Friday, 25 May 2012

Jaw-dropping free running show set to bring high-octane exhilaration for the whole family to the UK in summer 2012

This summer some of Britain’s best loved Stately Homes, parks and leisure centres will provide the back-drop to Freerunning@, a spectacular open-air street dance production. The show brings together some of the world’s best free runners, martial artists and multiple world record holders in an awe-inspiring display of extreme sports athleticism, agility and acrobatics. Venues include Holkham Hall and Harewood House..

Showcasing the kind of thrilling action made famous by street dance troupes like ‘Diversity’, film scenes such as the opening of ‘Casino Royale’, genre defining programmes like ‘Jump London’ ( and the BBC’s remarkable ‘Rush Hour’ sequence ( , the show uses exhilarating music, eye-popping staging and stunning choreography to create a spectacle for all the family.

Featuring Creative Director and triple Guinness World Record holder Sam Parham (Pirates of the Caribbean 4, Harry Potter, Woman In Black), the show tells the story of Jake, a homeless teenager who teaches himself Free Running. A successful open audition as a film stunt extra gives Jake his big break, but as punishing schedule filming action scenes get underway he realises how much he still has to learn from the likes of stunt coordinator and martial arts expert Scarlett - played jointly by Guinness world record holder Chloe Bruce (Harry Potter, Clash of the Titans 2) and sister Grace Bruce (Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows). When filming is thrown into crisis, Jake is faced with the biggest challenge of his life, both personally and professionally.

This is the first Free Running theatrical tour to be staged in the UK, which will bring together some of the leading performers in the art. Free Running or Parkour has exploded in popularity over the past few years, with more than 500,000 videos currently on YouTube. It is also set to feature in the 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony. Representing great value for money, audiences at the shows will be able to take in the fantastic surroundings, visit the homes and grounds and enjoy a picnic before the show. There will also be workshops at selected venues, where adults and children have a once in a lifetime opportunity to try out some moves for themselves under the expert guidance of the world-renowned cast!

The show is fully interactive, with audience members becoming part of the production as ‘extras’ in the filming scenes and at other times able to get close up to the action and see the incredible moves first-hand. It is the first production of its kind, combining classical music with contemporary beats to reflect the changing scenes, fusing street-dance with Free Running, choreography with improvisation and the heritage backdrops of the houses with the most exciting street-style action. (see a preview video here:

Speaking about the tour, producer Susannah Daley said: “Free Running is one of the most exciting extreme sports around at the moment. It will feature in the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony and is being promoted as an official sport by the Mayor of London. These athletes are remarkable and audiences of all ages will be able to enjoy their agility, strength and athleticism in an exhilarating show in fantastic settings. Whether you’re young or old, this show has something for everyone and is a great way to entertain the kids during the summer holidays.”


24th Holkham Hall, Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk
25th Holkham Hall, Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk
11th Harewood, Leeds, North Yorkshire
12th Harewood, Leeds, North Yorkshire

For ticket prices please contact:

Harewood Tel: 0113 218 1000
Holkham Hall Tel: 01328 7131111

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Blenheim Palace celebrating the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad

Hundreds of Ceramic Delphiniums on display at Blenheim Palace celebrating the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad

Scores of ceramic flowers are set to bloom at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire to celebrate the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad this summer. Around 200 ceramic delphiniums are set to go on display at the entrance to the Formal Gardens as part of a national installation named ‘The English Flower Garden’.
Ceramic Flowers at Blenheim Palace

During 2012, fine ceramic artist Paul Cummins is holding a series of exhibitions at specially selected venues across the UK chosen for their historical and social significance. Cummins has been commissioned to create 12,000 ceramic flowers for display around the country.
Cummins makes each delicate flower by hand with some standing up to six feet tall, taking years to complete. Delphiniums were chosen to feature at Blenheim Palace because they are a favourite of The11th Duke of Marlborough.

In addition to Blenheim Palace, there are five other prestigious locations in England between May and September, including 1,000 roses and 500 tulips that will go on show at The Houses of Parliament. Each bloom will be unique but will form part of the larger flower installation. The flowers are hand-thrown on a potter’s wheel featuring a Majolica glaze and attached to galvanised steel rods, ranging from 50 - 70cm in height, allowing the flowers to move in the breeze.
The work was commissioned as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, which aims to celebrate the arts in conjunction with the main sporting events at the London Olympics. None of the flowers are native to the UK, but aim to represent bringing together people from all over the world.

Ruth Mackenzie, Cultural Olympiad, Director, said: ‘This commission is about world-class artists creating brilliant work which will change perceptions of the work of disabled and deaf artists. Congratulations to the commissioned artists and we look forward to seeing how their work develops.’

The English Flower Garden has been commissioned by the Unlimited programme, part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

Unlimited encourages collaborations and partnerships between disability arts organisations, disabled and deaf artists, producers and mainstream organisations to celebrate the inspiration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and to create original and exciting works. Twenty-nine Unlimited Commissions have been awarded.

The Blenheim Palace flowers will be on show from 1st June to 17th September.

Academy Award Winning Director Martin Scorsese To Produce Feature Length Drama Silver Ghost

Academy Award winning director Martin Scorsese is joining Lord Attenborough and Anthony Haas to produce the feature film drama SILVER GHOST. The project will be a co-production between Scorsese’s Sikelia Productions and Zuma Productions.

SILVER GHOST will tell the story of motoring pioneer Lord John Douglas-Scott Montagu of Beaulieu, his wife Cis and his secret love affair with his secretary and mistress, Eleanor Velasco Thornton.  It also tells of John’s connection and friendships with Rolls-Royce founders Charles Rolls and Henry Royce and British artist and sculptor Charles Sykes. Eleanor was the inspiration for the iconic Spirit of Ecstasy mascot, designed by Sykes, that to this day adorns all Rolls-Royce cars.

Martin Scorsese remarks, "When I read the story of SILVER GHOST, I was mesmerised. I immediately thought: this is a picture that has to be made. And when I was asked to come aboard as a Producer alongside Richard Attenborough and Anthony Haas, I didn't hesitate for a moment."

"Martin Scorsese is a giant of the cinema and I am thrilled to be collaborating with Marty and Anthony,” said Lord Attenborough. “What a team to bring this extraordinary story to life."

“SILVER GHOST is a most complex love story, not only between men and women, but men and machines. Set at the turn of the last century, it delineates the fascinating story of Charles Rolls and Henry Royce and the highly charged love affairs within the Montagu family.”

John Montagu’s son, Edward, founder of the National Motor Museum, notes, “It is a remarkable story which has long been a family secret.  I am delighted that Martin Scorsese has joined Richard Attenborough and Anthony Haas in bringing it to the screen.”

Anthony Haas adds, "SILVER GHOST is one of the great untold stories of the last century which Richard Attenborough and I have developed.  It is a wonderful endorsement to have Martin Scorsese wanting to make this film with us and we are very much looking forward to working together."

“SILVER GHOST covers the thrilling and tragic events during which one of the greatest engineering names in the world was created,” said Sir Ralph Robins, past Chairman, Rolls-Royce plc.

Zuma Productions Ltd was established to produce SILVER GHOST and is headed by producer and creator of BAFTA nominated projects, Anthony Haas, together with his producing partner Richard Attenborough.

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 BOND IN MOTION and World of Top Gear. Open every day, except Christmas Day, from 10am. 

For more information Tel: 01590 612345 or visit

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Jubilee gun salute, regal music and an alternative ‘Queen’… a Royal tribute year for Burghley House

England’s greatest Elizabethan house will be marking Diamond Jubilee year with a summer of celebrations, including a regally themed Battle Proms music spectacular – and a tribute to Britain’s own musical monarch!

As the country gears up for Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, the ancestral home of Queen Elizabeth I’s most trusted adviser - William Cecil, Lord Burghley - is hosting its own patriotic celebrations.

Since being built 400 years ago by William Cecil, 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 will host Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh in June as part of their UK tour when up to 10,000 guests are expected to have a picnic with The Queen at an invitation-only summer picnic.
But there will be plenty more going on during the summer, both in the house and in the sweeping grounds, for visitors who want to join in national celebrations.

A Jubilee Jamboree (2nd – 10th June) will offer summer activities for youngsters at an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ themed festival, boasting tea parties, sporting events and have-a-go fun, including painting your own teacups!

For a spectacular afternoon and evening of summer entertainment, the annual Battle Proms at Burghley (7 July 2012) will this year have a Royal theme too – along with its usual mix of mounted cavalry, Spitfire aerial display and soul-stirring orchestral music.

For 2012 a special Diamond Jubilee Gun Salute will be provided by the gunners of the English Field Artillery Company who will fire a volley of shots from an authentic vintage field gun.
With the magnificent Burghley House as the backdrop, the event closes with the traditional sing-along, flag-waving proms finale, including favourites Rule Britannia, God Save the Queen and Land of Hope and Glory, culminating in a dazzling firework spectacular.

Jubilee celebrations will continue in to autumn at Burghley thanks to its annual Flower Festival (6th-14th October) - when the State Rooms are transformed with floral displays created by local flower societies – which this year will also have a Jubilee theme.
And the alternative Queen?

How about an open air concert in front of the Elizabethan house by Mercury - one of the world’s most authentic tributes to rock’s most flamboyant front man Freddie Mercury and Queen.
Mercury faithfully and accurately recreate the distinctive Queen experience
 and will be playing Burghley on Saturday
 9th June 2012.

For full details visit or telephone 01780 752451.

Chatsworth Throws a Giant Street Party To Celebrate the Diamond Jubilee

Chatsworth will be hosting a 1950s style giant street party in the garden to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee weekend (2-5 June).  Visitors will be encouraged to come along in vintage dress and take part in celebrations that echo those that would have taken place for the Queen’s Coronation 60 years ago.

Visitors can get into the swing and enjoy their picnic at the 100m table in the garden dressed with union jacks, bunting, flags and balloons and take part in traditional village fete games.

A large screen on Salisbury Lawn will show the Jubilee procession on June 5 and special walking tours of the garden will highlight the royal links with Chatsworth, including the visit of 13-year-old Princess Victoria in 1832, the only other Monarch in British history to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee.

In the house, the robes worn by four generations of the Cavendish family at the Queen’s Coronation and the Devonshire state chariot used by the 11th Duke of Devonshire and the Dowager Duchess to attend the Coronation will be on show. The celebrations continue in the Farmyard, decked out in bunting and flags, with jubilee themed crafts and fancy dress.

Rolls Royce will be displaying a vehicle on Lodge Hill from every year of the Queen’s 60-year reign on Sunday June 3. On the approach to the house, visitors will also see three giant crocheted lions created by artist Shauna Richardson for the Arts Council’s Lionheart project embarking on a tour before arriving in London in time for the Olympic Games.

House, garden, farmyard and adventure playground open on March 11 2012. For more information and ticketing options including a 10 percent discount for online booking, visit

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Norfolk Estate’s Jubilee Celebrations to Launch with Charity Concert in aid of Local Hospital

 A Norfolk country estate will be launching its Jubilee celebrations with music from the reigns of Queen Elizabeth I and our present Queen in a charity concert in aid of King's Lynn Hospital League of Friends.

On Friday June 1 at 7pm Holkham Hall will be hosting the concert ‘Long May She Reign’, marking the start of its Diamond Jubilee celebrations with music performed by an impressive line-up of talented musicians.

Funds from the concert will go towards King's Lynn Hospital League of Friends, whose main objective is to raise money for the purchase of equipment and amenities in local hospitals.

Performers include the tenor Stephen Miles, pianist Gill Smith, lutenist Peter Trent, the Wensum Chorale and Holborne Recorder Consort, who will make a fitting musical launch to three days of Jubilee celebrations at the hall. Music will include Britten folk songs, lute solos and madrigals from the reign of Elizabeth I and music from the 1950s onwards in a celebration of Queen Elizabeth II.   

Festivities will continue throughout the weekend with a 1950s inspired fun, fashion and food event. On Sunday 3, Monday 4 and Tuesday 5 the Hall, Bygones Museum and courtyard will be alive with activities and events including period cooking demonstrations, a fashion show and rock and roll music – promising to create a lively party atmosphere.

Inspired by the Queen’s 1,000 boat flotilla on the Thames, younger visitors will have the chance to help build Holkham’s own royal flotilla, which will be floated on the lake on Tuesday June 5.

Concert tickets cost £20 and include a glass of wine in The Saloon during the interval. Tickets for the flotilla workshop cost £15 per child.  Normal admission prices apply for the 1950s inspired celebrations. For more information visit or call 01328 713111.

Music, fashion and food from the 1950s inspire country estate’s diamond jubilee celebrations Holkham Hall

A Norfolk country estate has announced plans to celebrate The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with music, fashion and food inspired by the 1950s.  

There will be a musical start to the celebrations on Friday June 1 at 7pm, with a charity concert featuring music from the reigns of Elizabeth I and Elizabeth II, with funds from the evening going to the King’s Lynn Hospital League of Friends.

On Sunday 3, Monday 4 and Tuesday 5, 10am to 5pm, Holkham will be celebrating The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with activities, food and entertainment from the decade The Queen came to throne.

Visitors to the hall between 12pm and 4pm can see a fifties fashion show, with guest appearances from Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe and James Dean. The hall will be dressed for the occasion, with the dining room laid for a special Jubilee dinner and demonstrations of 1950s cooking taking place in the Old Kitchen.  Adding to the party atmosphere in the courtyard and Bygones Museum, rock and roll music will be performed along with Max Miller-style comedy, 1950s inspired refreshments and family games, activities and crafts.

In recognition of The Queen’s 1,000 boat flotilla on the Thames, younger visitors can help Holkham build their own flotilla in the ‘Holkham Ahoy’ children’s workshops from 10am to 12 noon and 2pm to 4pm on all three days. They can watch their creations floated on the lake on the last day of the Jubilee celebrations.

For further information and individual admission prices contact 01328 713111 or visit

Monday, 21 May 2012

Rule Britannia! Royal Celebrations at Kent’s Royal Palace 2nd & 3rd June

Use your Key to the Castle ticket to join a great British street-party atmosphere and celebrate the Diamond Jubilee 1950s Weekend at Leeds Castle, “the loveliest castle in the world”.  2 & 3 June

Celebrate all things British from the coronation year in 1953, at a former Royal palace. Leeds Castle has been home to six Medieval Queens during its 900 year history and a preferred residence of Henry VIII.

Enjoy the patriotic atmosphere all weekend with cream teas, iconic 1950s cars, steam engine rides and our Great Water flotilla. Bring a picnic and watch the Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant and flotilla, broadcast from London on a big screen. 

A craft marquee will be available for children to make crowns, rosettes and other patriotic items. There will be musical entertainment, kite flying and face painting. Small additional charges apply.

Visit the Leeds Castle shops for an exciting new range of Diamond Jubilee gifts including mugs and teddy bears. Prices start from £2. All items feature the official emblem for the Queen’s Jubilee, as created by 10 year old Katherine Dewar from Chester. Katherine won the national competition for children aged between 6 and 14, run by the BBC television programme Blue Peter.

After the excitement of the weekend, Leeds Castle will carry on the daytime celebrations into the Sunday evening with live music, vintage newsreel of the Coronation an open air film screening of the musical “Grease”! Following the film will be a magnificent 15 minute fireworks display to music to conclude this memorable day.

The film is rated PG. Gates open at 6pm for the evening event. Tickets are available from 2 April and must be pre-booked. They cost £20 for adults and £15 for children (under 16 years). Please call the Leeds Castle box office on 01622 880008 or book online at

Your Key to the Castle ticket is valid for the daytime weekend event. Tickets cost £19.75 for adults; £17.50 for seniors and visitors with disabilities (carer goes free); £12.50 for children (under 4’s 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 4.30pm and gates close at 6pm (April to September).

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Back to the 1930s at Leeds Castle

A new exhibition inspired by Downton Abbey and Upstairs Downstairs opens at Leeds Castle this week, tracking the real stories of the people who lived and worked above and below stairs at Leeds Castle during the 1930s.

“What the Butler Saw” uses archive materials, photographs and costumes to recall the glorious weekend house parties held between the wars by the castle’s last private owner, Anglo–American heiress, Lady Baillie.

Well known as a former Royal Palace which has been used by Henry VIII and the medieval Queens of England to hold court over 9 centuries, Leeds was a private house and weekend home to Lady Baillie for nearly 50 years after she bought and substantially refurbished it in the mid-1920s.

The interiors were designed by top French architects and furnished with a collection of the finest arts and antiques, offering a wonderful place for entertaining.  The exhibition draws on the published memoirs and diaries of many of her society guests from the world of politics; the aristocracy, including members of the Royal family; and from Hollywood.

It offers an insight into the privileged world of the upper classes and how they relaxed, listening to fellow houseguests like Noel Coward play on the Steinway grand piano, or laughing with David Niven and Errol Flynn as they played tennis and swam.

And it tells the “below stairs” stories, of more than 30 members of the castle’s staff, with excerpts from menus, account books, wage slips and laundry lists showing how they kept the place running. The exhibition is staged throughout the castle, in the very rooms many of the weekend parties took place.

Castle Chief Executive Victoria Wallace said:

“As we watched the fictional stories of Downton and of Upstairs Downstairs unfold on television, we realised that they mirrored the true story of how people at the castle lived through the 1920s and 30s. We wanted to try and show how great houses like this really worked, and offer a real glimpse of a more modern history, set within the castle itself.

It was strange at first, as we had a much better understanding of who the occasional guests were, and how they looked, than of the rather anonymous servants, of whom very few photographs exist. 

But research by our heritage manager, Nic Fulcher,  accessing the 1937 electoral roll, gave us names of everyone on the estate, and their home addresses; suddenly, the maids living in the castle, and the menservants in the Bothy, had names, and families. Many have family still working at the castle.”

But despite the exhibition’s title, don’t look for scandal or intrigue.

“Lady Baillie was notoriously private, and her staff learned to be discreet. Some of the later memoirs and diaries of her guests might hint at activities which might have been considered rather “fast”, but we leave that to visitors to imagine. Whatever the butler saw, he wasn’t actually telling.”

The exhibition runs from 1 May to 21 October. Entrance is included in the price of admission. Tours of the servants’ quarters will also be available for pre-booking via the website,

Your Key to the Castle ticket is valid for this exhibition. Tickets cost £19.75 for adults; £17.50 for seniors and visitors with disabilities (carer goes free); £12.50 for children (under 4’s 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 4.30pm and gates close at 6pm (April to September). 

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Diamond Jubilee Celebrations at the Treasure Houses of England

Celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in classic Royal style at the magnificent Treasure Houses of England. Hosting an array of eclectic events – and with intrinsic links to the monarchy - the historic houses make the perfect venues to mark this momentous occasion. 
Beaulieu’s fabulous 50’s themed event features a range of entertainment for all the family (2nd-5th June), including a drive-in of 50’s vehicles, live jazz from Riverboat Days and old style fun fair rides and stalls. 

A Jubilee Bank Holiday Celebration Weekend will amaze all visitors to Blenheim Palace (2nd-5th June). With children’s characters Rupert the Bear and Noddy & Big Ears delighting the crowds on 3rd, Bunbury’s Celebrity Cricket Match and afternoon tea on 4th and Massed Brass Bands on 5th – it look set be to a wondrous weekend out.

Follow in the footsteps of the Queen herself who is scheduled to visit Burghley House as a part of her Jubilee Tour. Admire its gorgeous Elizabethan architecture, ‘Capability Brown’ landscaped parklands and internationally revered collections.  A Jubilee Jamboree (2nd – 10th June) will offer summer activities for youngsters at an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ themed festival, boasting tea parties, sporting events and have-a-go fun, including painting your own teacups!

Commemorate Half Term at Chatsworth (2nd - 10th June) with a 1950s extravaganza of events and activities to amuse and enthral the family in true celebratory style. Their four day British summer fete and street party (2nd –5th June) will recreate the original Coronation via a giant street party in the garden complete with fancy dress, bunting and flag decorations, and village fete.   Also hosting Royal walking tours, wool spinning crafts and giant TV screen to transmit the live action and procession as it happens; Chatsworth will deliver an inspired and memorable event for all.

Don’t miss Harewood House’s spectacular street party (2nd 5th June, 10am-4pm). Displaying exciting TV coverage on screens placed throughout the venue, enjoy quintessentially English food, craft activities and several special exhibitions (31st March – 17th June). ‘Royal Harewood: Celebrating the Life of The Yorkshire Princess’, and ‘Marcus Adams: Royal Photographer, photographs from the Royal Collection’ offers 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.

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.  In addition, Holkham and Black Knight Historical celebrate the Jubilee (3rd - 5th June) with a true party atmosphere as the Hall, Bygones Museum and Courtyard become alive teeming with activities and events inspired by the 1950s such as a flotilla workshop and 1950s cafĂ© menu.
For a distinctly British party, head to Leeds Castle for their Diamond Jubilee 1950s Weekend (2nd & 3rd June). Relish cream teas, 1950s cars and engines and picnic in style as the Thames Pageant is broadcast on a big screen.
In the evening, enjoy a vintage newsreel of the Coronation, highlights of the day’s events and 1950s blockbuster Grease ahead of fantastic fireworks accompanied by music.  Leeds Castle will also be staging a Jousting Tournament (5th - 10th June) where Medieval activities – including a craft marquee for children - and various entertainment will wow the masses as they are treated to twice-daily jousting tournaments from knights on horseback in the grounds of the incredible 900-year old castle.

Head to Hatfield House on Monday 4th June as they light a jubilee beacon as part of the celebrations.

Woburn Abbey will have a special trail around the house allowing children to investigate the many links between Woburn, the Dukes of Bedford and the Royal Family.  There will be lots to please all the family, from lawn games to a special Jubilee Afternoon Tea and the opportunity to find yourself in our 19th century Hornbeam Maze (not normally open to the public).

For more information on other events visit

Leeds Castle’s Popular Spring Lifestyle Fair Returns - 19 & 20 May

Use your Key to the Castle ticket this spring to visit the fashionable Home and Garden Weekend at Leeds Castle.

This popular annual event will be held on the 19 and 20 May and is the ideal opportunity to see the castle gardens in bloom and get inspiration for your home and garden from a wide range of exhibitors.

Whether you are looking to add colour to your garden or update your spring wardrobe, you will find something for everyone at our Home and Garden Weekend. 

The Leeds Castle and Hollingbourne Garden Society will be exhibiting their gold winning display, from the Hampton Court Flower Show.

The popular Daily Mail Gardening Question Time Roadshow is returning this year and will feature regular daily shows, question and answer sessions with gardening experts and fantastic prizes will be available.

Meet the presenters, enjoy live entertainment and sample the catering on offer throughout the weekend. With plenty of food stalls and entertainment throughout the day you’ll be spoilt for choice.

There will be garden centres displaying water features and equipment for sale plus a nursery where you can purchase plants to brighten up your window boxes, balcony or garden this spring. 

Visit the Leeds Castle shops for gardening accessories from the new ‘Regal Garden’ range including bird seed cupcakes plus beautiful items for your home. Prices start from £4.

New for 2012 - Electric boat rides will be available for younger visitors at a small additional charge.

Whilst at the castle, make the most of your day by visiting the castle gardens. See a mass of spring bulbs and wild flowers in the Wood Garden, fragrant herbs and roses in the quintessentially English Culpeper Garden and late flowering borders in the Mediterranean-style Lady Baillie Garden.

Your Key to the Castle ticket is valid for this weekend event. Tickets cost £19.75 for adults; £17.50 for seniors and visitors with disabilities (carer goes free); £12.50 for children (under 4’s 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 4.30pm and gates close at 6pm (April to September).

For further information, visit the website: or call 01622 765400.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Holkhams Estate's Exclusive Tweed Is Launched As A New Product Range

A tweed which has been the exclusive preserve of the Holkham Estate gamekeepers for almost ten years is now being made available to the public.

The Holkham Estate has launched a selection of tweed products which features waistcoats, flat caps, dog beds and doorstops. The clothing is being made by local gentlemen's tailors, Goddard & Son, who also make the tweed suits worn by the estate's gamekeepers on shoot days.

The shop was redesigned in 2010 and has a policy of supporting local artists, producers and suppliers and is an Associate Member of the Produced in Norfolk network.

Using the resources of the estate, for 2012 the shop has also introduced a range of corkscrews, bottle openers, butter knives and cufflinks which are made from the antlers of the Holkham deer herd. These unusual items sit alongside works of local art, interesting hats, bags and jewellery, as well as a range of delicious foods and other gifts.

Johanna Tennant, retail and projects manager at Holkham, said: "The shop provides a perfect showcase for local suppliers demonstrating the high quality of workmanship and product development which is happening across Norfolk. Our first stop when sourcing goods for the shop is the local, small supplier. If we are looking for additional items, we search within the region or elsewhere in the UK. The Holkham tweed items are a subtle blend of warm, earthy colours and are already proving popular with our visitors."

Visit for more information and for details of demonstration days in the gift shop which include food tastings, book signings and visits by local artists.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

BBC Goes Behind-The-Scenes With Chatsworth TV Series

In 2011, for the first time ever, the 12th Duke of Devonshire agreed to let in the cameras to film behind-the-scenes at Chatsworth, Britain’s greatest country estate, for a new prime-time TV series on BBC1 beginning at 9pm on Monday, 14 May 2012. 

‘Chatsworth’ is a three-part series of one-hour documentaries with voiceover commentary by Max Beesley, which will be shown on successive Monday evenings (14, 21, 28 May). The film crew was granted unprecedented access to the 30,000 acre Peak District estate, the people who live and work there, the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, the Dowager Duchess (last of the famous Mitford sisters) and key characters among their 700 staff. Filmed over the entire 2011 ‘season’, the series gives an insight into the people who live and work in a world visited by many but known to only a few.

A character-led series, ‘Chatsworth’ explores the relationships, dynamics and tensions of modern life in a stately home and across the wider estate with its gardens, farmyard, shops, holiday accommodation, pubs, restaurants and much more. 

At its heart for more than four centuries sits the Cavendish family with the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, Peregrine ‘Stoker’ Cavendish and Amanda Cavendish, at its head. ‘Chatsworth’ shows the Duke and Duchess’s involvement in everything that happens at Chatsworth from tiny details up to large-scale projects such as the recently completed £14m Masterplan restoration. 

The series looks at their relationships with the estate’s hard-working and dedicated staff. Amongst a colourful cast of characters, viewers will meet:

  • Chatsworth’s first ever female Head Guide Heather Redmond getting to grips with her new role
  • Matthew Hirst as he catalogues, organises and displays Chatsworth’s world-class Art collection as well as major, visiting exhibitions
  • Andre Birkett, who came to Chatsworth as a teenager and now manages Britain’s best farm-shop
  • Jonathan Moseley, organiser of the Florabundance show, as he deals with more than 10,000 tulips coming out too early and has to reorder for displays in the house
  • Head Farmer Ian Turner at the height of the lambing season and also the man to beat in the local Horticultural Society competition
  • Trainee Supervisor Lewis Leybourne as he learns the ropes and is unexpectedly called upon to model for Chatsworth’s new wedding brochure.
As one of Britain’s favourite attractions Chatsworth draws more than one million visitors each year and ‘Chatsworth’ includes stories from the people who live in the local community, those who work and look after the estate, the businesses that are run on the land and the important role the family and the house play in the area.

From Chatsworth’s 16th century origins with Bess of Hardwick, through the infamous Duchess Georgiana, the great Victorian innovations of the 6th Duke, the series reflects on Chatsworth’s history and compares it with the reality of the present day, demonstrating that both continuity and change have been keys to its survival and prosperity.

Summer 2012 Guide to England's Best Outdoor Theatre

Expect an imaginative feast of outdoor events and top theatrical performances at TheTreasure Houses of England this summer. Immerse yourself in spectacular surrounds at the country’s grandest palaces, houses and estates for a series of show-stopping events for all ages.

The calendar features everything from children’s classics and pre-school favourites to Shakespeare and Jousting and Prom Spectaculars, all set against the backdrop of some of England’s finest castles, palaces and historic houses.

The Castle Theatre Company brings open-air theatrics to Beaulieu Abbey with aplomb, delivering the magnificent A Midsummer Night’s dream to celebrate its 34th Summer Shakespeare Tour (4-5 July).

Mark May Bank Holiday (5-7 May) with Blenheim Palace’s exhilarating Jousting Tournament featuring ‘The Knights of Royal England.’ From jousting on the South Lawn to hand-to-hand combat off the horses, it looks set to excite and enthrall the entire family.  The Oxford Drama School presents Summer Shakespeare at Blenheim Palace (13-23 June) with a difference. Delivering stand-up comedy, music, sword fighting and plate spinning, bring a picnic and admire the side-splitting spectacle.

The Lord Chamberlain's Men, a traditional men-only touring troupe, return to Leeds Castle this summer to perform Shakespeare’s dark tragedy “Macbeth” 28-30 June.  Bring a picnic and enjoy this classic evening production in the grounds of the 900 year castle.

Chatsworth presents their ever-popular Concerts in the Garden (3-4 August) for an evening of live music on the lawn; and there’s magical theatre for all the family set in the Chatsworth garden, with Sleeping Beauty (20 July) and The Sword in the Stone (18 August). Children and adults alike will fall in love with these magical adaptations of classic stories.

On Saturday 30 June – Sunday 1 July, the Medieval Faire at Harewood brings together all the colour, excitement and history from this extraordinary period: jousting and archery, armoury displays, Norman skirmish and encampments; historical traders, crafts, cooking, clothing, puppet shows, medieval music, games, falconry and storytelling.  There’s outdoor theatre for children, with Roald Dahl at his very best with ‘The Twits’ on Thursday 9th August when ‘Come-uppance’ takes on a whole new meaning.  On the 26th August, there follows a spectacular production of Black Beauty which will take your breath away – it’s outdoor theatre in the 21st century style set within the heritage of Harewood.

HatfieldHouse is delivering Shakespeare in the Park with Macbeth (12 August) and enjoy some of folk's finest acts  gathered in beautiful leafy parkland for one uplifting summer day of music on the 22 July with Folk by the Oak!  The 12th annual Hatfield House Battle Proms Concert will take place on Saturday 21 July 2012. As well as the usual highlights such as the Napoleonic cavalry, 200 live cannons, Spitfire display, breathtaking fireworks and a sing along proms finale, the 2012 Battle Proms will include a Diamond Jubilee Gun Salute from a vintage QF Field Gun fired manually by a team of gunners.

HolkhamHall is hosting a range of August events with a bevy of performances that are ideal for all the family. The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark (1 August) fuses live music, puppetry and storytelling for a captivating take on the classic character. Grimms’ Fairy Tales (7 August) shares the best-loved stories that will thrill adults and children with its inventive magic, while a 1940s adaptation of Sleeping Beauty (14 August) will spark fairytale fantasies in both young and old.

Holkham also presents King Arthur and the Sword in the Stone (22 August) with its tales of mystery and adventure and finally The Tales of Beatrix Potter starring Peter Rabbit and his friend Benjamin Bunny (29 August) - two spellbinding productions that guarantee a magical evening’s entertainment.

Burghley’s Battle Proms Concert (7 July) sees ground-shaking, breathtaking pyrotechnics and displays alongside a superb array of classical music guaranteed to make you wave your flags, sing out loud and even waltz under the stars!

Enjoy a summer’s evening at Castle Howard with Peel Heritage’s brand new version of the classic story of Black Beauty. The story has been reinvented for a modern audience and is guaranteed to delight all ages. (26th & 27th July) and don’t miss one of the most popular outdoor classical events in the UK with The Proms Spectacular on the 18th August at Castle Howard – a stunning location, brilliant music and spectacular fireworks all combine to create an unrivalled evening of magical entertainment.

Experience open-air theatre in the most dramatic setting of Woburn Abbey.  Showcasing its fifth year of popular and successful summer outdoor plays, the stunning location of the gardens promises a Shakespearian favourite, a Jane Austen romance, an Oscar Wilde comedy and three fun family favourites - ensuring something for all the family to enjoy.   Black Beauty (7th and 8th July), an adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma (4th August), The Tales of Beatrix Potter (5th August), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (11th August), The Importance of Being Earnest (18th August) and King Arthur and The Sword in the Stone (26th August).

Bring family and friends along with your blankets, low-back chairs, scrummy picnics and something chilled to drink and escape into enchanting worlds of romance, mystery, comedy and fairytales on a fine summer evening.

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.

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