Charabanc Club

Group Leader: Karen Latham –

The Charabanc Club is open to all u3a members.

A couple of “Outings” will be organised during the year, with a view to providing interesting, educational, fun trips. Things you might not do on your own.

We will

  • endeavour to keep the costs as low as possible
  • organise a main event for each outing but choose destinations which allow individuals flexibility to put together their own itinerary should they wish
  • operate on a first come first served basis

The only rule is that once you sign up for a trip you are committed. As the trip and costs will be organised and booked on the basis of those signatures. Should you be unable to go at the last minute you will have to find someone else to take your place or take the financial “hit”.

Latest news from the group

The Ironbridge museums near Telford

Published 3rd May 2023

Charabanc Outing on 1st August 2023

The form to sign up for the trip will be posted at the main monthly meetings in May and June. Maximum number of places 53 on first come first served basis.

The cost for the coach fare will be £20 pp (a partial refunds on the day may be possible dependent on final numbers). Monies to be paid to the u3a bank account by transfer or card option at meetings (cheques can be taken). Thanks to the Treasurer David for his help in organising this.

Entry costs are either £15 pp for access to Bliss Hill Victorian Town only, or £21 pp for access to all areas and Museums. We recommend the £21 ticket as it is an easy walk to the Coalport China Museum from Bliss Hill. For more information visit the Ironnridge Museums website

The coach will also be available to transfer people who may wish to visit The Iron Museum, Darby House or Enginuity.

There are plenty of options for food and drink or take a picnic, this year Bliss Hill will have its own beach!

Aim to leave Llandrindod at 8:30am and all being well you should be home drinking the your beverage of choice by 7:00pm.

Edinburgh Military Tattoo Trip

Published 12th April 2023

… an organisers dream.

Only sixteen people signed up to go on the trip up to Edinburgh to see the Military Tattoo, disappointing after the usual coach loads for days out. But this was to be a longer expedition, a city break to Edinburgh. Yes, I could not deny, for the cost you could have had two weeks camping in France. But this was to be a “bucket list” event and what memories can be packed into a short period of time.

As it turned out sixteen was a perfect number to get to know each other and most importantly, sit around tables, be it the fabulous and very reasonable Italian restaurant literally next door to the Hotel. The late night Weatherspoons just across the road (it was twenty to one in the morning before we left the night of the Tattoo) or sitting in the hotel lounge to share our experiences and recommendations.

Two of the group travelled by car, stopping overnight on the way up and back making a longer holiday. Two of the group went on to family while Meg the intrepid stayed on to explore further after the main group returned.

The trains were on time and fast, a relief after the train strikes and fears of works to the line or train break downs. We found the city hotel easily (thanks to our team navigators).

The rooms were large enough, clean and amazingly quiet, except for breakfast which was admittedly a bit of a scrum.

Edinburgh is an amazingly beautiful city marred on this occasion by the bin men strike, the remnants of the Edinburgh Festival and new tramlines being laid, it seemed over about a quarter of the city roads. Like a dirty face the beauty beneath could not be concealed, raising the eyes was a joy at every turn.

Some visited the Zoo to see the Pandas and the Botanic gardens, others the Royal Yacht Britannia, the Castle and the Royal mint. We took open topped bus tours, walked the Royal mile and Princes Street found back street cafes, quested for affordable mementos and presents not made in China. (I did collect the free Tattoo mug which turned out to have a rather bizarre design). I regretted there was not more time as there was so much I wanted to do from the Portrait Gallery to Holyrood Palace, the Medical Museum…. Meg had the right idea, now we have to return to revisit this wonderfully compact and fascinating city.

Never in all the trips I have organised over the years has one gone so smoothly, successfully and with such obvious enjoyment. To all those involved you really were a pleasure.

The Tattoo Experience

The first thing to say is it is nothing like watching the Tattoo on TV

The atmosphere built as we walked up together as a group and joined the thousands of others that night walking up and later down the Royal Mile past the Cathedral in which the Queen was later to be laid in state.

The first surprise was how small the parade ground actually is, it looks so much bigger on TV. In reality it is quite intimate.

Having been advised the stands can get very cold on the top of the hill if the wind blows. And it’s OK to wear a big coat but if it rained hard, shoes could fill and rain can go through coats. So bin bags over shoes and legs and plastic ponchos over coats – we were prepared. In the event it drizzled lightly at the beginning of the evening then stopped completely and the wind dropped to nothing- but by then I was so engrossed that I and several others of our party stayed plastic wrapped until the end of the Tattoo.

I guess we were not the brightest crowd that night as it took the warm up person four attempts to get a half way decent Mexican wave and when the Divas sang and the lights went out it took a few minutes for people to realise and light up their telephones to become part of the visual effect.

The second big surprise was there is no commentary, so silence between each performance adds to the anticipation and what an atmosphere from first entrance of the children’s choir to the last firework.

All the senses are engaged. The TV selects what you look at, which face, which detail, when you are there, there is so much to see the eyes never stop moving and still it is hard to take everything in. The music and sound levels are not controlled by a technician and the sound enters your body and beats in the chest. When the flares went off you felt the heat and could smell the fireworks.

It was a night I will never forget.

Royal Yacht Britannia

Having been told that the Royal Yacht Britannia was a must see, we went with Ruth and Jill getting there by jumping on a tour bus. We were not disappointed. I guess I was expecting it to be much more like a Russian Oligarchs play thing than the beautiful and understated vessel it turned out to be, the queens bed was a standard 3 feet, the cabin little more than those on to-days cruise liners. It was fascinating to see the social strata demonstrated physically on the different levels and parts of the ship. As we later watched Antiques Road Show being filmed and presented from the Britannia we could recognise so much of the back drop.

We had our photos taken under the ships bell on the Queens deck, first with Ruth and Jill, then just Alan and I. A beautiful Chinese girl walked over and said to me “My husband says you are just like me” As I started to preen, she really was lovely; she delivered the killer blow in two words “Very bossy”.

When I looked round Alan and her husband were grinning at each other.

The whole trip was full of such special moments.

June 2019 – a day trip to Bath.

Published 30th June 2019

Forty-three people joined the trip. The weather which had been bad all week turned out glorious on the day and the range of activities chosen by the group was impressive, from special art exhibitions to the Jane Austin Museum, Bus tours of the city and outlying countryside, the Cathedral, Roman Baths, restaurants, just plain wandering and exploring the back streets. There really was something for everyone.

The journey home due to traffic and roadworks was horrendous- not a single grumble or moan from a very happy and exhausted group, who left the coach saying Where Next?