Vintage Essex: Thursday 2nd September. In partnership with Lodge Coaches of High Easter, near Chelmsford, we bring you Vintage Essex, a very entertaining new day out for groups who like to see a lot without walking too far. We combine the best in Blue Badge guiding in picture postcard Essex villages with an afternoon at the Lodge HQ in the Essex Rodings including a ploughman’s lunch and rides out in their vintage fleet of 1940s and 1950s coaches. We begin in Thaxted, Queen of Essex at 10.30am for morning refreshments in an old coaching inn. Betjeman said Thaxted was about as good as it gets. We’ll visit the old wool church where English composer Gustav Holst played the organ and the vicar flew the Red Flag from the tower. Who’s for a few verses of Holst’s hymn Thaxted, better known as I Vow To Thee My Country? From the church we weave past black and white striped Tudor houses and jolly colour-washed homes from the mediaeval to the Georgian period to the beautifully wonky old Guildhall. From high in the coach we’ll take in the gently rolling landscapes of rural Essex and the chocolate box village of Finchingfield as we head south to the little known Essex Rodings. Eight villages full of old thatched cottages, timber-framed manor houses and farmhouses form the largest group in the country to share a common name. The Rodings name comes from the Anglo-Saxon Hrodingas who sailed up the River Thames 1500 years ago, turned right at Barking Creek and kept going until they found this remote and fertile landscape. A ploughman’s lunch is ready for us at the Lodge Garage in High Easter.We are surrounded by the vintage vehicle collection and old coaching ephemera collection of the Lodge Family who are approaching their centenary in the coaching business.It’s a lovely afternoon with time to enjoy the collection of old coaching and bus ephemera and rides out in immaculately restored 1940s and 1950s coaches that have starred in Only Fools spin off Rock & Chips and blockbuster series The Crown. We finish the day with a cup of tea, which is also included in the tour fee. We’ll be ready to head home at 4.45pm. Price £59.00 per person Coach departs Stevenage at 08.30.