A full weekend of events based around Oxford and including a special Morse concert with Barrington Pheloung, lunch at New College, and visits to the Bodleian library, Didcot Railway Centre, Braunston Marina and Blenheim Palace
Morse's Oxford Revisited
Friday 26th - Sunday 27th September 2008
with guest appearances by
Colin Dexter & Barrington Pheloung
After our sojourn to London last year we are back by common consent in the environs of Oxford for the 2008 weekend. Having had 8 of our 12 weekends in Oxford (and running out of new Morse related locations) it was decided to revisit some of the most popular places from previous tours, as well as combine this weekend with something special. Hence on the Friday evening we are invited to an exclusive concert of Morse music directed by Barrington Pheloung himself (with optional dinner) at Keble College. The Saturday is taken up with an extended visit around the Bodleian library as well as a unique lunch at New College along with Colin Dexter. In the afternoon we will have a guided tour and tea at the Didcot Railway Centre (WOLV) which has a special steaming event that day. On the Sunday we will be travelling by coach to Braunston Marina where we will be guided around the WENC sights and have a roast lunch before returning to Oxford via Blenheim Palace (WAYT) where we will see the newly opened exhibition and take afternoon cream tea at the Bear Hotel in Woodstock (LBUS).
Unfortunately since our dates are set by the Keble College concert our usual base, the Four Pillars Hotel, was unable to accommodate us this year, and neither were any of the other central Oxford hotels – at least not at a reasonable cost. However, we have come up a winner with the Milton Hill House DeVere hotel which is situated between Abingdon and Didcot (around 15 minutes from Oxford city centre) and has just had a £3M refurbishment and offers the highest of standards complete with extensive gardens and spa/swimming pool which will be made available to members. It was for this reason that we have elected for the formal lunch at New College, rather than dinner which would have necessitated a second return trip to Oxford on the Saturday. It also allows for a relaxing Saturday evening at the hotel.
General Points To Note
- Members are allowed to join the weekend as a 3-day excursion, or in part where indicated, on the booking form. However, priority will be given to those attending the full weekend.
- With regard to numbers you are urged to book as early as possible since on the Saturday there is a limit of 39 for the Bodleian tour and 32 for the New College lunch. There is also a limit of 40 on the Sunday.
- You are welcome to book and send a non-returnable deposit of 10% now and the balance to arrive no later than 1st August 2008. Alternatively you may book and pay now and receive the discount indicated.
- There are also discounts and priority booking for those who are members/family members.
- Depending on numbers transport on the Saturday will either be via taxi/train or coach/minibus. The hotel is 5 minutes by taxi from Didcot, which is also where the Didcot Railway Centre is located. Hence members could stay as long as they wish here and catch a taxi home at their convenience. On Sunday a coach will be provided. Apart from the taxi to/from the station all other transport costs are included for both days. No transport is provided for the Friday night concert. It may be possible to provide a mini-bus if there is enough support – the cost is likely to be around £15 return (please indicate on your booking form if you would like to take up this option if available).
- Members will not receive their confirmations until after 30th May 2008 or when the numbers booked make the trip viable.
This enchanting Georgian manor house which has been sympathetically extended over the years is surrounded by 22 acres of tranquil parkland and is a delightful blend of modern comfort and traditional charm with 4 star service. Fully equipped leisure club with cardiovascular gym, indoor pool, whirlpool spa and treatment rooms. Beauty treatments are subject to availability. Jogging maps are available at reception!
Friday 26th September 2008
Guests are welcome to arrive at Milton Hill House at leisure and avail themselves of the various facilities, including the pool during the afternoon. In the evening members are invited to a special one-off concert of Morse related music at Keble College. Colin Dexter will be the dinner host while Barrington Pheloung will conduct. The concert is in aid of the Lords Taverners (who are running this part of the weekend and hence the separate booking and cost) with priority being given to those booking for the dinner as well as the concert.
Saturday 27th September 2008
After breakfast we will travel into the centre of Oxford for an extended tour of the Bodleian Library at 10am. The tour takes in the Divinity School, a masterpiece of English Gothic architecture, Duke Humfrey’s medieval library, still in use today, the Radcliffe Camera, an architectural icon of Oxford and the first rotunda library built in Britain, as well as the underground tunnels (hopefully they have removed the dead body by now!) and passages leading to the book stack, where more than 7 million volumes occupy 110 miles of shelving. From here we will take the short walk to New College where a private room has been reserved our formal lunch. This will be a 3-course affair with wine included. Colin Dexter will preside as is our tradition. Following lunch at 3pm we will make our way to the Didcot Railway Centre which houses a collection of Great Western Railway steam engines, coaches, wagons, buildings and small relics, as well as a recreation of Brunel's broad gauge railway upon which we will travel in 1840s style, behind replica broad gauge locomotive - 'Fire Fly'. In addition members may ride in coaches from the 1930s behind Great Western steam locomotives on the 'The Main Line' and 'The Branch Line' as many times as they wish. We will be having a guided tour and afternoon tea.
In the evening a 3-course dinner will be served at the hotel and there will be time to relax, or maybe escape to nearby Abingdon, or even take part in this years Endeavour Cup if you are brave enough!
Sunday 28th September 2008
We will depart after breakfast at 10am for a leisurely coach ride to Braunston Marina where Tim Coghlan will give us a tour of the site and show us the various locations associated with WENC. There will be a traditional 2-course roast lunch at the canal-side pub, the Mill House.
Following lunch we will make our way to Blenheim Palace where we will take the (new for 2008) tour of ‘Blenheim Palace: The untold story’ in which we will follow a virtual maid around the house! Members will also be free to explore other areas of the house and grounds. A cream tea will be taken at the nearby Bear Hotel in Woodstock. From here the coach will return us to Milton Hill around 5.30pm.