Friday, 27 January 2012

Join in the February fun at Beaulieu! 11th – 19th February 2012

During February half-term week, from 11th – 19th February, young visitors can join in February Fun at Beaulieu and take part in a James Bond-themed quiz trail and an undercover army commando course.

Test your knowledge of the world’s most famous special agent, James Bond, in the National Motor Museum’s brand new exhibition, BOND IN MOTION, which showcases 50 original vehicles from the James Bond films. The exhibition is the largest of its kind staged anywhere in the world and features some of the best-loved and most iconic vehicles from the films, including the Lotus Esprit S1, affectionately nicknamed ‘Wet Nellie’ from The Spy Who Loved Me and the Rolls-Royce Phantom III used in Goldfinger. Follow the trail around the exhibition and exercise your code-cracking skills for an opportunity to win a Bond goody bag and have your picture taken in a genuine Bond vehicle.

Learn the skills and tactics required to outsmart the enemy, whilst getting a taste of life in the modern Army on an Army Commando course, courtesy of soldiers from the Marchwood based 17 Port & Maritime Regiment. Once kitted out in army camouflage, young recruits can join real soldiers on a patrol exercise, have fun on an Inflatable Assault Course and test their aim on a Laser Shotgun Range.

These special activities can be enjoyed as part of a visit to the whole Beaulieu attraction which includes the National Motor Museum with its collection of over 250 vehicles and new BOND IN MOTION plus World of Top Gear.

Don’t miss the ‘On Screen Cars’ exhibition, new for 2012, which showcases a number of TV and film favourites including Del Boy’s Reliant Regal as featured in the BBC sitcom Only Fools and Horses, Mr Bean’s lime green Mini and possibly the most famous of all screen cars, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. You can also visit Palace House, the Montagu family home since 1538, and 13th century Beaulieu Abbey, plus rides and drives for all the family.
Beaulieu is open from 10am – 5pm every day except Christmas Day. For more information telephone 01590 612345 or visit:

Tuesday, 10 January 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, the Blenheim Palace Wedding Fair will provide a cornucopia of the regions finest wedding suppliers, showcased together within the stunning setting of Blenheim Palace.
Our dedicated hospitality team will be delighted to show you around the venue and to introduce you to the various different options available for your wedding day at Blenheim Palace.

Free admission and a free prize draw

Please call 01993 813874 or email to apply for a ticket.

Monday, 2 January 2012

International line-up of chamber music at Holkham Hall

A second exciting series of chamber music at Holkham Hall firmly establishes the historic property as one of the premier venues for chamber concerts. The 2012 season sees celebrated musicians from around the world perform in the magnificent Marble Hall and includes three song recitals, two string quartets, a piano trio and a solo piano recital. In addition, one of Europe’s leading young ensembles will make a special appearance for a captivating live broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

The season opens with an afternoon concert in February when the Escher Quartet from the United States comes to Holkham as part of their European tour. Then the following month Dame Felicity Palmer gives a rare recital before she visits Paris, and the hall hosts a live Radio 3 concert by the Signum Quartet. During the season, two winners of the prestigious BBC Cardiff Singer of the World song competition also perform – Elizabeth Watts, who won the song prize in 2007 and Ukrainian baritone Andrei Bondarenko, who was the winner in 2011.

The full concert listing is as follows:

Sunday, February 12 at 3pm
Escher String Quartet preceded by a pre-concert talk
Pre-concert talk by Simon Rowland-Jones titled “Bartók’s String Quartet No.5 - The Greatest String Quartet of the 20th Century?” at 3pm followed by a performance by the Escher String Quartet who were selected as BBC Radio 3’s ‘New Generation Artists’ for 2010-2012 and will perform a programme of music, including Haydn’s String Quartet in D Op.76 No.5, Bartók’s String Quartet No.5 and Beethoven’s String Quartet in C sharp minor Op.131.

Sunday, March 18 at 7pm
Dame Felicity Palmer and Simon Lepper
Mezzo-soprano Dame Felicity Palmer has sung at every major opera house during the last four decades and pianist Simon Lepper is one of the leading accompanists of his generation, working with the world’s top singers. “Women on the Edge” is a programme of songs by Britten, Purcell, Tchaikovsky, de Falla and Sondheim.

Saturday, March 24 at 1pm
The Signum Quartet
Broadcast on BBC Radio 3, one of Europe's leading young quartets and Radio 3 New Generation Artists, The Signum Quartet from Berlin, perform an all-Schubert programme including one of the composer’s greatest string quartets as a live broadcast from the Marble Hall.

Saturday, April 7 at 7pm
Elizabeth Watts and Julius Drake
Soprano Elizabeth Watts won several major competitions including the Kathleen Ferrier Award in 2006 and the Song Prize at BBC Cardiff Singer of the World in 2007 and quickly established herself as the country’s leading young soprano. Pianist Julius Drake was Artistic Director and a regular performer at Holkham Hall between 2005 and 2010 and works with the leading singers of the day. This event includes Schumann’s song cycle Liederkreis Op.39 and songs by Ivor Gurney and Richard Strauss.

Friday, June 8 at 7pm
Kungsbacka Piano Trio
Formed in 1997 and named after the Swedish town where they gave their first performance, the Kungsbacka Piano Trio will perform a programme of music by Beethoven and Tchaikovsky. They won first prize in the prestigious Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition in 1999, have made prize-winning recordings for Naxos and this year are celebrating 15 years of giving concerts together.

Saturday, October 13 at 7pm
Andrei Bondarenko and Gary Matthewman
Ukranian baritone Andrei Bondarenko sprang to international prominence in the 2011 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition where he won the first prize in the song competition and was a sensational finalist in the main competition. Gary Matthewman is one of the best known accompanists of his generation and recently joined BBC Cardiff Singer of the World as official accompanist. The evening will include Ibert’s “Chansons de Don Quichotte”, songs by Tosti, Respighi, Glinka, Tchaikovsky and opera arias.

Saturday, November 10 at 7pm
Brodowski Quartet
The Brodowski String Quartet burst on to the London musical scene in 2008 winning a clutch of major prizes including first prize winner of the Royal Overseas League Competition for the best chamber ensemble. Some of the most celebrated of all string quartets make up the Brodowski’s programme, from Haydn’s last complete work for the genre to Smetana’s revolutionary “From My Life” and Tchaikovsky’s String Quartet No.1 in D major Op.11.

Saturday, December 1 at 7pm
Pianist Leon McCawley
A Beethoven Piano Competition and Leeds International Piano Competition winner, Leon McCawley is at the forefront of musical life. To celebrate the 150th anniversary of Debussy’s birth, he presents a wide-ranging programme that charts the influences on Debussy’s pianistic style. Leon’s programme includes works by Bach, Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninov and Schumann. This concert includes a champagne reception in the Saloon and opportunity to view some of the state rooms magnificently decorated for Christmas.

Tickets for the BBC broadcast concert with the Signum Quartet on 24 March are £18. For the December concert with Leon McCawley tickets are £30 and include a champagne reception in the interval. Tickets for all other concerts are £25 and include a glass of wine in the Saloon and an opportunity to view some of the other state rooms in the Hall. To book or for further information, please contact 01328 713111 or visit