Our 2010 visit to Sissinghurst Castle and Great Dixter was a sell-out although the coach company decided, at the last minute, to give us a larger coach. Unfortunately I was unable to join the party, and I am grateful to Gill Eadie and Clare for running the visit for me. There seemed to be universal approval and from, what I gather, we could not have chosen a better time to see these two spectacular gardens, where there was an abundance of roses in full bloom. The only adverse comment I got was that members who fail to return to the coach at the appointed departure time should be left behind!
Garden Visit 2011 Highgrove 27th April I applied to go on the list to visit Highgrove some two years ago. The running of visits to Highgrove was passed to staff at Buckingham Palace last year. As it turned out, they would have given us a date in 2010, but I explained that we only made one visit a year and asked that we be put at the top of the list for 2011. However, waiting lists have now obviously become a thing of the past.
I contacted Buckingham Palace in early January this year to find out about a possible visit in 2011, and was told that we would be allowed up to 50 people, split into two groups of 26. I was told to make contact on 1st February when the opening dates would be known and bookings could be made. I was also told that I could book on line on 1st February.
I tried telephoning at 09.05 on 1st February, and got a recorded message saying that opening hours were from 09.00 to 17.00. I tried again some ten minutes later only to get a number unobtainable reply. I reported this to BT and kept trying. When this continued to fail I tried the internet website to discover that it was only possible to book 26 places, so with 70 people wanting to go I thought that I had better rely on the telephone. I still could not get through and when I finally did so all tickets had been sold. (Mostly on the internet) I stressed to a very helpful young girl that we had been very unlucky and could she try and do something if more dates became available. I received a telephone call on Monday 14th February saying that we could have two groups of 26 with two different start times on Wednesday 27th April. Those Members who indicated that they wanted to go to Highgrove have been contacted. Everyone who reads this will realise why their Royal Highnesses are not going to be there!
All tickets have been allocated and there is a waiting list. However, if you would like to join the list, please send me a card including your telephone number so that I can contact you should people drop out. The cost of the coach and entry to Highgrove is £41.50 per person. My address: Cooks Green, Lamarsh, Bures CO8 5DY.