Outings & Theatre Trips

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



A Visit to STONOR PARK & HOUSE, also the Rowing Museum at Henley

Today we visit Stonor House which is an historic Country House and deer park situated in the Chiltern Hills. We will be taking a Candlelit Evening tour of the interior of Stonor House and its beautiful Christmas decorations, followed by a mince pie and mulled wine!. On the way to Stonor we visit the Rowing Museum at Henley on Thames to explore the fascinating story of the world famous Regatta. There is a good café where refreshments can be purchased.

The cost is £ 36.50 ( including a gratuity for our driver) The Coach leaves the Co-oP at Four Marks at 13.00, then Sainsbury’s at 13.15hrs and finally 13.30hrs at Bentley. Returning Circa 19.00hrs
Please email to book your place.



A Matinee performance of "My Cousin Rachel"...At the Chichester Festival Theatre

Based on the novel by Daphne du Maurier

Seated in the balcony, tickets to include the coach are £40.

We will leave Four Marks at 9.30am, then Alton opposite Sainsbury’s 9.45am and finally, Bentley at 10.00am.
Timed to allow for a wander around this charming town and to have lunch before the matinee which starts at 14.30pm.
We should be on our way home by about 1700.


FURTHER DETAILS of these Excursions will be on the Notice Board in the Community Centre and on the Website - - in due course.


Please Note There is still some availability for the 2020 Holiday on May 10th - 15th to the Isle of Man. Contact Mary !


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



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


U3A Excursion to Sussex and the Prairie Garden..September 4th

Report by Fiona Davidson ( See photo's in GALLERY )

After waking up to monsoon like conditions outside we ventured forth towards Sussex. Our Guide joined us and our first visit was to a typically Norman church with subtlety coloured stained glass windows. We passed a windmill en route to Steyning where we had lunch. Steyning is an interesting village with quirky Tudor buildings, cobbles and coffee shops!

Then, on to the Prairie Gardens which are totally unique. Paul and Pauline had a vision that they wanted to create a prairie garden in England and they have certainly succeeded in creating a masterpiece in originality. There was a path around the outside of the area and numerous paths winding their way to and fro to the other side amidst the plants. The drifts of grasses were swaying in the breeze and amongst them were clumps of yellow rudbeckia and other fascinating plants and so the whole affect was very striking. A free tea and cake followed before we very happily wended our way home.

A thoroughly enjoyable day and I would strongly recommend a visit. It is only open in the summer and autumn and the colours will be magnificent in a few weeks time.


U3A Excursion to WILTON HOUSE..August 14th 2019

Report by Fiona and Malcolm Davidson

We left Alton on a very wet, dreary day in August and went an indirect route to Wilton House! We were met by Ros who was very helpful, informative and directed us to the various places of interest , the facilities after a two hour drive being the first!

The house was absolutely magnificent and well worth a second visit sometime to take in all the wonderful ceilings, the Chippendale, Boulle and Kent furniture. The most priceless item was an inlaid brass with pewter table which was stunning.
There were wonderful Van Dyck paintings amongst other artists and a large number of equestrian paintings for the tenth Earl of Pembroke who loved horses.

There was also a special Cecil Beaton photographic exhibition which was very interesting as well as a superb collection of the Earl's classic cars.

The grounds were mainly beautiful parkland and a walk to the Palladian bridge over the river would have been lovely on a sunny day! All in all, a superb day extremely well organised, as usual, by Mary.