues re-opening with excellent displays and CV-Safe management policies in place. We are all hoping to see the green shoots of a return to normality

Prairie Gardens

Our first wonderful day out in months and it was unbelievably good!

It was really worth going and so nice to see that whilst the world was locked down, nature and the skills of the gardeners at Prairie Gardens in Henfield have produced a truly beautiful day out.

The cake was brilliant too!

If you are thinking of going on a trip to Prairie Gardens in Henfield with your friends and colleagues, Holt Services can provide the coach for you. https://www.holtservices.co.uk/contact-us/

Prairie Gardens in Henfield: Maybe see the green shoots of a return to normality?

Curious about Guildford

Curious about Guildford? Explore, discover and enjoy Guildford with two unique, heritage walks with an optional treasure hunt. Starts: Millmead Lock,, Millmead, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 4BE

Looking for an unusual and quirky activity which gets you out in the fresh air whatever the weather? Take one of the self-guided walks with a treasure hunt theme – looping around the better-known sights, as well as some of the more unusual and quirky ones, which combined make Guildford a unique place to explore.

You’ll get everything – detailed directions, maps, clues (with answers in the back!), and interesting snippets about the history of Guildford and the people that have shaped it.

Buy in booklet or instant download format to use on your mobile device or to print at home, just click here and explore in your own time. One booklet is enough for four people of all ages to enjoy

Discounts – curious about Guildford

Enter code VISIT20 at checkout for a 20% discount on any two or more purchases.” To “Enter code VISITSEE20 at checkout for a 20% discount when you spend over £12

Opening Times

Winter hours: 27 Oct 2019 – 28 Mar 2020
Monday – Sunday10:00 – 16:00
Summer hours: 29 Mar 2020 – 31 Oct 2020
Monday – Sunday09:00 – 18:00
Bank Holiday09:00 – 18:00
Winter hours: 1 Nov 2020 – 28 Mar 2021
Monday – Sunday10:00 – 16:00
Bank Holiday10:00 – 16:00

If you wish to visit Guildford with Holt Coaches click here

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Beaulieu Motoring Memories

Beaulieu Motoring Memories: Beaulieu’s National Motor Museum in Hampshire will be sharing memories of much loved toys in its new exhibition called Motoring in Miniature – The Toys of our Childhood. The exhibition opens from Easter 2020.

Many a person will remember the shiny toys that beckoned from the toy shop window. Birthdays and Christmas’ were incomplete without them. Then the delight in constructing make-believe motorways across the carpet, before parking up in a cardboard garage. So be they tin-plate, wooden or die-cast, hot wheel cars, pedal cars, friction driven, radio controlled or scale models, the imagination was let loose and formed the basis of a lifetime’s fascination and motoring memories.

The main museum tells the story of British motoring through its world-famous collection of over 280 (full sized) vehicles. These include record breakers, such as Bluebird CN7, motor sport, race and rally and the world of motorcycling.

See Del Boy’s Reliant Regal from only Fools and Horses, Mr Bean’s Mini and the Jaguar XKR from James Bond’s Die Another Day.

In addition, motoring gatherings in Beaulieu’s picturesque parkland include:

  • International Autojumble September 5 and 6
  • Spring Autojumble May 15 and 16
  • Beaulieu Supercar August 8 and 9
  • Firework Spooktacular October 31.

Pre-booked groups of 15 or more enjoy a generous group discount. Beaulieu, as well, can create a bespoke programme if desired. Click here for details

To arrange travel to Beaulieu on a Holt’s coach click here

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Hever Castle and Gardens

Group visitors to historic Hever Castle and Gardens can find out more about Henry VIII’s ill-fated second wife, Anne Boleyn. Discover the different theories of her downfall. It is part of the new interactive exhibition of her childhood home from April to November 2020.

This romantic, double-moated castle is in the Weald of Kent. It is popular and much beloved of Tudor historians. Anne was the mother of Elizabeth I and an instigator of Henry’s break with Rome. For instance visitors can learn of various theories as to why she was executed.

The day has more to offer, however, than just history. The castle has award winning gardens. Highlights include the Italian Garden with its 38 acre lake and facsimile of the Trevi Fountain.

Special Events include:

  • Hever in Bloom June 29 – July 5: An opportunity to experience the English Rose Garden at the height of its summer splendour with free guided tour.
  • Craft Fair September 10 – September 13: 120 exhibitors from the UK’s finest designer makers and contemporary artists
  • Autumn Colour From October 1: Enjoy the spectacular autumnal tints. The castle is reputed to be at its most photogenic during the autumn months when the Boston ivy on the front turns a vivid shade of red.

Above all, a day out to Hever Castle is a very special excursion and one that won’t be quickly pasted into the faded-memory file. For more information on what the castle has to offer read more here.

Groups of 15 or more get special rates.

Booking information can be found here or call 01732 861701

So contact Holts Services for coaches to Hever Castle

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Kew Orchids in a Storm

Kew Orchids in a storm: The weather on Monday, which had been so bad over the weekend that Kew actually shut (!), was much better. Some sunshine initially and a few showers after lunch. It felt hard to complain though as the Kew Orchid Festival was held in the Princess of Wales Conservatory. It was therefore, dry where necessary and wet also where necessary. Exactly what you expect from the world’s premier horticulture venue.

Group Travel from Sussex

Holt Services took our 19-seater coach to Lindfield, West Sussex to collect the good people of the Lindfield Horticultural Society. Holt Services has a long history of providing coach travel to groups in Sussex and Brighton. Setting out just before 09.00, and suffering a slow M25 the coach arrived at Kew, Elizabeth Gate at 10.45.

Elizabeth Gate is the officially recommended arrival gate for the Princess of Wales Conservatory. However, if it is raining, the Victoria Gate is better as the shop, cafe and loos are close by. Elizabeth Gate has the Orangery but it is not so well positioned. Victoria Gate is better for pick ups as well as you can all collect together in the shop, whilst someone goes to check if the coach is ready.

The trip was a major success. All the group had a wonderful time. Kew Orchids in a storm! Back in Lindfield just before 18.00. All in all a very good day.

The Rest of Kew Gardens

The point of the journey was to see the orchids. They were a brilliant sight – flower as art without doubt. But it cannot be denied that all of Kew is a miracle preserved. The old cast iron of the glass houses sits opposed to the very modern science that keeps rare and vulnerable plants propagating.

Should you wish to book a 19 seater Holt Services coach from Sussex to Kew, the cost is just £350. Click here for contact details to check availability.

For more information on Kew Gardens click here

Windsor is more than just a castle

Windsor is more than just a castle. Savill Garden in Windsor Great Park is hugely popular. It provides an alternative to the more familiar castle when visiting the royal town. The Park has been connected with our monarchs from before William I used the landscape as a hunting ground a thousand years ago.

Windsor Great Park

The Park took shape through original planting of the Long Walk by Charles II. Queen Victoria so liked to entertain on the shores of Virginia Water. Today’s key Royal connections continue under the stewardship of HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, and his title of the Ranger of Windsor Great Park.

The most well-known image of Windsor Great Park is arguably the iconic view down the Long Walk, towards Windsor Castle at the far end. This tree-lined avenue stretches down towards the ancient fortress, and illustrates the regal grandeur and Royal heritage of Windsor Great Park.

Red Deer are easily spotted. They have a population of around 500 and so roam freely around the Deer Park enclosure. Established by the chief Park Ranger in 1979, the current herd are all descendants of 40 hinds and two stags originally introduced . The deer are accustomed to seeing visitors walking around, and will remain fairly close, often posing nicely for photographs!

Windsor Great Park

Savill Garden

In 1932 King George V commissioned the Garden. It was named Savill Garden after its creator, Eric Savill. The Garden span 35 acres and looked after by a team of horticulturists. They aim to produce a riot of colour all year round; even over the winter. Of special significance and must-sees are the original weeping willow tree, the Golden Jubilee Garden and the Rose Gardens.

Plant hunters journeyed across the globe to source plants, and later to breed them into the familiar cultivars. From the vibrant summer blooms of Paeonia ‘Augstin d’Hour’ from China, to the clove-scented flowers of the Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’, which come originally from the Himalayas and flower during the winter months.

Cumberland Lodge

Cumberland Lodge sits proudly in the centre of Windsor Great Park. It overlooks the Great Meadow Pond and the estate’s vineyard.

After the English Civil War, Oliver Cromwell divided up and sold off lots in Windsor Great Park. Army Captain, John Byfield, built the house in 1650. After the Restoration, King Charles II made the house the official residence of the Ranger of the Great Park, a Crown appointment always held by someone close to the Sovereign. The house was called Byfield House until 1670. Renamed New Lodge, and at times also known as Windsor Lodge or Ranger Lodge. However it is 3.5 miles from the castle.

Making the best of your coach excursion

Combining a morning at the Castle with an afternoon at Savill Garden is a perfect use of our mini-coach. Because there is on-site coach parking near the Garden, this helps even those for whom the walk may be too taxing. And so everyone gets to see more of the delights Windsor has to serve.

To hire Holt’s luxury 19-seater coach for an excursion to Windsor, the cost is just £350

Contact Holt Services

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I Spy Bletchley Park

I spy Bletchley Park: The secret facility that remained a secret for long after the war had ended. Such was the dedication of the young men and women who helped the Allies win that it is really only in the last decade that it has been opened up to the public. In such a short period of time it has become one of the UK’s top destinations.

The design is perfect to help you step into the shoes of those extraordinary people. Not only did they help win the war, but set the scene for the digital future.

It is open every day. Highlights include the restored code breaking huts, with their WW2 interiors faithfully recreated, the Mansion and hands on displays in the blocks. The grounds can be explored, there are interactive multimedia interfaces, soundscapes, galleries and exhibitions.

I Spy Bletchley Park

The signature venue is Hut 11A. The Bombe Breakthrough exhibition demonstrates how the Polish inspired machine helped the Allies to break into the Enigma code used by the Axis forces. Thousands of lives were saved by these technological breakthroughs.

The cinematic experience includes D-Day: Interception Intelligence, Invasion which explains in appropriate detail how the intelligence produced at Bletchley Park directly impacted on the Normandy landings.

The Trust’s own collections include personal items from Veterans, such as diaries, letters and recollections, and oral histories that add a unique personal insight into the wartime code breaking activities. In addition, Bletchley Park is a repository for objects and documents on long-term loan from GCHQ’s historical collection. These include many of the key items that relate to the code breaking story, such as relevant cipher machines and original paperwork.

Celebrations

Given that 2020 is the 75th anniversary of VE, Bletchley Park has chosen to put on a celebratory weekend in May. They also have popular concert dates in August for VJ Day.

The whole journey can be topped off with afternoon tea taken in the iconic mansion.  Private tours can be booked which includes lunch.

The journey from here in West Sussex to Bletchley Park is about 2 hours and 15 minutes. A blink of the eye compared with the quantum leaps they made here 80 years ago.

To hire Holt’s luxury 19-seater coach for an excursion to Bletchley Park, the cost is just £350

Contact Holt Services

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Salisbury and Democracy

Salisbury and democracy. The news of an attack on the Magna Carta display last week reminds of what a wonderful destination Salisbury is to visit.

See the Magna Carta, climb the tallest spire

The centrepiece like so many of our historic towns is the cathedral. It is a Gothic marvel and boast the tallest spire of all the cathedrals. What makes it unique and most memorable is that it houses an original copy of the Magna Carta; the first draft of our democratic system.

Salisbury and Democracy: History

The connection with the Magna Carta is as old as the cathedral itself. At Runnymede, in 1215, King John was urged to accept the demands of the barons and agree Magna Carta by his half-brother, William Longspeé, whose effigy is in Salisbury Cathedral. Also present at Runnymede was Elias of Dereham, who at the time was steward to one of the key players in the crisis, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Stephen Langton.

Elias himself was a skilled negotiator and was at the very centre of the discussions between the king and the barons. Once Magna Carta was agreed and sealed, he was entrusted with delivering ten of the thirteen copies made, one of which was given to the original cathedral at Old Sarum. Elias later became a canon of Old Sarum before masterminding the building of the present Salisbury Cathedral.

Salisbury Cathedral’s copy is one of four which survive from this original issue. It was written in Latin by hand, by an expert scribe, on parchment (animal skin, in this case sheepskin). Medieval documents like this were not signed, but sealed, and at the bottom of our Magna Carta you can see the marks where King John’s seal was once attached.

2020 is its 800th anniversary and they have upped their game to celebrate. In the early 1220s Bishop Richard Poore, the medieval bishop of Salisbury, moved the cathedral and its community from Old Sarum to its present site.

Driven by the need to access fresh water, and desperate to escape bad weather, royal supervision and regular harassment by soldiers stationed at Old Sarum Castle, his actions changed the community and landscape of South Wiltshire forever.

Anniversary

By April 1220 the foundation stones for what was to become an iconic national landmark were laid and expansion started of the city.

In February (18th to 22nd) they are creating an immersive sound and light spectacular. They will be using the light show to tell the story of the cathedral.

From 1st April to 25th October is the ‘Spirit and Endeavour’ Exhibition. Contemporary artworks by 20 world renowned artists will be on display. Names include Henry Moore and Grayson Perry.

In early autumn, 15th to 20th September is the Festival of Flowers. A feast of both traditional and modern arrangements of thousands of blooms.

In-Spire-ing

The Tower Tour is a favourite for those with a head for heights and the puff to make it to the top. Climb 332 steps in easy stages and explore the ancient roof spaces. You’ll reach the foot of the iconic spire, 68 metres above ground level, and get a chance to see up inside. After the climb, you’ll be rewarded with an aerial view of the inside of the Cathedral and panoramic views of Salisbury and the surrounding countryside. There are experienced guides who can explain all there is to know about the construction of this architectural masterpiece

Whilst it is 2 hours coach journey from here in this part of West Sussex to Salisbury, it may well be worth the time.

To hire Holt’s luxury 19-seater coach for an excursion to Salisbury, the cost is just £350.

Contact Holt Service to book the coach for the Salisbury and Democracy experience

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