Posted by: marymarthatours | November 30, 2011

Mary and Martha and the British Arts & Crafts Movement

As readers of our blog will have figured out long ago, Martha and I are nutty about the British Arts & Crafts Movement.  Mention William Morris, Charles Rennie Macintosh, C.F.A. Voysey, or M.H. Baillie Scott to us, and we go into raptures about places connected with them in England and Scotland.

In a way, it was our love of all things A&C that was the foundation for our current avocation of planning and leading tours to the British Isles and Ireland.  Back in 1998, Martha and I went on our first excursion as members of a tour group; it was an Arts & Crafts tour which included sites in Scotland and England.

Hs Art Lover, PD

The House of an Art Lover by C.R. Macintosh, Glasgow, Scotland

We were thrilled with our visits to a number of Charles Rennie Macintosh buildings in Glasgow and nearby Helensburgh.  One of the highlights of the tour was a private dinner at Macintosh’s House of an Art Lover.

Other locations that we especially liked were Wightwick Manor, Kelmscott Manor, and the Red House in Kent, all with William Morris connections.

Wightwick2  Kelmscott  Red House

Wightwick Manor, Kelmscott Manor, and the Red House (1998)

Although we visited some amazing locations, there were elements of the tour design, leadership, and cost that convinced us that, given a chance, we could do better.  We finally got the opportunity in 2007, when Journeys with Jeff asked us to put together and lead a garden tour in England.  We knew there were certain things we wanted our tour to include:

  • Thorough research before planning an itinerary
  • Longer stays at each hotel to provide a more relaxed pace
  • Information provided on the coach about all the locations we were visiting and background material on gardening and history in England
  • A reasonable price
  • Lots of fun and a few surprises

Since that first tour in 2007, we’ve tried to incorporate these features into all our tours, and evidently the folks who have traveled with us like our efforts.

The upcoming tour in September of 2012 will have all of the above elements and a bit of something for everyone.  The tour is called England in Miniature, but it’s not just for miniature enthusiasts.  We’ll be seeing some remarkable houses – from the small cottages of Beatrix Potter at Hill Top Farm and Anne Hathaway in Stratford – to the baronial manors of Dalemain and Nunnington Hall – to the magnificent Castle Howard.  There will be gardens at many of those locations for the garden lovers and the gorgeous scenery of the Lake District and the Yorkshire Moors.  Three nights each in York and Stratford will appeal to anyone who likes to explore on their own, shop, or attend the theatre.  And, of course, there will be the surprises.


Blackwell, Bowness-on-Windemere, Cumbria

And for all of us, Martha and Mary included, there will be a visit to the quintessential Arts & Crafts house in the Lake District – Blackwell, the lovely home designed in 1898 by H.M. Baillie Scott for Sir Edward Holt.  But more on that next time…

(by Mary)


Photo credits:  House of an Art Lover – Roger Griffith, Public Domain;  Blackwell – from Blackwell website, used by permission;  All other photos – Mary and Martha, 1998


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: