Steam Railways with a Camera - Abingworth
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Meadows & hills
Explore the Steam Railways with a camera and re-live a nostalgic past courtesy of the 'Beeching Axe'. Throughout the country, land railway enthusiasts restored a prestigious era in Britain history capturing the hearts and minds of both young and old. Restored to their former glory, take pictures of historic steam locomotives and visit stations that are incredibly preserved, they are used in popular TV and film dramas, including Downtown Abbey and Foyle's War.
Suitable for all levels of photographic experience.
- Bluebell Railway
- Watercress Line
- Small groups of up to 12 guests
- Daily image review sessions offer constructive feedback throughout your holiday
- High quality Full Board en-suite accommodation and excellent food in our Country House
- Guidance and tuition from a knowledgeable HF Holidays’ leader, to ensure you get the most from your holiday
- All transport to photography locations, via mini-coach or other mode of transport e.g. train
Nestled at the foot of the South Downs, Abingworth Hall is ideally located for a short break or a longer holiday. A peaceful ambiance and excellent facilities make it a relaxing place to stay. It offers great viewing for short or long strolls in the beautiful surrounding meadows.
Choose your room
• Check in from 2:30pm
• Comfortable accommodation
• En-suite bathroom with bath or shower
• 23 inch TV
• Tea and coffee-making facilities
• Double or two single beds
• Single rooms are available at no extra charge
• Same facilities as our classic rooms plus...
• Check in from 1pm
• Enjoy extra space or exceptional views
• Larger beds
• Toweling robe, complimentary slippers
• Ultradown pillows
• Smalls drying rack
• Small welcome gift
• Luxury tea tray
• Enhanced toiletries
• Available from an extra £15 per person per night
• Check-in from 2:30pm
• 3 or 4 beds
• Same facilities as our classic rooms
• Full sized twin or double beds for adults and bunk or occasional beds for children
|• Excellent boot and drying rooms
• Three comfortable lounges, the largest of which opens onto the attractive conservatory and bar
• Large ballroom
• Dining room
• Free WiFi avaliable in some public rooms
|• Range of board games and books
• Surrounded by eight acres of gardens
• Putting green and croquet lawn
• Heated outdoor swimming pool (open May to September)
|All holidays at our Country Houses are full board accommodation including evening meal on arrival to breakfast on the day of your departure. All of our Country Houses have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits.
√ Start your day with our extensive breakfast.
All of our bars are stocked with locally sourced drinks so you can really soak up your surroundings.
Abingworth Hall is generally accessible to wheelchair users and has a bedroom specifically designed for wheelchair access.
- Fire procedure is displayed in each room and explained to guests on arrival. Guests requiring assistance at an evacuation are identified at this time and door hanger cards are issued
- Mobile phone reception is generally good from the main building
- Assistance dogs accompanying visually or hearing impaired guests are welcome; dogs must be kept on a lead or harness at all times
- Information can be provided in large print
- Staff have received disability awareness training
- Special diets can be catered for. Specialist food can be obtained with prior notice
- Fridge for medication can be supplied
You can check in to your room from 2.30pm onwards (premium rooms from 1pm). Please join us for afternoon tea. All guests are invited – we’ll introduce your leader and welcome you to your holiday.
On our photography holidays we spend most of the day outdoors, exploring by mini-coach or on foot, walking up to 3 miles (5km) each day. Each evening your leader will hold image review sessions, providing constructive feedback on your images. However, these are optional and guests are free to join in with any other house activities if they wish.
Saturday: Bluebell Railway
Opened in 1960 and running 11 miles between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead, the Bluebell Railway was the first standard gauge preserved railway in the world to operate a public service. A return trip is taken, stopping at Horsted Keynes, a beautifully preserved Southern Region station often used for period TV and film dramas.
Sunday: Watercress Line
Watercress Line is the popular name for the Mid Hants Railway, so named because it used to carry locally grown watercress to markets in London. We take a return trip from New Alresford to Alton along a line that also used to serve as an alternative route from London to Southampton.
Sometimes things happen beyond our control – the weather, traffic jams or changes at the places we visit. If we need to adjust your holiday programme, for whatever reason, your leader will help smooth the way.
Depart after a leisurely breakfast
What to bring
- Your camera and other essential accessories
- Memory card
- Battery and charger
- Your camera’s instruction manual
- Waterproof clothing and outdoor footwear, ideally walking boots
- Bag for your camera equipment, spare clothing, lunch, water, etc
- Notebook and pencil (pencils work better in the rain!) • A laptop plus accessories for viewing, editing and sharing images (whilst it’s not absolutely essential, bringing your own laptop will mean you get more from your photography holiday if you shoot digital)
Optional (remember you will have to carry some of these)
- Spare memory cards
- A spare camera battery
- A spare camera (you never know)
- A small selection of lenses: wide angle, telephoto, macro, for example filters: neutral density and graduated, polarising
- Memory stick or CD for storing images
- A tripod or monopod if you feel more comfortable with one
- Camera rain-protector—a shower cap or plastic bag, or something more expensive if you prefer
Discover Sussex and the South Downs
Abingworth Hall is situated amidst gentle rolling farmland at the foot of the South Downs.
The nearest facilities are in the village of Storrington, about two miles away. Here you’ll find a small supermarket, post office, newsagent, pubs and a bank.
During your stay at Abingworth Hall you may enjoy visiting the following places of interest:
The quaint town of Arundel, about 30 minutes' drive away, is dominated by its castle, the home of the Duke and Duchess of Norfolk. During your visit you may enjoy a walk in the Castle's extensive grounds, or beside the river Arun. www.arundelcastle.org
Completely restored after an extensive fire, this stately National Trust property has ornate rooms and gardens. Uppark is around 50 minutes' drive from Abingworth. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/uppark
The cosmopolitan seaside city of Brighton is about 40 minutes' drive from Abingworth Hall and has an excellent range of specialist shops, entertainment, and its famous beach. You may also enjoy a visit to the Royal Pavilion, built in the early 19th century by George IV. www.brighton-hove-rpml.org.uk
Amberley Working Museum
Just 15 minutes' drive from Abingworth Hall, this large open-air museum tells the industrial story of the downs, complete with a steam railway, vintage buses and restored quarry machinery. www.amberleymuseum.co.uk
Just 10 to 15 minutes' drive away, Elizabethan Parham House is surrounded by an extensive deer park. www.parhaminsussex.co.uk
The historic cathedral city of Chichester, about 45 minutes' drive away, has plenty of interest. Just a couple of miles away is the fascinating Fishbourne Roman Palace, uncovered in 1960, which has many superb mosaics. www.chichestercathedral.org.uk or www.sussexpast.co.uk/fishbourne
A large late 17th century mansion, now run by the National Trust with extensive grounds that were landscaped by ‘Capability’ Brown. Around 30 minutes' drive from Abingworth. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/petworth-house
Weald & Downland Museum
Located on the Downs, near the village of Singleton, this excellent open-air museum contains many restored buildings that bring the history of Sussex to life. These include a working watermill and a re-creation of a typical downland village. The museum is around 45 minutes' drive from Abingworth. www.wealddown.co.uk
One of Britain’s premier steam railways with an impressive collection of 50 locomotives, representing the Southern Railway and its predecessors. The line runs through rolling countryside from Sheffield Park to East Grinstead, about 40 minutes' drive from Abingworth. www.bluebell-railway.co.uk
Uppark House and Petworth House image ©National Trust Images/John Miller
Travel to Abingworth
Our address is: Abingworth Hall, Storrington Road, Thakeham, West Sussex, RH20 3EF
The nearest railway station is at Pulborough. For train times and general rail enquiries visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or call 03457 484950 (from outside the UK call +44 20 7278 5240).
The 6 mile journey from Pulborough railway station takes approximately 15 minutes. Pre-booked taxis cost approx £14. Details of our current recommended taxi company and rates will be sent to you with your booking. The return taxi journey can be arranged on your behalf by the Abingworth Hall Manager.
For those with satellite navigation, enter the postcode RH20 3EF and Storrington Road if required.
From the M25 take either the A24 or the M23 and then the A264 towards Horsham. At the Great Daux roundabout go south on the A24 towards Worthing. Go straight over 2 roundabouts and then at the traffic light cross roads turn right onto the A272 signposted to Billingshurst and Petersfield. After 3 miles turn left onto the B2139 (The Selsey Arms on left). After 3.5 miles pass the turning for Thakeham on the left. After half a mile, Abingworth Hall is on the left, directly after the national speed limit signs.
From the M27 continue onto the A27 and around Chichester. At Fontwell Park roundabout take the first exit to continue on the A27 and at the next roundabout take the first exit on to the A29. After approx. 4 miles, at a roundabout, take the 2nd exit on to the B2139 to Storrington. At the mini roundabout in Storrington, take the 2nd exit onto the A283. Continue through Storrington and take the first exit at the mini roundabout by the Anchor Inn on to the B2139 towards Thakeham. Take the 2nd exit at the next mini roundabout and then take the 1st exit at next mini roundabout (by Steyning Grammar School). Continue down this road until you see 30mph signs. Abingworth Hall is just before these signs, on the right.
Travelling from overseas
Abingworth is particularly convenient from London Gatwick Airport, which is served by a large range of long-haul and European flights.
From Gatwick Airport station there are trains every 30 minutes to Pulborough - journey time 40 minutes. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times. From Pulborough station complete your journey to Abingworth by taxi (see above)
London Heathrow airport is a little further away, so you'll need to travel via the centre of London. Allow 2½ hours to get to Pulborough.
Derek has been leading Photographic Holidays for HF Holidays since 1995. In addition to providing clear and straightforward explanations (for beginners and the more experienced) of photo-techniques that are devoid of gobbledegook, he also has an in-depth understanding of the British countryside; essential for teaching wide-ranging aspects of landscape and architecture photography.
Derek created a nice relaxed, happy atmosphere in which we could learn how to improve our photographic skills. The programme of short local walks & excursions by coach to more distant locations gave us the opportunity to photograph a variety of different scenes under varying lighting conditions. We came away having learnt a lot.