The New Forest Matinee Explorer: Thursday 16th September. The New Forest Matinee Explorer begins at midday at a 15th century thatched forest pub. During the summer months ponies and donkeys gather in the shade of this lovely inn. Enjoy a 2-course lunch with coffee together before we slip into the forest following in the footsteps of Kings and Queens, commoners and gypsies, smugglers and lovers. Over the past millennium a wealth of myth and legend has wound itself around the forest trees like a clinging vine. Your expert guide will chart a course to the heart of this enchanting world. You’ll see the Rufus Stone commemorating the controversial death of flame haired William II and see picture postcard villages including one that had to go to court to decide if it was in the forest or not. We visit a picture postcard thatched village and a 13th century church guarded by an ancient yew where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, lies buried. We’ll take you through Lyndhurst the “Capital” of the Forest and to the deer enclosure and ornamental drive at Bolderwood where huge trees including California Redwoods line our route. For tea we stop in Beaulieu, “the Historic Heart of the New Forest”, dating back to the days of King John. The name means beautiful and it is. No other place in the forest can match Beaulieu for historic interest and here too you may see donkeys and ponies ambling along the pavements. There are two or three places selling tea to round off an enjoyable day out. We leave Beaulieu at 4.30pm to begin the drive home. Coach will depart Stevenage at 09.00. Price £54.00 per person.