Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Halesowen Party Visit Cromwell Country

A coach party from Halesowen in the West Midlands were treated to a tour of Oliver Cromwell Country recently, with your truly as their guide.

The trip was part of Mark Smith's programme of Coach Trips. Mark, like me, operates these trips to destinations all over the country, under the Quest banner, and I'm pleased to say that he asks me to organise and guide on some of these for him.

I've already introduced Mark's regulars to various places in Leicestershire, including outstanding market towns such as Market Harborough, Market Bosworth and Ashby-de-la-Zouch.

This time, the tour was around Oliver Cromwell Country, the area particularly associated with this intriguing man who ruled England as Lord Protector in the 17th century.

I met the coach at St. Margarets Bus Station in Leicester, and we headed South towards three outstanding towns, all of which are on the River Great Ouse.

The first stop was at Huntingdon, where Cromwell was born. The party were able to visit the Oliver Cromwell Museum, at the Old Grammar School, as well as All Saints Church and the busy market.

Then it was on to St. Ives (Cambridgeshire), where he also lived for a while. There is an Oliver Cromwell Statue on Market Hill, and most of the party visited the ancient bridge with its mediaeval Bridge Chapel.

The last stop was at the delightful cathedral city of Ely. The party were able to visit Oliver Cromwells House as well as the outstanding Ely Cathedral.

I was able to let the group know that I am leading a public Guided Walk, entitled "Ely City and Riverside", on Saturday 4th August. The train that runs from Leicester to Ely can also be caught at Birmingham New Street.

Everybody seemed to enjoy the Cromwell Country Tour, and I enjoyed guiding on it. My Visitors' Book contains such comments as "thank you for a very enjoyable day", "interesting and informative trip to Huntingdon, St. Ives and Ely - I loved the bridge with the chapel at St. Ives", "very enjoyable day made more so with a very good informative guide" and "the cathedral at Ely was just magnificent - a good all round trip - thank you".

In a few weeks' time, I will be taking Mark's group on a Northamptonshire Wanderer Tour, with visits to Wicksteed Park and Oundle, as well as some surprises.