The Oldie

Join us at the Reid’s Palace hotel for a tour of Madeira

2nd to 9th April 2025


Following the success of our visit in 2018, we are returning to this magical island. It lies 500 miles off the coast of Africa and is clothed in glorious subtropica­l vegetation that has delighted botanists and gardeners – as well as winter sun-seekers – for centuries. Celebrate the end of a British winter and discover the colour, warmth and tastes of Madeira while based in the famous Reid’s Palace hotel, where Churchill stayed in 1950. We will be having dinner every evening in the hotel’s restaurant­s. Gerald Luckhurst, the renowned landscape architect ect and author of The Gardens of Madeira, who has been based in Portugal for 40 years, will be showing us around the more famous gardens and sharing his tremendous knowledge of the island. The Oldie’s James Pembroke and Amelia Milne will be the tour reps.

Wednesday 2nd April – Arrival Depart from London to Funchal (flights TBC). Transfer to Reid’s Palace hotel; welcome talk by Gerald Luckhurst.

Thursday 3rd April – Funchal Leisurely stroll through the historic centre – taking in the main shopping street and the cathedral – to the Mercado des Lavradores: fragrant with dozens of flower stalls, housed in an open-roofed two-st two-storey building. Lunch in a typical Madeiran restaurant followed by a brief tour of some town gardens en route to the hotel.

Friday 4th April – Boa Vista and Blandy’s Wine Lodge A morning visit to the Boa Vista orchid gardens which house the rarest – and most unusual collection of – orchids on the island, followed by the Jardim Botânico, located in the Quinta do Bom Sucesso. Free afternoon, followed by a tasting at Blandy’s Wine Lodge.

Saturday 5th April – Monte Ascend by cable car to Monte, where exiled aristocrat­s and wealthy merchants built their palaces in the 19th century. Visit the lush subtropica­l

Monte Palace gardens. Lunch at the Quinta do Monte hotel. The famous basket toboggan run is an optional extra for intrepid oldies!

Sunday 6th April – Blandy estate at Palheiro Visit the Blandy family estate at Palheiro for lunch and a guided visit. The extensive subtropica­l gardens, first acquired by John Blandy in 1885, have been continuall­y developed by the family. A dragon-tree sanctuary in the outskirts of Funchal is preserving this rare species, at risk of extinction in the wild.

Monday 7th April – Island tour, mountains and north coast A day exploring the island’s rich botanic and geographic­al diversity. Travel by coach to the north coast to visit enchanting São Vicente; return through spectacula­r mountain scenery to Funchal.

Tuesday 8th April – Lunch by the sea A leisurely last day, punctuated by lunch at Vila do Peixe, which has fabulous views of pretty Câmara de Lobos, one of Churchill’s favourite coastal towns.

Wednesday 9th April – depart for London

 ?? ?? Above: Reid’s Palace hotel. Left: Madeira Botanical B Gardens
Above: Reid’s Palace hotel. Left: Madeira Botanical B Gardens
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