Visits and Study Days

YDFAS organises study days and visits annually. The 2018 events are below:

Ripley Castle Harrogate

Visit to Ripley Castle, Harrogate

Thursday, 15th March, 2018

Ripley Castle is one of Yorkshire’s great historic buildings.  The Ingilby family have lived there for over 700 years.   We will have a guided tour of the Castle which lasts just over an hour, after which we will have lunch.  Lunch can be taken either in the Castle Tea Rooms, which are fully licensed, or at the local inn, The Boar’s Head, which is a very short walk from the Castle, and where there is excellent food.  After lunch, we will be having a guided tour of the gardens, which will take about an hour.  There are extensive grounds and walks around the lake, as well as the four acre Walled Garden and, hopefully, we will enjoy the National collection of hyacinths, as well as the usual spring flowers.

Please note there is no lift for wheelchairs in the Castle, but there is a DVD available in the Gift Shop of the upstairs rooms for those not wishing or unable to climb the stairs.  Disabled toilets are available in the Gift Shop, and there are two mobility buggies that can be booked in advance if required.

Details of the day:

9.30am            Leave by coach from the Racecourse.

10.15am          Arrive at Ripley, when there will be time for a cup of coffee, etc.

11.00am          Tour of the Castle, which lasts approximately 75 minutes.

12.15pm          Free time for lunch.

2.00pm            Tour of the garden which lasts approximately an hour.

3.30pm            Depart for York.


Cost:              £30

Queries:         Susan Elliott, 4 Westfield Farm, Askham Lane, Acomb, York YO24 3HU.        Phones:  01904 787835 and 07961 198 564.

Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art

Visit to Newcastle

Monday 11th – Thursday 14th June 2018

£535.00 per person (York DFAS members). 

£550.00 per person (Non-York DFAS members)

Based on 2 sharing a twin room, single supplement will apply

Outline of the Itinerary

DAY 1:   Travel to Newcastle independently, where coach meets party at Newcastle Central Station.  Coach to Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art for guided tour.   After lunch (not included), visit to Whalton Manor Gardens, with a guided tour included.  Transfer to hotel for check in, then welcome drink and dinner (included) at the hotel.

DAY 2:  Metro from Tynemouth Station to Monument Station, Newcastle.  Blue Badge guide to meet the party for a two-hour walking tour of Grainger Town, followed by guided tour of the Theatre Royal.   After lunch (not included), afternoon visit to Laing Art Gallery with guided tour.  Return by Metro to Tynemouth.  Dinner not included.

DAY 3:  Taxi (included) to take ferry from North Shields terminal to South Shields.  Guided visit and coffee at South Shields Town Hall.  Collection by coach to transfer to Jarrow for short walk round Jarrow, to include McConnell’s Gin & Ale House and the Town Hall.   After lunch (not included), there will be an introductory talk and free flow visit round the Bede Museum.  Return to hotel via the Tyne Tunnel with a stop at the Barbour Factory Shop and Tea Room.   Dinner at the Hotel included.

Day 4:  Check out and luggage loaded on to the coach.  Visit and guided tour of Trinity House.   Move on for a guided tour of St Nicholas Cathedral.  Following lunch (not included) there will be a guided tour of Pugin’s St Mary’s RC Cathedral.  Later afternoon transfer to Newcastle Central Station for return rail journey to York.

NOTE:  The exact order of the itinerary may vary according to local conditions and the discretion of your tour lecturer/guides.

HOTEL: Grand Hotel Tynemouth (   Situated in a commanding position on the Northumbrian coastline, in the coastal village of Tynemouth, the Grand Hotel boasts 46 en-suite bedrooms.  The hotel has a restaurant, bar and an adjoining
real-ale pub.  Classic rooms are in the main building. Double rooms have king size beds and twin rooms have one king size and one single bed. Bedrooms are individually designed with stylish bathrooms including high-speed Wi-Fi, LCD TV, hairdryer, and tea/coffee facilities.



 Accommodation as specified

 Welcome drink

 Meals – Breakfast daily; 2 dinners including 2 glasses of wine & coffee

 Tour itinerary as detailed with transport and guided tours as specified

 Blue Badge guide for 2 hours on Day 2

 Coach transfers as specified

 Gratuities for coach driver & Blue Badge guide

 Entrance fees / donations / tickets as specified.


 Meals and drinks not specified

 Single supplement for sole use:    £180.00 for Classic room

 Porterage

 Travel Insurance

 Optional excursions.

 All items of a personal nature


HOW TO BOOK:  Please download the booking form  (one per couple and detailing if you are a York DFAS member or non-member) and return with £75.00 per person holiday deposit (plus insurance premium if required) to:  Joanna Finlay, Outings & Visits Organiser, York Decorative and Fine Arts Society, 2 Clifton Dale, YORK, YO30 6LJ. Tel no: 01904 641865, from whom the full brochure and Travel Editions terms & conditions leaflet is available.   Please note there is a limited number of classic rooms which will be sold on a first come first served basis.


Porto and Lisbon

Sunday 9th – Friday 14th September 2018

£1285.00 per person (York DFAS members – based on 2 sharing a twin room, single supplement will apply)

£1315.00 per person (Non-York DFAS members)



Day 1

Meet at Manchester airport for Easyjet flight to Porto. On arrival transfer to the Vila Gale Hotel for a stay of three nights.

Portugal’s second city, Porto, is a delightful city, whose historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On the opposite bank of the river you will find the city of Vila Nova de Gaia, a hive of commercial activity with the famous Port wine cellars.

Welcome drink at the hotel followed by a talk by Nicholas Merchant.

Dinner including wine included at the hotel this evening.


Day 2

Today we will have a full day tour in the Douro Valley including lunch at a local restaurant and a Port wine tasting at Quinta do Noval (or similar Quinta).

Departing from Porto from where the Douro River flows into the sea we will travel into the Douro Valley, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This enchanting valley is the oldest established wine region in the world. Initially the river carved the deep valleys out of the land and then Man over generations transformed the valley into the unique landscape that it is today.

The San Leonardo da Galafura Viewpoint is from where you have one of the most extraordinary and breath-taking panoramas over Douro.

Lamego, one of the most elegant cities in Northern Portugal and infused with Baroque style this town is located at the base of an immense blue and white tiled flight of steps leading to the Shrine of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios.

The picturesque town of Pinhão, famous for its incredible views and beautiful, historic Pinhão train station is well worth a visit. The train station was created in 1937 and famous for its gorgeous blue and white Azulejo tiles deep gorgeous blue and white tiles that depict a variety of traditional Portuguese scenes.


Lunch at a local restaurant and a Port wine tasting at Quinta do Noval (or similar Quinta) will be included.


Return to Porto and evening at leisure.


Day 3

Today we will have a full day in Porto. In the morning a guided walking tour is included and the afternoon will be at leisure for you to explore independently.

The historic centre of Porto and the River Douro on the Gaia side, where the Port Wine lodges are located, are classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Highlights include: S. Bento Station with its atrium lined with tiles, the Cathedral being a historical and architectural landmark of the city, the magnificent golden, baroque interior of the Church of S. Francisco, the 19th century Palácio da Bolsa (former Stock Exchange) built to impress potential European investors, the beautiful Lello & Irmão Bookstore and the Majestic Café with Belle Epoque atmosphere and ornate interior featuring carved wood, mirrors & chandeliers.


Evening at leisure.


Day 4

This morning we will check out of our hotel and leaving Porto we will travel to Coimbra.

This riverfront city and Portugal’s former capital is home to a preserved medieval old town and the historic University of Coimbra. Built on the grounds of a former palace, the university is famed for its baroque library, the Biblioteca Joanina, and its 18th century bell tower. In the city’s old town lies the 12th century Romanesque Cathedral Sé Velha.

Time for coffee before transferring to the Palace & Gardens of Monserrate. The Monserrate Palace is one of the most beautiful and visually striking mansions situated just outside the city of Sintra. Combining Arabic, gothic and Indian architectural styles to create a wonderful summer house the palace is surrounded by beautiful gardens. The actual palace was imagined by an Englishman, Sir Francis Cook, who decided to build a summer residence from the ruins of a pre-existent neo-gothic palace around 1860. The gardens contain species from all corners of the world, which were planted according to their geographical origin.

We will arrive in Lisbon late afternoon and check in to Hotel Skyna for a two night stay.

Talk by Nicholas Merchant followed by dinner with wine in the hotel restaurant included.



Day 5

Today we will have a full day in Lisbon and start the day with a visit to the Gulbenkian Museum.


Housed in a strikingly modern building, this museum displays the collection of Calouste Gulbenkian, a man whose motto was “Only the Best”. The Founders Collection contains more than six thousand works ranging from Antiquity to the early 20th century including Egyptian Art, Greco-Roman Art, Islamic Art and Art from the Far East, Numismatics, painting, sculpture and European Decorative Arts. Works by great masters such as Rubens, Rembrandt, Turner, Degas and René Lalique’s largest set of jewels are just a few examples of what can be found in one of the best private collections in the world.

The Modern Collection comprises more than ten thousand works and is considered to be the most complete collection of modern and contemporary Portuguese art. The galleries offer an introduction to the history of art and culture in Portugal from the early 20th century to the present day, with works by Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso, Vieira da Silva, Paula Rego and Almada Negreiros.


Free time for lunch (not included) followed by afternoon visit to the Fundaçao Espirito Santo. A unique and fascinating organization where you will see craftsmen being trained in cabinet-work, bronze-casting, gilding and fringe-making. These crafts, and others, are fast disappearing and so this centre offers a rare opportunity to see them being preserved and encouraged.


Farewell dinner with wine at a local restaurant included.


Day 6

Morning check out of hotel and transfer to Lisbon Airport to take Easyjet flight to Liverpool.


The exact order of the itinerary may vary according to local conditions and the discretion of your tour lecturer/guides.


Vila Gale Hotel, Porto

Located in the heart of Porto, a ten-minute walk from the famous shopping street of Rua de Santa Catarina and 100 metres from the metro station Campo 24 de Agosto giving quick and easy access to anywhere in the city. The hotel has a restaurant, two bars and spa with indoor pool and gym. All rooms have air-conditioning, free Wi-Fi, telephone, TV, safe, minibar, hairdryer and private bathroom

Full details:


Skyna Hotel Lisboa, Lisbon

Centrally situated in Lisbon the hotel has a restaurant, two bars and a gym. All rooms have air-conditioning, free Wi-Fi, telephone, TV, safe, minibar, hairdryer and private bathroom

Full details:




EASYJET – please note that flights/timings are subject to change

Outbound:       Manchester/Porto      13.50/16.25

Inbound:          Lisbon/Liverpool         13.00/15.40




  • Return economy flights
  • Five nights bed and breakfast accommodation and dinner at hotel on Days 1 & 3 including wine
  • Welcome drink on Day 1
  • Full touring itinerary as specified including entrances fees
  • Local guides
  • Accompanied by Nicholas Merchant
  • Two Lectures by Nicholas Merchant
  • Gratuities



  • Holiday insurance: £39 per person if aged under 70 or £69 per person if aged over 70
  • Single supplement £215.00
  • Meals other than in the hotel as indicated
  • Optional dinner at Taylors’ port cellars (drinks not included) – £60.00 per person
  • Personal expenses e.g. meals (other than those indicated), drinks, laundry, telephone calls, etc.




On one of the free evenings you may like to visit Taylors Port Cellars – and maybe combine your visit with dinner at their Barão Fladgate Restaurant We recommend that you book in advance and full details can be found on their website following the links given above.





How to book:

Please complete a booking form (one per couple and detailing if you are a York DFAS member or non-member) and return with £200.00 per person holiday deposit (plus insurance premium if required) to:

Christopher Turner.  78 Middlecave Road, Malton.  North Yorkshire YO17 7NQ. Tel: 01653 690315

e mail:


The balance payment will be due 8 weeks prior to departure and will be detailed on your confirmation invoice from Travel Editions. Final payments should be made directly to Travel Editions.









2017 Events

Founding Museum

Visit to London

October 2017

On 5 October, twenty members and guests of York DFAS  members enjoyed a fascinating Study Day at the Foundling Hospital and St Pancras Station.

The Foundling Hospital was Britain’s first home for abandoned children and now houses the nationally important Foundling Hospital Art Collection, as well as the Gerald Coke Handel Collection.   The Museum examines the work of the Foundling Hospital’s founder, Tomas Coram, as well as the work of Artist William Hogarth and Frederick Handel, who were both major benefactors.

Royden Stock led the group on a guided tour of St Pancras Station, which was opened in 1868 and a magnificent example of Victorian engineering and Gothic architecture.   He described some of the engineering solutions which allowed Hotel guests to sleep peacefully, undisturbed by the vibration from trains, and pointed out decorative features in stone, tile and ironwork that are overlooked by those who use the station each day.  Finally, some of the group slipped into the ground floor of the adjacent St Pancras Hotel to admire the amazing stairway and decoration, now restored to its former glory.

Photos from this study day can be viewed here.

2016 Events

Liverpool Cathedral

The Art and History of Liverpool

July 4th-7th 2016
Arriving at Lime Street Station in the early afternoon York DFAS members were met by our guide, Simone Peter. We visited the Tate Liverpool at the Albert Dock and then we were able to visit the Francis Bacon and Maria Lessing exhibitions. The next day we visited the Anglican Cathedral, designed by Architect Giles Gilbert-Scott at the age of 23. Building started in 1904 and completed in 1978.
It is the largest cathedral outside of St Peters in Rome. After a walk down Hope Street we visited Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral which was eventually built over a 5 year period in the 1960’s. This was after the Lutyen designed crypt had been built between 1931 and 1957 with plans for an extremely large cathedral to be built on top. The result is an intimate but unique building.
The following day we visited Port Sunlight, The Lady Lever Art Gallery and the adjacent museum. We also visited Speke Hall, although built in 1530 it has had various alterations by its occupants including 19th Century Arts and Crafts. In contrast we finally saw Anthony Gormley’s Another Place on Crosby Beach. A few members of our group ended the evening by dancing at The Cavern Club! A most enjoyable visit.


Bologna, Urbina and Ravenna

October 11th-15th 2016
This short visit based in Ravenna was enjoyed by some 25 members, the weather was good (not too hot) and we had a very knowledgeable guide in Clare Ford-Wille who had given YDFAS a lecture on The Art and Architecture of Bologna and Ravenna twelve months before.
Our first day was a visit to Bologna. Here Clare had arranged one or two surprise visits which led to a very busy programme. As well as seeing wonderful Art and Architecture, we were fortunate to observe the Graduation activities of various students who had been crowned with a laurel wreaths.
The next day we went by coach to Urbino. Fortunately we were able to see The Venus of Urbino by Titian which had recently been returned to the Ducal Palace for the first time in four centuries. We were able to view the masterpiece with no crowds. Those who recalled our lecture on The One Eyed Duke of Urbino were not disappointed as we were able to view the wonderful plasterwork and marquetry and admire the splendid views from the Palace.
The mosaic decorations in Ravenna were superb and having spent the morning seeing many differing mosaics you become somewhat overcome by them. We then viewed Dante’s tomb – a stunning marble construction which was a great contrast to the mosaics.
A most enjoyable visit to Northern Italy.

Glaziers Trust

October 4th 2016
After meeting at The Minster, we divided into two groups, one going to the Glaziers workshop and the other remaining at the Minster with our respective guides. We were given a very interesting talk on the history of stained and coloured glass, being told that York Minster had the oldest medieval glass in the world. We were also told how to ‘read’ the windows. Before most people were literate this was the way the congregation learnt passages from the Bible and what would befall them on death if they had lead a sinful life.
We then went to the Glaziers workshop where we were warmly welcomed by three conservators who were working in the final stages of restoring the East Window. They showed us how they were protecting the glass from extreme variation in temperature
which causes condensation which can seriously erode the glass and they explained how they were reducing the width of the lead which holds the glass in place. A most interesting morning learning just how much work and care goes into keeping the Minster’s beautiful windows looking their best and being protected from the elements which can be so destructive and harmful.