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Like the melting ice on the River Neva in Russia, the travel log-jamb caused by the multitudinous and confusing Covid regulations seems to be shifting.

The news which percolates through to me in the vast open spaces of Yorkshire from Travel Editions office in London is that there has been an increase in bookings for holidays, particularly in the British Isles.

None of that foreign food, just yet, for the cautious Brits!

Here is a list of my tours for the foreseeable future both for Travel Editions and for Noble-Caledonia. For both these companies I act as lecturer on their tours. My talks are specific to each tour and are designed to “set-the-scene” or comment on something you will see on the tour.

UNITED KINGDOM TOURS

Travel Editions

22nd to 25th May 2022 – Country Houses of Sussex
East Sussex National Hotel, Uckfield

10th-13th July 2022 – Country Houses of Northamptonshire and Lincolnshire
Barnsdale Lodge Hotel, Oakham

7th-10th August 2022 Country Houses of Sussex
East Sussex National Hotel, Uckfield

14th-17th August 2022 Country Houses of Northamptonshire and Lincolnshire
Barnsdale Lodge Hotel, Oakham

21st-24th August 2022 – The Rothschilds in the Vale of Aylesbury
Doubletree by Hilton Oxford Belfry, Thame

11th- 14th September 2022 – Country Houses of Cheshire
Cottons Hotel, Knutsford

2nd-5th October 2022 – Stately Homes of Derbyshire
Old Hall Hotel, Buxton

9th-12th October 2022 – Country Houses of Sussex
East Sussex National Hotel, Uckfield

16th-19th October 2022 – Country Houses of Staffordshire
Upper House Hotel, Barlaston.

One of my favourite tours is to Derbyshire. A continuously popular destination, where we stay at the Old Hall Hotel in Buxton. Mary, Queen of Scots apparently stayed here when seeking respite from her rheumatism. She was under house-arrest at Chatsworth at the time. There it was that I came across these chairs. Comprising welded together American dollars, they are to be found in the old conservatory. Chatsworth is stuffed full of “things” both ancient and modern, of which these chairs bear witness.

OVERSEAS TOURS

Travel Editions

Villas and Gardens of the Cote d’Azur
25th April – 2nd May 2022

Villas and Gardens of the Cote d’Azur
14th-21st March 2023
25th April – 2nd May 2023

Serre de la Madonne

Who would not want to be on the Côte d’Azur in the Spring? We stay in Menton, which is not the flashy part of the south of France, but it is one of the balmiest. We are thus enabled to visit some wonderful gardens. Many created by the English. Amongst them, Serre de la Madonne, created by Laurence Johnson (adopted Englishman) more celebrated for Hidcote in the Cotswolds.

An extraordinary house we visit on this tour is the Villa Kerylos, built by the immensely erudite, Greek scholar Theodor Rheinach. It is modelled after an ancient Greek villa and teeters on the water’s edge at Beaulieu.

Noble-Caledonia

River Deep and Mountain High
24th June 2022 to 6th July – Basle

Not for me the huge sky-scraper ships with 6000 passengers and hot and cold-running gin! No, I much prefer ships like the Royal Crown which glide serenely along the waterways of Europe, and a waiter brings your drink to your table! This tour takes you down the artery of Europe with a sidestep along the Moselle. The history of Europe is here along this river from the days when the river kept the Barbarian tribes in check to modern times and European Parliament in Strasbourg.

Along the way are the prosperous cities of Amsterdam, and Cologne. In Amsterdam the Rijksmuseum is a must, But I urge you not to try and do it all! In Cologne the Treasury of the cathedral holds textiles from the 12th century and the Wallraff-Richartz museum is somewhere overlooked by many, across the road is the 4711 shop!

A visit to cities along the Rhine is an adventure, but, as time is short on tours such as this, I would urge you to target one destination in each place. One thing you must not miss is the Isenheim Altar at the end of the tour in Colmar. Dating from around 1515, it is the masterpiece of Matthias Grunewald. This artist is little known in the UK, but the sight of this masterpiece will make you realise the sophistication of Germanic art in the 16th century.

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