Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Never Before Seen Exhibits Arrive for James Bond Vehicle Exhibition 17th January 2012

The opening of an exciting new exhibition of 50 James Bond vehicles, which will be unveiled to the public on 17th January 2012, is now less than a month away. The exhibition, the largest of its kind staged anywhere in the world, will showcase 50 of the best loved and most iconic James Bond vehicles in celebration of the 50th year of James Bond films. Bond in Motion will run from January to December 2012 at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu.

Among the vehicles now arriving for the exhibition are a number that have never before been seen in public. These include the Ford Mustang Mach 1 from Diamonds Are Forever, villain Zukovsky’s Rolls Royce Silver Shadow II from The World Is Not Enough and the vintage 1962 Rolls Royce, pushed into a lake by May Day and Zorin with Bond still inside, in A View to a Kill.

Other exhibits on public view for the first time include the ‘Burial-At-Sea Bed’ from You Only Live Twice, the Union Jack Parachute which villain Gustav Graves used when he landed on The Mall and the Surfboard with concealed weapons and ammunition, from Die Another Day. Also on display will be the Casino Royale Skyfleet S570 model, based on a Boeing 747, and original ‘Pig’ from The Living Daylights, used to smuggle Koskov across the border through the Siberian Pipe Line.

2012 also marks the 40th anniversary of Beaulieu’s world-famous National Motor Museum, a fitting year to be hosting a major new car exhibition with some of the most recognised vehicles from the Bond films.

National Motor Museum

The world-famous National Motor Museum at Beaulieu has a collection of over 250 vehicles telling the story of motoring on the roads of Britain from the dawn of motoring to the present day. There are historic racing cars, modern rally cars and the latest F1 machines as well as World Land Speed Record Breakers and family cars from every motoring era. Visitors to Beaulieu can also explore Palace House, home of the Montagu family since 1538 and 13th century Beaulieu Abbey as well as World of Top Gear. Open every day, except Christmas Day, from 10am. For more information Tel: 01590 612345 or visit

EON Productions
EON Productions Limited and Danjaq LLC are wholly owned and controlled by the Broccoli/Wilson family. Danjaqis the US based company that co-owns, with MGM, the copyright in the existing James Bond films and controls the right to produce future James Bond films as well as all worldwide merchandising. EON Productions, an affiliate of Danjaq, is the UK based production company which makes the James Bond films. The 007 franchise is the longest running in film history with twenty-two films produced since 1962. Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli took over the franchise from Albert R ‘Cubby’ Broccoli in 1995 and have produced some of the most successful Bond films ever including CASINO ROYALE and QUANTUM OF SOLACE.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Classic christmas stories come alive at Leeds Castle

Visit “The Loveliest Castle in the World” this Christmas to experience the glamour of a country house in the festive season.

From 5 December 2011 to 2 January 2012, traditional Christmas decoratio
ns will fill Leeds Castle and many of the rooms will be beautifully decorated with scenes inspired by classic children’s stories for the whole family to enjoy.

A selection of traditional and contemporary stories will be represented throughout the castle using colourful costumes, decorations and props.

This winter, the Queen’s Gallery will be transformed into Alice’s adventures in wonderland and the Queen’s bedroom will become tales from the Arabian Nights with inspiration taken from ‘Aladdin’ and ‘Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves’. The Lady Baillie bedroom will be inspired by a scene from the classic ballet ‘The Nutcracker’ and the Seminar Room will become Willy Wonka’s famous Chocolate Factory.

unger children will enjoy visiting the magical world of ‘The Gruffalo’ in the Fountain Courtyard at the centre of the castle. Other classic stories will include ‘Narnia’ and ‘Twas the night before Christmas’.

On 15, 19, 20 and 22 December, winter wonderland characters will bring the castle to life with Christmas evening tours. Be guided on an entertaining and lively tour with Jack Frost and other traditional festive figu
res, who will bring the castle to life. Enjoy a glass of warm mulled wine or hot chocolate together with a delicious mince pie in the Gatehouse on arrival, before your magical tour begins. Tours last approximately 45 minutes. Entry is timed from 5pm to 7.45pm. Tickets cost £15 for adults, £12 for seniors and £10 for children (under 16 years). Tickets must be pre–booked by calling 01622 880008, open weekdays 10am to 5pm.

Children can also visit Father Christmas in the castle along with an evening tour for an extra £5 per child. Tour and visit must be booked together.

Warm up by the crackling log fires in the castle before visiting the oak–beamed 17th century Fairfax Hall Restaurant which offers an excellent choice of freshly prepared dishes and spectacular views of the castle over the moat.

Children can visit Father Christmas in his mini castle grotto in the courtyard on 10 and 11 December and daily from 16 – 24 December. As Father Christmas is very busy this time of year, pre–booking is essential to avoid disappointment. Tickets to see Father Christmas cost £8.50 per child which includes a surprise gift. A valid Key to the Castle ticket is also required. Please phone the Leeds Castle Box Office on 01622 880008, open weekdays 10am to 5pm.

For adults, come and try Christmas shopping somewhere different this year. Avoid the Christmas rush and visit Leeds Castle’s shops where you can browse at leisure and purchase unusual, quality gifts for friends, family and even find some glittering decorations for your Christmas tree. The shops will be stocked with Christmas gifts from late October. You do not need an admission ticket for the Leeds Castle Shop at the main entrance and parking is free. Key to the Castle tickets cost £18.50 for adults; £16 for seniors and visitors with disabilities (carer goes free); £11 for children (under 4s free). Tickets are valid for 12 months so you can pay once and visit all year round. Leeds Castle is located near Maidstone in Kent just off Junction 8 of the M20 and only one hour’s drive from London. Grounds open at 10am daily and the castle is open from 10.30am. Last admission is 3pm and gates close at 5pm.


Elsie the Castle Train
Leeds Castle’s exciting new land train. Children and adults will enjoy riding on Elsie from the main entrance up to the castle. A charge of 50p per person each way applies.

World of Wings Shows
Exciting falconry and free–flying bird shows in a flying arena near the maze at 1.30pm (weekends only during winter opening times). Featuring an exotic collection of species from five continents, the presenters aim to inform as well as entertain visitors about the birds they fly each day. Children and adults alike will be spellbound at the sight of storks, black kites, blue and gold macaws, conures, falcons, a bald eagle and a young brown wood owl flying overhead.

Aviary Talks
Join one of the expert keepers for a guided tour of the castle’s internationally renowned aviaries at 2.15pm daily. Enjoy a fascinating glimpse into the world of modern conservation and captive breeding programmes as you learn more about the birds in the collection. Included in the castle admission price.

Go Ape!
Test your nerves and agility on the Go Ape! High wire forest adventure in the castle parkland. For further details and to book online visit or call the Go Ape! booking centre on 0845 643 9215.

Pay & Play Golf Course The castle’s scenic 9–hole, par 33 golf course offers a combination of blind tees, strategically placed bunkers and medieval moat to provide challenging and rewarding holes from start to finish. 9 holes from £9.99. Call the Golf Shop on 01622 767828 or visit

General Admission Prices:
Key to the Castle tickets Adult £18.50 Senior Citizens/Students/Visitors with Disabilities £16 (carer goes free) Children (4–15 yrs) £11 Prices from 1st April 2011 – 31st March 2012 Group and education rates available on request by contacting the Group Reservations Co–ordinator on 01622 767865.

Opening Times:
Open throughout the year. Closed 5 & 6 November and Christmas Day 2011. Please visit our website for up to date information or call: 01622 765400. April to September; Castle opens 10.30am. Last admission 4.30pm. Gates close at 6pm. Shops 10am – 5.30pm. October to March; Castle opens 10.30am. Last admission 3pm. Gates close at 5pm. Shops 10am – 4pm. Grounds open at 10am daily. Latest entry to Castle is 30 minutes after last admission time.

Leeds Castle is located near Maidstone just off Junction 8 of the M20 between London and the Channel ports, clearly signposted from the motorway with brown tourist signs. It is one hour’s drive from London, 25 miles from the Eurotunnel terminal at Folkestone and 38 miles from the port of Dover.


Beaulieu was basking in success last week at the Beautiful South Awards for Excellence 2011, when the New Forest visitor attraction was presented with not one, but three awards at the ceremony held at the Denbies Wine Estate, Surrey.

Despite facing fierce competition from other entrants, Beaulieu was delighted to receive a Silver Award for Outstanding Customer Service, and a Silver Award in the Tourism Event of the Year category for its world-famous International Autojumble. In addition, the attraction’s catering arm, Leith’s at Beaulieu, was Highly Commended in the Business Tourism category.

Members of the Beaulieu Events and Front of House teams, and Leith’s were present at the ceremony to collect their awards. Beaulieu has developed over the years into one of the South’s leading day visitor attractions, and prides itself on its visitor facilities and customer services. Its features now include the internationally renowned National Motor Museum, which has recently had a new mezzanine level installed to improve access to the upper floor, the World of Top Gear, Beaulieu Abbey, and Palace House and gardens, plus a growing calendar of motoring related events which run throughout the year.

The annual awards, organised by Tourism South East, are now in their 21st year, and recognise businesses and destinations across the tourism industry for their exceptional levels of customer service and dedication to raising standards.

Chairman of Tourism South East, John Williams commended Beaulieu and all other award winners on their success, saying: “We offer our congratulations to all tonight’s winners. Our industry’s commitment to providing the best possible customer experience and to exceeding customer expectations is outstanding. The Award winners have shown that they are truly the best-in-class and we look forward to seeing them on the national stage at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2012.”

In addition to the success at the Beautiful South Awards, Beaulieu also received two other awards last week. Earlier on the same day Leith’s at Beaulieu received another Highly Commended award in the Best Corporate Venue category at the Hudson’s Awards, and on Tuesday last week Beaulieu’s Education Team were awarded the Sandford Award, recognising excellence in heritage education.
Next year, the attraction will be celebr
ating two anniversaries; 60 years since Palace House first opened to visitors and 40 years since the launch of the National Motor Museum. In honour of this, and to further improve the visitor experience, it will be hosting brand new exhibition, Bond In Motion, showcasing 50 original vehicles from the James Bond films. This will be the largest exhibition of Bond vehicles staged anywhere in the world and will run from mid-January to December 2012.

For more information on the Beaulieu attraction, please visit

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Christmas House Party at "The Loveliest Castle in the World"

Celebrate the start of the festive season this year by spending a luxury evening at Leeds Castle’s ‘Christmas House Party’ on Wednesday 14 December.

On arrival, join the other guests for a cocktail reception before taking a guided tour of the beautifully decorated castle rooms, lit up at night and while closed to the public.

Take your seats in the impressive Henry VIII Banqueting Hall and be served a fine dining four course dinner with half a bottle of wine per person.

The festive feast which includes a terrine of smoked mackerel, smoked trout, celeriac and beetroot salad starter followed by seared loin of venison, parsnip and sweet potato dauphinoise, kale, blueberries, shallots and Barolo wine jus – will be accompanied by live opera music.

Retire to the Drawing Rooms after your meal and relax to the sound of the piano being played whilst you enjoy coffee with the other guests.

This evening costs £150 per person and numbers are limited to 80 guests so book now to guarantee this special experience.

Complete your evening of glamour by staying overnight in one of the castle’s bedrooms. Accommodation including full English breakfast costs £275 per room for State bedrooms and £225 per room for a newly refurbished Battlement bedroom.

Staying overnight at “The Loveliest Castle in the World” is a luxurious end to the perfect evening.

Leeds Castle is located near Maidstone in Kent just off Junction 8 of the M20 and only one hour’s drive from London.


Leeds Castle Holiday Cottages
Refurbished period cottages within the estate are available to book as luxury self–catering holiday cottages. Guests receive free visitor passes to the castle and grounds and get the run of the grounds after the day visitors have departed. Ideal if you have family or friends to visit and require accommodation, or to combine with special events at the castle.

The Stable Courtyard Bedrooms at Leeds Castle
Come and stay in the grounds of “The Loveliest Castle in the World”. The Stable Courtyard bed and breakfast rooms at Leeds Castle are luxury en–suite bedrooms refurbished to the highest standard offering indulgence and comfort. A full English or continental breakfast made with fresh local produce, is served in the 17th Century oak–beamed Fairfax Hall Restaurant between 8.30am and 9.30am. All bedrooms are equipped with tea trays, white towelling robes and digital flat screen televisions. During your stay you can enjoy a stroll around the castle grounds and gardens, beautiful at any time of the year.

For further information and bookings call 01622 767823 or visit

Festive Family Fest at Leeds Castle

Friday 23 December 2011

Experience the magic of Christmas at “the loveliest castle in the world” this year. 
Due to popular demand, this year Leeds Castle invites you to the return of our seasonal Festive Family Feast evening.

Celebrate Christmas with your friends and family in Leeds Castle’s 17th century oak beamed Fairfax Hall on Friday 23rd December. 

On arrival, be greeted with a glass of festive punch and sing along to traditional Christmas music performed by carol singers.    

Feast on a delicious two course buffet dinner whilst enjoying seasonal music with your meal.
Take your pick from three main course options including traditional roast turkey, pork, sage and onion stuffing and mini sausages wrapped in bacon followed by a choice of delicious seasonal desserts including traditional Christmas pudding with brandy sauce, Yule log with cinnamon Chantilly cream or mini mince pies with brandy butter. 

For younger guests, Father Christmas will be visiting the Fairfax Hall and giving chocolates to those children who have been good this year.

Tickets for this evening event cost £20 for adults, £15 for children aged between 4-12 years and £10 for under 4’s. Bookings are available from 5.30pm. 

This event has been extremely popular in the past and spaces are limited. Call the Box Office on 01622 880008 to guarantee your place.

Complete your evening and stay overnight in the new Stable Courtyard Bedrooms, available at £120 per room per night and including full local English breakfast served on Christmas Eve morning.

Please contact the Hospitality team on 01622 767823 for more information and to book your accommodation. 

Monday, 5 December 2011

Sandford Awards 2011 - Beaulieu Wins Award For Excellent Education Services

For a record sixth time, Beaulieu has been awarded the coveted Sandford Award, in recognition of the excellent Education Services it offers. The award was presented to the Beaulieu Education team at a ceremony in Durham Cathedral on Tuesday 29th November.

Susan Tomkins, Heritage / Education Archivist, Group Visits Executive, Mandy Lane and Learning & Access Officer, Chris Gutteridge were present to accept the award, which was granted to Beaulieu by the Heritage Education Trust and Bishop Grosseteste University College, Lincoln, in recognition of Beaulieu’s outstanding contribution to Heritage education and learning within the historic environment.

The Awards Scheme, first conceived by the Heritage Education Trust in 1975, was established to raise the profile of the educational use of historic properties, and annually presents Awards in recognition of excellence in the provision of Educational Services. Beaulieu received its first Sandford Award in 1978, and since then has continued to develop the quality and range of services on offer for Educational Groups.

Jaguar XKR Die Another Day James Bond
The 2011 Sandford Award commendation for Beaulieu reads: “Beaulieu offers schools some excellent facilities and resources, and an outstanding range of carefully planned educational programmes and activities. Delivered by some highly talented and well-trained staff, these are closely linked to the needs of the National Curriculum and are stimulating, informative and fun.”
Beaulieu boasts a wealth of resources for the study of Heritage Education and in programmes offering something for every age group, it spans the 800 year history of the Beaulieu Estate.

The 2012 Education programme will include a number of curriculum-based activities themed on the National Motor Museum’s exciting new exhibition for 2012, Bond In Motion, which will showcase 50 vehicles from the James Bond films.

Beaulieu also offers a number of Educational trips to its sister attraction, Buckler’s Hard. This 18th century shipbuilding village is situated on the banks of the Beaulieu River, and was used to build the ships for Nelson’s fleet at Trafalgar. The Maritime Museum at Buckler’s Hard has recently been re-displayed to offer a new interpretation of Buckler’s Hard and the Beaulieu River, which has helped greatly to improve the quality of its educational programmes.

For further information on educational visits to Beaulieu and Buckler’s Hard, please visit

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Weddings at the Treasure Houses of England

For timeless glamour, fairytale romance and awe-inspiring grandeur at some of the country’s most stunning country estates and stately properties – make a statement with a wedding at the Treasure Houses of England.

Featuring ten of England’s most spectacular castles, palaces and houses, the magnificent venues present couples with a beautiful and beguiling backdrop for a brilliantly bespoke and memorable day.

The Marble Hall at Holkham
The Treasure Houses’ host of illustrious properties boasts a range of features from fine paintings, objects d’art and antiques to incredible architecture and gorgeous grounds - ensuring extravagant interiors and an atmosphere imbued with Royal heritage and a rich history.

Hollywood hits such as The Kings Speech, Harry Potter and Brideshead Revisited have been filmed on location at the likes of Burghley’s stunning Elizabethan House and at Castle Howard where you can utter your vows under the Great Hall’s glorious painted dome.

For couples considering a themed wedding, each venue exudes Downton Abbey style romance and nostalgia that are perfect for period costumes and an inspired sense of individual occasion.
Catering for all kinds of weddings, each venue is unique, carefully attending to every need and minutiae for a completely personalised affair.

With an array of options available - every scenario is possible - from lavish, exclusive-hire affairs, marquee weddings and small weddings to civil ceremonies, civil partnerships and elegant evening receptions.

Hatfield House
At Beaulieu, couples can enjoy seven thousand acres of enchanting estate and choose from the decadent setting of the Domus a 13th century building, the pristine Palace House or even the National Motor Museum and the Top Gear Enormodrome for something distinctly different. Beaulieu provides an enchanting and unique setting for your wedding day.

Oxfordshire’s Blenheim Palace offers the timeless elegance of The Orangery, whose private entrance, glass ceiling, and terrace over-looking the Italian Garden provides a stunning wedding venue. Alternatively, the striking Marlborough Room offers a double vaulted ceiling, chandeliers and fireplace for more intimate gatherings.

Already making waves throughout Leeds as the ultimate place to get married, Harewood House offers a dramatic and romantic venue courtesy of its Courtyard, elegant Pavilion or the Victorian Terrace with the beautifully restored Italiene Parterre.

Chatsworth makes an exceptional location for weddings, receptions and civil partnerships. Set in 1000 acres of stunning Derbyshire parkland, with spectacular gardens creating the most stunning backdrop for all wedding photographs.  This unique venue epitomizes quality and elegance.

Kent’s Leeds Castle offers civil marriage and partnership ceremonies in the Dining Room, Gatehouse or Maiden’s Tower followed by dining in the beautiful Henry VIII banqueting hall or 17th century Fairfax Hall.

The Sculpture Gallery at Woburn Abbey
Hatfield House is an incomparable choice, with its magnificent Grade 1 listed Old Palace and stylishly contemporary Riding School, while Holkham Hall’s tally of four stunning staterooms present impressive interiors flanked by enticing exteriors at the Walled Gardens and magical woodlands beyond.

Woburn Abbey offers three very distinct wedding venues. From the splendor of The Sculpture Gallery, or The Inn at Woburn for classic country weddings, to the fun and unusual Safari Lodge at Woburn Safari Park weddings held on the estate are truly unique. Weddings can be arranged for just 25 up to 250 guests and a dedicated wedding planner will ensure that every wedding is a day to remember.

2012 Wedding Fairs:

The Old Palace at Hatfield House

Hatfield Wedding Fair
Sunday 5th February 2012

Blenheim Palace Wedding Fair  
Sunday 19th February 2012
11.00 am – 4.00pm
Whether you are just beginning to make plans for your wedding or getting ready to finalise the last minute details, don’t miss the Blenheim Palace Wedding Fair.

Chatsworth Wedding Fair
Sunday 26th February 2012
10.00am – 4.00pm
Chatsworth wedding fair takes place in the majestic stables Sunday 26th February 2012 from 10.00 am until 4.00pm. Entry is free

We'll post more Wedding Fair dates soon.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

A Fairy-Tale Wedding at Blenheim Palace

Winter Wedding Limited Special Offer in 2012

Over 50% discount on normal package price for selected dates only in January and February 2012.

Blenheim Palace is offering a fabulous fairy-tale winter wedding package for up to 70 guests in a stunning location including a Civil Ceremony in the Marlborough Room and Wedding Breakfast in the Orangery.

Hold your special day at this world-famous venue, host of many high-profile celebrity weddings.
Contact or call 01993 813874 for more details.

Win a pair of tickets to the Treasure Houses of England

Full details available here:

Closing date 25th November 2011

Monday, 21 November 2011

Traditional delights, historic markets and fairytale magic will transform Holkham Hall in North Norfolk into a charming winter wonderland for the very first time.

Traditional delights, historic markets and fairytale magic will transform Holkham Hall in North Norfolk into a charming winter wonderland for the very first time.

From late November, Holkham will host its first series of exciting Christmas events, including visits from the Holly King, Queen Victoria and the Snow Queen, which promise to make it the most regal of festive destinations.

Holkham’s Christmas calendar opens with a Victorian Christmas Fayre on November 26 and 27, which sees the Bygones Museum turn back the clocks to the time of Charles Dickens for a wonderful period market, created by the Black Knight Historical team.

Visitors will be able to buy unique gifts from costumed traders and enjoy Christmas carols performed by minstrels, as well as storytelling. There will also be the opportunity to make traditional decorations, relax with mulled wine and walk around the garland-decorated hall, where children will be able to meet the Holly King himself.

Period entertainment continues with a Victorian Christmas Celebration on December 3 and 4. Queen Victoria arrives at the decorated hall to music, dancing, carols, games and stories by the fireside. During the festivities, kitchen staff will prepare a seasonal feast, the Holly King will be giving gifts to children beneath his Christmas tree, and all is captured for posterity using photographic techniques from the era.

Holkham Hall’s Christmas experience concludes with an atmospheric performance of The Snow Queen in the magnificent Marble Hall on December 17. This retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairytale by Quantum Theatre follows a young girl travelling across the North Pole to free her friend from the spell of the wicked Snow Queen.

The Christmas Fayre and Christmas Celebration events take place 10am to 5pm, with last admission at 4pm for the Hall and 4.30pm for Bygones Museum. Tickets for each event are £11 for adults, £7 for children.
The Antiques Fair is held from 10.30am to 5pm. Tickets are £5 for adults, free for under-16s.
Tickets for The Snow Queen are £16 for adults, £12 for children, with performances at 2pm and 6.30pm.

Further details can be found by visiting, or telephoning 01328 713111.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Christmas Festivities at the Treasure Houses of England

Spend the festive season at some of England’s most magnificent castles, palaces and houses.  Boasting ten of the most grand, historic and breathtaking buildings in the country, the Treasure Houses will all be hosting a variety of Christmas events and entertainment amidst spectacular scenery and stunning surrounds.

Blenheim Palace
Join Beaulieu’s exciting itinerary of Christmas celebrations (17th December-3rd January), including Victorian games and carol singing while Blenheim Palace creates ‘A White Christmas’ with snowflakes, silver white birches and icicles for an atmospheric and magical experience (12th November-16th December). Enjoy a performing snow queen statue, Santa’s grotto in the stables and choir concerts.

Fine Food Market at Burghley
Stock up on festive fayre at Burghley’s Fine Food Market (3rd-4th December) and at Castle Howard’s Christmas Craft and Produce Market (5th-6th December). Open for Christmas, see Castle Howard by candlelight and beautifully dressed for the holiday (26th November-18th December).  Father Christmas and The Festive Wizard will be entertaining the crowds (26th & 27th November and 3rd, 4th, 10th, 11th, 17th & 18th December) while adults can indulge in canapés, candlelight and a sumptuous three-course meal at Castle Howard’s glamorous Christmas Party Nights (9th and 16th December).

Christmas at Chatsworth
From 5th November to 23rd explore Chatsworth’s Christmas displays inspired by timeless Christmas carols. The lower floors of the house are decorated with beautiful trees, garlands and candles to bring to life Christmas classics such as The Holly and the Ivy, Silent Night and Jingle Bells in a sparkling and surprising journey for all the family.
Presenting over 100 stalls, Chatsworth’s Christmas Markets are a must-see (11th-13th and 18th-20th November), as are their ambient Twilight evenings presenting shopping and entertainment with the option of a gourmet three-course meal (24th & 25th November and 1st, 2nd, 8th, 9th 15th & 16th December).
Starring real farmyard animals, Chatsworth’s popular Nativity performances will ensure a jovial mood for all the family, with daytime performances held twice daily on 3rd 4th 10th, 11th, 17th & 18th December and special evening performances on 3rd, 10th and 17th December.

Find some gorgeous gifts at Hatfield House’s Christmas Frost Fair (25th-27th November.  There’s also a Christmas Music Concert on Sunday 11th December  and families can have fun on the synthetic skating rink in the Stable Yard from 1st to 23rd December.

Harewood is open every weekend 10am to 4pm from 25 November - 18 December and all week leading up to Christmas (19 - 23 December) with a glittering array of festive events, perfect for a full day’s family entertainment whatever the weather.  If you’re planning a party to remember, or just looking for somewhere to get into the festive spirit - Harewood has it all this winter.  

The Marble Hall at Holkham
Spellbinding Chamber Music in Holkham’s Marble Hall includes a champagne reception (12th December) and their production of The Snow Queen looks set to entertain and enchant in equal measure (2pm & 6.30pm 17th December).

Be beguiled in the Bygones Museum at Holkham’s Victorian Christmas Fayre (26th & 27th November). The Black Knight Historical team will ensure a festive event with Dickensian decor including costumed traders, storytelling and minstrels leading carol singing for a superb shopping trip and traditional entertainment.

A Victorian Christmas Celebration (3rd & 4th December) sees Holkham welcoming Queen Victoria for the weekend. Inside the dazzling hall, expect music, dances, carols, games and storytelling in scenic surrounds. With Florence Nightingale in attendance and the Holly King giving gifts to the children, join the festive bustle for a delightful day out.

Dreaming of a White Christmas
 at Leeds Castle
From 5th December to 3rd January 2012, traditional Christmas decorations will fill Leeds Castle in Kent and many of the rooms will be beautifully decorated with scenes inspired by classic children's stories for the whole family to enjoy. Meet Father Christmas (pre-booked slots 10th & 11th December and daily from 16th – 24th December) and book in advance for Theatrical Christmas Tours on the 15th, 19th, 20th and 22nd December. Timed entry from 5pm to 7.45pm (tours last approximately 45 minutes).  Blow away the New Year cobwebs with the Christmas Trail (26th December – 3rd January).

The Sculpture Gallery, located in the South Court of Woburn Abbey, provides a stylish and elegant setting for ‘The Woburn Classic Christmas Party’.   The shared party nights on the 9th and 16th December include traditional Scottish piper, three course festive dinner and dancing.
The Woburn Abbey Antiques Centre will be holding its annual Winter Art Sale 3rd December – 8th January (closed 24th – 26th December), a great opportunity to pick up a Christmas gift at an exceptional price

A full schedule of events is available on request.
For more information visit

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Hatfield House Skating Rink Opens 1st December 2011

Come and enjoy our synthetic skating rink in Stable Yard, Hatfield House from 1st - 23rd December! 
 It's clean, dry and compared to real ice, much kinder to the environment.

Each session is 25 minutes and available from 10am with the last skating session at 5pm.

Tickets are available in advance but booking isn't essential - just come along!

Adult £5, Child £3 (3-15yrs) - 25min session
Time: 10.00am - 5.00pm
Venue: Stable Yard, Hatfield House
Date: 01 December 2011 - 23 December 2011
To book online: Click here
Phone: 01707 357117

Hatfield House Christmas Frost Fair 25th to 27th November 2011

Held in the Riding School at Hatfield House and in heated marquees on Palace Green in front of the Old Palace, the childhood home of Elizabeth I.

The Christmas Frost Fair will feature wonderful gifts for family and home, original and unusual crafts, fine foods direct from the producers, exclusive ranges from the Hatfield Gift Shop, fresh ideas from the retailers in Stable Yard, drop in workshops and a festive atmosphere, sights and delicious scents. Morning coffee, lunches and afternoon teas will be available in the Old Palace.

To exhibit at this exciting event please call the organiser on: 01487 814800 / 07798 930070 or email Cliff on

Adults £3.50 

Under 15s FREE when accompanied by paying adult

Time: 10:00am - 5.00pm
Venue: Riding School & Palace Green
Date: 25 November 2011 - 27 November 2011

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Wishing you A Very Harewood Christmas!

Harewood announces extended winter opening times and special entry prices to spread the festive spirit.  Launching with a series of spectacular concerts from 17 November, Harewood is open every weekend 10am to 4pm from 25 November - 18 December and all week leading up to Christmas (19 - 23 December) with a glittering array of festive events, perfect for a full day’s family entertainment whatever the weather.  And if you’re planning a party to remember, or just looking for somewhere to get into the festive spirit - Harewood has it all this winter. 

White Rose Winter Music festival
The White Rose Winter Music Festival (17 - 19 Nov) is setting the tempo for winter 2011, providing a fitting combination of Yorkshire heritage, first class musical entertainment, a choice of hospitality and a special occasion to launch people into the festive spirit. Harewood House will provide a stunning backdrop to the shows this year which will be staged inside the Pavilion on the North Front. The programme is as follows: Thursday 17 - A Night at the Opera - Friday 18 - A Night in the West End - Saturday 19 - A Night at the Proms.

‘Essence of Christmas’ fair
This year Harewood is hosting the much acclaimed ‘Essence of Christmas’ seasonal shopping fair from 25 - 27 November (Fri & Sat 10-5pm, Sun 11-4pm). Offering a range of entertainment cleverly combined with heritage and culture, easy shopping to help you find that perfect gift for those hard-to-buy-for friends, gorgeous walks and views, and music to raise even Scrooge’s spirits.  The Essence of Christmas Fair is a cornucopia of all things Christmassy and we’ve weaved it throughout the House, Gardens and Grounds. 

A Very Harewood Christmas
Perfect whatever the weather, Harewood have put together ‘A Very Harewood Christmas’ which means something a little bit different and perfect to fill a day with festive family cheer; meet one of our huskies or even one of our Christmas ponies, enjoy great shopping, food and fun, all with a dash of something magical, plus as an extra special treat enter a daily draw to feed our penguins!  Children’s entertainers  make themselves at home in our Geopods and will provide 4 daily shows and a chance to follow a trail around the grounds during the day. There will be lots of seasonal activities to keep little ones entertained including Santa Claus who is coming to town.  Harewood look forward to ho-ho-hosting him as he sets up temporary residence in the ‘Snowflake Dome’ of the Geopods every weekend from 25 Nov and throughout the week leading up to Christmas (19 – 23 Dec). He’s spreading the cheer for all with a gift for every child who visits him (booking applies).  Harewood is providing a unique opportunity to enjoy a Christmas lunch in banqueting style in the Harewood Suite in the Courtyard, great for adults and children alike. Enjoy children’s entertainment with a festive pre-lunch show and meet Santa (12.30 start each day, one course, booking applies). This year, Santa has supplied us with his loyal friends, the Christmas ponies, perfect for mini-rides for mini-people.

The Grade I Listed Courtyard will be covered against the wintry elements by marquees so you can enjoy a veritable feast of stalls with a range of great gifts; all fortified with the scent of chestnuts and mulled wine served under the colonnade. The Courtyard Café is serving a festive menu using locally sourced ingredients, great for all the family, and live festive music can be heard in the Courtyard in December at 12pm and 2pm to add to the merry atmosphere.

Meanwhile, Harewood’s award winning gardens and grounds provide the perfect setting for wintry enchanted walks and visits to Santa’s penguin friends. Join us throughout December for some good old fashioned outdoor winter fun. Enjoy family trails, join in our many children’s craft activities with the learning team, and stroke one our huskies.

Much more than a stately home, Harewood House is very much a family home, and the team have been working hard to ensure they provide a complete experience for all the family this Christmas. This year the house will be dressed for the season and the team have pulled together a unique exhibition of Christmas family mementos and informal introductory talks to showcase the State Floor as a grand family home at Christmas. Not to be outdone by the State Floor, story telling and biscuit decorating will take place Below Stairs which will be decorated for Christmas with a twist.

Christmas Parties
Harewood has gone Tinseltown crazy with a series of parties to dazzle your friends, colleagues and clients.  The team of experienced event coordinators have created nights to fit with the Tinseltown Hollywood glamour.  Join us for a party fit for the stars this winter in the Pavilion, with red carpet and paparazzi, Frank Sinatra tribute, great food and DJ til late.  All against the stunning backdrop of Harewood House.

For more information about the flurry of festivities at Harewood this winter, visit or call our box office on 0113 218 1000.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Alison Weir, Talk and Book Signing at Hatfield House

The historical novelist Alison Weir will be giving a talk, followed by a book signing on 17th November, in the Riding School at Hatfield House based on her most recent book, Mary Boleyn: "The Great and Infamous Whore"

Mary Boleyn is remembered by posterity as a 'great and infamous whore'. She was the mistress of two kings, Francois I of France and Henry VIII of England, and sister to Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's second wife. She may secretly have borne Henry a child and it was because of his adultery with Mary that his marriage to Anne was annulled. It is not hard to see how this tangled web of relationships has given rise to rumours and misconceptions that have been embroidered over the centuries.

In her new book, the first full scale biography of Mary Boleyn, Alison Weir explodes much of the mythology that surrounds her subject and uncovers the facts about one of the most misunderstood figures of the Tudor age. Her extensive, forensic research has facilitated a new and detailed portrayal, in which she recounts that, contrary to popular belief, Mary was entirely undeserving of her posthumous notoriety as a great whore or the 'hackney' whom the King of France famously boasted of riding.

Alison Weir also presents compelling new evidence that almost conclusively determines the paternity of Mary's two oldest children. This astonishing and riveting book shows that Mary's story had a happy ending and that she was by far the luckiest of the Boleyns.

Alison Weir trained as a history teacher; her passion for history had been born when she read her first adult novel at the age of fourteen. Her first book, Britain's Royal Families, came out in 1989. She has since written fourteen other history books, including The Six Wives of Henry VIII, Elizabeth the Queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Katherine Swynford and The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn. Alison has also published three historical novels, Innocent Traitor, The Lady Elizabeth and The Captive Queen. Her latest history book, a biography of Mary Boleyn, is published in October 2011. She has recently completed a fourth novel and is now working on a history of England's medieval queens. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Sciences, and is married with two adult children.

Please visit for further information on Alison and her work.

Tickets are £10 - to book

Thursday, 27 October 2011

What's on at the Treasure Houses of England this November

Get out and about this November with the Treasure Houses of England’s fabulous feast of events. Visit any of their ten palaces, houses and castles for an atmospheric and seasonal extravaganza for all the family. Experience a rich array of architecture, history and culture – not to mention – exciting entertainment and activities at these spectacularly beautiful sites.

Beaulieu’s annual Fireworks Spectacular (29th October) will see a dynamic display to a Twilight Zone soundtrack guaranteed to inspire and excite the crowds. Featuring a fair, hot food and drinks including candy floss and roasted chestnuts; there will also be live music courtesy of WAVE 105 and a fantastic fancy dress contest.

Stir up Sunday (13th November) at Blenheim Palace affords visitors the opportunity to make and stir a Christmas pudding while meeting the palace’s acclaimed cooks and receiving top baking tips.

Stock up on the best of British with creative gifts courtesy of Blenheim’s Living Crafts for Christmas (18th-20th November). Quality items on offer include clothing, ceramics, jewellery, artwork and a delicious range of food such as homemade chocolates and seasonal pies and chutneys.

Burghley House invites brides and grooms-to-be to their Essential Wedding Show (6th November) while Castle Howard follows spectacular suit with their Wedding Fair (6th November). Both will be exhibiting a variety of premier suppliers from the industry.

Inspired by some of our favourite Christmas carols, enjoy this sparkling and surprising journey for all the family with ‘Deck the Halls: A visual celebration of carols’ at Chatsworth House (5th November to 23rd December).

The White Rose Winter Music Festival (17th-19th November) at Harewood House returns to provide an eclectic mix of music from opera and A Night at the Proms to Musicals from the West End all set amidst a beautiful backdrop.

Hatfield House provides the perfect setting for some unique Christmas shopping on 12th November with its Christmas Market while Holkham Hall offers captivating chamber music from the Carducci String Quartet (5 & 6th November).

Experience Leeds Castle’s renowned Fireworks Spectacular (5th & 6th November) for a memorable evening’s entertainment. With an open air children’s film screening and a wide range of refreshments available, the stunning light and fireworks show will be set to music inspired by ‘Space’.
Visit their Festive Fair to find innovative gifts for a superb shopping spree (19th & 20th November).

Woburn Abbey’s beautiful deer park will feature the RNLI Reindeer Run (27th November) – a festive and fun-packed day in aid of a worthy charitable cause.

A full schedule of events is available on request.

For more information visit

Monday, 17 October 2011

History comes alive at Buckler's Hard, Beaulieu

22nd to 30th October 2011
This October Half Term, 22nd to 30th October, the peaceful village of Buckler’s Hard on the banks of the Beaulieu River comes alive as Living History characters recount what life was like in the 18th century, when the village was a thriving centre for shipbuilding. Meet Balthazar Adams, son of Master Shipbuilder Henry Adams, and his wife, Mary, who lived and worked in the village at the time when ships for Nelson’s Trafalgar fleet were built.

Historic displays in the Labourer’s and Shipwright’s cottages show how the village would have looked in the early 1800s and in the New Inn, you can hear residents from the time gossiping about local matters.

Visit the newly re-desplayed Maritime Museum and discover the ships that were built at Buckler’s Hard, which have been the inspiration for a wealth of art, literature and films. In its more recent history, find out about the important role played by Buckler’s Hard and the Beaulieu River during WWII. Sections of the ‘Mulberry Harbour’ were made here, and hundreds of craft sailed from the Beaulieu River in the D-Day landings.

In the chapel of St. Mary’s, peer through the viewing window in the floor beside the altar which reveals the recently discovered cellar below. The Beaulieu River was believed to be a major landing point for smuggled goods from the late 18th century, and it is possible that the cellar was once used as a store for smuggled contraband.

Plus don’t miss the opportunity to embark on one of the last River Cruises of the season. This tranquil 30 minute journey wends its way along the river, with an accompanying commentary on the history of the river and the abundant wildlife that inhabits its banks.

The Captain’s Cabin Tea Rooms serves refreshments, including delicious cream teas, throughout the day.

Visit for more information.

Friday, 14 October 2011

October Half Term & Halloween at the Treasure Houses of England

Celebrate October Half Term and Halloween with The Treasure Houses of England and their feast of festive events and activities. Set amidst beautiful backdrops and showcasing a series of historic and cultural artifacts and exhibitions – the ten castles, houses and palaces make for an exciting and entertaining day or evening out for all.

Reputed to be one of Britain’s most haunted places, Beaulieu is a brilliant venue for a stream of festivities from spooky storytelling sessions by real-life Ghost Hunters to gruesome face painting. Follow the Halloween trail to see the 250 vehicles on show – and marvel at land speed record breakers and genuine James Bond movie cars (22nd-30th October).

With a scary ‘Monster Mash’ trail featuring crazy mirrors concealed in the Marlborough Maze at the Pleasure Gardens - Blenheim Palace presents an elaborate mix of festive entertainment (22nd-30th October). Create your own monster or pumpkin ‘Jack-o-Lantern’ and decorate a scary piece of pottery for creative – and gruesome-themed – craftsmanship for kids.

Follow Burghley House’s pumpkin trail (22nd-30th October) for a special prize or dare to follow the clues around Castle Howard’s spooky pumpkin trail through the woods (22th-30th October).

If you're feeling brave, then bring your little monsters along to Chatsworth for a whole week of terrible treats, evil entertainment and devilish delights (22nd -30th October). See areas of the house, garden and farmyard transformed, with pumpkins galore, a spooky secret tunnel, crafts, dancing zombie workshops, creepy crawlies and much more.
Find out what really happens when the doors are closed for the day on a spooky exploration of Chatsworth by torchlight. Those who are brave enough can join our Guides on an eerie exploration of the house and hear creepy stories and tales of spooky goings on (27th-31st October).

Experience a mouthwatering mix of ‘food, folk and fun’ at Harewood House (22nd-30th October), which will be presenting twilight tales and Diwali celebrations amongst a mass of Halloween themed fun.

Holkham Hall will host a spellbinding set of activities and adventures beginning with an afternoon of ‘all things batty’ (27th October), including crafts and a guided evening bat walk. Their selection of Halloween delights (27th-30th October) includes witch dodging, spider hunting and Victorian ghost hunting with belly-filling treats. Round off Holkham’s Halloween with Freaky Face Painting and Scary Snacks in the Stables Café.

Spooky themed crafts will be on offer at Leeds Castle in Kent between 22nd-28th October. With a range of activities taking place in the marquee (additional charge applies) by the maze as well as a moreish menu of themed food on offer, Halloween will truly tickle the senses for children and adults alike in supreme style.

A full schedule of events is available on request.

For more information visit