Chard, Ilminster & District




Our holiday for 2019 is to North Wales. See the accompanying brochure for the details.
2019 North Wales Brochure
I would just like to draw your attention to the fact that there only eleven single rooms, any more will need the single supplement to be negotiated as they will be double rooms for single occupancy. If you require a single room please let me know as soon as possible as it will be first come first served.

If you are interested please let me know so that I make sure we have sufficient numbers to collect the deposit etc.

For any other information contact me on 01460 66462 or

Janet Brown

Peak District Holiday June 2018 - Derbyshire Discoveries

On a mid-June morning, shortly after sunrise, or so it seemed to some of us, an intrepid combined U3A party (Chard, Somerton, Martock, Crewkerne) set off for a five-day visit to Derbyshire's Peak District, the nation's first National Park.

To one who had never visited this area before, the Peak District, with its superbly wooded hills and valleys, its steep inclines, hairpin bends and extensive open moorlands, is totally an eye-opener. It is a paradise for walkers and climbers, and it opens up just fifteen minutes from the centre of Sheffield!

The one major stop on the outward journey was at the Wedgwood Museum at Burlaston near Stoke on Trent, home to a UNESCO-protected collection of historic and cultural significance. The workmanship of those creating these masterpieces was of mind-blowing high quality, as indeed were the prices of many of the articles on sale!

The lushness of the Peak District countryside was the perfect background and foil to our excursions.

Bakewell The Anglo- Saxon crosses in the churchyard and medieval features inside the church were worth the climb – and encouraged people to have a taste perhaps of the Bakewell Pudding – not tart!

Tideswell where the “petalling” was in progress – the delicate preparation for the traditional “well-dressing” to become public (be unveiled?) the following weekend at the start of Wakes Week.

Hathersage, with a steady pull up to the churchyard, where stands “Little John's” grave (if you are serious about Robin Hood and his Merry Men).

The fit and hardy members of the group descended the 245 steps down to the workings at the Blue John Mine – and back up again. The total annual output of this mine amounts to four wheelbarrows-full of this dark blue fluorspar, but because of its rarity, it is one of the world's most expensive semi-precious stones.

The great, and not so great, houses of the area were themselves impressive in different ways, and each memorable.

Chatsworth House, home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, is immense, opulent in the extreme, and testament to the art, the sculptures, the silver, and every possible expense housed here. The gilding of certain exterior window frames is new underway – to return them to their former 18th century style.

Renishaw Hall, home to the eccentric and somewhat dysfunctional Sitwell family, was a complete contrast – much smaller, compact, a warm friendly house, still occupied by the family and loved and protected by them.

Haddon Hall was in many ways the “piece de resistance”, dating back to the 12th century and, as it were, preserved in aspic. It had been forgotten and unoccupied for 300 years, and hence no Georgian or Victorian “improvements”. It is, as it was originally, a fortified manor-house. So real is it, that prior to our arrival a Netflix film company team had made it one of their central locations in a film being set in the time of King Henry V.

Perhaps the most poignant and human visit of all was to the village of Eyam. The story of how the bubonic plague struck the village in 1665-66 is well known. 260 inhabitants died while the village took the most self-sacrificing measures to prevent the disease from spreading.

The village primary school has a very significant pair of wrought iron gates at its entrance: three children are depicted skipping in a circle with the words, “Ring-a ring-of roses” woven into the pattern. The nursery rhyme we all know, had its beginning during the Plague, with a circular rash being one symptom of the illness.

The village church and the splendid little museum are “musts”. The museum not only deals with the Plague in Eyam but also how the men of Eyam fared during the First World War - “A Second Sacrifice”.

A truly enjoyable 5 days of discovery – friendly company and inter-U3A co-operation. A big thank you to Janet Brown and to Eric our driver.

John Saunders Somerton U3A

P.S. Plans are afoot to visit North Wales in June 2019




You are invited to join us for a short break to the Blackpool (Illuminations) from 6th October to the 9th October 20, 2019.
We will be staying at The Queens Hotel, ideally situated on the South Promenade between the Central and South Piers. The hotel overlooks the Irish Sea and is only 10 minutes walk from the famous Pleasure Beach. Its 117 bedrooms have central heating, bath or shower and WC., tea/coffee making facilities, hair dryer and TV with radio channels. Single rooms benefit from an internal telephone. Generously sized public areas include an intimate bar, a splendid recently refurbished Theatre Bar with superb entertainment and attractive lounges.

The outward and return journeys will include visits to Chester or Trentham Gardens.

Since Blackpool has so much to offer to visitors and it is a good distance to travel, I am optimising the amount of time to enjoy the town and to visit the many attractions. The Tower, The Zoo, The Waxworks, The Art Gallery etc., or walk the miles of promenade and visit the piers.

Our two days in Blackpool will include:

1.An optional afternoon visit to Fleetwood, a coastal town with an historic museum and varied individual shops.

2.An evening tour of the lights

There is also the option to have afternoon tea at the Tower Ballroom (home of ballroom dancing and Strictly Come Dancing) at an additional cost of £17 per person.
NB these tickets must be booked and paid for when paying your deposit for the holiday.

Prices for the holiday are:
£289 per person for those sharing a room
plus £20 single supplement for the first 12 people booking a single room (allocated on a first come, first served basis)
(£30 single supplement for three more single rooms)
(there are a few single rooms with sea view available for a £59 supplement)
The price of the holiday may decrease if we have sufficient numbers of participants.

Please make all cheques payable to Bakers Dolphin
Deposit cheques for £20 dated now, and to be with me before the end of May.
A separate cheque of £17 for tea at The Tower Ballroom, (if required) dated now, also to be with me by the end of May
A separate cheque for the balance should be paid before 28th August 2019.

We always have great fun on these holidays and single people are never left on their own. Please encourage your mature family and friends to join us. It may be advisable to consider travel insurance as this activity is not covered by the U3A. For more information on any aspect of the holiday, or to book, please contact me.

Kind Regards
Jan Simpson, 01935 421161, 15 Victoria Road, Yeovil, BA21 5AY



2017 Holiday in Cambridge

2016 Holiday in Madrid

2015 Holiday in Holland

2013 Lisbon Holiday

2012 Ireland Holiday


These holdays are not organised by our U3A. They are holidays designed for groups of eight people.
For futher information please see Special Interest Hols in Spain or U3Aspanishhols
Contact Tina Bellenie on Tele No 0034 96 285 1877 (after 6pm)