FRWA Trips and Visits – 2021 and 2022

Lockdown may have halted the FRWA’s usual activities, but the Trips and Visits team has not been idle! As the vaccines rolls out and freedom beckons, we’ve put together an itinerary for 2021 as well as some proposed visits for 2022.

If you would like to join us, please indicate your interest in whichever of the trips listed here for 2021 and 2022 appeal to you, by emailing Barbara at

2021 – Day Trips

NEW Plaques walk – 23rd June 2021

This is a bit like a treasure hunt! 

Following on from previous plaques walks which aroused much interest and enjoyment, we are putting on a NEW route , providing a further opportunity to find out about more people local to the RWA who are featured in the Blue Plaques Scheme. (They’re not always blue, by the way!) 

Bristol City Council administered the scheme from the 1960s until 2015, but it is now run by Bristol Civic Society. Hear the stories –  always interesting, often amusing – behind the plaques which celebrate a variety of artists, inventors and scientists as well as ordinary people who have achieved great things. The number  of plaques we see will be flexible, depending on people’s mobility and interest shown in each plaque, 

The walks usually last about 2 hours but there are plenty of coffee shops and bus routes around if anyone needs to leave early.

The walk costs £5 per person.

Meet outside the RWA at 10.30am .

If you would like to come email Barbara (see below). The limit is 12 people as hopefully we will be out of COVID regulations, so it will be on a first come, first served basis.

Chavenage House and Cirencester – Thursday 8 July 21

For the first trip after such a long interval we will not be going too far.

Chavenage House, Beverston, near Tetbury (top), is an elegant Elizabethan Manor dating from the late sixteenth century, and constructed from Cotswold stone and tiles.  It contains many interesting rooms housing tapestries, fine furniture, pictures, and relics of the Cromwellian period.  Coffee will be available on arrival.

Please note that access may be difficult for anyone with mobility problems, restricting them to a viewing of the ground floor only.

Cirencester, often referred to as the Capital of the Cotswolds, was the second largest town in Britain during Roman times (Corinium Dobunnorum).There are many interesting buildings spanning several centuries, including the medieval church of St. John the Baptist.  The noted Corinium Museum has a fine collection of Roman antiquities and significant local finds.  The New Brewery Arts is a contemporary art gallery offering the chance to see where craft is made and to buy directly from the maker.  There are numerous places in the town where one can have lunch or a snack.

Price, including £10 admission to Chavenage House:  £35 FRWA members, £38.50 non members.

See recent Friends mailing for the booking form or email Barbara at you need one.


Herefordshire – Late summer/autumn 21

Owing to circumstances beyond our control we have had to postpone this until Spring 2022 – see details under 2022 Proposed Day Trips below.


Pre-Christmas trip to London – 2 December 21

A trip to London, which will enable you to catch up on current exhibitions. Easy access to the Royal Academy, the National Gallery and the Tate Galleries.


2021 – Residential visit

Four days in Norwich and surrounding areas – Provisional dates: 8-11 September 21

We have already emailed some of our “regulars” regarding this very interesting visit.  Some of you have already registered your interest and we have the list on record. For those of you who have not already seen details they are set out below.


We will be staying in The George Hotel, only ten minutes walk from the centre of Norwich.  Single, double or twin rooms are available, some on the ground floor.

Dinners (included) are in the hotel in the very well-reviewed Arlington Restaurant.


Day One:  En route to Norwich, a visit to the Studio and Gardens of Henry Moore’s former home in Hertfordshire. Late afternoon arrival at our hotel

Day Two:  Norwich.   One of the best-preserved medieval cities in the UK.  As well as its interesting architectural history, Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery, and the Norman cathedral, the city centre offers a range of shops, cafés, restaurants and small art galleries.

Day ThreeOptional expeditions to other sites of interest in the area.

Day Four:  In the morning, we visit the museum of world-art at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts. After lunch we travel back to Bristol

Estimated Cost

FRWA Members: £350 Non members: £390.  This is based on a single room.  Double/twin would be slightly less.  Single occupancy of a double room would be slightly more.


2022 – Proposed Day Trips

We will have room in the programme for 4 day trips. If you would like to let us know which ones would be of interest to you then we can arrange them accordingly.

1) Herefordshire – April/May

A wonderful opportunity to enjoy the treasures of Hereford Cathedral plus visit the Painted Room at Ledbury and St Catherine’s Church in Hoarwithy (pictured).

The upstairs room of a timber-framed house in Church Street, Ledbury, contains a remarkable and rare example of Elizabethan wall painting.  Discovered thirty years ago during restoration, the floral design is based on an Elizabethan knot garden and incorporates biblical texts.  You could also take in Ledbury Market House (1617 – 1668)

A highlight of any visit to Hereford Cathedral is the Mappa Mundi and Chained Library interpretive exhibition. The Mappa Mundi (1300) is described as the most important and celebrated medieval map in any form.  The Chained Library offers a later view of scholarly thinking.  In addition you can explore the building, and the gardens.

Pevsner described St Catherine’s church (1878) as “the most impressive Victorian church in the country”. Simon Jenkins called it “an astonishing creation.”  Far from Victorian Gothic, the design is eclectic, incorporating a range of styles, notably Italian Romanesque and Byzantine

We will have room in the programme for 3 more day trips. If you would like to let us know which ones would be of interest to you then we can arrange them accordingly.

2) Coleton Fishacre, near Dartmouth (NT)

Travel back in time to the Jazz Age and visit the beautiful, award-winning 1920s National Trust country retreat complete with RHS accredited garden by the sea. The arts and crafts exterior hosts a stunning Art Deco interior, complete with original features.

We hope to visit an additional venue between Coleton Fishacre and Bristol.

3) Waddesdon Manor (NT)

Discover this striking French Renaissance-style chateau near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.  See art, gardens, an aviary and wine cellars.  Opened to the public in 1959,  Waddesdon Manor is managed by the Rothschild Foundation, a family charitable trust, on behalf of the National Trust, who took over ownership in 1957. It is home to the internationally-famous Rothschild collections of paintings, sculpture and decorative arts including work by Gainsborough and Joshua Reynolds.  You can also see French 18th century boiseries,  Savonnerie carpets,  Gobelins and Beauvais tapestries, furniture, Sevres ceramics, books, Dutch paintings and Renaissance treasures. Waddesdon Manor holds regular temporary exhibitions. The gardens are listed Grade I on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.

4) Stanley Spencer

Sandham Memorial Chapel is in the village of Burghclere, near Newbury   It is a grade I listed 1920s decorated chapel, designed by Lionel Godfrey Pearson.  The chapel was built to accommodate a series of paintings by Stanley Spencer and expresses in paint his military experience during the Great War.  The nineteen canvases, which took six years to complete, are unique in that they depict everyday routine rather than the horror of combat.

We will also visit The Stanley Spencer Gallery, in Cookham, (between Maidenhead and Marlow). Converted from The Wesleyan Chapel in Cookham High Street in 1962, the building was completely refurbished in 2006/7 at a cost of over £800,000, thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund.  It was reopened on 29 September 2007, creating a modern, light space, which displays Spencer’s works to their best advantage.

There will also be an opportunity to explore Cookham, see the locations of Spencer’s Cookham paintings, and enjoy the independent shops and restaurants, in a lovely setting on a bend in the river.

5) Messums gallery near Salisbury, Wiltshire

Messums Wiltshire, opened in Autumn 2016, is a pioneering multi-purpose gallery and arts centre celebrating the creative endeavour. The one year anniversary in September 2017 was marked with the opening of the Long Gallery, an old dairy which lies perpendicular to the main tithe barn. This new permanent exhibition gallery focuses on two-dimensional works of art including paintings, drawings, etchings and photographs to complement programming in the barn. The gallery has a long panoramic sweep of a glass window, viewing straight onto the rolling hills of the Fonthill Estate, once owned by the greatest collector of the 19th century, William Beckford.

Salisbury, the location for previous visits by the FRWA, has many items of interest including the Cathedral, which has the best preserved of only four surviving 1215 copies of the Magna Carta, Salisbury Museum, which boasts fantastic collections and exhibitions, the National Trust 18th century Montpesson House and, not far distant, Roche  Court Sculpture Park and Art Gallery.

6) Montacute House and Somerton

Montacute is a National Trust masterpiece of Elizabethan Renaissance architecture and design, with towering walls of glass and glowing ham stone, and surrounding garden. Inside the house are nationally important collections of furniture and textiles and more than fifty portraits on loan from the National Portrait Gallery. Outside, there is a formal garden and open spaces where avenues of trees lead you out into parkland, bluebell woods and a former motte and bailey castle, now topped by an 18th century folly.

Please note that the ground floor only is accessible to wheelchair users.

Somerton is an ancient settlement, a fine example of small-town Somerset life, packed with history and tradition.  Visit Cow Square, with its Edwardian water fountain, architecture from the 17th and 18th centuries, the Church of St Michael and All Angels, and the wonderful Buttercross.

The ACE Arts Gallery is situated in the beautiful old town hall. The gallery is full of interesting and varied pieces of art. It houses temporary exhibitions and a contemporary craft shop.

Excellent facilities for people with mobility issues.

7) Pre-Christmas trip – Nov/Dec 22

We usually visit a city at this time of year. We have previously visited Oxford, London, and Salisbury. We would be interested to hear your suggestions.


2022 – Proposed Residential Visit

Bournemouth, Swanage and area – Autumn 22

Places of Interest:

Russell-Cotes: House Gallery Garden, Bournemouth is one of the most fascinating and beautiful historic houses in England. This exotic seaside villa was the home of two Victorian collectors and travel enthusiasts, Sir Merton and Lady Annie Russell-Cotes. It houses beautiful objects from their travels across the world, and contains a remarkable collection of British art.

Tout Quarry Nature Reserve and Sculpture Park is an abandoned stone quarry, which has now been turned into a stone sculpture park. Now one of Portland’s most popular attractions, you can discover over 60 hidden sculptures in the Quarry, such as Anthony Gormley’s ‘Still Falling’ sculpture and enjoy the stunning views over Chesil Beach and Portland Harbour. The park is also a haven for nature especially for those with a love of wild flowers and butterflies.

Swanage is a charming and fascinating town with surprising architectural features and a great story attached.  It also has strong associations with Paul Nash, Eileen Agar and so-called ‘English surrealism’.

It is possible that we could visit Kingston Lacey (NT) at Wimborne Minster on the way out or back.


Looking forward to hearing from you!

Barbara Henderson, Priscilla Sorapure, Pat Triggs, Janet Taylor

The Friends of the RWA is an independent charity that supports the Royal West of England Academy, Bristol’s first art gallery. 
For just £35 a year Friends can make unlimited visits to RWA exhibitions and enjoy a host of other benefits including 10% discounts on trips and visits, as well as making an important contribution to the arts in Bristol and the South West. Find out more and join up here.

1 Comment

  1. Can I please put my name down for the Norwich trip? I believe that an email has just been sent out, but I haven’t received it. Many thanks


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