Posted by: marymarthatours | November 18, 2013

2014 Spring Gardens of Cornwall & Devon Tour Status Report


Stourhead Garden in spring

Registrations for the M&M Spring Gardens of Cornwall and Devon Tour (April 26 – May 10, 2014) are starting to come in, but it’s always this time – four to five months before a tour – that I begin to worry.  We’ve got the tour all planned, but will we get enough travelers to actually go?

We have a nice start on our group, but we will need to do better with registrations soon.  There seem to be a number of reasons why people aren’t rushing to sign up:

  • They may be waiting until the new year to make their travel decisions for 2014
  • They may be focused on the upcoming holidays
  • They may think that spring is very far away since the winter season is just starting

I understand all that, but I have some additional information that would-be travelers don’t have.  For example, I know that a large, non-refundable deposit is due at the Meudon Hotel before the end of December.  Yes, I know that we could probably find an alternative hotel in the Falmouth area, but it just wouldn’t be the fabulous Meudon and its amazing garden with the meandering pathway down to their private ocean beach.  I really, really would love to introduce our travelers to this wonderful establishment.  It would be so great if we could have enough registrations before Christmas to insure that we’ll be staying there.

meudonwebsite4   ourgateto bream cove

Meudon Hotel upper garden and path to the private beach

Another potential concern is that a lot of the folks who have signed up already are planning to go ‘land-only’.  They are either flying from places other than Seattle or Minneapolis, or have other travel plans before or after our tour.  We’ve had no problem connecting with ‘land-only’ travelers on previous tours; folks are very good about being at the airport when our group flight arrives.  But there is a challenge when offering a tour package that includes airfare, because a group fare requires that a minimum of ten people depart together from one city.  And with group fares needing to be booked three months before departure, we will need to have a pretty clear idea of who is going with us on the group flight by early January.

We’ve also needed to make one change in the itinerary.  We had originally included Castle Drogo on our spring itinerary.  It’s still there in the brochure, but there’s been a bit of a complication.  It seems that for the next 5 years, Castle Drogo will be undergoing extensive interior renovation.  But, not to worry, we have found a fabulous substitute for the day that we will be traveling from Cornwall to Exeter – Lanhydrock House and Gardens, near Bodmin in Cornwall.  Lanhydrock offers us an amazing Victorian manor house, formal garden beds, and woodland walks featuring magnolia, rhododendrons, and camellias.  We’ll plan to visit the house interior, have time in the gardens, and stay for lunch.

lanhydrock, Mike Searle, ccasa2.0

Lanhydrock gatehouse and house

garden, Brian, ccasa2.0    lanhydrock woodland, Derek Harper, ccasa2.0

Lanhydrock formal garden and woodland garden in May

All of this is just to let you know, that if you are considering joining us for what will surely be one of our most delightful garden tours yet, we would encourage you to register as soon as possible.  Our maximum number of travelers is thirty, but we will go with a minimum of twenty.  We’d love to have you with us.  And for anyone who enjoys the series ‘Downton Abbey‘, this tour is a ‘once-in-a-life-time’ opportunity to get inside the real Downton Abbey estate.  We will spend an entire day at Highclere Castle. 

(by Mary)

Photo credits:  Stourhead photo from collection of Mary Wallace; Meudon Hotel photos from Meudon Hotel website and used by permission; Lanhydrock house photo copyright Mike Searle and licensed for reuse by Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 license; Formal garden bed photo copyright Brian and licensed for reuse by Creative Common Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 license; woodland garden photo copyright Derek Harper and licensed for reuse by Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 license.



  1. I am always astonished at your attention to detail. Lucky travelers to have these brains and hearts at work!

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