Monday, 27 February 2012

New exhibitions unveiled at the Treasure Houses of England

From artistic masterpieces to fascinating historical exhibitions, The Treasure Houses of England look set to deliver a captivating programme of exciting exhibitions this year.

Bond in Motion is the world’s largest official collection of original James Bond vehicles which has just opened at Beaulieu’s National Motor Museum for one year only.   Bond in Motion features 50 vehicles to celebrate 50 years of the Bond franchise and 40 years since the National Motor Museum opened.
From the 24th May to the 2nd September at Beaulieu, there will be an exhibition of the Surrey Sculpture Society’s stunning traditional and contemporary artwork.  The sculptors are exhibiting their broad range of work on an extensive Sculpture Trail that leads visitors through the beautiful grounds and gardens of Palace House and Beaulieu Abbey. This diverse collection of artworks includes abstract and traditional sculptures in figurative, floral, animal and human form and is fashioned from a range of materials such as bronze, ceramics, wood, glass and stone.

British art is showcased in supreme style courtesy of John Piper at Blenheim Palace (11 February – 9 April). Eleven original – and some previously unseen - watercolours from the esteemed twentieth century artist will be on display from the Palace’s impressive collection. Featuring a multitude of mixed media, the exhibition will focus on Blenheim Palace and the breathtaking artworks created during the last decade of John Piper’s life.

Dedicating its annual Treasury Exhibition to the Olympic career and connections of Gold medal winning Olympian David Cecil, Lord Burghley – Burghley House will unveil a mass of memorabilia from the acclaimed golden athlete of his generation, including his running outfit, medals and in-depth information about his intriguing sporting life.

Capturing the Castle comprises an extensive exhibit spanning 300 years of Castle Howard in the Arts (May-November). Incorporating everything from photography and paintings to porcelain and souvenirs, the display offers an inspired and rare treat to visitors.

Chatsworth House presents a private collection of modern British masterpieces with lendings from internationally renowned collectors, Frank and Cherryl Cohen (19 March – 10 June) featuring over 40 pieces from over 20 various artists such as Stanley Spencer, John Hoyland and Edward Burra. Also, don’t miss Caro at Chatsworth (28 March – 1 July) – 15 stunning sculptures in the estate’s gorgeous gardens from the country’s greatest living sculptor, Anthony Caro.

Royal Harewood (31 March – 17 June) – Harewood commemorates this special Jubilee year with two exhibitions – ‘Royal Harewood: Celebrating the Life of The Yorkshire Princess’, and ‘Marcus Adams: Royal Photographer, photographs from the Royal Collection’.  A unique insight into the life of HRH Princess Mary in Yorkshire, including some previously unseen items from her Faberge and Fan collection, many given as gifts when Harewood was a Royal Household.  In the Terrace Gallery,  intimate photographs of a young Monarch to-be, will be on view for the first time in the UK in 2012 to celebrate this special year.

Continuing to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Holkham Hall’s new exhibition highlights the 400-year long royal connection between the monarchy and Holkham’s Coke family establishment (April-October). Delve into the archives, library, personal records and photos to discover original items that illustrate the spellbinding story.
Following on from the success of ‘Moore at Hatfield’ in 2011, Hatfield House are staging the first major UK outdoor exhibition of the sculptural works of French artist Xavier Veilhan (7 April – 30 September).  Discover more about The Ladies of Hatfield House, with this new exhibition which offers an insight into the Ladies who lived at Hatfield, their passions, accomplishments and the odd scandal! (7 April - 30 September).

Woburn ARTBEAT is an annual project now in its third year where Woburn Abbey and the nearby village of Woburn join together to promote high quality original art by turning the village into an art gallery (6th - 27th April) and a prominent sculpture exhibition in the gardens of Woburn Abbey (6th - 31st August).

The Treasure Houses of England (THE) is a consortium of 10 of the country’s finest palaces, historic houses and castles. Unique in character, each property has its own magical blend of magnificent architecture, fabulous surroundings, world class collections and family attractions to enjoy.

•    For admission prices and opening hours - visit

Thursday, 9 February 2012

The Treasure Houses of England are 10 of the most magnificent palaces, houses and castles in England today. Together they attract in excess of 2.8 million visitors annually.

Members include: Beaulieu, Blenheim Palace, Burghley House, Castle Howard, Chatsworth, Harewood House, Hatfield House, Holkham Hall, Leeds Castle and Woburn Abbey.

One of the most compelling features of the Treasure Houses of England is that they all offer the visitor a living history. Most are still homes to the great families who have owned them for generations. Others keep their heritage alive by re-creating scenes and events that have dominated and shaped England from the 9th century to the present day.

Between them they house some of the most important art collections in the world with famous works from artists such as Van Dyck and Gainsborough. The connoisseur of fine furniture, porcelain and china will find priceless examples of Chippendale, Wedgwood and Meissen.

Each house is an architectural masterpiece surrounded by beautiful parklands and gardens.

For admission prices and opening hours - visit

Fun Farming at Chatsworth Farmyard for February Half Term

11 February to 19 February 2012

The Chatsworth Farmyard and Adventure Playground will be opening this Saturday (11 February) for the school half term holiday to give families a fun taste of rural farming. The packed line up includes rural demonstrations and activities; the chance to meet the Shire Horse and find out how they are dressed; learn how to spin thread from local wool; discover where the old pack horse routes are around the estate; find out how horse drivers work and see the local farrier making a horse shoe on his mobile forge.

With a large indoor barn, an indoor picnic room and a covered canopy area, the farmyard is a great place to visit this half term whatever the weather.  Children can plant out beans and make bird feeders to take home in the barn and enjoy some messy mud painting under the canopy.

The popular small animal handling and ‘Meet the Animals’ sessions for a chance to get up close to the larger farm residents will take place every day. The woodland adventure playground where children can climb, slide, swing and spin is a great place to let off steam and the cafe and shop will be open to complete a great day out.

The farmyard is open from 11 to 19 February from 10.30 to 4.30pm every day, with last entry at 3.30pm. For details of each day’s activities and ticketing options including a 10 percent discount for online booking, go to

For further information on the Treasure Houses of England please visit  

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Holiday Fun at the Treasure Houses of England

Promising a mesmerising mix of entertainment especially for children, The Treasure Houses of England are poised to deliver a fabulous feast of family fun this February Half Term.


From 11th to 19th, take part in Beaulieu’s James Bond-themed quiz and enjoy the new Bond in Motion exhibition where there are over 50 original James Bond vehicles -  plus take part in an undercover army commando course.


Jump aboard the land-train for a joy ride down to the Lakeside Adventure Playground at Castle Howard, which is suitable for children (and adults!) of all ages.


Similarly, Chatsworth’s Farmyard and Adventure Playground offers an enticing array of activities for all (11-19 February).


To celebrate spring, Harewood gardens and grounds are hosting a range of activities and demonstrations for all the family including walks and talks from experts, alpaca wool spinning, pottery classes and a chance to enjoy the fresh air and fun in a glorious location.


Visit the brilliant Bloody HollowHatfield House’s adventure playground (free to anyone who has purchased a ticket from the park) and Hatfield Park Farm (free for accompanied children) to see the various farmyard animals and play amongst spectacular surrounds.  The stableyard will also be hosting a great array of children’s activities during half term (15-19 February).


Leed’s Castle presents the Birds and Beasts Roadshow (11-19 February), which houses a huge range of animals, birds, spiders and snakes in a marquee near the maze. Get up close and personal with a bevy of creepy crawlies for an unforgettably fun and educational experience.


The Pleasure Gardens at Blenheim Palace is the perfect place for families to let off steam during February half term. Hop on the miniature train from the Palace for family fun in the Pleasure Gardens including the giant Marlborough Hedge Maze, Adventure Play Area, the Butterfly House and the Gardens Cafe.

The Treasure Houses of England (THE) is a consortium of 10 of the country’s finest palaces, historic houses and castles. Unique in character, each property has its own magical blend of magnificent architecture, fabulous surroundings, world class collections and family attractions to enjoy.

For more information visit

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Half Term Fun at Harewood with 'Love Nature, Love Harewood'

This February half term, Harewood looks forward to celebrating all things natural with a great week of events and activities for all the family. Surrounded by open spaces and burgeoning Spring gardens, Love Nature’s aim will be to shake off the winter blues, spark interest, learn through fun and celebrate the new season within the comfort of the gardens and grounds of one the nation’s favourite country homes. Plus there’s 10% off if you book ahead ….

Love Nature combines insightful activities and demonstrations, and Harewood provides handy facilities to keep all the family fed and watered.   See how alpaca wool is spun to create woolly masterpieces with the Yorkshire Alpaca Group, and join in and ‘paint and take’ your own piece of pottery with Fired Art Designs or join our Education team and try your hand at a range of crafts. Yorkshire based masters of wood, Mawdsley Williams will be on hand with wood furniture demonstrations to showcase their extraordinary skills in sourcing and making woodwork for their individual designs and showing how the environment inspires them in their work.  Get your hands dirty with seed planting workshops, pick a seed to plant and take it home to watch it grow! If you’re keen to get out and about, why not take part in a ‘walk and talk’ and gain a fascinating insight into the stunning gardens with Head Gardener, Trevor Nicholson, you’ll find out all sorts about the grand, venerable, ancient and elegant trees we have here… or watch the Red Kites circling the skies and find out more with a Red Kite talk from Yorkshire’s own Project Officer from Yorkshire’s original Kite programme, Doug Simpson (one day only, visit website for details). Bird Garden Curator, John Waller, is also offering a walk and talk all about the birds in the Bird Garden, which will include details on birds that can be seen around the gardens and grounds of Harewood at this time of year. The bird walk concludes with our resident penguins’ feeding time. Plus there’s make your own bird cake feeder, win a prize with Spot the Owl prize draw, visit The Old Kitchen Below Stairs for fun food demonstrations and much more. (Note. Some events need to be booked ahead and require a small additional spend – see below or visit our website for details).

Perfect for all the family, Harewood has it just right this half term.  Whether you have a love of gardens, birds or simply for the great outdoors, Harewood provides. Love Nature, love Harewood…

11 - 19 Feb 2012, 10am - 4pm.

Adult £10.00 Senior £9.00 Child £6.00 Family £30, includes all grounds (State Floor closed). Below Stairs is open.
10% discount on pre-booking discount applies.
Harewood Members Free.
Pottery ‘make and take’ £5 upwards per head
Garden walk and talk free
Bird Garden walk and talk free
Red Kite talk free
Visit for more details

Harewood Winter opening 7 Jan – 30 March (Below Stairs open half term only, limited menu in cafĂ© weekdays – some parts of the garden may be closed over the Winter Season – please check website) 10am – 4pm
Open daily for half term week 11 to 19 February 10am - 4pm
Members Exhibition Preview Day 30 March
Daily opening 31 March – 4 November 10am – 6pm
(House 31 March - 30 September, & 27 October – 4 November 12 – 3pm)
Royal Harewood: State Floor, 31 March to 17 June

Entry is £5 throughout the winter November – February, general admission prices apply from 11 February onwards.
Special event prices apply on certain event days, please see website for details.

To be a member at Harewood and enjoy exclusive benefits, visit – membership also makes a great gift.

Recently awarded Gold in the Large Visitor Attraction category of the Enjoy England Awards, Harewood is an independent charitable educational trust set up to maintain and develop Harewood, its collections and grounds, for public benefit. Registered Charity No: 517753.  Harewood is the family seat of the Earl and Countess of Harewood and provides a great day out for all the family.  The House, with its outstanding art collections, splendid State Rooms and fascinating ‘Below Stairs’ exhibition, is set in spectacular landscaped grounds, which include formal gardens and gentle woodland walks, renowned Bird Garden, children’s Adventure Playground, a Bhutanese Stupa, waterfall and Himalayan Garden. 

Harewood House Trust, Harewood House, Harewood, Leeds LS17 9LG    0113 218 1010

For more information on the Treasure Houses of England please visit

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Gold medals and movie magic . . . a royal Olympic year for Burghley House

England’s greatest Elizabethan house will be offering visitors a unique take on Britain’s Olympic year including perhaps the most scenic place to watch the London 2012 Games – and the picturesque venue for a blockbuster summer feast of movie outdoor screenings.
Throw in fun family events, free-to-enter Fine Food Markets, summer picnics plus Diamond Jubilee celebrations and Lincolnshire’s Burghley House is setting its sights on a bumper 2012.

As Britain prepares for Olympic glory and Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, one of the country’s most inspirational past Olympic champions is being celebrated at the ancestral home of Queen Elizabeth I’s most trusted adviser.

Since being built 400 years ago by William Cecil, Lord Burghley - Elizabeth I’s chief minister - Burghley House has dominated the sweeping approach to the Georgian stone town of Stamford. Today, it still packs that ‘wow’ factor – offering a packed family day out with a combined ticket giving access to the House plus two gardens, including the Tudor-inspired Gardens of Surprise.

Regarded by many as England’s greatest Elizabethan house, Burghley has a unique claim to fame for its 2012 season - as home to an Olympic Gold Medal Winner and one of the key organisers behind the last Olympic Games to be staged in London. 

David Cecil, Lord Burghley (1905-1981), who inherited the title of Marquess of Exeter from his father in 1956, was one of the golden athletes of his generation. During a sporting career spanning more than a decade he won every available honour in his chosen discipline culminating in achieving gold for the 400 metres hurdles at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics and silver in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics 4x400 metre relay.

Lord Burghley’s great talent as a hurdler and his life at Cambridge was the inspiration behind Lord Lindsay, one of the key characters in the film Chariots of Fire, played by Nigel Havers – a movie which features in Burghley’s summer night film outdoor screenings.

Burghley House will be dedicating its annual Treasury Exhibition to the Olympic connections and sporting achievements of the Gold medal winning Olympian. ‘An Olympian at Burghley’ will show memorabilia including his running outfit, medals and information about his sporting career.

And for those who want to watch the Olympics in a spectacular setting, Burghley will be throwing The Great Olympic Garden Party every day during the London Games. With the Elizabethan house as the backdrop, Burghley’s normally closed private South Gardens will host a Big Screen, showing TV coverage from Saturday 28th July to Saturday 11th August – and included for free with a normal house and gardens ticket.

Access to the screen will be available 10am to 10pm, last admission 6pm, with special late night tickets after 6pm at a reduced rate. A special Olympic Pass will also be available covering the whole period, while day tickets will be given as wristbands in the colours of the Olympic Rings. Visitors who collect all five will get free admission for the rest of the period.

A summer evening festival of outdoor screenings will feature four special film nights, launching on Saturday 28th July with iconic sports movie Chariots of Fire, followed by three other movie screenings on Wednesday 1st August, Thursday 2nd August and Friday 3rd August.

Fittingly for a house so closely linked to the first Elizabethan period, Burghley will also be joining in celebrations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in June, while there will once again be children’s events in summer and autumn as well as the annual free-to-enter Burghley Fine Food Markets at Easter, summer and Christmas.

For full details visit or telephone 01780 752451.

Burghley, near Stamford in Lincolnshire, has been the home of the Cecil Family for over 400 years and is England’s greatest Elizabethan House. Burghley is owned and maintained by Burghley House Preservation Trust, which looks after a huge collection of great works of art, including one of the most important private collections of 17th century Italian paintings, the earliest inventoried collection of Japanese ceramics in the West, exceptional 18th century furniture and wood carvings by Grinling Gibbons and his followers. The Trust also maintains a 13,000-acre estate including residential, commercial and agricultural lettings, woodland and Burghley Park, which is open daily at no charge.

The House is open from Saturday 17th March to Sunday 28th October 2012 daily (except Fridays) from 11am to 4.30pm (Saturday 28th July to Saturday 11th August, open every day including Fridays, with Big Screen access 10am to 10pm, last admission 6pm). Admission: House and The Gardens of Surprise - adults £12.50; children (3–15 years) £6.30; seniors/students £11.20; family (2 adults & 2 children) £33.