Pre-Cruise London Extravaganza

Start your Stitchers’ Escapes Cruise by exploring London!

A four-star hotel, classes at the Royal School of Needlework, a day trip to Downton Abbey, and all that London has to offer are yours!

We will first offer space in all of the activities to members of the cruise group. Only if space remains will we offer the activities to needleworkers who are not going on the 2018 Stitchersʼ Escapes Cruise.

All prices are quoted in US dollars and must be paid in US dollars. Because the exchange rate can and does fluctuate, we reserve the right to adjust the prices accordingly.

Group Hotel

We have a room block at the 4-star Radisson Blu Edwardian Vanderbilt hotel, located in the Kensington area of London at 68-86 Cromwell Road. To get our group rate, you will make your reservation thorough Stitchersʼ Escapes, not directly with the hotel.

These prices are per room, per night and include VAT and a full English breakfast. Wi-fi is complimentary. Each air-conditioned room has a plasma TV, in-room safe, en suite bath, iron, and coffee & tea making facilities.

Our group rate applies to reservations for the nights of August 20-25, 2018. We will check out on the morning of August 26 to head to the ship. We also have a room block for the nights of September 2-4, 2018 for those who wish to extend their holiday. You choose the nights you wish to book.

Our room block offers the following three choices. If you would like for us to inquire about an upgrade, please email Jean (

Single Room

One twin bed; single occupancy only

Twin Room

Two twin beds; double occupancy only
$257.50 ($128.75 per person)

Double Room

One double bed; single or double occupancy
(Note that unlike most American hotels, this room type has only one double bed!)

Group shuttle from hotel to ship

On Sunday morning, August 26, we head for the ship with a stop at Stonehenge. 2018 prices for the Stonehenge tickets have not yet been published, so this is a guesstimate.
$55 per person

Daily Activities

Each activity is offered a-la-carte. Some activities will have a limit as to the number of participants which is usually dictated by the number of seats on the bus we have chartered or the number of tickets available to us.

We have the following Daily Activities planned:

Tuesday, 8/21

Highclere Castle (aka Downton Abbey)

This excursion will include admission to Highclere castle and gardens and to the Egyptian exhibit at the castle, as well as round-trip transportation; lunch will be on your own with options offered by the castle. Limited to 55 participants.
We will depart the hotel at 11am for the journey to Highclere. We will enjoy the castle and grounds from 1pm-6pm and return to the hotel around 8pm.

Wednesday, 8/22 and Thursday, 8/23

Royal School of Needlework Classes

The cost includes round-trip transportation to the school, which is located at Hampton Court Palace, tuition, and class kits fees. Lunch will be on your own at the Palace restaurants. You can choose the two-day class or create your own assortment of one-day and/or half-day classes for either or both days. The bus will depart our hotel each morning at 8:00am and arrive at Hampton Court by 9:30am. The return trip is scheduled to depart Hampton Court at 4:30pm and you’ll be back at the hotel by 6:00pm.

If you choose just a half-day class, you’ll have the rest of the time tour Hampton Court and gardens. Information on tickets to the palace can be found here.

For those taking the full day of classes, once we know who is taking classes, we’ll ask about the interest level in touring the Palace and find out if we can tour RSN itself. Depending on the numbers, we will either extend the contract with our bus company, or we’ll make plans to take the train back to the city. And don’t worry about dinner…we’ll find someplace local since it is a 45-minutes-to-an-hour journey back to the hotel.


Introduction to Mountmellick – “Mountmellick Flower and Butterfly”
This class is designed to introduce you to the core stitches and materials used in Mountmellick embroidery which originated in an Irish village of the same name.  You will learn traditional stitches such as Mountmellick stitch, long armed Feather Stitch, Van Dyke Stitch and others to create this beautifully textured whitework embroidery.
Full Day (10am-4pm)
Tutor: Becky Quine

“Elizabethan Silk Dog Rose”
This class is based on a pair of beautiful men’s tabbed gauntlet gloves (1600-1620). Stitching with silk floss and gold threads on Silk Duchesse satin, you will recreate the embroidery and gold decoration which covers one of the tabs of the gloves. Stitches will include satin, long and short, laid work, french knots and gold work techniques. The gloves belong to the Glove Collection Trust.
Full Day (10am-4pm)
Tutor: Kate Barlow

Introduction to Silk Shading – “Rosebud”
In this class Helen will introduce you to one of the oldest forms of embroidery in Britain. “Silk Shading,” sometimes known as painting with a needle, uses a range of colors, skillfully blended together to create the natural appearance of a a single rosebud. The technique uses long and short stitches with an emphasis on blending color and understanding tonal shading.
Half-day Class (10am-12:30pm)
Tutor: Helen Jones

Introduction to Whitework – “Whitework Journey”
Designed just for us by RSN tutor Helen Jones, create a souvenir of our cruise as you learn basic whitework techniques. Traditionally worked with white thread on white fabric and used for bridal and christening wear and ecclesiastical embroidery, whitework techniques adapt well to contemporary designs such as this cruise liner. The term “whitework” covers a wide range of techniques. In this class, the emphasis is on pulled thread work: patterns textures are achieved by pulling some threads together and others apart.
Half-day Class (1:30pm-4pm)
Tutor: Helen Jones



Introductory Blackwork – “Whale Tail”
Learn how to work basic geometric patterns and simple shading as you stitch this lovely whale tail design. Historically, blackwork was used as decoration on caps, collars and cuffs and usually depicted small floral motifs in the repeat design. But in the 20th century, innovative needleworkers developed it into an art form and blackwork is now used to portray realism through differing densities of thread and pattern to create tonal shading in architecture, portraiture, and scenes such as this!
Full Day Class (10am-4pm)
Tutor: Becky Quine

Introductory Goldwork – “Abstract Goldwork Flower”
Dating back over 1000 years, with its roots in religious and royal embroidery, goldwork has a luxurious and opulent quality. The RSN is renowned for its teaching of goldwork and the traditional methods are used in churchwork, livery and royal commissions. Today, in addition to ecclesiastical, ceremonial and military applications, goldwork designs, such as this contemporary abstract flower, are used in the fashion industry and interior design.
Full Day Class (10am-4pm)
Tutor: Helen Stevens

Introduction to Crewel – “Jacobean Crewelwork Design”
One of the earliest forms of surface stitching, crewelwork uses a range of stitches and elements of shading and is worked in crewel wool on linen. Kate’s design employs a variety of stitches, including trellis, chain, herringbone, French knots and seeding. Jacobean-style designs, developed in the 17th century, were influenced by exotic flora and fauna found on imported Indian chintzes and have been popular for centuries.
Half-day Class (10am-12:30pm)
Tutor: Kate Barlow
Jacobean Crewelwork

Introduction to Stumpwork – “Stumpwork Acorn”
This unique class project is based on a 17th Century Jacobean raised work piece from the Royal School of Needlework archive. Using materials as close to the original as possible Helen will help students create this little acorn using couched gimp, silk wrapped purls, and a buttonhole stitch. (We’re hoping to get a peek at the original piece on which the acorn is based.) Get ready to enter the imaginative world of three-dimensional raised embroidery!
Half-day Class (1:30pm-4pm)
Tutor: Helen Jones

Stumpwork Acorn


Friday, 8/24

Tea & Textiles

A guided tour visit to the Victoria & Albert Museum, followed by afternoon tea on a vintage London bus. You may choose either or both of these outings. The tea bus will depart from the Victoria & Albert Museum, so if you only want to attend the tea, you will be responsible for getting yourself to the museum 15 minutes prior to the departure time. The museum is walking distance or a short Tube ride from our hotel. Closer to the date, we will divide in to groups based on who would like to walk and who would like to take the Tube.

Victoria & Albert Museum

This excursion will include a private, “bespoke” tour of the museum’s collections focusing on needlework and textiles. The tour will last approximately 90 minutes and we will be divided in to two groups. You will be on your own to explore this amazing museum when you are not on the tour. You are also welcome to join us at the museum without taking the tour. Admission to the museum is free. The tour is limited to 50 participants.
$30 per person

Brigit’s Bakery Afternoon Tea Bus Tour

We’ve privately hired Brigit’s vintage Long-Wheel Routemaster Bus to pick us up (or collect as the say across the pond) at the V&A. This classic red London double-decker bus will take us on a tour of London’s best sites while we’re served a delicious afternoon tea. Plus we’ll each receive a souvenir takeaway mug! Gluten-free, vegetarian and halal selections are available. Please note that there is no guide commentary on the tour, and that our route may vary slightly due to our pick-up point.
$85 per person

Saturday, 8/25

Your four group leaders will each plan a small-group outing. Depending on what they are, and if group rates are available, these may be pre-paid. Registration for these outings will take place closer to the trip. There is so much to see and do in London, we are sure to find something to please everyone! And of course, you are free to explore on your own.

Sunday, 8/26

Hotel to Ship Shuttle

Coach transfer to our ship at the port city of Southhampton with a stop at Stonehenge. The price will include transportation and the Stonehenge admission. Since the 2018 ticket prices have not yet been published, this is our best estimate based on current prices.
$55 per person


At the moment, all meals will be “on your own,” other than the tea on Friday. Keep in mind that breakfast is included in the hotel package. We do plan to organize informal group dinners and we may find that they will be easier if they are pre-paid. If so, we will let you know. These are the sort of plans that will gently unfold.


You’ll be able to join us at any point during the week and you’ll be able to pick and choose which group activities to attend. FYI, we plan to utilize public transportation on Friday and Saturday and will share information about purchasing tickets.

Deposit Info and How to Register

Please read carefully.
Your registration will be secure with a deposit equal to 20% of the total for your room and your confirmed activities. Payment for Royal School of Needlework classes will be due December 15, 2017. Your balance will be divided into two equal payments which will be added to your cruise invoices due February 15, 2018 and May 15, 2018.

If you are not registering for both occupants of your hotel room, your roommate must submit a registration form and deposit within 7 days or the organizers reserve the right to release your room.

In the event you would have to cancel for any reason and we can fill your place, the following refund schedule will be in effect:
Until May 15, 2018: 100% of total funds paid, less $150
Between May 16, 2018 and July 15, 2018: 50% of total funds paid to date, less $150
This option is not available after July 15, 2018.

In the event you would have to cancel for any reason and we cannot fill your place, the following refund schedule will be in effect:
Until March 15, 2018: 100% of total funds paid, less $150
Between March 16, 2018 and May 15, 2018: 100% of total funds paid, less $250
Between May 16, 2018 and July 15, 2018: 50% of total funds paid to date, less $350
After July 15, 2018: No refund

To register, be prepared to pay your deposit and have the following information for yourself and any roommates for whom you are submitting a registration:

  • Your name as it appears on your passport*
  • Your passport number

* If you have not yet received your passport, you can fill in your legal name.

Questions, Comments, Suggestions?

Email Jean:



Header Image: London Classic III by Thomas Fabian is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0