Our unforgettable tour explores the architectural grandeur and superb collections of some of Britain’s finest estates, some still family homes to this day. From the world-famous Highclere Castle, television’s Downton Abbey, to Winston Churchill’s birthplace of Blenheim Palace and beyond, we discover several historic treasures and their society stories. We juxtapose these fine manor houses with the rugged landscapes of the north, providing us with the perfect opportunity to explore Britain’s rich heritage and diverse countryside
- Pricing from
- Trip Type
- Individual Travel Tour, International Land & Rail Voyages
- Departure Dates
Jul 18, 2021 - Jul 27, 2021
July 19: Arrival (depart U.S. on 7/18)
On arrival at Heathrow airport, a private transfer will take you to our overnight hotel. In the evening you are invited to join the group for a welcome drink, followed by dinner.
July 20: Highclere Castle
After breakfast, we journey to the world famous Highclere Castle, residence of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon and filming location for the much loved Downton Abbey television series. Entrance includes access to the Egyptian Exhibition in the cellars of the castle, which explores the achievements of the 5th Earl of Carnarvon who discovered the tomb of Tutankhamen in 1922. From here, we travel to Leicestershire and the Stapleford Park Country House Hotel where we stay for the next two nights. We enjoy dinner tonight at our hotel.
July 21: Chatsworth House and Nottingham
We start the day at Chatsworth House where we enjoy an introductory house tour. This magnificent pile is home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire and has witnessed sixteen generations of the powerful Cavendish family and boasts grandiose interiors, wonderful grounds and a superlative art collection. Chatsworth also appeared as Pemberley in the film Pride and Prejudice. We finish our visit with a Devonshire Cream Tea. En-route back to our hotel, we make a short stop in Nottingham. One-time lace capital of the world, Nottingham is renowned for its landmark buildings, each of which tells its own chapter in Nottingham’s history, including the Lace Market with its stunning architecture. The evening is left free to make your own dinner arrangements.
July 22: Hardwick Hall, York and Fairfax House
Our first visit is to Hardwick Hall. Ordered in the 16th century by Bess of Hardwick, England’s richest woman after her Queen, Elizabeth I, Hardwick is a striking Elizabethan treasure. The lavish number of windows (at a time when glass was a luxury) inspired the neat phrase, ‘Hardwick Hall, more glass than wall’. We then travel north to the historic city of York. Here we visit Fairfax House, a stunning Georgian town house that has been returned to its former glory, providing a perfect time capsule of life in Georgian times with a richly decorated interior and a fine collection of English 18th century furniture. We enjoy refreshments here after our visit. Afterwards, we make our way to our hotel for the next two nights, the Wood Hall Hotel. We enjoy dinner together at the hotel this evening.
July 23: Fountains Abbey and Harrogate
This morning we go to the largest monastic ruin in Britain, Fountains Abbey, where we enjoy a guided tour. Nestling in the Skell Valley, the ruin is surrounded by some 800 acres of gorgeous countryside, including the Georgian Studley Royal Water Garden with its wonderful views, cascades, follies and statues, and a medieval deer park. Our next stop is the elegant Victorian spa town of Harrogate, located in the heart of scenic Yorkshire. Notable sights include the Royal Pump Room and the Grade II listed Royal Hall, and don’t miss the attractive Montpellier Quarter with its pedestrianized streets lined with 19th-century buildings. After dinner at the hotel this evening, enjoy a fascinating talk by a guest speaker.
July 24: Castle Howard and Durham
Designed by Sir John Vanbrugh, Castle Howard has twice appeared as Brideshead in film and television adaptations of Evelyn Waugh’s classic novel. Home to the Howard family for over 300 years, this magnificent 18th-century residence offers world-renowned collections and stunning architecture, all set within 1,000 acres of breathtaking scenery. We enjoy a private guided tour followed by coffee. We then make a short stop in the beautiful city of Durham, where we find an abundance of impressive historical buildings and sights. Highlights include the 11th-century Durham Castle, and the magnificent Norman cathedral which sits on a rocky promontory high above the River Wear, affording an imposing feature of Durham’s skyline.
Later, we check in to the Ramside Hall Hotel, our base for the next two nights.
July 25: Alnwick Castle and Cragside
Still home to the Duke of Northumberland and his family, Alnwick Castle is the second largest inhabited castle in England. Inside the medieval walls are lavish State Rooms filled with an eclectic array of furniture, ceramics and art collected by the Percy family over hundreds of years, which we discover on our guided State Rooms tour. Alnwick Castle has also featured in Downton Abbey and Harry Potter. We enjoy a scenic coastal drive to Cragside, built high into the rock above the clear waters of Debdon Burn. Once the home of Victorian inventor Lord Armstrong, this imposing house is packed to the rafters with fascinating gadgets from the era. It was also the first house in the world to be lit by hydro-electricity and in 2014, a fully-working Archimedes Screw was installed, once again producing enough energy to light the house.
July 26: Nostell Priory
Today we visit Nostell Priory, an 18th-century architectural masterpiece which has been the home of the Winn family for 300 years. Set in landscaped parkland, Nostell is also home to England’s best documented collection of Chippendale furniture, designed especially for the estate. Later, we check back in to the Stapleford Park Country House Hotel, where we stay overnight with dinner included.
July 27: Blenheim Palace
We travel south and visit Blenheim Palace, undoubtedly one of Britain’s greatest houses. Seat of the Dukes of Marlborough and the birthplace of Winston Churchill, Blenheim was designed on an awe-inspiring scale by Vanbrugh and is set in over 2,000 acres of beautiful parkland landscaped by ‘Capability’ Brown. We enjoy an audio guided tour followed by afternoon tea. From here we travel to Hartwell House Hotel, one of the National Trust’s Historic Hotels, where we enjoy a farewell dinner together.
July 28: Departure
A private transfer will take you back to Heathrow airport for your return flight home
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