June 13: Arrival (depart U.S. on 6/12)
On arrival at Heathrow airport, a private transfer will take you to our overnight hotel, the Macdonald Windsor Hotel. In the evening you are invited to join the group for a welcome drink, followed by dinner. Later, we enjoy a short introductory lecture on the Arts and Crafts Movement.
June 14: Kelmscott Manor, Sapperton, Painswick and Rodmarton Manor
Our first stop is 17th-century Kelmscott Manor, the Cotswolds retreat of William Morris, his family, friends and colleagues. This tranquil haven inspired many of Morris’s most important designs and writings and the evocative house contains an outstanding collection of the possessions and works of Morris and his associates including furniture, textiles, paintings and ceramics. We continue our journey, stopping in the village of Sapperton, famous for its connection with the Cotswold Arts and Crafts Movement, with several buildings designed by Ernest Gimson, Ernest and Sidney Barnsley and Norman Jewson. We also make a stop in the beautiful historic town of Painswick which has a number of Arts and Crafts buildings. From here we travel to Rodmarton Manor, one of the last country houses to be built and furnished according to the ideals of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Ernest Barnsley and the Cotswold group of Craftsmen took over 20 years to build and furnish the house and were responsible for the revival of many traditional crafts in the Cotswolds which were in danger of dying out. Most of the wonderful furniture on display was made especially for the house, crafted locally by Ernest Gimson, Peter Waals and the Barnsley brothers. Later, we check in to the Greenway Hotel on the outskirts of Cheltenham where we spend the next two nights. After dinner at the hotel, we are treated to a fascinating talk by a guest speaker.
June 15: Wilson Art Gallery, Broadway, Gordon Russell Design Museum and Broadway Tower
We begin our day with a visit to the Wilson Art Gallery, renowned for its Arts and Crafts collection of furniture, textiles, ceramics, carvings, silver and jewellery; recognised as an outstanding collection of international importance, which we learn about on our guided tour. Our next stop is the quintessential Cotswold village of Broadway with its picturesque High Street lined with honey-coloured Cotswold stone buildings. Here we visit the Gordon Russell Design Museum which celebrates the work of the renowned 20th-century furniture designer Sir Gordon Russell and his Company of highly skilled craftsmen. Russell was greatly influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement and the museum is housed in his original workshop, adjoining the historic Lygon Arms. We also visit Broadway Tower, the second highest point in the Cotswolds. Built in 1798, the Tower has had many uses over its history including becoming a countryside retreat for members of the Arts and Crafts Movement, with Sir Edward Burne-Jones renting the Tower with his friend William Morris in the late 19th century. We enjoy dinner together back at the hotel this evening.
June 16: Hidcote Manor Garden and Wightwick Manor
We leave Cheltenham and head to Hidcote Manor Garden, an exquisite Arts and Crafts garden. Created by the reclusive American horticulturist, Major Lawrence Johnston, the garden is laid out as a series of colourful and intricately designed ‘rooms’ and features many plants that were collected on Johnston’s trips to far flung places. Continuing north, our next stop is Wightwick Manor, a quirky Victorian, timber-framed house with interiors decorated with the designs of William Morris and his Arts and Crafts contemporaries. Owned by the Mander family, the house was given to the National Trust in 1937, although the family remained as live-in curators. The house also contains a remarkable collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings while outside are gardens created by the celebrated Arts and Crafts landscape architect Thomas Mawson. Arriving in Liverpool in the early evening, we check in to the Hard Days Night Hotel, our base for the next three nights. The rest of the evening is left free to make your own dinner arrangements in the city.
June 17: Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool and Speke Hall
We head to Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery with its outstanding art collection spanning over six hundred years from the Renaissance to the present day. The diverse range of art on display includes sculpture, fashion, decorative art and paintings with works by the likes of Rembrandt, Turner, Rossetti, Monet and Hockney. Afterwards, we enjoy a guided tour of Liverpool, where we discover its history as an industrial force. We also encounter elements of the Arts and Crafts Movement on the architecture of the city and visit the Philharmonic Dining Rooms’ lavishly decorated interior. Later we visit Speke Hall, a rare Tudor timberframed manor house with Victorian Arts and Crafts aesthetics as well as some fine Jacobean plasterwork and a spectacular Great Hall. The fully equipped Victorian kitchen recreates the existence of the hall’s servants in the past. Outside, admire the eye-catching black and white timber exterior and the beautiful restored gardens. Tonight we enjoy dinner together at the hotel. June 18: Port Sunlight, Lady Lever Art Gallery, Williamson Art Gallery, Ferry ‘cross the Mersey and Victoria Gallery We head to Port Sunlight, a unique garden village built by William Hesketh Lever to house his soap factory workers in 1888. Thought to be the finest surviving example of early urban planning in the UK, the village offers a mix of architectural styles set in 130 acres of beautifully maintained parkland. Next we visit the Lady Lever Art Gallery, founded by William Hesketh Lever and dedicated to the memory of his wife. The gallery houses one of the UK’s finest collections of fine and decorative art along with many world famous Pre-Raphaelite artworks. We continue on to the Williamson Art Gallery. Opened in 1928, the gallery houses one of the best art collections in the North West of England. Paintings, especially British watercolours, join highlights of the decorative arts collections such as Liverpool Porcelain and Della Robbia Pottery, a fascinating local Arts and Crafts enterprise. We return to Liverpool on the ferry ‘cross the Mersey, taking in the sights and panoramas along the river including Liverpool’s skyline. Afterwards, we visit the Victoria Gallery, home to an incredible collection of art and curiosities from the 120 year history of the University of Liverpool. Housed in the restored Gothic style Victoria Building, the collection includes fine art, sculpture and ceramics as well as objects relating to innovation and research such as dentistry and zoology. We dine together back at the hotel this evening.
June 19: Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Birmingham Cathedral and Winterbourne House & Garden
In the morning, we travel by train to Birmingham. We pay a visit to the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. First opened in 1885, it is famous for its Pre-Raphaelite paintings, which are part of the largest public Pre-Raphaelite collection in the world, as well as collections of silver, sculpture, ceramics and ancient and social history galleries. We also learn about the Birmingham School of Art and its role in the Arts and Crafts Movement. We enjoy lunch here after our visit. A fine example of English Baroque architecture, Birmingham Cathedral was built as a parish church in 1715. The church became a cathedral in 1905 and is home to a remarkable set of stained-glass windows designed by Edward Burne-Jones and manufactured by the firm of William Morris & Co. We rejoin our coach and travel to Winterbourne House and Garden where we have a short introductory talk. Designed by architect J L Ball, a champion of Arts and Crafts style, the house has been restored to its former glory. The period rooms are filled with antiques and Edwardian era soft furnishings while outside, the seven acre garden is one of the best surviving examples of an Edwardian Arts and Crafts villa garden. We continue on to Hartwell House Hotel, one of the National Trust’s Historic Hotels, where we enjoy a farewell dinner together.
June 20: Departure
A private transfer will take you back to Heathrow airport for your return flight home.