The Treasure Houses of England are a collection of the most magnificent palaces, houses and castles, each with its own unique charm, stunning architecture and beautiful gardens. Most are still homes to the great families who have owned them for generations. Together, the houses display some of the most important art collections in the world, showcasing exquisite examples of fine furniture, porcelain, china and portraiture. On this captivating tour, we explore nine of these impressive places, alongside other historic gems, giving us a fascinating insight into life in England over the centuries.
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- Trip Type
- Individual Travel Tour, International Land & Rail Voyages
- Departure Dates
Sep 5, 2021 - Sep 16, 2021
Nights One and Two – Audleys Wood Hotel, Basingstoke
A grand Victorian manor house originally built as a private home, Audleys Wood Hotel is surrounded by lush woodlands and seven acres of private grounds on the edge of Basingstoke in the beautiful Hampshire countryside. The hotel has many period features and all bedrooms have been refurbished and offer a mixture of both modern and traditional features.
Night Three – Chilston Park Hotel, Lenham
Nights Four and Five – Ickworth Hotel, near Bury St Edmunds
Set in the East Wing of the National Trust’s historic Ickworth House, the Ickworth Hotel is a luxury country house hotel that enjoys some spectacular views across the grounds of the estate. Each room is uniquely decorated, while the hotel features a spa with an indoor swimming pool to relax in.
Nights Six to Eight – Grand Hotel & Spa, York
The Grand Hotel & Spa is situated in the heart of the historic city of York. Housed in the iconic former headquarters of the North Eastern Railway Company, the stunning Edwardian building retains many of its original features with views of York Minster and the city’s ancient walls. The hotel offers elegant guestrooms with free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TV, while the luxury spa is located in the atmospheric vaults of the building.
Night Nine – Stapleford Park Country House Hotel, near Melton Mowbray
Night Ten – Hartwell House Hotel, near Aylesbury
Night Eleven – Macdonald Windsor Hotel, Windsor
Airport transfers from London Heathrow
September 5: Arrival
On arrival at Heathrow airport, a private transfer will take you to the Audleys Wood Hotel where we stay for two nights. In the evening you are invited to join the group for a welcome drink, followed by dinner.
September 6: Beaulieu
We make our way to the Beaulieu Estate where we enjoy a guided tour of Palace House, once the gatehouse of the medieval Beaulieu Abbey, and the ancestral home of the Montagu family since 1538. Remodelled in the 1800s, it is now a fine example of a Victorian Gothic style country house adorned with family treasures, portraits and memorabilia, including Lord Montagu’s library. This evening, we enjoy dinner together at the hotel.
September 7: RHS Garden Wisley and Leeds Castle
We travel to RHS Garden Wisley, the Royal Horticultural Society’s flagship garden. Extending over 240 acres, Wisley offers a wealth of inspirational ideas on design, innovation and cultivation techniques. Next stop is Leeds Castle, a quintessential moated castle. Dating back to the 12th century, it was once home to Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. The castle’s last private owner was heiress Lady Baillie, who lovingly restored the castle to its former glory. We discover more of the castle’s fascinating history with an introductory lecture as well as its wealth of furnishings, paintings, tapestries and antiques during our audio guided tour. From here, we travel to the Chilston Park Hotel where we stay overnight. After dinner we are treated to a fascinating talk by a guest speaker.
September 8: Hatfield House
Home of the 7th Marquess and Marchioness of Salisbury, Hatfield House was built in 1611 by Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury. There are superb examples of Elizabethan craftsmanship while the State Rooms are rich in paintings, fine furniture and tapestries and we learn more on our guided tour. Later we check in to the Ickworth Hotel on the Ickworth Estate – a magnificent National Trust property and our base for the next two nights. Here we enjoy dinner together.
September 9: Holkham Hall, Norfolk villages and Ickworth House
We enjoy a private guided tour of Holkham Hall, an elegant 18th-century country mansion constructed in the Palladian style for Thomas Coke, 1st Earl of Leicester. The hall is currently home to the 8th Earl of Leicester. The spectacular Marble Hall was inspired by the Temple of Fortuna Virilis and the Pantheon in Rome, while the magnificent State Rooms boast superb collections of ancient statuary, original furniture, tapestries and works of art. We’ll also make a short stop in Castle Acre and Swaffham. The village of Castle Acre is a rare and complete survival of a Norman planned settlement, built by a great baronial family. The market town of Swaffham has many attractive Georgian buildings and was once home to a flourishing sheep and wool industry in the 14th and 15th centuries. On returning to the Ickworth Estate we explore Ickworth House itself. This Neo-classical mansion is most notable for its enormous central Rotunda commissioned by the 4th Earl of Bristol to house his priceless treasures. We enjoy dinner together at the hotel tonight.
September 10: Doddington Hall and Lincoln
Begun in 1595 by the Elizabethan architect Robert Smythson, Doddington Hall was completed in 1600 and has never been sold or cleared out since. Still a much loved and lived in
family home, this fine mansion’s unfussy, symmetrical looking exterior contrasts with an elegant Georgian interior, full of captivating collections that reflect 400 years of unbroken family occupation. We learn more on our exclusive guided tour. After our visit, we head to Lincoln where we have the afternoon at leisure. Lincoln has a well-preserved medieval quarter full of quaint cobbled streets while Lincoln Cathedral is one of Europe’s finest Gothic buildings. From here, we make our way to our hotel for the next three nights, the Grand Hotel & Spa in York, where we stay overnight with dinner included.
September 11: Chatsworth House
Today we enjoy a guided tour of magnificent Chatsworth House, home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire and witness to sixteen generations of the powerful Cavendish family who acquired the estate in 1549. The house has evolved through the centuries to reflect the tastes, passions and interests of succeeding generations and boasts grandiose interiors and a superlative art collection. We enjoy dinner together at the hotel this evening.
September 12: Castle Howard and York
Castle Howard has been home to the Howard family for over 300 years and we enjoy a guided tour here. Designed by Sir John Vanbrugh, Castle Howard has twice appeared as
Brideshead in film and television adaptations of Evelyn Waugh’s classic novel. This magnificent 18th-century residence, surmounted with its iconic gilded dome, offers world-renowned collections and stunning architecture. We continue on to York. The city is steeped in history, from its founding by the Romans in 71 AD to its wealth as a medieval wool trading center and there is plenty to admire, from the Roman city walls to the surviving medieval streets. A must-see is York Minster, the largest Gothic cathedral in northern Europe. Tonight we enjoy dinner together at the hotel.
September 13: Harewood House
When Edwin Lascelles started building Harewood House in 1759, he employed the finest craftsmen of the time: architect John Carr, interior designer Robert Adam, furniture maker Thomas Chippendale and visionary landscape gardener Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. The house is also filled with an outstanding art collection. Harewood is still home to the Lascelles family and reflects the changing tastes and styles of the past 250 years and we learn more on our tailor-made tour followed by lunch. Later we check in to the Stapleford Park Country House Hotel in Leicestershire where we stay overnight.
September 14: Burghley House
This morning we start our journey south, stopping to enjoy a guided tour of Burghley House, cited as England’s greatest Elizabethan house. Burghley offers a unique glimpse into the way great houses have been lived in from the time of Elizabeth I to the present day. We have time to explore the breathtaking State Rooms and the house’s historic collection of paintings, ceramics and works of art. We continue on to our overnight hotel, the Hartwell House Hotel, one of the National Trust’s Historic Hotels, where we enjoy dinner together.
September 15: Blenheim Palace and Windsor Castle
We head to Blenheim Palace, designed on an awe-inspiring scale by Vanbrugh and set in beautiful parkland landscaped by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. As the seat of the Dukes of
Marlborough, the palace is synonymous with the Churchill family and is the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. A permanent exhibition commemorates the life of this famous wartime Prime Minister, whilst the magnificent State Rooms reveal a superb collection of tapestries, paintings, porcelain and furniture and we learn more on our audio guided tour followed by a cream tea. Our final visit is an audio guided tour of Windsor Castle, the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world and one of the Queen’s official residences. Established in the 11th century by William the Conqueror, it has been remodelled by successive kings and queens and is regularly used for ceremonial and State occasions. Afterwards we check in to the Macdonald Windsor Hotel where we enjoy a farewell dinner together.
September 16: Departure
A private transfer will take you back to Heathrow airport for your return flight home.
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