What we're about

Being inspired by Mr Portillo's wonderful railway journeys we acquired our own Bradshaw and have set up this group. We are a group of rail enthusiasts who are also devotees of Mr Maconies evocative guide to the delights of Middle England. Our group is arranging journeys on England’s most scenic railways, rides on the captivating preserved steam railways and tours of the many splendid historic towns within easy reach of London. We are also scheduling expeditions to national trust gardens; picnic walks on the North Downs; cycle rides through the Surrey & Sussex countryside inspired by HG Wells original guide Within London we plan themed walks, following Betjemans Metro- Land journey; seeking out Charles Holden’s wonderfully innovative stations, exploring the timeless legacy of Decimus Burton; finding the film locations for Poirot, Hitchcock and Crichton; discovering the art deco masterpieces hidden around London. We are also devising treasure hunts within stunning landscaped gardens; walks through vintage London quarters taking in the many independent bookshops, galleries & markets springing up. All walks will conclude at a stylish top tea shop where we can celebrate the day over tiffin. For all fans of Bradshaw, Betjeman, Brunel, Burton, Brooke and Bennett please join us for more adventures on the high teas.

Upcoming events (5+)

Wurlitzer and Silent Film at Musical Museum

The Musical Museum

We have another nostalgia afternoon at the Kew Musical Museum. This Winter they have a season of Hollywood musicals plus a famous silent film showing. Wings is the finest American silent war film, set during the First World War. Released by Paramount Pictures, it stars Clara Bow, Charles "Buddy" Rogers and Richard Arlen. Gary Cooper appears in a small role which helped launch his Hollywood career. Hundreds of extras and some 300 pilots were involved in the filming, including pilots and planes of the United States Army Air Corps. Acclaimed for its technical prowess and realism upon release, the film became the yardstick against which future aviation films were measured, mainly because of its realistic air-combat sequences. This screening is the Museum’s way of marking the centenary of the end of the First World War. Donald MacKenzie, from the Odeon Leicester Square, will be at the Wurlitzer to provide the live accompaniment to this thrilling and dramatic cinematic experience. Cost is £12.50 for tickets. Short walk from Kew Bridge station, or from Gunnersbury ( District & Overground). We are meeting in the tea room on the 1st floor from 2.30pm.Meet at table facing river, "Adventures on High Teas" book on table for identification. £2 fee for meet up costs. A good knowledge of English history required for event. https://www.musicalmuseum.co.uk/what-s-on

Railway Architecture Walk

London St Pancras Station

This year sees the 150th anniversary of St Pancras Railway Station, now wonderfully restored as the gateway to Britain for Eurostar arrivals. It is acclaimed in the outstanding new book “Britain’s 100 Best Railway Stations” by Simon Jenkins. This work is a celebration of the nation’s finest stations reflecting the continuing railway renaissance. Our tour will take in 6 of the stations selected including 2 featured in the top 10. Route will use the capitals newest railway network before some easy walking sections. Will stop at Southwark and Winchester(remains) Cathedrals plus Georgian Dockland buildings now a museum and galleries. . Itinerary - St Pancras, the symbol of the railway renaissance saved by Betjeman. We will take in Barlow’s stunning single arch train shed, its soaring sky blue wings of iron surrounded by George Gilberts Scott’s neo Gothic Railway Hotel. This was a semi abandoned dust filled relic for 70 long years now restored as the Renaissance Hotel. Kings Cross, West Concourse (2012) with its semi-circular fan vault. Splendid combination of the modern and conservation. We will explore the hidden features plus the Parcel Yards complex now a warren of alcoves within the railway pub. Blackfriars - The original St Pauls terminus now improved beyond recognition with platforms suspended above the river and unique feature of entrances either side of the Thames. London Bridge. London’s first station (1836) has reopened after a 5 year massive rebuild. This has transformed the previously cluttered and confusing terminus into the most modern station on the network. Many innovative features can be viewed here. Jubilee Line showpieces - Roland Paoletti re-enacted the glory days of Pick and Holden by engaging the finest architect’s to design the new stations. The best is Canary Wharf (voted London’s favourite underground station) a subterranean cathedral with its curved glass entrance concourse Southwark - Another Holden inspired creation with a wall of blue tiles curving into the distance in the concourse Westminster - A brutalist hymn to the efficacy of Concrete with the imagery of an ocean liners engine room. Meet at tables outside Benugo Coffee shop on Upper Concourse facing the statue of Betjeman. Meet up sign on table. Walk fee of £3 for event payable on the day. A good knowledge of English history is required for this event. As we are close to stations throughout the day it is easy to leave early if required.

North Downs Viewpoints Walk


Sandra and Rob are leading their first walk for the group. An enchanting 8 mile walk from Guildford to Shere via St Martha's Hill and Newlands Corner. The walk explores the beautiful Surrey countryside firstly along the river Wey, then short sections of the Pilgrim's Way and the North Downs Way. There are 2 gentle ascents, rewarded by wonderful views over the Surrey hills. The pace will be moderate. After walking along a pretty section of the river Wey, we will ascend the Greensand ridge to St Martha's Church, arguably one of the most scenic and unusual settings for a church in the whole of the UK. Following a picnic lunch stop on the chalk escarpment of Albury Down, we will follow the chalk ridge until a final descent to the 'chocolate box' village of Shere. This is the ideal place to tarry a while with its lovely tea room, historic pub and terrific ice cream, weather permitting! Direct return bus to Guildford. Also the option to walk an extra 25 minutes to the village of Gomshall. Here there is another historic pub and quirky tea room, followed by the choice of bus or train back to Guildford. Travel SW trains from Waterloo departs 10:00 arrives Guildford 10:30. If coming from Ealing direction at Shepherds Bush take 09:26 service changing at Clapham for Guildford. See trainline for all details. Regular trains back from Guildford to London. Bus back from Shere to start. Start - 10:35am at Guildford station (main entrance), postcode GU2 7NN Finish - Around 4:00pm at Shere village hall (bus stop), Shere, Surrey, postcode GU5 9HZ Meetup fee of £3 for event payable on the day. A good knowledge of English history is required for this event.

Brunel & GWR City Break

YHA Bristol, 14 Narrow Way, Bristol, BS1 4QA

We are travelling to Bristol on Brunels own GWR route. The route is now part electrified so faster and more comfortable new trains are running from January. We are arranging a guided history & walking weekend break in this historic city. We will be staying 2 nights at the ideally situated YHA on the River Avon. The YHA is a converted waterfront Grain house with dorms and private rooms. The YHA has its own bar and restaurant plus self catering kitchens. Bristol has lots of history all within easy walk of the centre. The harbourside has maritime heritage as the city was the main port for all Atlantic trade until the rise of Liverpool in the later 19th century. There are fine Regency crescents and terraces in the old city area. Bristol was the home city of Brunel who created much of the infrastructure; the original GWR railway shed, the Clifton suspension bridge and the SS Great Britain can all be explored on foot. It is also the home city of Banksy and there is a Bristol Street Art Walking route to spot his earliest works. There are many cycle routes around the city, cycle hire is available. There are the Bristol Docks Loop - Cycle round the historic Bristol docks almost entirely off road passing the SS Great Britain and other iconic sites. The Festival Way - from the M-Shed (500 yards from hostel) on an entirely traffic-free route to Ashton Court estate with off road trails. Plus the Bristol & Bath Railway Path – a green corridor, entirely traffic-free, runs for 16 miles between these two historic cities. On Saturday we plan to hire cycles at the hostel to do the cycle tour of the city, the Avon Gorge and the festival way to Ashton Court. Lots of cafes and pubs on route. There will also a walking option to do the heritage maritime & street art trail. Can also walk around the Stokes Croft (green capital quarter) of the city. In the evening we will eat at one of the recommended restaurants in the heritage quarter, very large and varied choice. . On Sunday we plan to walk to the SS Great Britain and return via the heritage centre of town visiting the Cathedral, the regency architecture and the street art displays. There is also an option for mountain biking at Ashton Court and boat rides along the River Avon. There are several notable museums and art galleries to visit during the stay as well. Price of £79 includes 2 nights in private en-suite small rooms: plus guided city walk & guided cycle tour of the City and surrounding countryside. Includes full group membership for full insurance cover for all activities. Other accommodation option. Bristol has an abundance of hotels & B & Bs. If looking to book own accommodation please contact organizer to book into event on a “arranging own rooms basis”. Travel Rail services. Currently off peak open return tickets are £57 to Bristol, based on travelling before 16.00 or after 19.00 on the Friday. Cheaper fares may be released by GWR around 12 weeks before the event. We aim to take early evening train back, arriving London Sunday evening. To book please rsvp & mail us on [masked] , Deadline for booking is 15th November as venue is very popular. ANY questions please send e mail & please do not add comments.

Past events (259)

Navigation training - Chiltern Hills

Chesham Station

Photos (1,095)