Author Archives: Freddie

Dover: St. George’s Day Discovery

White Cliffs of Dover

Picture Credit – Google Images

Celebrate St. George’s Day and feel part of England’s story when you discover Dover. Immerse yourself in the stunning coastal location and breathe in fresh sea air whilst you enjoy the spectacular views of the iconic White Cliffs. Dover has a wealth of heritage, with many historic buildings, sites and monuments. The town boasts a lively arts scene with a host of independent galleries and seaside shopping at De Bradelei Wharf, set in the beautiful Dover marina. Relax with some retail therapy and a spot of lunch in the sunshine! You’ll find a great choice of restaurants serving excellent quality, locally sourced ingredients; seafood lovers may wish to try the freshly caught fish and famous Dover sole!

Many artists, designers, writers and musicians have visited the beautiful coastline of Dover and have been inspired by the chalk downs, the stunning countryside, smugglers’ alleyways, historical heritage and nautical charisma. Charles Dickens stayed in Dover on a number of occasions and made frequent trips through the port on his way to the Continent, often staying at the Lord Warden Hotel. The nearby streets of what was then the maritime Pier District provided the atmosphere of the “Tom-All-Alone’s” described in, Bleak House. Dickens knew the Lord Warden Hotel well enough to mention the proprietors – Mr and Mrs Birmingham – by name in his short piece The Calais Night Mail of 1865. Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, was so inspired by White Cliffs Country, he describes Dover Castle as ‘the wonderful cardboard castle’ in his novel Moonraker, published in 1955 and largely based at St. Margaret’s Bay. Finally, Jane Austen, one of the most famous writers in English literature, was familiar with country house life in Dover, and used her experience as inspiration for some of her novels.

Lord Warden Hotel Charles Dickens

Picture Credit – Google Images

White Cliffs of Dover

The steep chalk cliffs of Dover, for centuries a proud symbol of the “splendid isolation” of England and the first sign of home for returning sailors, are crowned to the east by the mighty castle. The western cliffs bear Shakespeare’s name, an ode to the finale of King Lear.

Dover Castle

Dover Castle St George's Day

Picture Credit – Google Images

Perched high above the English Channel and known as the ‘key to England’, the great fortress of Dover Castle has played a crucial role in the defence of the realm for over nine centuries, a span equalled only by the Tower of London and Windsor Castle. Dover Castle came to be in 1168 by the order of King Henry II, on the site of ramparts that were already some 1,000 years old. The central Norman keep, built in 1180, houses most of the castle’s exhibits. Why not climb the Great Tower and immerse yourself in vivid medieval interiors?

The Secret Wartime Tunnels

The Secret Wartime Tunnels were built during Napoleonic times to provide protection from enemy fire. The tunnels under Dover Castle contain exhibits tracing their history. More recently, in WWII they served as HQ for the evacuation of British and French forces from Dunkirk. Another intriguing tunnel area to explore is the Underground Hospital, a reconstruction of the wartime surgery that served the many troops stationed in the area.

South Foreland Lighthouse

South Foreland Lighthouse Dover

Picture Credit – Google Images

The beautiful Victorian lighthouse, a landmark of the White Cliffs of Dover, was built in 1843 and was used by Marconi in the first successful attempts at radio navigation. The lighthouse is known for being the first lighthouse in the world to display an electric light. The views of the English Channel are wonderful, and on a clear day, you can see all the way to France. Inside, interpretive displays reveal the work involved to keep the lighthouse active, including the unique mechanism that originally made the lighthouse flash. The lighthouse was built to warn mariners of the shifting Goodwin Sands while guiding them through the Straits of Dover. The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1988. During its 142 years of service it stood witness to and withstood a wealth of history, including two World Wars.

The Battle of Britain Memorial

Situated high on the White Cliffs, this stirring memorial to the heroes of the Battle of Britain has become a place of pilgrimage for anyone with an interest in the remarkable story of how the RAF changed the course of World War ll. The memorial inspires quiet reflection on the bravery and sacrifice shown by the aircrew – fewer than 3,000 men – who flew, fought and died in arguably the most crucial battle fought by this country in the whole of the 20th century Maintained by the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust, the site at Capel-le-Ferne is dedicated to Churchill’s famous “Few” who fought in the skies overhead to keep this country free from invasion.

Royal Visitors

King Henry VIII had a long connection with Dover and held the office of Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports and Constable of Dover Castle before he became King. Henry had a chain of castles built along the south coast to protect the country from French and Spanish invasion.

Queen Elizabeth I visited Dover on 14 July 1573 on her progress through Kent. It is likely that the Queen stayed at Dover Castle before proceeding onto Sandwich.

King Charles II arrived in Dover in 1660 on his way to London to secure the throne after the restoration of the Monarchy. Ten years later, he signed a secret treaty at Dover Castle which was negotiated with the French King Louis XIV.

On 14 November 1842, Prince Albert and Queen Victoria visited Dover whilst staying as guests of the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. Only short notice of the visit was given, but there was sufficient time to decorate the town with a considerable number of flags.

St. George  Patron Saint of England 

St George Dover

Picture Credit – Google Images

St. George is England’s patron saint and linked internationally to myth and legend, but little is known about the life of St. George. The story of St. George and the dragon is the most famous surviving tale, but like many early saints, the exact details of his life remains a mystery. During the Third Crusade in the 12th century, Richard I placed himself and his army under the protection of St. George. He also adopted the emblem of St. George, a red cross on a white background, which was worn as a uniform and later used on the English flag. The feast day of St. George has been celebrated in England for many hundreds of years on April 23rd.

Visit Dover with Britannia Coaches and step into England’s great past!

Easter Holiday Extravaganza

Groombridge Place Britain Gardens

Picture Credit – Google Images

With its award winning gardens and enchanted forest, Groombridge Place in Tunbridge Wells offers a fun day out for all of the family. Visit during the Easter holidays for an exciting event that is inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Enjoy a circus show with a chance to meet the colourful characters from the story, anyone for a game of crocket on the lawn with the Queen of Hearts?!

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Mothering Sunday Surprise

Britannia Coaches Canterbury River Mothers Day

Canterbury River Mothers Day

Mothering Sunday is a day to show love, gratitude and appreciation to all the wonderful mums everywhere. Treat your mum by giving her a truly unique and memorable day out in Canterbury. Admire the finest stunning architecture and world famous buildings of the ancient walled city. Stroll along the many narrow streets, dating back to medieval times. Highlights of the Anglo-Saxon period include the remains of cobbled roads, perhaps the origins of Canterbury’s street plan today.

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Exclusively Eastbourne

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The beautiful coastal town of Eastbourne is an elegant seaside resort which holds a unique mix of classic charm and an impressive array of modern amenities. A rich tapestry of culture and heritage can be discovered strolling along the grand three tier promenade, where you can marvel at the splendor of the Art Deco architecture which overlooks the seafront. Pay a visit to the famous Carpet Gardens next to the Bandstand to enjoy the most spectacular flower displays that you are ever likely to encounter. Eastbourne is proud of its well preserved 1930’s bandstand, one of the most distinctive sights in Eastbourne with its blue dome and silver finial. The award-winning beaches with their quality waters are just perfect if you fancy dipping your toes!

Beachy Head

Everything is within easy reach with the seafront promenade virtually leading straight on to the foot of the beautiful Eastbourne Downs and Beachy Head. Take in the sheer natural beauty of the South Downs National Park famous for its rolling hills and quaint villages. The incredible Seven Sisters chalk sea cliffs including Beachy Head with dramatic 530ft cliffs are quite renowned in East Sussex and come with their own pair of lighthouses. The Belle Tout lighthouse is the only residential lighthouse in the country. Belle Tout lighthouse is a decommissioned lighthouse and British landmark, Grade 11 listed building, open to visitors and definitely worth a visit, the views are stunning! The Beachy Head lighthouse is famous for its iconic red and white stripes.

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Redoubt Fortress & The Wish Tower

Serious seaside landmarks come thick and fast in Eastbourne. The beautiful grade 11 listed Victorian pier, being the town’s pride and joy. Take a stroll to the end of the pier to try the Victorian camera obscures to view the seafront in amazing 360 degree projections. The historic Martello towers are a chain of forts built on the south coast as a protection against Napoleon. They add much character to the surrounding coastline. The Wish Tower is listed a grade 11 ancient monument, it has its own museum and is the best known of all the towers.Uncover over 200 years of history at the unique Georgian Redoubt Fortress and discover its hidden secrets. From its early beginnings as a Napoleonic defense to a base for Canadian troops before the D-Day landings, the Redoubt has a varied history and is recognised by English Heritage as being of national importance!

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The Observatory Science Centre

For an out of this world experience budding scientists can enjoy a fantastic hands-on experience at The Observatory Science Centre, set among the domes and telescopes of a world famous astronomical observatory. There are many galleries to visit and interactive exhibits to get your hands on. Blue Peter badge holders can get in for free.The Observatory Science Centre is hosting a special event during British Science week on March 18th and 19th.

The Towner Art Gallery

The vibrant Cultural Quarter is home to The Towner Art Gallery. The contemporary art museum presents a unique programme of major exhibitions of contemporary and historic visual art alongside displays from the internationally renowned Towner Collection, The Musgrave Collection, Henry Moore and Pablo Picasso.

Sovereign Harbour Marina

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Be sure to visit the cosmopolitan Sovereign Harbour Marina, the perfect location in which to unwind, away from the hustle and bustle of modern life. Hundreds of yachts are moored in the harbour and there is easy access to the English Channel, making it the ideal spot for water sports. It’s one of the south coast’s premier marinas boasting four linked harbours and a retail zone. The Waterfront has an impressive range of shops and galleries and is quite the perfect spot for alfresco dining and relaxation.

History

The historic origins of Eastbourne certainly date back a long way, with Roman artefacts found beneath the town and Stone Age items dug up in the surrounding countryside. The Domesday Book makes reference to a number of buildings and sites listing 28 ploughlands, a church, a watermill, fisheries and salt pans. Eastbourne derives its name the Bourne stream which rises in the present Motcombe Park. During the middle ages the town was visited by King Henry I and in 1324 by Edward II.The town began to grow as a seaside resort following a visit by King George III’s children in 1780, and became known as the Empress of Watering Places. Eastbourne played a key role in World War II, as many children were evacuated to the town. However, after France fell in 1940, it was believed that Eastbourne was vulnerable to an invasion, so many were moved again. Since then, there have been plenty of new developments in Eastbourne and the town now has a new face that has enhanced its appeal. Eastbourne had a reputation as a resort for the retired, but many believe that opinion is outdated with the town being a great place for people of all ages.

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Several famous people hail from Eastbourne and many others have been frequent visitors over the years. Charles Dickens is said to have been a frequent traveller to the town, he would visit the historic 14th century Lamb Inn and Theatre to perform amateur dramatics during the 1830’s. The composer Claude Debussy stayed at Eastbourne’s Grand Hotel whilst writing La Mer.

Filmed in Eastbourne

Eastbourne and Beachy Head have featured in many Hollywood movies, British films, iconic TV shows and advertising campaigns. Famous silver screen movies include Pearl Harbour staring Ben Affleck and Kate Beckinsale and Robin Hood-Prince of Thieves staring Kevin Costner. A scene from the James Bond movie The Living Daylights was filmed off Beachy Head where a secret agent parachutes from a Land Rover. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang also chose the famous cliffs for its car chase where the car drove off the cliff tops and opened its wings to fly. The South Downs have been used to film Harry Potter scenes from the Quidditch wizarding match played on broomsticks in the Goblet of fire. Eastbourne pier was used as a backdrop in the remake of the classical Brighton Rock movie staring Helen Mirren and John Hurt.

On the television screen, the town has made many appearances including Miss Marple and Top Gear. The bandstand has featured in Foyle’s War. Beachy Head is seen in the 4th television series of Luther and The Beachy Head lighthouse gained fame through the BBC drama The Lives and Loves of a She-Devil. Little Britain’s Ladies played by Matt Lucas and David Walliams filmed at the famous carpet gardens. Music promotions for Blur and Del Amitri have filmed at the Bandstand, Eastbourne bandstand is the busiest bandstand in the UK.

When you visit Eastbourne you will discover why it is so popular and used by many for its unspoilt dramatic views. The town’s seafront offers a unique elegant location which proves to be a real draw with film companies.

Events

Eastbourne has a huge variety of entertainments and events to suit all ages and tastes. The town is well known for hosting international events such as the AEGON international lawn tennis tournament and Eastbourne Airbourne international airshow. Eastbourne is excited to announce a brand new event for 2017, the fantastic Eastbourne International Hot Air Balloon Festival!

Join Britannia Coaches for an exciting escape to Eastbourne, the south coast’s hidden gem!

Rye Royale

Photo Credit: http://www.marshviewcottage.co.uk/blog/a-brief-guide-to-the-ancient-town-of-rye

Photo Credit: http://www.marshviewcottage.co.uk/blog/a-brief-guide-to-the-ancient-town-of-rye

Perched on a hill, the town of Rye is the sort of place you thought existed only in your imagination. Almost suspended in time, Rye’s unhurried atmosphere and enchanting cobbled streets offer a warm welcome. It’s small enough to make you feel at home and holds many secret treasures.[1] The area is one of the most quintessentially English places that our beautiful country has to offer. This East Sussex town is a mishmash of half-timbered Tudor buildings, medieval houses and antique store gems. It’s no wonder then, that it has provided inspiration for famous writers such as EF Benson and Henry James! Only a couple of miles from the sea and sitting above the river Rother, it is awash with great seafood fare. Take a stroll down the narrow passages, revealing architectural treasures among elegantly preserved ancient buildings. Rye holds a flourishing creative community with independent boutiques, galleries and a cluster of antique shops by the quay, including  “Glass Etc“, run by Antiques Roadshow expert Andy McConnell. When in need of a well-earned rest, retreat to the comforts of fine restaurants, tearooms or pubs that, although housed in quirky buildings, have every modern amenity.

 History

Rye was once an island and has always been a port. In fact, the Romans used to export iron from the area. Rye emerged as a port of increasing importance, a royal dockyard and shipyard as well as the naval base for royal galleys. In 1336 it provided ships and mariners as part of the Cinque Ports Confederation. Rye was the most famous pirate port in the 13th century, with a reputation for atrocities. Many authors, musicians, artists and celebrities have made Rye their home; a medieval haven periodically visited by royalty. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth I was so highly gratified with the loyal conduct of the people during her three day stay that, in 1573, she bestowed upon the town the title “Rye Royale”.

Picture Credit: http://www.rye-harbour.co.uk/

Picture Credit: http://www.rye-harbour.co.uk/

 

 Lamb House

This delightful, redbrick, 18th century Georgian House is now in the ownership of the National Trust. Its name originates from its creator, a wealthy wine merchant called James Lamb, who built the house in 1722. It was eventually the home to Henry James and later to E.F. Benson, the author of the ‘ Mapp and Lucia’ novels. In 1726, King George I sheltered there when his ship ran aground at nearby Camber Sands. Henry James wrote his 3 final major novels in the Garden Room (The Wings of the Dove in 1902, The Ambassadors in 1903 and The Golden Bowl in 1904), which was destroyed by a wartime bomb in 1940. James’s possessions are on show together with pictures and furniture. The extensive walled garden boasts a lovely mulberry tree and is a true delight.

Picture Credit: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lamb-house/features/things-to-see-and-do-at-lamb-house-

Picture Credit: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lamb-house/features/things-to-see-and-do-at-lamb-house-

Rye Castle Museum

 The 14th century Ypres Tower, Ryes former Jail, was built in 1249 as “Baddings Tower”. Its original purpose was to defend the town from the French and it was later named after its owner John de Ypres. It is now part of the Rye Castle Museum, located in East Street, which opened in 1954. The Museum has two sites which offer history and mystery. Exhibits are laid out across three levels, there is a terrace with stunning views and outside the tower you will find the gun garden, complete with 6 guns and a ladies jail. There are also some hands-on activities on the lower floor for children, which is ideal for family outings.

St. Mary’s Parish Church

The parish church is the only pre 1200 building to survive in Rye. Sometimes called the “cathedral of East Sussex”, it is dedicated to St Mary the Virgin. The clock on the turret was installed in 1561 and is one of the oldest church turret clocks in the country that still functions. The present exterior clock face and the original ‘Quarter Boys’ (so called because they strike the quarters but not the hours) were added in 1760. Climb the church tower for astounding views of Rye and Romney Marsh, passing the bells which total nearly 5 tons in weight!

Mermaid Street

Mermaid Street features in the story of Rye throughout all periods and in many films. It was once Rye’s main street and was often referred to as Middle Street, with an arcaded gate situated at the bottom. Be sure to go into the Mermaid Inn for an experience of the town’s history and rich tradition. With cellars dating from 1156, sloping ceilings, creaking floorboards and numerous staircases, it will transport you back in time.  Experience a drink in the Giant’s Fireplace Bar and imagine how the Hawkhurst Gang, local smugglers in the 1730s and 1740s, caroused in the bar. See if you can you spot the secret passageway entrance!

Hartshorn House, 31 Mermaid Street is a Grade II* Listed house that had been the residence of Samuel Jeake II. It was part of the dowry brought by his wife Elizabeth on their marriage in 1670 and was then one of the town’s finest homes. In the earlier part of the 19th century, the house was used as a hospital during the Napoleonic wars and thus is still known as ”The Old Hospital.” The front portion is a 15th century timber-framed house of which many of the timbers have been renewed. The distinctive three gables were added in the 16th century, one dated as early as 1576. There is even a medieval cellar beneath this house! The history does not stop there; during the 1960’s it was the home of the novelist Rumer Godden. The BBC used Hartshorn House in 2014 for the Mapp and Lucia series based on E. F. Benson’s novels.

Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

Frog Travel Nature

Frog Travel Nature

Open your senses to the flora and fauna of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve. Walkways wind their way through the historic landscape full of special wildlife, which can be enjoyed all year round. In late spring, sea kale blooms on the shingle ridges and marshmallows flower in the ditches. Corn buntings can be heard singing and whimbrel flocks feed in the area. In summer, dragonflies and damselflies dart over open water and marsh frogs bask in the sun at the edge of ponds. Autumn brings the spectacle of migrating birds and colourful fruit in trees and shrubs. In winter, large flocks of lapwings circle over grassland and you might even be lucky enough to spot a bittern in the reed beds, or little egrets in the saltmarsh.

Visit with Britannia Coaches for an idyllic day out. Don’t drive on by; let us take you to Rye!

[1] http://www.visit1066country.com/explore-1066-country/rye

Romance at Bodiam Castle

Bodiam Castle

Bodiam Castle Photo Credit: National Trust

Romance at Bodiam Castle

With the most romantic day of the year just around the corner, the medieval ambience in Bodiam Castle is the ultimate setting to enjoy a tryst with that special someone. Located near Robertsbridge in East Sussex, Bodiam Castle is one of Britain’s most picturesque and romantic ancient monuments. Lovers are powerless to resist the romantic allure of the 14th-century castle surrounded by its own reflections in the moat; it really is a vision for lovebirds to visit. Set in the heart of a historic landscape, it boasts spiral staircases, battlements and a portcullis; windows where arrows were once shot (perhaps cupids’ arrow this Valentine’s Day!). With a majestic tower that – once-upon-a-time – was a look-out, and ruins that were walked upon by knights and ladies, you could be a shining knight to your lady at Bodiam Castle! There is no better way to get in the romantic frame of mind than with a wander around this fairytale castle.  Love is in the air, stories of sweeping romantic gestures and secretive love affairs lie waiting to be discovered.

History

Bodiam Castle was built in 1385 by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge a former knight of Edward III, seemingly to defend the area against French invasion during the Hundred Years’ War. Possession of Bodiam Castle passed through several generations of Dalyngrigges, and then by marriage to the Lewknor family.  When Richard III became king in 1483, a force was despatched to besiege Bodiam Castle. It is unrecorded whether the siege went ahead, but it is thought that Bodiam was surrendered without much resistance. The castle was returned to the Lewknors when Henry VII became king in 1485. Descendants of the Lewknors owned the castle until at least the 16th century.  By the start of the English Civil War in 1641, Bodiam Castle was in the possession of Lord Thanet. He supported the Royalist cause and sold the castle to help pay fines levied against him by Parliament. The castle was subsequently dismantled and left as a ruin until its purchase by John Fuller in 1829. Some restoration work was carried out before changing ownership again, being sold to George Cubitt, 1st Baron Ashcombe, and later to Lord Curzon, both of whom undertook further restoration work.

Bodiam Castle has a history of grand gestures of love – rumour has it Lord Curzon was inspired to propose here!  The impressive and beautiful symmetry of Bodiam Castle is a perfect setting for a memorable wedding day, licensed to hold civil ceremonies in the main gatehouse of the castle.

The castle has been owned by The National Trust since 1925, donated by Lord Curzon on his death, and is now protected as a Grade I listed building and Scheduled Monument.

Popular with location scouts, the castle has appeared in the movie ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’, an episode of the TV show ‘Doctor Who’ and a music video by Enya.

Candlelight stories at Bodiam Castle

During the cold winter months of January and February, you can have your imagination inspired by a medieval storyteller spinning tales by candlelight. Sir Edward Dalingrigge ensured the castle had many features for the comfort of his family so you can bask in the warmth from one of the thirty-three fireplaces in the castle and imagine yourself back in centuries past.

Look and explore

Outside the castle, you can climb up the steep spiral staircases to reach the top of the massive towers, where you will be rewarded with the most incredible views across the Rother valley.  As well as climbing up, you can take a few steps down from the castle courtyard and see the well room. The great hall with its vaulted roof and impressive arched window, probably glazed with stained glass, would have seen many a feast and celebration. As you leave, look up and see the murder holes above you in the gatehouse tower.  All manner of unpleasant things would have rained down on any unwelcome visitors in the past. There are also the remains of the iron-clad oak portcullis, thought to be among one of the oldest in England, and above the studded oak doors are the badge and shields of the Dallingridge family.

Wildlife at Bodiam Castle

Stroll around the grounds and watch the squirrels busily uncovering the acorns that they buried in the earth beneath the great oak trees. Bodiam Castle has its very own bat colony and one of the earliest ever births of wild baby bats in the UK were recorded at Bodiam Castle in 2013. The fish that you’ll see in the moat as you cross the bridge to the castle are carp; in medieval England, carp were a regular food source and bred specifically for that purpose by monks. Wild bees nest on the courtyard wall close to the three arches, they’re very docile and closely monitored so visitors do not need to be concerned.

Refreshments

The Castle View Coffee Shop is located in Castle Cottage opposite the entrance to the castle. The newly refurbished Wharf tea room serves a delicious light lunch or cream tea. There are a number of local products on sale at the Castle Gift Shop including honey from the Castle’s very own beehives.

Visit Bodiam Castle with Britannia Coaches – a perfect day in a perfect setting.

 

Springtime!

The Chalybeate Spring of Royal Tunbridge Wells

It’s that time of year when many of us contemplate going into hibernation, but given that this is not an option for most, an alternative is to seek a reviving, restoring taste of spring water.

As nature awakens after a long winter nap join us on a visit to The Chalybeate Spring of Royal Tunbridge Wells. Experience a revival from Mother Nature with a drink from the health giving natural spring. The word chalybeate means iron-rich, giving the waters a unique taste.

History

Chalybeate Spring

Chalybeate Spring Photo Credit: visittunbridgewells.com

Early in the 17th century, Chalybeate water was said to have health-giving properties and many people have promoted its qualities. The Chalybeate Spring at Tunbridge Wells was discovered in 1606 by the young nobleman, Dudley Lord North – 3rd Baron North, a distinguished courtier during the reign of King James I. Having lived a fashionably excessive lifestyle, he retired to the countryside in an unsuccessful attempt to repair his health. Travelling through woodland on his return to London he noticed the reddish brown waters of the spring seeping from the ground. Lord North drank the water to quench his thirst. Feeling much rejuvenated from drinking the cool iron-rich spring water, he declared it to be health-giving to all his friends and acquaintances. He found his health completely restored and lived to the age of 80 – coincidence or not?  Who can say?!

The news of the spring and its exceptional properties circulated and noble visitors from London and elsewhere flocked to the resulting hamlet springing up alongside the natural spa. Since it wasn’t far from Tonbridge (originally spelled Tunbridge), already a town, it later became known as Tunbridge Wells.

In the eighteenth century, the Chalybeate Spring became a vital daily custom for any honourable lady or gentleman visiting ‘The Wells’. Each day began with a tumbler of the spring water, followed by a “promenade” on The Walks, now known as The Pantiles. During its heyday in Georgian times, the ‘Walks’ became the perfect place to see and be seen.

The Chalybeate Spring is situated at the northern end of the Pantiles.

Drinking the Natural Spring Water

The Chalybeate spring water was served by someone called a ‘Dipper’ for a small fee – not for the water, which has always been designated as belonging to the people, but for serving the medicinal solution in a genteel fashion.

This tradition carries on today; it is still possible to sample the cool Chalybeate Spring water served by a Georgian costumed dipper.

Visit The Chalybeate Spring with Britannia Coaches

Spring is the time of new beginnings! Come out and feel like royalty on a tour with Britannia Coaches in 2017 including the town of Royal Tunbridge Wells and a trip to The Chalybeate Spring. Let us drive for you so you can feel treated and refreshed.

Toast the New Year in Style!

Chapel Down Wines

Chapel Down Wines Photo Credit: http://startups.co.uk/

Vineyard Tour and Wine Tasting at Chapel Down Winery, Kent

Grab a fellow wine lover and treat your palates to some of the finest vintages and locally sourced produce the UK has to offer. Located in Tenterden, in the heart of the Kent countryside, Chapel Down Winery is an idyllic location for a scenic vineyard tour. They produce a world-class collection of sparkling and still wines, together with an award-winning range of ‘Curious Brew’ beers and ciders. The sparkling wines are created using the Traditional Method, the same as Champagne, from fruit sourced from the South-East of England and together you can sample the delicious end product.

 

You’re set to be educated and entertained by your knowledgeable guide who will take you out into the vineyards and then into the state-of-the-art winery. In the vineyards, you’ll discover the essential role of the unique micro-climate on the south-facing slopes of the North Downs. In the winery, you can see all of the grape-to-glass processes used to create superb wines. Highest levels of viticulture and winemaking practices are employed with whole-bunch pressed fruit undergoing wild yeast fermentation and extended barrel ageing. You can complete the tour in style with a tutored tasting of some of the acclaimed vintages.

Extend the Experience with Lunch

Once sampled, you can pick the wine of your choice to enjoy with a three-course lunch at Chapel Down’s very own The Swan restaurant. The rustic modern restaurant sits above the shop in the Chapel Down vineyard and boasts a cosy lounge and a lovely rooftop terrace with views over the vines, with two AA Rosettes awarded for the tasty cuisine made with only the best seasonal produce.

The History and Unique Location

Situated on one of the oldest agrarian landscapes in Britain, Kit’s Coty is named after the monuments to the first settlers of Britain’s earliest farming society who recognised the fertility of the land in the third millennium BC. Chapel Down acquired the land in 2007 and 95 acres are now planted with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Bacchus vines.

 

At Kit’s Coty vineyard the elements combine to produce wines of exceptional quality. It is sheltered by steep chalk hills that rise above it, keeping cool northerly winds at bay. The expansive southerly aspect ensures the vines capture the sunshine all year long while the warm, free-draining chalk soils provide the perfect ‘terroir’ for producing well-balanced vines and intensely flavoured fruit.

Awards and more Awards!

The vineyard has received an impressive array of international awards which include:

The prestigious Decanter World Wine Awards 2016

Chapel Down Kit’s Coty Chardonnay 2013

Best UK White Wine £15+ Trophy

Decanter World Wine Awards 2016

Chapel Down Three Graces 2010

Gold Award, International Wine & Spirits Competition 2016

Not surprisingly, therefore, the vineyard also has the support of leading chefs such as Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver and is the official supplier to Downing Street where Chapel Down and is served at official events replacing Champagne.

Visit with Britannia Coaches

Eager to try the wines and see how they are made? Join us on a tour in 2017. Enjoy the must-try English wine of great quality without worrying about getting in your car afterwards!