Outings & Theatre Trips

ERRATUM Regrettably Mary Trickers Email address has been incorrectly entered on the back page of the Blue Book. It

A ‘Behind the Scenes’ Tour of the Royal Opera House
This excursion is Fully Booked but it is anticipated that a further visit may be arranged for later in the year!
Coach leaves Co-op at Four Marks at 09.30, then opposite Sainsbury’s in Alton at 09.45, and Bentley at 10am.

See the luxury surrounding the once proud owner of a lavish Roman residence – a palace fit for a king. Visit its museum. Wander through the recreated Roman gardens – the earliest found anywhere in the country – and enjoy the largest of mosaics in situ in the UK. Entry includes Tea or coffee upon arrival together with a short introductory talk.
The cost is £35.00 per person. Payment on booking please. There is an additional charge of £3.50 for non U3A members to cover ancillary costs.
Setting out from Four Marks (Co-op bus stop) 9:00am; Alton (Sainsbury’s) at 9:15 am; and Bentley Memorial Hall at around 9.30am.
Booking Contact: Robert Hughes 01420 562958,
Payment through: Mary Tricker (as per page 7 of the Blue Book)
Last date for booking: 17th February 2020

A Visit to Leonardslee Gardens
Enjoy peaceful walks through the ‘Finest Woodland Gardens in England’ which boasts impressive features, including several scarce trees and shrubs. There are numerous walks to explore throughout the 240-acres of Grade I Listed Gardens, parkland, lawns and forest areas, with an abundance of fascinating fauna as well as flora.
The cost is £30 per head - including drivers tip.
Our Coach will pick up from Four Marks outside the Coop store at 9.30, then opposite Alton Sainsbury’s at 9.45 and then Bentley Memorial Hall at 10.00.

June Trim is taking names for this trip and her phone number is 01420 23336 Please note that your payment should be sent to Mary Tricker on booking (at the address on p7 of the Blue Book) to confirm your place.

MONDAY 1st June.

Spend the day exploring the Cotswolds area with our Blue Badge tourist guide Roger Bailey whom some of you may have met on our holiday in Stratford on Avon a few years ago.
We hope to arrive in Woodstock in time to meet Roger for coffee around 11am and then proceed with him on our tour largely by coach but with stops for lunch and a look around.

Once the engine of England being the centre of the wool trade during medieval times we shall visit some of the important towns and villages in the area, including the Venice of the Cotswolds and much more. We hope to enjoy the beauty of the Cotswolds as well as learn a lot about the area from our guide.

Our Top Marks coach will leave outside Alton Sainsbury's at 09.00, then Four Marks Shopping Parade at 09.15. We plan to start our return journey between 16.30 and 17.00.

Coffee and driver's tip will be included in the price which is £26.

Mary Tricker is taking names for this trip, phone number on the back page of the Blue Book or email Please note that your payment should be sent to Mary Tricker on booking (at the address on p7 of the Blue Book) to confirm your place.

Cheques made payable to Alton U3A to be sent to Mary Tricker, or pay into the U3A excursions account by BACS – account:
Sort Code 30-90-15 A/c Number 01235606 Quote U3A Excursion and Name


TRIP REPORT November 16th

Alton U3A goes Underground in SW7

U3A’s visit to one of London’s most iconic buildings the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday 16th November was an absolute revelation. After inclusive coffee and delicious pastries we were each allocated a group with a tour guide for our ‘Behind the Scenes’ adventure where we reached parts of the Albert Hall not usually on show to visitors.

During our tour we had a chance to sit in the magnificent auditorium whilst it was empty…..a very different perspective. Currently when full the hall holds well over 5,000 people though it was originally designed with a capacity for 8,000 and has accommodated in the past as many as 12,000!

The next part of our tour took us far below ground to the alternative world at the Royal Albert Hall. No more plush carpeted opulence and curved cream-painted corridors, we entered another universe as deep as the hall itself is tall.

Back in 2000 a massive underground project created a ‘backstage’ area for the 21st century to allow more and better events. Officially there are five storeys below ground creating a jumble of heights and a maze of passageways.

Our tour included workshops, dressing rooms, canteens and catering and green rooms for artists. The vast underground loading bay can take three articulated lorries at once - we were told Cirque du Soleil brings up to 26 articulated vehicles! A gigantic hydraulic lift transports equipment and flight cases to different heights of the stage. Cables, pipes, sprinkler systems and switches adorn the ceilings and walls everywhere.

This was my first U3A outing which I thoroughly enjoyed – thank you and well done Mary, I will definitely be booking up for further U3A adventures.

Julia Burns

(Thank you Julia for your most interesting report which made me feel a little sorry that I didn't go on it. Web-Ed)


Report Alton U3A visit to the River & Rowing Museum/ Stonor Park

On 16th December, a group of U3A members set off by coach for Henley on Thames.
First of all we called in at the River & Rowing museum which was an interesting little museum displaying boats which had taken part in transatlantic races, Olympics and Oxford and Cambridge boat races.There was a gallery devoted to the history of the town of Henley itself, and an art gallery with contributions from local schools. Ratty, Toad and Mole also appeared in a charming exhibition beautifully lit up, showing them in action in their little Wind in the Willows homes on the riverbank and rowing on the river in their little rowing boats.
After a swift cuppa, we then departed on the short journey to Stonor Park, a charming privately owned stately home in an amazing setting in a large parkland area. We were treated to a view of a herd of deer who had been disturbed by our arrival and decided to cross our path.
The Stonor family have lived in the house for the last 850 years. Most of the original furnishings had been sold due to financial pressures, but items have been replaced with cosy and comfortable furniture and family portraits and works of art all of which were subtly lit by candlelight and with roaring fires in the grates.Our knowledgeable guide showed us round the house and explained the family history. The Christmas decorations had been made by the family from greenery found in the garden and the magnificent 20ft Christmas tree had been decorated by them as well.
The evening finished with mulled wine and mince pies in the Aisled hall which serves as a tea room and quite a few souvenirs were purchased on the way out. This lovely visit set the scene and put everyone in the mood for Christmas.



Would anyone like to submit a brief report on a recent U3A Excursion? Send by email or hand written to the U3A Webmaster.

It doesn't have to be lengthy, just a few lines would be nice for other members to read and may even encourage newcomers to come along on a trip.


Alton U3A Stourhead Visit

Wednesday 15th October 2019

At 9am on Wednesday 15th October amid the gloom of the world and in the dreichest of weather a busload of Alton U3A students set off for Stourhead in Wiltshire. Almost two hours later, as we arrived, the drizzle very quickly gave way to glorious blue skies.

The Stourhead virgins in the group swooned and spent the day in a state of euphoria, marvelling at the scale and drama of the landscape! This was the result of the extraordinary vision of Henry Hoare and his descendants, ‘the Makers of Stourhead’.

Almost 300 years ago the banker Henry Hoare bought land in Wiltshire where he set about building his Palladian villa. He died shortly before completion and was succeeded by his son and grandson who spent years on the Grand Tour of Europe. Their inspiration was the artwork collected on their travels. With a bit of help from the ‘finest creative minds’ Stourhead was set apart in the English landscape movement and is described as a ‘living work of art’.

The circular stroll round the lake with its temples, grotto, Pantheon, gothic cottage, cascade, waterwheel, and more is only 1.1 miles but can take a long time as you stop and stare.

Born again gardeners could have spent the duration in the delight of the outdoors, but the house is fascinating as well. The Palladian style is pleasing with rooms full of art and treasures collected from their travels. Two highlights for me were the library – oh to spend the day snuggled on a window seat reading and looking out – and the saloon, described as ‘a place to entertain’, which would be the perfect place for a ceilidh!!

Now run by the National Trust, you can visit the shop, buy plants, and dine in the restaurant or pub. Daily garden tours are also available. We arrived back home at 6pm on a high. A wonderful, wonderful day oot!!

Thank you, June and Mary.

Janette Bartholomew