Beautiful gardens and fascinating design come together in a delightful tour led by Jane Sassaman, a quilt artist whose work melds nature with her own distinctive perspective. From Manchester to London, the English Garden and Design Tour explores expansive gardens, charming sights, historic quilts, and shopping at wonderful fabric stores. It is truly made for keen quilters and curious creatives. Along the way, Jane will offer design techniques and insights to inspire fellow quilt makers in the group.
The tour leads you to estates and gardens such as Wightwick Manor, with its barley-twist chimneys and gardens of wide lawns; Hidcote Manor, famous for rare shrubs and trees and outstanding design; Kiftsgate Court, home to fragrant old roses; and Rousham House, from which today’s landscape designers continue to draw inspiration. The Arts & Crafts Movement is on display as well, with highlights including Court Barn Museum – which tells the history of the movement—and a stop at the Red House, the only house commissioned, created, and lived in by William Morris, the father of the movement. The aesthetic of other eras is evident with stops at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Windsor Castle, and the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, Britain's oldest museum.
The tour also explores quilts and fabrics with visits to the Victoria and Albert Museum, Liberty of London, Taylors Buttons, and distinctive London quilts shops.
The tour starts at 6.00pm, Sunday May 28, at Clayton Hotel at Manchester Airport Hotel. Tour tour finishes after breakfast on Thursday June 8 at Hilton Hyde Park Hotel in London.
Day 1 Sun May 28 Arrive Manchester
Arrive at the hotel for check in. Meet your tour leader and enjoy a group dinner at the hotel. (D)
Day 2 Mon May 29 Manchester-Leicester
Travel towards the Cotswolds with an en route visit to the superbly crafted Wightwick Manor. With its timber beams and barley-twist chimneys, gardens of wide lawns, yew hedges and roses, rich William Morris furnishings and exquisite Pre-Raphaelite paintings, Wightwick is in every way an idyllic time capsule of Victorian nostalgia for medieval England. Visit Stoneywell, a very influential Arts and Crafts cottage built in 1899 by Ernest Gimson as a summer residence for his family. Overnight at Leicester. (B, D)
Day 3 Tue May 30 Leicester-Cheltenham
Depart Leicester for Cheltenham with an en route stop at Stratford-upon-Avon, the 16th-century birthplace of William Shakespeare, to visit Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, the family home of Shakespeare’s wife. Next stop is Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park, an award-winning art gallery located in a beautiful mansion built by Robert Adam. The house is set in over 120 acres of landscaped grounds designed by Capability Brown, a famous 18th-century landscape architect. (B)
Day 4 Wed May 31 Cheltenham
Visit two beautiful gardens, Hidcote Manor Garden and Kiftsgate Court Gardens. Hidcote Manor is one of the greatest gardens in England created last century by the great horticulturist Major Lawrence Johnston. The garden is famous for rare shrubs and trees as well as its outstanding design features. Kiftsgate Court Gardens is known for its romantic plantings and fragrant old roses, and is a testament to the creativity and horticultural sensibility of three generations of green-fingered women. (B)
Day 5 Thu June 1 Cheltenham
Start another day in Cotswolds with a visit to Gordon Russell Design Museum, which celebrates the life and work of renowned furniture designer Sir Gordon Russell and his company. Court Barn Museum tells the story of the world-famous Arts and Crafts Movement and how this small Cotswold town became a gathering place for designers and craftspeople of national and international repute. A visit to Hart Silversmiths, the last operating remnant of Guild of Handicraft, allows a look at pieces made in the finest traditions of English silversmithing. (B, D)
Day 6 Fri June 2 Cheltenham
After breakfast, visit Rodmarton Manor & Garden, a Cotswold Arts and Crafts house. It is one of the last great country houses to be built in the traditional way, and contains beautiful furniture, ironwork, china, and needlework. Our next stop, Kelmscott Manor, was the inspirational Cotswold retreat of William Morris, Victorian textile designer, poet, novelist and Father of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Returning to Cheltenham, visit The Wilson, formerly known as Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum. (B)
Day 7 Sat June 3 Cheltenham-Rousham-Oxford
Travel to Oxford via Rousham. Designed by William Kent in the 18th century, the landscaped gardens at Rousham House continue to inspire leading designers today. Arrive Oxford, enjoy a walking tour, including a visit to Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology. The museum was established in 1683 and is the oldest museum in the United Kingdom. (B, D)
Day 8 Sun June 4 Oxford-Windsor-London
This morning, visit Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum before departing Oxford for London. En route, visit Windsor Castle, the Queen's favorite weekend home. Windsor has a rich mix of history, culture, heritage, and fun. (B)
Day 9 Mon June 5 London
Enjoy a panoramic tour of London. Discover iconic landmarks, architectural and cultural diversity, and fascinating history that makes London the most visited city in the world. Your London sightseeing tour takes you on a non-stop procession of landmarks, including Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, Liberty of London, Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Tower of London. (B)
Day 10 Tue June 6 London
Take a day excursion to Kent and visit two of Britain’s most famous and iconic gardens, Sissinghurst and Great Dixter. Sissinghurst Castle was the home of Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson. Harold took great pleasure in designing doors, connections and views that separated each section. Great Dixter was the family home of gardener and garden writer Christopher Lloyd. This garden is famous for its bold planting. (B)
Day 11 Wed June 7 London
This morning, we travel to Bexleyheath to see the famous Red House. The only house commissioned, created and lived in by William Morris, founder of the Arts and Crafts movement, makes the house of extraordinary architectural and social significance. Return to London and visit fabric and quilting shops, Antique Textile Company and Taylors Buttons. Enjoy a cruise on the River Thames before our farewell dinner. (B, D)
Day 12 Thu June 8 Depart London
The tour concludes after breakfast. (B)
Jane A. Sassaman worked in many design fields before discovering quilting in 1980. She was a window dresser, a sign maker, an illustrator and a designer of decorative accessories. All of these talents came into play when Jane began to quilt. Her exuberant quilts and fabric designs have attracted worldwide recognition. Under the influence of 19th-century Arts and Crafts designers, her work is abstracted from nature, but her colorful graphic style is contemporary and always recognizable. Her quilt Willow was recognized as one of the 100 best American quilts of the 20th century. She also translates her unique vision into exciting fabrics for FreeSpirit Fabrics.
When she isn’t working in her studio, Jane can be found teaching quilt classes, sketching in the garden, or browsing her library of design books. She is the author of The Quilted Garden and Patchwork Sassaman Style, which is a primer for using personality prints in quiltmaking.
What is included in the tour price?
What is not included in the tour price?
Due to the constant changes in the COVID restrictions worldwide, we highly recommend that passengers wait to purchase air tickets until the following:
1. The tour reaches the minimum number to travel.
2. Prior to the due date of their final payment (three months before departure), we will notify passengers the travel status and the requirements for travel to their destination. At that time they may choose to proceed with the tour or not. If they choose to cancel they may apply their non-refundable deposit to any other Opulent Quilt Journeys Tour within 18 months.
Please note: If passengers purchase tickets and the tour is cancelled or moved to a new date, we are not responsible for any loss regarding their ticket purchase.
Clayton Hotel Manchester Airport (1 night)
Novotel Leicester (1 night)
Queens Hotel Cheltenham - MGallery (4 nights)
Voco Oxford Spires Hotel (1 night)
Hilton London Hyde Park (4 nights)
For further information or to secure a place on this tour please contact:
877 235 3767
If these dates don’t work for you, register to hear about the next tour.
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