Tag: Outings

Plas Newydd Country House

Plas Newydd

Plas NewyddPlas Newydd Country House is the ancestral home of the Marqess of Anglesey and sits on the shores of the Menai Strait. This elegant house has glorious views across the mountains of Snowdonia and is famous for it’s Rex Whistler mural and exhibition of his works.

Since our last visit 6 years ago a multi-million pound project is taking place and staff are sharing the renovation details with visitors.

Refreshments are available in the Plas Cafe serving hot and cold lunches. Light bites are available in the Old Dairy Tea Room.

En-route we there will be a coffee stop at the Grosvenor Garden Centre.

Please remember to bring your NT cards to gain free entry. The cost includes travel, morning coffee and gratuities.

The pick-up points are Churchtown, Southport, Birkdale, Ainsdale and Formby.

Currently this outing is only for SoFA members.

If you are not a member but would like to attend any of our events or are interested in joining our Association, please complete the Contact Form.

Manchester Monastery

Manchester Monastery

Manchester Monastery

The Church and Friary of St Francis, known locally as Manchester Monastery, is a Grade 2 listed former priory in Gorton, Manchester. It was designed by the noted Victorian architect Edward Welby Pugin and built 1866 -1872. Manchester Monastery is a noted example of Gothic Revival architecture.

Manchester Monastery is an extraordinary place to visit. It is considered to be E W Pugin’s greatest architectural masterpiece known as Manchester’s ‘Taj Mahal’

Many thousands of people say that visiting the Monastery is inspiring and uplifting. Come and experience the wonderful atmosphere for yourself.

Enjoy tea/coffee and biscuits on arrival, a private talk, and a buffet lunch. There will then be free time to explore the Monastery, garden and shop.

The cost will include travel, morning tea/coffee, biscuits, a private talk, buffet lunch and gratuities.

The pickup points are Churchtown, Southport, Birkdale, Ainsdale and Formby.

Currently this outing is only for SoFA members

If you are not a member but would like to attend any of our events or are interested in joining our Association, please complete the Contact Form.

RHS Bridgewater

RHS BridgewaterOur second outing of 2022 is to RHS Garden Bridgewater, Worsley, Salford.  The RHS Garden is set within the historic grounds of Worsley New Hall, this spectacular 154-acre garden blends the heritage of an old garden landscape with contemporary designs and world-class horticulture. Everything is beginning to flourish, ready to grow through the seasons and years to come.

Highlights include the Worsley Welcome Garden, designed by Tom Stuart-Smith. Lose yourself in the maze-like planting, which showcases a blend of grasses, herbaceous perennials, lush lawns and beehive-shaped tree topiary.

RHS Bridgewater is home to one of the largest walled gardens in Europe, which contains themed gardens within its boundary including the Paradise Garden, inspired by early Persian Gardens and a beautiful and productive Kitchen Garden.RHS Bridgewater

Please note refreshments and lunch are not included but some of you may wish to bring a packed lunch to allow more time in the gardens.

The costs includes travel, admission and gratuities. Please note if you are a RHS Member the outing cost is at a reduced rate of £16. 

The pickup points are at Churchtown, Southport, Birkdale, Ainsdale and Formby.

Currently this outings is only is for our SoFA Members.  Full details of this and our other planned outings are in the SoFA Spring 2022 Magazine.

For more information about RHS Bridgewater, please visit their website.

If you would like to attend this or a similar outing with us, please complete the contact form.

National Memorial Arboretum

National Memorial Arboretum

National Memorial ArboretumOur first arranged outing for 2022 is to the National Memorial Arboretum.

As an Association it is almost ten years since we visited this wonderful Arboretum so of course the trees will have grown enormously and there are now more than 385 memorials, both military and civilian.  There is also a splendid Visitors’ Centre with a restaurant and a ‘Landscape of Life’ Exhibition where you can walk through a digital path of leaves revealing the poppy field beneath.

We have arranged for a stop for tea/coffee with delicious home-made biscuits at the Moat House, Acton Trussell and we should arrive at the National Memorial Arboretum around 12:15pm.  A Land Train trip with running commentary at 2:30pm which covers two thirds of the Memorial grounds has also been arranged for us. 

Later at about 3:30pm will have a delicious cream tea, and no doubt a visit to the shop before starting our journey home.

The cost will include travel, morning coffee/tea & biscuits, Land Train trip, cream tea and gratuities.

Currently this outings is only is for our SoFA Members.

If you would like to attend this or a similar outing with us, please complete the contact form.

National Trust Open Houses

National Trust Bunting

Subject to government confirmation, the National Trust are planning to open houses in England and Wales from 17 May 2021, and in Northern Ireland from 24 May 2021. To help people plan for visiting the houses once they re-open, the National Trust have published a page of advice on their website. That advice includes:

As the restrictions ease, SoFA will also recommence our events. These will include coffee mornings and trips to National Trust properties etc.

If you would like to find out more about SoFA, please complete our Contact Form.

Visitors walking through an NT garden - SoFA - National Trust Open Houses
Visitors walking through an NT garden

Who We Are

We are a National Trust supporter group; the National Trust needs our support more than ever under the current circumstances. As a member of SoFA we are able to support some local properties with the annual subscription. To join us please request an application form via our Contact Form. The cost of the annual subscription is £10 per person.

Through donations and volunteer activities, we support National Trust properties in the Southport and Formby area of Merseyside and Lancashire.


Below is an extract from our constitution to illustrate what we do and how we are managed.


As a National Trust Supporter Group we aim to achieve the following objectives:

  • To promote social activities to make a National Trust membership more enjoyable
  • To promote and support the work of the National Trust


  • To arrange meetings, talks, outings, holidays and other events
  • To raise funds, to invite contributions and legacies for the National Trust
  • To promote and publicise the National Trust
  • To exchange information and advice and to cooperate with other organisations for mutual benefit


Membership is open to:

  • A fully paid-up member of the National Trust, National Trust for Scotland or a spouse or partner of a National Trust Life Member
  • National Trust Volunteers
  • A paid-up member of an affiliated overseas organisation
  • National Trust staff
SoFA 50th Birthday - National Trust Supporter Group

50th Birthday

During 2021 SoFA was to celebrate a special birthday, we were 50 years old. Prior to Covid, the committee had started to plan various events to celebrate this milestone. Like everything due to lockdown this did not happen. We are pleased to announce that a birthday celebration has now been arranged for Wednesday 06 April 2022. Details of the event is in the SoFA Spring Magazine which is being distributed to members very soon.

Speaker Meetings

Normally we organise monthly speaker meetings, held at the Royal Clifton Hotel in Southport. Since March 2021 we were holding speaker meetings via Zoom. In September 2021 Face to Face Speaker meetings were resumed. However, because the Royal Clifton shut its doors, due to Covid just before our December meetings, they were suspended yet again. As of 08 March 2022 we will hold our first ‘face to face’ event of this year. We will be entertained by the Wayfarers Chorus, at the Prince of Wales Hotel. Please see our events page for more information.

Social Events

SoFA Coffee Mornings - National Trust Supporter Group

Twice a year we held Coffee Mornings for a more relaxed informal event, either at the United Reform Church in Formby or at the Royal Clifton Hotel.

As soon as lockdown was relaxed we resumed our usual activities and held a coffee morning in September 2021. A further Coffee morning has been arranged for May 2022. Our events page we will be updated and our members will receive information through our Spring magazine and via email.

We have members’ meals about two times a year; one in August and the other during December to celebrate Christmas.

SoFA Outings and Coach Trips -National Trust Supporter Group

Throughout the year we arrange regular daily outings to various National Trust and other locations, with coffee stops on the way. Members’ holidays are also planned and we hope that two of these will be going ahead during 2022. These holiday events are very popular and become booked up quickly.

To keep everyone connected we have commenced members’ Zoom meetings. Please see our Events Page for more details on the upcoming talks.

Keep visiting our SoFA website for up to date information. Are you interested in joining us? If so please contact us using our Contact Form.