Aristocrats & Manor Houses & A Grand Tour to the North

Aristocrats & Manor Houses & A Grand Tour to the North

Themes

  • Gardening

  • Historical

  • Film Locations

Associations

  • NTHP
  • The Royal Oak Foundation

Aristocrats & Manor Houses & A Grand Tour to the North

Prices From $6,140p/p

Our unforgettable tour explores the architectural grandeur and superb collections of some of Britain’s finest estates and atmospheric time capsules, some still family homes to this day. From the world-famous Highclere Castle, the ‘real Downton Abbey’, to the birthplace of Winston Churchill, Blenheim Palace, and beyond, we discover several historic treasures and their society stories and indulge in the quintessential British tradition of afternoon tea at the exquisite Chatsworth House. We juxtapose these fine manor houses with the dramatic landscapes of the north of England, providing us with the perfect opportunity to explore Britain’s rich heritage and diverse countryside.


Special extras included in your itinerary
• Guided house tour and afternoon tea at Chatsworth House
• Guided tour of Fountains Abbey
• Private house tour and refreshments at Castle Howard
• Guided State Rooms tour at Alnwick Castle
• Guided tour of The Alnwick Garden
• Audio guided tour and afternoon tea at Blenheim Palace
• Themed evening talk by a guest speaker

Day 1
Sunday: Arrival

On arrival at Heathrow airport, a private transfer will take you to our overnight hotel, the Macdonald Windsor Hotel. In the evening, join the group for a welcome drink, followed by dinner.

Meals: Dinner

Day 2
Monday: 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 and movie. 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 Tutankhamun in 1922.

From here, we travel to Leicestershire and the Stapleford Park Country House Hotel, where we stay for the next two nights.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 3
Tuesday: Chatsworth House

We start the day at Chatsworth House where we enjoy a house tour followed by afternoon tea. This magnificent estate 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 2005 movie adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Meals: Breakfast, Afternoon Tea, Dinner

Day 4
Wednesday: Hardwick Hall, York and Fairfax House

Our first visit is to the National Trust’s 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 restored 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.

This evening we enjoy dinner together at a local restaurant in York. Afterward, we make our way to our hotel for the next two nights, the Wood Hall Hotel & Spa.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

 

Day 5
Thursday: Fountains Abbey and Harrogate

This morning we visit 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, we enjoy a fascinating talk by a guest speaker.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6
Friday: Castle Howard

Our first visit of the day is to Castle Howard, home to the Howard family for over 300 years, where we enjoy a private guided tour and refreshments. Designed by Sir John Vanbrugh, Castle Howard has twice appeared as Brideshead in movie and television adaptations of Evelyn Waugh’s classic novel, as well as providing the backdrop for various scenes in the hit Netflix series, Bridgerton. This magnificent 18th-century residence, surmounted with its iconic gilded dome, offers world-renowned collections and stunning architecture, all set within 1,000 acres of breathtaking scenery.

Later, we check in to the Lumley Castle Hotel, our base for the next two nights.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 7
Saturday: Alnwick Castle and Cragside

Still home to the Duke of Northumberland and his family, Alnwick Castle is the second largest inhabited castle in England and has featured in Downton Abbey and Harry Potter. 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. 

We then enjoy a scenic coastal drive to Cragside, built into the rock high 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.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8
Sunday: 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.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9
Monday: Blenheim Palace

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 delicious afternoon tea.

From here we travel Hartwell House & Spa, one of the National Trust’s Historic House Hotels, where we enjoy a farewell dinner together.

Meals: Breakfast, Afternoon Tea, Dinner

Day 10
Tuesday: Departure

A private transfer will take you back to Heathrow airport for your return flight home.

Meals: Breakfast

Please note: as this tour travels from the Home Counties to the north of England and back, some days will involve fairly long journeys.

Please note: the order of excursions is subject to change and guided tours are subject to restrictions.

What’s Included
• Return airport transfers from London Heathrow*
• 1 night at the Macdonald Windsor Hotel
• 3 nights at the Stapleford Park Country House Hotel
• 2 nights at the Wood Hall Hotel & Spa
• 2 nights at the Lumley Castle Hotel
• 1 night at Hartwell House & Spa
• Welcome drink and canapés
• Full English/Continental breakfast each day
• 3-course table d’hôte dinner on 8 nights at the hotels (with after-dinner tea and coffee)
• 1 dinner at a local restaurant
• Services of a tour director throughout your stay
• Travel to and from all excursions
• All excursion costs
• Porterage where available

*supplement applies for transfers from all other airports and all other locations, including central London

Special extras included in your itinerary
• Guided house tour and afternoon tea at Chatsworth House
• Guided tour of Fountains Abbey
• Private house tour and refreshments at Castle Howard
• Guided State Rooms tour at Alnwick Castle
• Audio-guided tour and afternoon tea at Blenheim Palace
• Themed evening talk by a guest speaker

Night One – Macdonald Windsor Hotel, Windsor

Nights Two, Three and Eight – Stapleford Park Country House Hotel, near Melton Mowbray
Stapleford Park Country House Hotel is a beautiful country house hotel and golf course surrounded by 500 acres of ‘Capability’ Brown grounds. The mansion bears the imprint of architectural styles, from Tudor to Victorian with all of the 21st-century amenities you would expect in a luxury hotel. Each room is individually decorated and many have been designed by famous names.

Nights Four and Five – Wood Hall Hotel & Spa, Wetherby
Originally built as a country escape in 1790, the Wood Hall Hotel is a tranquil country house hotel perched high on a hill amidst 100 acres of rolling Yorkshire countryside. The hotel offers an elegant drawing room, Georgian restaurant and a small health club and spa with swimming pool, spa pool, steam room and gym while the bedrooms blend contemporary comforts with traditional country house charms.

Nights Six and Seven – Lumley Castle Hotel, Chester-le-Street
Surrounded by beautiful parklands overlooking the River Wear, the magnificent Lumley Castle has dominated the County Durham landscape for more than 600 years. Dating back to 1389, the castle boasts legendary stories from across the centuries. Now a luxury hotel, the atmospheric en-suite bedrooms and communal rooms are full of interesting features and the Library Bar offers comfortable surroundings to relax in.

Night Nine – Hartwell House & Spa, near Aylesbury
This Grade I listed, National Trust owned property is one of England’s finest stately homes and makes for a wonderful hotel and spa. Sitting within an Area of Natural Beauty; just on the edge of the Chilterns, it boasts almost 100 acres of gardens and parkland, landscaped by the famous ‘Capability’ Brown. Inside, the hotel offers individually designed bedrooms, complete with fine paintings, antiques and a superb ‘country house’ style of interiors. There is also a wonderful restaurant and relaxing spa.