UK - England
For garden lovers who are uncertain whether large group coach travel would suit them, we offer this appealing alternative. Travel with a very small group of like-minded people at a leisurely pace along back-roads and byways to some of Suz' favourite places in The South West of England, visiting a selection of England’s greatest gardens, grand National Parks and fascinating heritage sites.

(Some of) My Favourite Places in
The South West of England


It was suggested to me by past clients that, as part of the program for 2014, our 20th year, I should do a tour to ‘My Favourite Places’. As I thought about it, such a tour became ever longer, because naturally some of my favourite places are in Scotland, Ireland and Wales, as well as in England. Even in England alone, the tour would be too long, so I settled on a compromise. Scotland, Ireland and Wales will remain separate tours, and England is divided into two parts – The North and The Heart of England, which we will explore in 2014, and this one, The South West in 2015.


Our tour both begins and ends in Wiltshire on the verges of The Salisbury Plains, where the distant past seems more tangible than in other parts of England. From our hub in the elegant Georgian city of Bath we explore this remarkable area. To the south is Dorset – Thomas Hardy country, where we may delight in discovering villages lovingly portrayed in the writer’s novels. Dorset is still a place of attractive market towns and unspoilt villages. Rural Dorset also displays the largest Iron Age hill fort in Europe. Somerset is another historic county in the South West where there is evidence of human occupation from the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic eras, and burial mounds, hill forts and other artefacts dating from the Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Ages.


Exmoor, Devon’s second National Park, but shared with Somerset, is a high bare plateau sliced by wooded valleys and rushing rivers. It rises sharply in the west to flatter summits and ridges where there are numerous prehistoric barrows and standing stones, although less well known than those on Dartmoor. The upland of heather and grass moorland, with its amazing diversity of wildlife, can be one of the most forbidding landscapes in England, especially when the mists roll in. The rivers pass from the plateau through steep valleys, the lower sections of which are thickly wooded, ringing with romantic echoes of R. D. Blackmore’s Lorna Doone.


England’s last bastion of Celtic culture and language, The Duchy of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, is a principality, where Prince Charles is still the landlord and Camilla is the Duchess of Cornwall. The distinctive Cornish peninsula forms the toe of England, dividing the Bristol and English Channels as it thrusts out into the Atlantic Ocean. Fortunately it is a peninsula of extremely hard rocks which resist the relentless pounding.


Like Somerset and Cornwall, Devon is another county where there is much evidence of pre-historic culture and where, although the Romans penetrated as far as Exeter, and the Anglo-Saxons and Normans claimed ascendancy, the Celtic culture has none the less survived the centuries.

The interesting and varied geology of Devon has created distinct regions. Craggy granite is sometimes exposed, but the rocks are mainly Devonian shales and slates. The high mass of Dartmoor, a rugged, rocky wilderness which is deservedly a National Park, dominates central Devon. In the far north, on grits and sandstones, Devon claims a second National Park; a portion of Exmoor, which it shares with Somerset.

Dartmoor is granite upland, mostly over 700 feet and up to 2000 feet in the north, often described as the last great wilderness of southern England. In 1952 an area of 365 square miles was designated National Park. It is a lonely moorland, the legendary home of mischievous pixies’, and of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘Hound of the Baskervilles’.


Our final hub is the great cathedral city, Salisbury, where the beautiful cathedral stands in a broad green expanse of lawn in the centre of the city, surrounded by carefully preserved historic buildings. From here we radiate out visiting delightful villages, enchanting market towns and many sites of special interest. Close by, on the outskirts of Salisbury is Old Sarum, the original site of Salisbury, and Wilton House, an ornate stately home that has been home to the Earls of Pembroke for over 450 years.

To the north of Salisbury we visit Stonehenge, the enigmatic stone circle begun nearly 5000 years ago. Although visitors cannot wander through the stones today, you can certainly approach closely enough to be struck with wonder at the determination and skill of the ancient peoples who erected this amazing monument. And to the South East is The New Forest.


There can be few other places in England where the ancient landscape has remained so unchanged. In 1079 when William The Conqueror claimed and named the area, he would not have imagined that nearly 1000 years later his ‘Nova Foresta’ would still retain its mystery and romance, and that many of his laws for the forest would still hold.

The ancient system established by William to protect and manage the woodlands and wilderness heaths is still in place today through the efforts of Verderers, Agisters and Commoners – literally the judges, stockmen and land users of the forest.

Within The New Forest we will see the famous New Forest Ponies, which graze freely in this former royal preserve, and we visit the exciting garden of Furzey. At Beaulieu the National Motor Museum preserves a range of historic motorised vehicles, housed in the grounds of a stately home carved from the remains of a medieval monastery.

  • Tour Itinerary (Some of) My Favourite Places in the South West of England HAGI 2015 Download

We are home after a truely beautiful experience. Thank you for your excellent organisation, attention to detail, care, consideration and friendship - it is something we will always treasure.
Anne R.

Many thanks for a most enjoyable trip. It was very interesting with both gardens and history.
Naomi C.

What a wonderful holiday we had, due to your planning and the day to day care you both showed us.
Ben M.

Thanks for all the lovely times you've given me this year. I look forward to next year's possibilities.
Ruth M.

Booking Terms and Conditions

‘(Some of) My Favourite Places in The South West of England’

19 Days : July 27 - August 14, 2015

$10,750 per person twin; Single Supplement $2,300


: The booking form must be completed and signed on behalf of all passengers named on the form. A non-refundable deposit of $1500 per person is payable to secure bookings. NB Take out Travel Insurance at the time of booking to protect your deposit from cancellation due to illness etc.

: Tour places will be confirmed by The Operator.

: The tour described herein represents a complete land package and as such an itemised breakdown of component costs will not be given.

: If unforeseen circumstances beyond our control make changes necessary The Operator reserves the right to vary the itinerary.

: In the unlikely event that passenger numbers should fall below minimums The Operator may cancel the tour up to 30 days prior to departure. In this case all moneys paid will be refunded in full.

: Single clients wishing to twin-share are required to pay the single supplement which will be fully refunded if a suitable travelling companion is available.


: This tour is inappropriate for children under 10 years of age.

: Handicapped passengers are welcome provided they are accompanied and do not require special assistance as a certain amount of walking is a feature of this tour and equipment space in the vehicle is limited.

: Any physical mental or emotional disability or known condition that may require special handling or attention or treatment must be reported in writing when booking indicating fitness for this tour.

: Membership may be withdrawn from anyone whose behaviour or health is likely to adversely affect the health safety or enjoyment of other passengers or affect the smooth operation of the tour and The Operator shall be under no liability to such person/s.

INCLUDED IN THE PRICE per person as shown

: LAND ONLY costs including mini-coach twin-share accommodation full breakfast all dinners some lunches all admissions outings and extras as per itinerary and your escort and driver.

: Please refer to ‘Changes in Prices and Itinerary’ in Booking Conditions Part Two.


: Is restricted to one medium suitcase (not too large please) and one carry-on bag per person.

This carry-on bag can become a day bag for items which you may require on the vehicle throughout the day but if this is a wheeled bag it may not fit in the vehicle with you, and if it is a back pack you may not be permitted to wear it in some shops or private venues.

: Be prepared to manage your own luggage as portage may not always be available.

: Please note that not all of our accommodations have lifts.

Booking Conditions Part Two is available on the web site and in the brochure.