DISCOVER DORSET- Friday 27th-Sunday 29th January 2017
Located on the South Coast, Dorset is a stunning destination for groups. Heritage sites sit within areas of outstanding natural beauty; sweeping beaches, dramatic cliffs and sheltered bays. There is something for every interest group, including historic houses, military museums and exotic gardens to explore.
Day one: Guests booked on to the Dorset familiarisation weekend will start their journey at the Best Western Hotel Royale in the centre of the seaside town Bournemouth. This comfortable hotel will provide the base of the familiarisation trip where a Harry Shaw Coach will be eagerly awaiting the group to set off for their first destination. The Tank Museum located in Bovington, brings history to life with the world’s best collection of tanks and explosive live displays. The group will be met by an experienced guide to take them around some of the 300 armoured vehicles residing at the museum. With eight powerful exhibitions available to explore, not all will be seen on the trip, but you will get a good idea of what is available for groups to enjoy.
Back on the coach, a short trip through some beautiful scenery to Lulworth Educational Centre were the group will stop off for lunch and have an informative talk by a local guide about the famous Jurassic coast.
The geology of Lulworth Cove was formed over 10,000 years ago and additional information on the area can be picked up on walking trails, fossil hunting plus much more.
It’s a quick drive to Poole Harbour and a change of transport as the group board a City Cruises Boat for an afternoon harbour tour, where views of Europe’s largest natural Harbour and the coast can be enjoyed with a piece of cake.
Once back on dry land, guests will head back to the hotel to check in and take advantage of the facilities. Then a short stroll along the prom to Bournemouth Pier will work up an appetite for dinner at Key West Restaurant, uniquely positioned at the end of Bournemouth pier, which will be offering a delicious dinner overlooking views of the shoreline and open sea.
Day two: Saturday will consist of a visit to the iconic ‘peoples palace’, formally known as Alexandra Palace, in London for Excursions 2017 where further group inspiration and ideas can be discovered.
Along with over 300 exhibitors there will be a ‘pop up pub’ managed by the Nicholson’s pub Group located within the food and drink area at the show giving out free samples of ale. Or, visit the TSE stand and pick up a free ticket to Denbies Vineyard’s demonstration and taster session in the afternoon. You will have access to an exclusive Jane Austen feature area where regency dancing plus lots more will be taking place to celebrate 200 years of her death.
As the whole day will be taken up with information and inspiration gathering, a stop off to Hampshire’s Milestone’s Museum on the way back to Bournemouth will offer you a welcomed break. Milestones is a living history museum, where the group can enjoy a cup of tea whilst being surrounded by decades of history on display. Then back at the hotel a 3 course buffet style dinner will be available, so you can have an evening to relax after a busy day.
Day three: After a substantial breakfast the group can walk to nearby Russell Cotes Gallery, an exotic Victorian Villa dating back to 1901. It’s home to a collection of fine art and remarkable objects from around the world, as well as British collections which create a truly unique atmosphere. The group will be welcomed with hot flasks of tea or coffee in the Edwardain Gallery. A guide will give a brief talk and then the group are free to wander at will to explore other areas of the museum, with a guide on hand if any questions arise.
Back on the coach, the group will head to Poole where the world’s largest collection of Poole Pottery can be seen at the home of the Pottery, on Poole Quay. Providing a distinctive attraction for visitors, Poole Pottery’s rich history dates back to 1873 and it has long been recognised as a centre of excellence for the most skilled craftsmen and artisans. The group will visit a working studio to see the throwers, artists and designers at work, and view a demonstration of pot throwing. Lunch will be served in the onsite cafe serving hot drinks and jacket potatoes, before moving on to the next stop at Ringwood Brewery.
Founded by Peter Austin in 1978, a man who is revered as "the father of British Micro-brewing", Ringwood is a relatively small brewery that has built an enviable reputation for the quality of its beer and service. On the visit the group will be able to taste the malted barley, sniff the hops and even taste test a few of the well known brews.
Once the group are sufficiently inebriated the coach will take them back to the hotel where the fam trip will end!