Explore Jacobean and Tudor houses, incredible gardens, and enjoy a lunch and wine tasting at Bardfield Vineyard.
Day 1 We travel via the Dartford Crossing and arrive at our hotel north of Maldon with time to relax before our evening meal.
Day 2 Today we visit the delightful town of Maldon, on the Blackwater Estuary, before our afternoon visit to RHS Hyde Hall. Here enjoy a guided tour of the eclectic mix of traditional and modern with a fine dry garden, rose garden and glorious herbaceous borders.
Day 3 This morning we travel to Saffron Walden, packed with historic buildings, interesting shops and pleasant cafés. On to Audley End House and Gardens, an opulent Jacobean mansion house surrounded by formal gardens, organic kitchen gardens and parkland designed by ‘Capability’ Brown.
Day 4 Our morning is spent in the historic town of Colchester, Britain’s oldest recorded town. In the afternoon we visit Beth Chatto Gardens, beginning with a short introductory talk.
Day 5 We visit Ingatestone Hall, a 16th-century manor which has stayed in the same family, accumulating wonderful furniture and portraits over the years. There are also formal gardens and two priests’ holes. Then on to Bardfield Vineyards for a ploughman’s lunch, tour and tasting!
Day 6 Leaving our hotel after breakfast, we make our way home, arriving in the local area to meet our taxis late afternoon.
A four-star countryside hotel, the Five Lakes offers scenic views, two bars and places to relax. Leisure facilities include indoor swimming pool, sauna, steam room, spa bath, gym and treatment rooms. Bedrooms have TV, telephone, WiFi, ironing facilities, safe, hairdryer and hospitality tray. There is a lift.