Title ID 7926Collection ID1064
Title[Family Holiday by Car]
CollectionChristopher Harris
Genre/TypeAmateurIndependent AmateurFamily Home MovieNon-fictionHoliday
ThemeTravel Leisure
KeywordsAnimals Armed Forces Buildings Domestic Gardens Cultural Heritage Lakes Landscape Transport Travel Villages Outings Religious Buildings Cars Tourism Castles Fairgrounds
LocalMarlborough Avebury Bath Malmesbury Cotswolds Boughton-on-the-water London Woburn
RegionalSomerset Wiltshire Bedfordshire Greater London
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionChristopher Harris
CameraChristopher Harris
ParticipantsEllen Harris
FormatColour Silent
Duration46 min. 13 sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


This extended film of family holidays includes several landmarks and religious buildings in Wiltshire, Somerset and Bath, taken by Christopher Harris in 1975.


The first part of the film shows exterior views of an abbey [?] seen from the lower part of a garden, followed by shots of Ellen Harris walking through the gardens inter cut with scenes of the grounds, lake, waterfall, palms and firs.

The film continues, with the film-maker and his wife driving through villages and along roads, until they reach a market town (Marlborough), stopping to capture views of a busy street with shoppers, stalls, and antiques shops. There is a visit to the the Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin with view of a stain glass window. This is followed by scenes of the town's Tudor buildings, hotels and houses. Inside "The Church of St. Peter and St. Paul", Marlborough, there are shots of its stain glass window, before returning to capture exterior views of the Wellington Arms public house, The Castle & Ball Hotel, and neighbouring shop fronts and businesses.

Following a walk through the woods, the film-maker and his wife visit the Avebury stone circle. The camera zooms in on the stones and Ellen walks on top of a burial mound, followed by views of the nearby village of Avebury with thatched cottages and the entrance and grounds to a church.

The camera drives through the Wiltshire landscape, through villages and past old buildings. Ellen explores several rural villages, large buildings, and stately homes. There are scenes of a uniformed marching band seen briefly on a rural road, before cutting to a compilation of views of a lake and an abbey with shots of the cloisters and the gardens (?).

Back on the road, the car passes one of the Wiltshire white horses engraved on the hilly (chalk) landscape above a lake (Vale of Pewsey?), continuing through the rural landscape and passing several towns and villages.

The car reaches Bath, where people dressed in period costume step off a tour bus and walk around the town. A group of people have gathered outside Bath Abbey in the square, with the film-maker capturing views of the exterior of several religious buildings, the fan vaulted ceilings of a colonnade, commemorative plaques, statues and architectural features. Ellen dips her hand in the spring water at the Roman Bath. Scenes from the streets of Bath follow, including commercial streets and curving residential crescents and housing.

After leaving Bath, Ellen is seen exploring a second abbey and terraced housing in a cloister and views of a river with ducks. The car continues on the road, passing the Westbury or Bratton white horse, Wiltshire; speeding along through the countryside passing through "Gape" to Larkhill, with distant views of army vehicles crossing the rural landscape and an abandoned village left to ruin (?). The journey continues on to Malmesbury with the Market cross and Abbey as Ellen stands beneath a carved archway before the couple move on to a larger Cathedral style church with stained glass window and cloistered courtyard.

After further views of driving through the landscape, Ellen is seen by a river in another town (Bourton-on-the-Water) as the camera captures the view of several small bridges and a parade of shops, followed by scenes filmed from a window into a domestic garden of a 1930s home. Ellen and others, including children, are seen walking through the garden, with a greenhouse and hedges.

On a coach, the film-maker travels through the gateway to the Blackwell Tunnel heading north to Bedfordshire, showing the drivers hand's and instruments, steering the coach through motorway traffic. The film-maker visits Woburn safari park, seeing rhinos, tigers, lions, monkeys, giraffes and a black bear (very shaky). This is followed by a picnic lunch in a field.

Footage shot from a cable car follows, showing seals and boats in the water, followed by scenes of dolphins performing tricks. The dolphins leap and somersault on the command of woman with a whistle. They sing, hit balls, stand up in the water and wave at the crowd. The audience cheer enthusiastically. The film closes with shots of Woburn Abbey, the wider estate, amusement park and grounds.