Our steady New Enterprise coach driver, Chris, collected the intrepid TU3A travellers from the 3 pickup points around Tonbridge and proceeded to the M25 somehow making it appear the morning rush hour didn't exist.
After a comfort stop at Winchester Services we progressed through parts of the New Forest, where we saw ponies mingling with assorted cattle, grazing apparently unconcerned by the passing traffic and threaded our way along narrow lanes through Beaulieu village and on to Bucklers Hard. Here we browsed through the very well designed maritime museum where we learned how the various trees from the forest were used to build the fighting ships of old. There were also excellent scenes of life as it was in the 17th 18th century, stories of how Bucklers Hard was involved in modern warfare and culminating in the amazing achievement of Sir Francis Chichester and Gypsy Moth when they circumnavigated the world single handed in 1967.
From the Museum a gentle walk took us to the peaceful, gentle shoreline where the old ships were built and launched, and where now modern yachts lay on pontoons, at anchor or on moorings. Nearby there is an area put aside for the old traditional ways of ship building being displayed, thus retaining the skills learnt through the centuries never to be forgotten.
After a couple of hours we were back on the coach and Chris wended his way back through the lanes to the lovely Exbury Gardens. After refreshments near the pretty sundial garden we wandered through the amazing grounds, in perfect weather, taking in the herbaceous borders, ancient woodlands with great Sequoia trees, three hundred year old Cedars and an amazing variety of other trees and plants together with lovely views of the Beaulieu River and colonnaded Exbury House.
So at 5pm we were back on the coach, and smoothly driven home to Tonbridge, arriving at approximately 7.30, Chris somehow making the journey appear easy while negotiating heavy traffic.
Our thanks to the organisers for a great day out, and of course, to Chris our driver.