Wrekin

Cultural Visits

Cultural Visits

Don’t be deterred by the name! The social element is a major part of each visit as it enables members to meet others outside of their chosen, more formal group activities. Whilst observing the cultural aspects of the places we visit, we also have fun. New friends are made while we are away and for those of our members who are on their own there is security in being with like-minded people who are also part of the same organisation. Our only space restrictions are the number of seats on the coach or the allocation of rooms in the hotel. All U3A members are welcome. For further information, see the Events page for visits currently on offer or contact the Cultural Group Leader. Alternatively meet the Group Leader at the next Wrekin U3A general meeting in the committee room at Shifnal Village Hall.

Click on a picture below to see it full-size with more details.

* Members @ Stirling CastleMembers @ Stirling Castle * View from hotel - The Duke of Gordon @ KingussieView from hotel - Kingussie
*Carousel @ Thursford 2019Carousel at Thursford 2019

Thursford Christmas Spectacular 7th-9th November 2019

On the morning of Thursday 7th November we set off on a three day visit to Norfolk, the focus of which was an evening performance of the Thursford Christmas Spectacular.
En route we spent several hours in the pretty little town of St Ives, near Cambridge. This historic town is on the river Great Ouse, with an interesting river port along the waterfront and a splendid 15th century bridge and chapel over the river, one of only four such surviving in England.
Our hotel was situated near to Norwich, which is where we headed on Friday morning for a guided tour of the city. Our guide’s knowledge of Norwich was extensive and his enthusiastic, interesting, informative and humorous presentation held our attention for over an hour. Then we were ‘let loose’ in the city.
Following a late afternoon meal, we set off for Thursford. On arrival we were transported into a vast, sparkling Winter Wonderland with a background of traditional Christmas music. It was magical!
The Thursford Christmas Spectacular is the largest Christmas show in England, set in the amazing surroundings of mechanical organs and fairground carousels. The three hour show was an extravaganza of non-stop singing, dancing, music, humour and variety and impossible to describe to anyone who hasn’t experienced it. It was a truly Spectacular’ show, or to put it in one of my favourite French words ‘époustouflant’, (breathtaking/mind boggling).
Saturday morning, on our way back to Shropshire, we had a few hours in Peterborough where the beautiful 12th/13th century Cathedral, with its Gothic façade, was one of a number of places of interest we found to visit.
A very enjoyable holiday with the company of U3A friends.

Denise Smith

The Snowflake Break 11th-15th February 2020

Early morning, on Tuesday 11th February, 51 of us set off on our journey up to Scotland for the five day Snowflake Break in the Cairngorms. Whilst waiting for the coach in Shifnal there had been a flurry of snow and as we travelled further north and into Scotland the snowfall increased and the scenery was beautiful. Our hotel, The Duke of Gordon, is situated in Kingussie in the heart of the Scottish Highlands. A long day travelling but a warm welcome and four course dinner revived us. Looking out of the windows of the ballroom later we could see heavy snow continuing to fall, creating a perfect winter, picture postcard scene.
The snowfall continued overnight and because of this our planned visit to the Highland Wildlife Park was cancelled, as the Park had been closed due to the weather conditions! So no opportunity to see Hamish, the first Polar Bear to be born in the UK for 25 years. Also on the itinerary for the day was a visit to the Base Station on Cairngorm Mountain but, unfortunately, the road up to it was also closed! However, not to be daunted, other plans were made. For a number of our group who had taken walking gear, it gave them the opportunity to explore the area by going on local walks, using maps available from the hotel. The rest of us enjoyed a ‘lazier’ few hours strolling around Aviemore. After returning to the hotel and a welcome bowl of soup, many of us went to investigate what was in Kingussie. That afternoon the stylish ‘Photograph Gallery’ must have had its most visitors in a long while.
Thursday morning we travelled to Stirling Castle. On arrival, a number of us went on the one hour guided tour, which provided an interesting and informative overview of the castle and its history. The interior of the vast King’s Palace was truly spectacular. Early afternoon we had free time in the city before returning to Kingussie.
Friday morning we set off for Inverness, via a brief visit to Loch Ness. Because of rain, the view down the loch wasn’t at its best and it was a wet day for exploring the city. As with the previous day, M&S café was the most popular place visited. Early afternoon we moved on to the Glen Ord Distillery for a guided tour. The guide, who had been there for all of his working life, provided a fascinating insight into the history and current production of the whisky. Apparently, the Singleton whisky of Glen Ord is the only single malt Scotch whisky distilled on the Black Isle. The tour ended with a tasting of this special whisky.
The journey on Saturday really tested our coach driver’s skills, as he brought us safely home through Storm Dennis.
As with all our visits, the Snowflake Break in Scotland gave us the opportunity to spend time with old friends and also make new friends. It was another memorable Wrekin U3A Cultural Visit, for a variety of reasons.

Denise Smith

For further information, see the Events page for visits currently on offer or contact the Cultural Group Leader.