Discover the rich and vibrant history of the UK by visiting a fantastic collection of historic houses and castles
Yesteryear's England is yours to explore at the Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings. The open air museum sits amongst acres of wildflower meadows and orchards with 700 years of history to delve into. There are over 30 different buildings and structures which have been rescued and re-built including a medieval townhouse. In the afternoon, we continue to Harvington Hall; an Elizabethan moated manor house dating from the 1590's.
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.
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.
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.
We visit Buscot Park, the family home of Lord Faringdon where we can discover the fine family art collection, the Faringdon Collection, followed by free time to explore the spectacular gardens. Next, we transfer to Kelmscott Manor; home of William Morris - poet, craftsman and socialist - from 1871 until his death in 1896. Upon arrival we enjoy a ploughman's lunch followed by a House Tour.
Kensington Palace in London is a working Royal residence. It was the birthplace and childhood home of Queen Victoria and is still 'home' to various Royal Family members, including Prince William and Kate. 2019 marks 200 years since Queen Victoria was born at the Palace so the latest exhibitions "Victoria: Woman and crown" and "Victoria: A Royal childhood" both celebrate and reveal her public and private life as well as the image of this global figure.
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.
Middleton Hall and Gardens is a little-known historic site set on 42 acres of estate. Tour the manor house, which has a history spanning over 900 years and which has been home to many interesting characters including a commander of the Battle of Hastings and a Tudor explorer.
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 .
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.