Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Historic Houses enjoy major boost from starring TV and film roles.

Filming in the Heaven Room at Burghley House
As well as being among the finest palaces, historic houses and castles in the country, the Treasure Houses of England have also provided the backdrop for some of the most memorable screen and television moments of the past quarter of a century.

From iconic television series like ‘Brideshead Revisited’ (Castle Howard) to blockbuster films like ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’ (Blenheim Palace) the Treasure Houses of England have become ‘stars’ in their own right.

Among the most familiar properties is Hatfield House in Hertfordshire which was recently used as a filming location for multi-Oscar-winning hit ‘The King’s Speech’ starring Colin Firth.
Its many other credits include; ‘Hot Fuzz (2006), ‘Get Him to the Greek’ (2009), ‘Batman’ (2005), ‘Batman Begins’ (2005), ‘Shakespeare in Love’ (1998), ‘Sherlock Holmes’ (2008), ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ (2004), ‘Vanity Fair’ (2003), ‘Tomb Raider’ (2001) and ‘Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life’ (2003).

Currently on display in the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu in Hampshire are a number of vehicles from the world of film and television, including a replica of the famous Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car, Del Boy’s Reliant Regal, used in the popular television series Only Fools and Horses, Mr Bean’s lime green Mini, and the flying Ford Anglia from the Harry Potter films.

In addition to its starring role in the original series, Castle Howard in North Yorkshire also featured in the recent cinema re-make of ‘Brideshead Revisited’ (2008) as well as having a part to play in ‘Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties’ (2006).

Chatsworth in Derbyshire recently played host to ‘The Wolfman’ (2010) starring Emily Blunt and Sir Anthony Hopkins, and ‘The Duchess’ (2008) and ‘Pride and Prejudice’ (2005), both starring Keira Knightley.

‘Gullivers Travels’ (2010) which also stars Emily Blunt, alongside Jack Black was partly filmed at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, as was ‘The Young Victoria’ (2007), ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’ (2007)  ‘The Libertine’ (2004), ‘The Lost Prince’ (2003), and ‘The Avengers’ (1998).  One of the most iconic Bollywood films of all time’ Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham’ (‘Sometimes Happy, Sometimes Sad’) was also filmed at Blenheim Palace. (2001).

Continuing the Austen theme, Harewood House in West Yorkshire was the setting for the hugely popular TV mini-series ‘Lost in Austen’ (2008) as well as playing its part in long-running shows including; ‘Emmerdale’, ‘A Touch of Frost’, ‘Heartbeat’ and ‘The Royal’.

The film adaptation of Dan Brown bestseller ‘The Da Vinci Code’ (2006) starring To Hanks was partly set at Burghley House in Lincolnshire as was ‘Pride and Prejudice’ (2005) with Keira Knightley, and ‘Elizabeth Golden Age’ (2007).

Leeds Castle in Kent was also used as a film location for ‘Elizabeth Golden Age’ (2007) as well as ‘The Rapture’ (2010) starring Danny Dyer. Television appearances include ‘Magnum PI’, ‘The Apprentice’, ‘Antiques Roadshow’ and ‘Celebrity Masterchef’.

Holkham Hall’s award-winning beach in Norfolk was featured in ‘Shakespeare in Love’ (1998) and the Hall as a location for ‘The Duchess’ (2008), which starred Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes and Charlotte Rampling. It was also the setting for the cult film ‘Dean Spanley’ (2008) which stars Peter O’Toole and Sam Neill.

Woburn Abbey took the starring role in the popular ‘Country House’ series that was shown on BBC 2 from 1999 – 2002. The late Marquess of Tavistock and the Marchioness, later the 14th Duke and Duchess of Bedford, were the subjects of this documentary/ reality series which took a ‘behind the scenes’ look at their personal lives and the running of the Woburn estate.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Top Ten Places to Enjoy Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea at Chatsworth House
The English are famed throughout the world for their custom of taking afternoon tea.

The tradition is said to have originated at Woburn Abbey in the late 1830s by Duchess Anna Maria, wife of the 7th Duke of Bedford.

A Lady-in-Waiting to Queen Victoria, Anna Maria began the custom of taking afternoon tea to combat what she called ‘that sinking feeling’ at around 5pm, when the custom was to eat a large breakfast, light lunch and a later dinner at 9pm. 

The new tea custom consisted of tea with perhaps light sandwiches and fairy cakes and was generally taken by ladies.  

Where better to enjoy this quintessentially English custom than amid the splendid surroundings of some of the country’s finest stately homes, palaces and castles?  The Treasure Houses of England is a consortium of 10 of the country’s finest palaces, historic houses and castles.

·         Woburn Abbey – Where better to take afternoon tea than the place it was invented. The Duchess Anna Maria Afternoon Tea can be enjoyed during a visit to Woburn Abbey and Gardens.   The Duchess’ Tea Room is open daily from 15th April – 2nd October and Afternoon Tea is served from 2.30pm to 4pm (pre-booking advised).

·         Burghley House - At Burghley you can have tea in 'Capability' Brown's Orangery restaurant overlooking the topiary in the South Gardens. Homemade scones, jam and clotted cream can be enjoyed in the peaceful and romantic Rose Garden.

·         Beaulieu – Enjoy a scrumptious afternoon tea with a wide selection of cakes and pastries all baked in-house in the newly refurbished Brabazon Coffee Shop and Restaurant.  Some produce comes from Lord Montagu's own Victorian Kitchen garden; beetroot is made into a delicious moist cake and plums made into jam, to eat on scones with lashings of Dorset clotted cream.

·         Hatfield House – Our Chef’s delicious home-made cakes and tray bakes are hugely popular with visitors to Hatfield House. The Restaurant has its own bakery so visitors can enjoy rolls, cakes and pastries straight from the oven. There is a great fresh salads and deli counter too.

·         Castle Howard – Enjoy an afternoon treat at Castle Howard in either the bistro style Courtyard Cafe or the more traditional Fitzroy Room.  On offer are seasonal menus prepared by our chefs that include a generous selection of freshly made sandwiches, salads and delicious homemade cakes.

·         Chatsworth –This quintessential English pastime is brought to life at Chatsworth.  Enjoy an Afternoon Tea in the 18th Century Cavendish Rooms Restaurant, designed by the famous architect James Paine, overlooking the courtyard.  The team of bakers are passionate about fresh produce and bake throughout the day, every day, to ensure that you are served the freshest cakes possible.

·         Leeds Castle – Enjoy an afternoon treat with a cream tea in the 17th Century oak-beamed Fairfax Hall or outside in the sunshine on the Terrace overlooking the castle.  There is an excellent choice of freshly prepared hot and cold dishes on offer, along with cakes and other sweet treats, all of which can be enjoyed in a rustic farmhouse kitchen style setting that uses oak and wrought iron finishes.

·         Harewood House – Taste the delights of afternoon tea in The Courtyard Cafe or The Terrace Cafe, voted one of the best places to have afternoon tea by Gardener’s World Magazine readers in 2010.  Not only is the food sumptuous and the drinks refreshing, you’ll also be able to sit back and admire the architecture in the Courtyard and the stunning views from the Terrace.

·         Holkham Hall – The Holkham Estate has three cafes all offering afternoon tea.  The Stables Café is located at the Hall itself, the Rose Garden Café is in Holkham Village in The Ancient House and finally there’s the Beach Café just a stones throw from the beach at Wells-next-the-Sea.  Whichever you opt for you can be sure to find plenty of mouth-watering homemade treats to indulge in, from sandwiches and cakes to scones straight from the oven. 

·         Blenheim Palace - Blenheim Palace is the perfect place to enjoy a traditional afternoon tea in the elegant surroundings only a Palace could provide.  Tea is served in the Palace’s Indian Room overlooking the beautiful fountains on the Water Terraces, providing the perfect way to make your day at Blenheim Palace complete.  Choose from a selection of a Traditional Cream Tea, a Churchill Afternoon Tea or a luxury Champagne Tea. Enjoy a selection of finger sandwiches, homemade pastries and cakes and our speciality teas in a tranquil and formal setting.

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