News & Events – Days Out by Coach


The following trips have been planned, make a note in your diary:

(click on the links for more details)
Hoping to get a programme organised for 2023 – details will be added once available.

If you are not a member of the “Days Out by Coach” group but interested in one of the trips then join up by making contact with the Group Leader here.


Previous Trips:

Penshurst Place – December 2022

Photos by Ruth Lancashire:

Wisley – October 2021

Photos by Steve Baker:

A Brief History of Jazz – Wednesday 12th February 2020

The title of this day out was “ A Brief History of Jazz.” It was only a shame the coach wasn’t full, as it really was an interesting and informative outing for anyone with an interest in music generally.
The venue was King George V Dock in East London next to City Airport, where the coach dropped us off by the good ship “Tereza Joanne“. This was formally a crane carrying vessel but is now a restaurant/ banqueting suite. Gentle soft music welcomed us and we were soon enjoying lunch and the odd glass of wine etc. 
After lunch we were entertained by a jazz quartet lead by Paul Higgs. Unknown to a majority of us it appears he has quite a cv, having played alongside Johnny Dankworth, Lulu, John Williams and in many orchestras. Paul spoke for an hour giving a brief history of jazz interspersed with snatches of music accompanied by his quartet. All very entertaining and “foot tapping “ tunes.
There was short break followed by a continuation of the talk and the session finished at 3.30 pm when we returned to our coach for the return journey.
For those interested the web site is either Tereza Joanne  or Paul Higgs, musician.
Very many thanks once again to Moira for arranging the day.
Mike Plummer


First trip of 2020 was to the heart of Kent. Sweeping fast down the M20 we met up with our Blue Badge Guide at Dobbies Garden Centre just outside of Ashford.  From there we took the “pretty route” through the Kent countryside visiting firstly Wye then onto Folkestone visiting several interesting villages on the way. At one point we were at the highest point in Kent from where one could see Sussex to the west and the coast at Dungeness to the south.
At Folkstone we were booked in for lunch at The Grand. This is a very beautiful picturesque Edwardian building overlooking the English Channel, and a favourite venue for King Edward VII  to entertain his friends.  After a very good 2 course meal  we were shown around the hotel by a guide who gave us a potted history of the wonderful building. Following this we had tea and awaited the arrival of our coach for the return home.
Once again a memorable day arranged by Moira. Thank you from us all.
Mike Plummer
Photos below by Steve Baker:

PRESTED HALL FESTIVE LUNCH – Tuesday 10th December

The group had a great time today at a special festive lunch at Prested Hall, a few photos are shown below:

GREENWICH  21st October 2019

Another great day out with the group despite the rain. Cooks Coaches took us to Tower Pier where we joined a river bus for the cruise to Greenwich. The commentary on-board by a crew member (volunteer) was the best I have heard. He told us how the river trade has changed over the years especially since the end of the 1939/45 war. Most of the large commercial enterprises are gone or greatly reduced in size and the emphasis is now on housing; mainly in the form of blocks of flats and town houses.

We docked at Greenwich Pier and our guide lead us to the Cutty Sark where he explained the history of the vessel and its significance in the history of the Thames. A further short walk through the market followed and we had then proceeded to the Cafe Rouge for a hearty lunch.

In the afternoon our guide showed us round the Palace Gardens and the Old Royal Naval College. We were then left to spend the remaining time as we wished, re-joining our coach, tired maybe but with many good memories of the visit.  Thanks again Moira for such an interesting day.

Mike Plummer

The Smokehouse Experience

The September coach outing arranged by Moira was to Forman’s Smoked Salmon Factory in East London. A very unusual day in that we came home with 2 less people than we started out with, and the artisan, Darren Matson, demonstrating the way the fish was filleted, unfortunately cut his finger. Something he had not done in 35 years working in the industry. Darren himself is a  Guinness World Record Holder and has beaten Gordon Ramsay in competition. After the factory tour we had a very tasty fish lunch in the restaurant.

In the afternoon, and on our way homeward, we stopped at The Stratford Centre for some shopping and to have some refreshment.

Thank you Moira, once again for a very interesting and unusual day out.

(A few pictures taken by Steve Baker of this fascinating trip can be seen below.)

Mike Plummer

Colleges of Cambridge – 15th August 2019

Another grand day out with this group. A coach load of us enjoyed a day out to Cambridge, commencing with an hours stroll through the College area of the City with an official guide who showed us many interesting features together with some famous names who had occupied the various colleges. After lunch we rejoined the coach for a drive out of the immediate centre to view the development of the newer University campus’s. This was followed by a tour of the Cambridge America Cemetery/ Memorial which was very moving.

We left Cambridge for home at 15.15hrs but were detained for 4 hours on the motorway by a major accident which meant we didn’t return to Leigh until after 23.00hrs.

Nevertheless, a great day out and thanks again Moira who was in charge.

Maldon & New Hall Vineyards – 16th July 2019

Another fabulous day out with Moira’s  group. This time the destination was Maldon, proving you don’t have to venture as far as the M25 to enjoy yourself, and the later start was a bonus. The morning was spent in Maldon where we marvelled at the Thames Barges on their moorings, and stopped for lunch at the riverside pub.

After this we returned to the coach for the short journey to Purleigh for the “main attraction” of the day, a visit to New Hall Vineyards. This is the oldest family run vineyard in the UK and they celebrate their 40th anniversary this year. We were welcomed by Lucy with a glass of their traditional New Hall Fizz and then split into groups for the tour of the estate.

Following this we tasted several wines and enjoyed a light hearted quiz to test our knowledge of the visit.
All in all an enjoyable day was had by all.

Thank you once again Moira.

Photos by Steve Baker:

Hertford Canal Cruise – Second Trip on 27th June 2019

Photos by Trevor Matthews and Steve Baker:

Hertford Canal Cruise – June 2019

Photos by Sue Balkwell:

Bexhill and Eastbourne – A Trip to the Seaside – May 2019

Photos by Steve Baker

Welwyn Garden City and Letchworth Garden City – April 2019

A wet but enjoyable day out to explore the Garden Cities of Welwyn and Letchworth (photos by Steve Baker):


Our March trip was another outing with City and Village to Guildford and Watts Gallery.  Photos from the trip kindly supplied by Steve Baker and are below:

Tea Dance – January 2019

Mighty Wurlitzer and Lights

Borough Market and Film Locations

Windsor & Cookham

Another fantastic day out thanks to Cooks Coaches, but especially to Moira who organised the day. By coach to Windsor then by water to Cookham. En route we had a very tasty buffet, the odd glass of wine and just sat back to enjoy the scenery and wildlife.

On arrival in Cookham we were free to explore the village. Quite a few of us made our way to the Stephen Spencer Gallery where there was a small exhibition of the artist’s paintings and drawings.

Stephan Spencer (1891-1959), was born in Cookham and spent much of his life there. He is remembered locally for his paintings depicting Biblical scenes set in the village of Cookham.

After this many of us repaired to the local tea rooms for afternoon tea to await the arrival of our coach.

Thank you once again Moira from “The Travellers”

Frogmore House and Savill Gardens

The photos from this trip were taken by Sue Balkwell, Steve Baker and Richard Lytheer:

Lavenham and Hintlesham Hall

Chelmsford Races

Please have a look at the photos taken by Sue Balkwell:

The Heavenly High Weald

Please have a look at the photos taken by Sue Balkwell during The Heavenly High Weald trip on Thursday 15th March, 2018:

The Beautiful Surrey Hills

Please click on a photo to see a larger version. All photos were taken by Steve Baker:

Man Made Wonders in Essex

Photos of the day out to Cressing Temple Barns and the viaduct taken by Steve Baker:

Christmas Past & Present

All photos supplied by Steve Baker:

A Suffolk Symphony

Photos by Steve Baker:

Hever Castle

Here are some photos supplied by Steve Baker:

Oxford & Iffley

Here are some photos taken by Steve Baker during the trip to Oxford and Iffley on Tuesday 3rd October:


Kentish Curios

Photography by Andy Archard:


Gallops & Gardens

Homes of the Rich & Famous

Dungeness, Romney & Hythe

Essex Highlands

More Vines, Wines & Railway Lines

A selection of photos:


Bluebell Railway and Vineyard

Trip to the Bluebell Railway and a local vineyard for wine tasting; photos taken on 11th August, 2016.

Legal London 24th March – Review

How often do we walk in London forgetting – or even unaware of – what can be found behind its façades?

The Legal London trip allowed some 40 members to experience the splendours of the Inns of Court, with the advantages of morning coffee, a very decent sit-down lunch at Gray’s Inn and a knowledgeable Blue Badge Guide, who gave us detailed information about the history, functions and routines of these institutions. The architecture, especially that of Staple Inn and the Great Hall of Lincoln’s Inn, is stunning, and the inner courtyards allow you to imagine yourself in a peaceful other world. Well, that’s not quite true, because no-one could stop the traffic noise from outside, and life did have to go on for busy builders and the odd buzzing helicopter. But it’s lovely to enjoy the greenery that we never see from the street: swathes of lawn, mature trees, and plenty of budding plant life. And from the courtyard of Inner Temple, set behind Fleet Street, you can see the sweep of the bordered grass slope towards the river beyond.

For the final part of our visit we were set loose for an hour in the Royal Courts of Justice, a remarkable late Victorian building, with an impressive mosaic floor at concourse level. You were allowed to visit courts in session, though we were warned that the proceedings might fail to stimulate. Wiser heads probably decided to walk back to our previous stopping point to watch the black paint dry on four handsome bollards, but if you went for the new discovery option a dubious treat awaited you. In each of two courts it took me fully five minutes to get an inkling of what was going on. In the first His Honour Judge Seymour, after discussion of the niceties of Argentinian planning protocols, came out with the memorable comment, “I’m not quite sure where we’ve got to, with all this excitement.” In the second, a barrister representing asylum seekers proved to be self-soporific: at one point he had to apologise that he’d quite lost his thread. You couldn’t help but leave the courts gasping for more of those garden splendours, or even drying paint.

Written by Andy Archard


Essex & Colchester

Excursion on 11th February, 2016 – Gems, Jams and Bouncing Bombs

On the 11th February, 37 of us boarded a coach for a tour of Essex and we were delighted to find that our guide was Katherine, whom we had met on previous excursions.

Our tour started at The George Hotel, which is Colchester’s most iconic and oldest hotel, set in the very heart of Colchester: England’s oldest recorded town. There we were able to enjoy a drink from the bar before adjourning to our private dining room for a delicious two course lunch served to us by the friendly and efficient staff.

After lunch we joined Katherine on a walk around the Dutch Quarter of Colchester when we learned that around 60AD the Iceni queen, Boudicca, rebelled against Roman rule and razed the burgeoning Roman town of Colchester to the ground, slaughtering some 30,000 inhabitants. Once her rebellion was quashed, Roman Colchester was rebuilt and one of the new structures the Romans built was a theatre which, it is believed, seated 3000. This was a D shaped structure and we were able to see, from darker paving in the road, how it would have followed the natural curve of the hill. A little further down the road is St Helen’s chapel which although an 11th century building, nonetheless also stands on Roman foundations.

From there we walked through to Colchester Park (ablaze with colour from a profusion of daffodils, crocus, snowdrops and hellebores) where we were able to view medieval Colchester’s main landmark, Colchester Castle: an 11th Century Norman keep built on top of the vaults of the old Roman temple.

Our walking tour of Colchester finished with a visit to the Firstsite art gallery. This contemporary, and apparently somewhat controversial building, was designed by the world-renowned architect Rafael Vinoly. This gallery offers a wide ranging programme of events and during our visit we were able to see an exhibition of work by James Dodd, a former shipwright of Maldon, who went on to train at the Royal College of Art. The only permanent exhibit in this gallery is the Berryfiled mosaic, found in 1923, which was the dining room floor of a Roman townhouse.

We then rejoined the coach to tour the Essex villages, passing over the Abberton Reservoir, used for practice runs by the RAF’s 617 squadron (better known as the Dambusters), through villages whose names were influenced by the Norman occupation, such as Layer de la Haye and Thorpe-le-Soken, before taking in a quick tour of Tollesbury, where we were able to view the tall Sail Lofts built to serve the local fishing fleet and the yachts owned by wealthy Edwardians.

Our visit concluded at the Tiptree Jam Factory (Wilkin and Sons) for a welcome cuppa before journeying home.

A really lovely excursion; good weather, good food and good company – many thanks for a great day out Moira.

Sue Balkwell


All Our Waterloos

Photos of the trip taken by members on Saturday 16th January, 2016:

Stow Maries

A few pictures from our trip to Stow Maries:

Bletchley Park

Some photos from our trip to Bletchley: