Trip: Windsor and Eton
Three action-packed days in the Thames Valley. On the way down to Windsor, visit the National Trust property Cliveden, where there is chance to look round the splendid gardens, laid out in the 1920s by Nancy Astor, the great society hostess of the era. Then spend the afternoon in Cookham-on-Thames, home to the artist Stanley Spencer and the excellent gallery which displays his pictures there.
The next day will be spent in Windsor Castle, now magnificently restored after the devastating fire of 1992. By special permission, inspect the treasures in the famous Royal Library, a part of Windsor Castle not normally open to the public. The trip will also include visits to the State Apartments and St George's Chapel. The art here is on a heady scale, as befits a Royal Collection, and dates back to Tudor times.
On the third day visit Eton College, another treasure trove of architectural and fine art delights. There will be an extensive tour of this, the most famous school in the world, and its beautiful chapel. Finally, a few miles from Eton is Dorney Court, a romantic late medieval house which has been home of the Palmer family for some 500 years. The gardens at Dorney allegedly produced the first English pineapple for Charles II.