Discover the rich and vibrant history of the UK by visiting a fantastic collection of historic houses and castles
A day to discover two of the most royally linked buildings in the capital. Our first stop, The Banqueting House, was created as an area to provide court entertainment so hosted a number of masques with dancing taking place beneath the Rubens-painted ceiling.
Bateman's is a seventeenth century house with a twentieth century garden made by Rudyard Kipling, who lived here between 1902-36. Explore the beautiful gardens that surround this beautiful old stone house with an orchard, herb garden, wildflower meadow and pond. Just a short stroll by the river reveals a watermill and beyond that there are farmland walks.
Explore lavishly furnished rooms containing some of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection at Buckingham Palace. Highlights include: Paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, Vermeer, Poussin, Canaletto and Claude; sculpture by Canova and Chantrey.
This was the family home of Winston Churchill from 1924 until the end of his life. The rooms and gardens remain much as they did when he lived there and contain personal memorabilia, books and family photographs. The beautiful terraced gardens contain Lady Churchill's Rose Garden and there are lakes created by Churchill.
Chatsworth House will be magically transformed during the Christmas season with the lower floors of the house decorated to the theme of “A Land Far Far Away”. The glimmer of candles, the fragrance of decorated trees and the sound of music playing, combine to make a unique experience.
Situated on the outskirts of Wrexham, Erddig is one of the UK’s finest stately homes, a Grade I listed property, now owned by National Trust. Previous owners, the Yorke family had an unusually high regard for the servants and staff who looked after the house so the tour, which starts 'below stairs' tells the story, over 200 years, through an impressive collection of portraits, photographs and verses.
Frogmore House has been a favourite royal retreat for more than 300 years. Built in the 17th century, it became royal property when it was purchased for George III's wife, Queen Charlotte, in 1792. Although no longer an occupied Royal Residence, it is frequently used by the Royal Family for private entertaining. We continue to Savill Garden, one of Britain's greatest ornamental gardens.
For centuries, Hampton Court Palace has boldly played host to a vast array of gala celebrations and festive banquets. England's most famous Kings and Queens, from Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn to William III and Mary II have dazzled audiences and dignitaries with the Palace's grandeur and majesty, making it one of the most spectacular event locations in Britain.
A festive visit to a country house as it opens its doors to invite you into its “Dreams of the 1920’s”. With decorations extending throughout the house and into the surrounding grounds as well as festive themed music, you’ll be able to enjoy a Guided Tour of the house which will include the State Rooms, Below Stairs as well as the Terrace Gallery.
Henley on Thames is a 13th century market town that is widely regarded as being one of the most beautiful towns in England. Enjoying a wonderful riverside setting, the town boasts a delightful array of independent shops, pubs, cafes and restaurants. In the afternoon we continue to Greys Court (NT).
We stop in Newbury, allowing time for lunch before our afternoon visit to Highclere Castle. The castle is the ancestral home of the Earls of Carnarvon, and is one of England's most important Victorian castles. Set in spectacular parkland, its stunning state rooms include the Saloon, Music Room and Library. The Castle was one of the major film locations for the popular TV programme 'Downton Abbey', with the movie having recently been in production back in the grounds.
'Downton Abbey' is opening its doors again for a movie version in September 2019! Join us on our special springtime dates to Highclere Castle, more lovingly known as Downton Abbey, and follow in the footsteps of the Crawley family and their servants on this real life film set.
Lamport Hall, the former home of the Isham family for 400 years, has a fascinating and chequered history of changing uses over generations and is now restored and full of a wealth of paintings, furniture and books mainly dating from the 17th century. Experience a Tour of the Hall, followed by time to enjoy the 10 acre gardens plus a museum of rural life.
Join us for a festive lunch on a visit to Littlecote House. Built in the mid-1500’s the Grade I listed Tudor manor is set in 113 acres of landscaped gardens and rolling parklands. Today, under the ownership of Warner’s, it has a story that spans centuries, including playing host to occupying Romans, a Civil War army and was the location of a tryst between King Henry VIII and his third queen to be, Jane Seymour.
Longleat House is set within 900 acres of stunning Capability Brown landscaped parkland, and is one of the best examples of high Elizabethan architecture in Britain. The festival of light is held every year, and features giant Chinese Lanterns hand made out of steel frames which are covered in beautiful silks.
We cross the border into Wales to board our train on the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway. Departing Llanfair at 11.20am we enjoy a scenic 8 mile journey by narrow gauge steam train through the beautiful Mid-Wales countryside to Welshpool. In the afternoon we visit Powis Castle (NT), once the medieval fortress of Welsh princes and now a richly decorated Baroque castle .
Bentley Priory Museum tells the fascinating story of how the beautiful Grade II listed house became the location of Headquarters Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain in 1940. After watching a short award-winning film, join the guided tour to discover stories of leadership, courage and technology and how the Battle was won as Britain’s darkest hour then became her finest.
One of the architectural wonders of Wales and considered one of the finest examples of a restoration house in all of Britain, Tredegar House is beautifully surrounded by 90 acres of gardens and parkland. After an introductory talk explaining the history, join us on the Guided "Upstairs Downstairs" Tour to explore the lives of those who lived in the house and how they lived, from the separation between the 2 areas in Tudor times to the more relaxed household between wars.
Set amongst breath-taking Capability Brown parkland, Weston Park is the former home of the Earl of Bradford. After included tea and biscuits on arrival, you’ll be able to tour the house, on a self-guided basis, to see its significant collections of furniture and many famous paintings as well as over 3,000 books in the Library. From the very unique Gobelin tapestries, specially commissioned for the house, to the stunning Dining Room decorated for Christmas, there’s a lot to see.