New Stops on the 2016 Tour!

Due to one of our museum collections going “offline” for a season of restoration and another temporary closure, we have swapped this year’s itinerary around a little bit and added three new destinations!

silkmuseumFirst, we will travel to Macclesfield in Cheshire to see the Silk Museum, which includes a working mill from the Victorian Era. After our guided tour, we will depart for Tabley House, one of the finest Palladian mansions in England with a stunning collection of 18th-century portraiture. (If you enjoyed the Jeremy Brett “Sherlock Holmes” TV series, you will probably recognize Tabley House as one of the locations used in filming!) We’ll enjoy luncheon together in the tea room and take part in a private tour before departing via train for York.

Tabley House, Cheshire

Tabley House, Cheshire

newsteadabbeyNext, because the Bowes Museum has closed its private store to study groups while a special display is in the main part of the museum, we are now going to enjoy the delights of Newstead Abbey, which boasts the Nottingham historical costume collection from the mid-16th century forward. Our group will have private access to the collection and the opportunity to study specific garments up close. We’ll close our visit with a group luncheon in this stunning stately home with its exquisite gardens.

We do still have two slots open for this year’s tour, so if you’d like to jump in before we close the group on May 31st, please contact me at the link above.

Day Six: Last Morning in Bath

Front entrance to the Pump Room and Roman Baths.

I awoke Sunday early, in spite of my determination to sleep in after the ball. Somehow the body clock was convinced I must get up. Oh, well. I packed up and went down to breakfast, then took a last stroll around the Abbey yard and surrounding streets. I do love Bath. It never grows old, and I always look forward to returning!

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Costumes in Snibston and Home!

Because my flight out of the UK was late at night, Cathy and I had a full day to kill on the way to Heathrow. She recommended we stop at the Snibston Discovery Museum, which is just off the motorway. I’d taken my tour group there in 2012, and we enjoyed not only the museum displays but behind-the-scenes study of the fabulous Symington corset collection. Cathy mentioned there was a new display in the costume section, so I readily agreed to the stop.

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Kedleston Hall

The Marble Hall. It is absolutely stunning in person!

We had a wonderful, quiet Sunday morning (well, Cathy drove the sitter home while I chilled out with my baby on the couch!), then I happily took up Cathy on her offer to see Kedleston Hall, which is another of Derbyshire’s stately homes that features jaw-dropping Robert Adam architecture (perfectly preserved upstairs) and the wonderful Indian collection of the late Lord and Lady Curzon.

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Chatsworth’s Masqued Ball (or “Down the Rabbit Hole with Alice!”)

I stepped upstairs to get a shot of The Painted Hall from above. Beautiful space for a soiree!

When my husband first surprised me with this special trip, it was early enough that I’d have time to put together my costume for the masquerade ball at the end … but, naturally, grandiose schemes were the first to cross my mind! I could totally see making a 1780s take on the White Queen, from panniers to a towering powdered wig! Then common sense (and the deadline and my actual suitcase space) reined me in, and I decided to go for something far less ambitious but still fun.

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Off to Nottingham!

Looking down from the station toward the hotel.

I repacked my suitcases Friday night to squeeze in all the fabric I’d gotten on an outing with Suzi on Wednesday (I wish I’d taken photos — SUCH a fabulous shop!). The next morning, Keith drove Cathy, the baby, and me to St. Pancras Station, which I’d never seen before. Goodness! It is an absolutely jaw-dropping example of Victorian Gothic architecture.

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Fortnum & Mason at Christmas

Wine and whiskey bottles displayed in a cascade of

After Cathy’s arrival, we decided to simply hop a bus up to Piccadilly Circus and walk around as dusk fell, enjoying the lights of Piccadilly Street, Regent Street, and all the lovely little side streets that connect the two. It begins to grow dark around 4pm at that time of year, so it’s quite easy to catch all the lights without being out very late.

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Christmastime in London and Derbyshire

As a very early Christmas surprise in 2014, my husband gave me a small gift bag in November and asked me to open it. When I unwrapped the tissue paper inside, I found what looked like a Mardi Gras mask and felt completely puzzled. “You’re sending me to New Orleans?” I asked, incredulously. He laughed and told me to guess again.

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