The Grand Sampler with other embroidery and lace
Sun 17th September – Sat 30th September Trip 2017
Following the success of last year’s trip I have devised a similar, but mostly different, trip for this year. We shall again find amazing samplers hidden away in back rooms of museums or in private collections, as well as view embroideries from times past that are as vibrant today as they were when new. Arrangements are still being made but you will see that I have much in mind.
Off to Devon
Starting from Folkestone, Roy, our favorite driver, and I will drive to the Copthorne Hotel, Slough, near Heathrow, to pick up the majority of our travellers. From there we shall head on down to the south west to our hotel for the next five nights in Dawlish, Devon. The Langstone Cliff Hotel is family run, is set in 19 acres and boasts magnificent views. It will be our base and from here we shall travel to a number of small towns and villages that are home to small collections of samplers.
The county of Devon is known for its red earth and farming and, most famously, for Dartmoor, an area of moorland with granite outcrops known as tors. It features in Conan Doyle’s book ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’. Dramatic in nature, Dartmoor will welcome us with a cream tea I hope. Devon is famous for these. We shall be welcomed too, I hope, by the wild ponies of the area, one of the handful of breeds found in Britain.
Dartmoor Pony beside a tor (not our hotel).
Towns to visit that I have in mind for samplers (I am struggling to find enough time, so some may not appear in the final list) are Launceston, Totnes, Budleigh Salterton, Torquay, Kingsbridge, Sidmouth and Honiton. Honiton is famous for its bobbin lace but the museum there also has some samplers. Rather further away, but worth the effort, I hope to take us to Dorchester for a day. We visited here some years ago to see the Dorset Feather Stitchery and hope to see some of this again. The museum does however, have some fifty samplers too and I hope we shall be able to see most of them. Unfortunately I hear tell that they are currently refurbishing and that the textiles are in storage. I am putting on pressure to get these out and available for us but do have a Plan B if we have to keep this for another time.
A little way north to Tewksbury
We shall travel on to our second destination by way of Bath, where the Fashion Museum, which is housed at the Assembly Rooms (visited by Jane Austen and her characters) has a special exhibition of lace dresses and other items on this year. They do have a few samplers but they mainly have amazing embroidered items and we will be able to go behind the scenes to see some of these. We will be brave about the traffic in Bath. Last year we got very stuck in it and our poor driver needed a lot of comfort and support. Please practice your soothing sounds and encouraging phrases before you come.
The Assembly Rooms, Bath
Our second destination is Tewksbury Park, another family owned hotel set, this time, in 163 acres. As before, we shall be able to go out from here to many small towns to see their samplers.
Tewksbury Park Hotel
Highlight of the trip will be a visit to the Fellers at Upper Slaughter Manor. This wonderful couple have collected embroideries, including samplers, for a number of years and now open their house for people like us to go and visit. Those who visited before declared a wish to stay there forever!
Towns I have in mind to visit are Cardiff, Brecon, Leamington Spa, Brecknok, Abergavveny and the Worcestershire County Museum. We may not have time for them all but I shall try. We shall, of course, be in wonderful English countryside yet again.
Back to London
From Tewksbury we shall move on to being near London at the Copthorne Hotel, Slough for two nights. On the way we can call in on Witney Antiques, a wonderful shop that sells samplers and antique needlework. Last year some people were able to realise a lifetime’s ambition and actually buy samplers to take with them or have sent home. For all of us, the exhibition of the samplers there is magical. Last year we did find a splendid pub almost next door, which added to our enjoyment.
From Slough I plan to go to the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Archives at Blythe House again. Last year we saw some spectacular samplers from Spain and Morocco and others. This year I shall select another set for us to view. They have, in their store, some 400 + samplers, but we can only see a few at a time I am afraid. Also a curator tour has been booked at the Museum of London to see the samplers and other embroideries they have there. I am rather hoping for some silk knitting too, which was famously worked (mostly by men) in the area some 300 years ago.
Based in Sough we are in place for those from abroad to fly home and others to go on their way to distant parts of the country. Roy and I will head off to the south coast again and talk about next year’s trip on the way.
Price for the trip will be £2250 for sharing in double rooms and £2670 for singles.
I work with the tour company Buzzlines as they are protected by bond. This bond is required by UK law and protects you, the customer, from businesses going broke, ferries not running and such like. We have no ferries this time but many other aspects are covered.
Buzzlines are able to book rooms at the Copthorne Hotel, Slough, for any of you who would like to arrive a day or two ahead of the trip or stay for a while afterwards. The price for these is £110 per person per night sharing, with a single supplement of £30.
Your contact at Buzzlines is Kim Finch. Find her at Kim@buzzlines.co.uk. She can answer your questions and is ready to send you a booking form. You can, if you prefer, download a booking form here. Booking Form
I shall produce a more detailed itinerary nearer the time of travel. Do come along and join us. We do have very good times together!