Wednesday, 31 October 2012

The Duke Of Kent Visits The National Motor Museum

On Monday, 29th October, 2012, HRH The Duke of Kent paid an official visit to the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu, exactly forty years after his original visit. He was welcomed by two of Lord Montagu’s children, the Hon Ralph Montagu and the Hon Mrs Mary Montagu Scot.

On the 4th July, 1972, The Duke of Kent opened the new National Motor Museum building, which is this year celebrating its 40th anniversary.  On that occasion, he was presented with a miniature car for his children.  Based on a 1924 Sunbeam Cub, which is a permanent exhibit in the museum, the miniature version is equipped with a small petrol engine and is operated by two pedals, an accelerator and brake – but no reverse.

Used by his three children it has, since they have grown up, spent most of its time in a garage at Kensington Palace.  Earlier this year the Duke asked Beaulieu’s workshop team if they could restore it so that he could pass it on to his grandchildren. The team was on hand to re-present it to him during his visit - in perfect working order again.

A framed photograph taken at the official opening in 1972 was presented to The Duke and he was introduced to Mr Ken Robinson, Beaulieu’s former Managing Director and Mr Michael Ware, former Curator and Director of the National Motor Museum, both of whom were at the original opening in 1972.
The Duke was taken on a short tour of the museum, including its latest exhibition, BOND IN MOTION, which has drawn a whole new sector of visitors to the museum since its opening in January, giving them an opportunity that they might not otherwise have taken, to be introduced to and take an interest in historic vehicles.

The Duke was also given a tour ‘behind the scenes’ in the Collections’ Centre to view the work of the staff and volunteers of the National Motor Museum Trust in preserving its extensive motoring archives.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Twilight Tales: Story Walks by the Light of Your Own Lantern at Harewood

With brand new stories for 2012...

Join in with Trio Literati as we parade around the Grounds with Harewood’s Storyteller. You'll get to make your own lantern and take it home with you as a memory of your day too!

Trio Literati will bring stories to life as you follow them around the Grounds at Harewood. Trio Literati tell stories – but not just any stories. Enchanting tales with energy wit and fun, hats, sound effects and more! The creative trio are renowned for their special performances, unique and intriguing and always atmospheric and memorable! These stories are the kind that have you hooked from the first to the last word...

Ticket Prices
Places must be pre-booked and cost £7.50 each in addition to an Autumn Glory Event & Grounds ticket.
Child (including Autumn Glory Entry) £12.90 (£14.20 with Gift Aid)
Harewood Member Child (Autumn Glory Entry Free) £7.50
An adult will need to accompany each child but does not need to pay the Twilight Tales supplement. Adults will need to purchase an Autumn Glory Event & Grounds Ticket. You can pre-book your adult Autumn Glory Event & Grounds tickets on the Autumn Glory event page.
Trio LiteratiTwilight Tales is also taking place on Thursday 1st November. Please choose either Tuesday 30th Oct or Thursday 1st Nov when you book.

This event is part of Autumn Glory, a week-long event full of family fun for the half term week!

For further information please click here:

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Make Beaulieu Your Halloween Haunt During October Half Term: 27th October – 5th November 2012

Beaulieu is reputed to be one of Britain’s most haunted places and ghosts have often been seen and heard in its 13th Century Abbey and at Palace House, home of the Montagu family since 1538.  This October Half Term, 27th October – 5th November, Halloween descends on Beaulieu with plenty of themed activities to enjoy. Hear Spooky Stories from the costumed guides in Palace House, take a lucky dip in the Witches Cauldron and be given a Gruesome Face Painting.

All children who get into the ‘spirit’ of the holidays and come to Beaulieu in Halloween fancy dress will receive special half price admission.

In the National Motor Museum, follow the Halloween Trail and see some of the 250 vehicles on show, from early motor cars to Land Speed Record Breakers.

Don’t miss the museum’s exciting exhibition, BOND IN MOTION, displaying 50 of the best-loved and most iconic vehicles from the James Bond films. The most recent additions include two Honda CRF250R motorcycles, one modified to look like a Turkish merchant’s bike and the other, a Turkish police bike, plus a Land Rover Defender 110, all of which have recently arrived from the set of Skyfall, the 23rd instalment in the Bond film series, due to open nationwide in the UK on 26th October. These three vehicles were used in the opening sequence, shot in Istanbul and Adana, Turkey.

Have a ride on ‘Wheels’, a pod ride through 100 years of motoring history and take a trip on the high-level Beaulieu Moan-o-rail which passes through the roof of the Motor Museum.

Enter ‘On Screen Cars’ to admire vehicle stars from TV and film, including Mr Bean’s lime green Mini, Del Boy’s Trotter Van and Harry Potter’s ‘flying’ Ford Anglia, used in the filming of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Become a part of the world’s greatest car show with Beaulieu’s ‘World of Top Gear’.  Enter the Top Gear Enormodrome to see actual cars from some of the presenters’ most ambitious challenges, hear the stories behind them and enjoy clips of some of the best Top Gear moments.

Beaulieu is open daily from 10am – 5pm. For more information, please visit or telephone 01590 612345.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

19th Century Literary Gem ‘Found’ at Harewood Book Shop

A recent donation of books to the Harewood House Second Hand Book Shop started a search into the story of a family history that rocked 19th century Georgian Society and provides a fascinating insight into the lives of those who played a part in the life and inspirations of the renowned romantic poet, Lord Byron.


Harewood House, the family seat of the Earl and Countess of Harewood and award winning visitor destination, opened a second hand book shop in Summer 2011, to encourage reading for members and visitors alike, and additionally to generate funds to support educational projects at Harewood.  Run by volunteers, all the books are donated by local supporters of the project and the bookshop provides a peaceful place to browse and buy for all visitors.

Recently, a local lady donated a selection of books she inherited with the purchase of a London house in the 1970s. Upon checking the books, (some dating back to the early 1800s) some inscriptions were noticed and researched, and the intriguing history of their original owner, Augusta Leigh and her ancestors, has been revealed.

Augusta Leigh was the half sister of Lord Byron and the purported incestuous love-interest behind his departure to fight in Greece never to return.  Augusta had seven children, one of whom, Elizabeth Medora, was thought by many to be Byron’s love-child. Augusta’s husband Colonel George Leigh, had already endured his own scandal when as equerry to the Prince of Wales, he cheated the Prince over the sale of a horse and fiddled his own regimental expenses.  He was dismissed and his family endured a life of poverty and shame, however, for the last 33 years of her life Augusta was granted residence in a grace and favour apartment at St James’ Palace.

Of the books donated ‘The Literary Life and Correspondence of the Countess of Blessington’ had been inscribed “Augusta Leigh, St James’ Palace” and another ‘Trimmer’s Fabulous Histories’ is inscribed lovingly by Augusta to ‘Henry Francis Leigh from his dear Mamma on his birthday, January 28th 1828.’  Henry Francis married in 1845 but sadly died aged just 33 leaving behind his wife Mary and daughter Geraldine. Mary went on to re-marry and have two further children Letitia and Herman with her new husband James Landon, a cotton merchant.

The family story continues with two delightful sets of miniature ‘Lilliputian Library’ books inscribed by these three children in 1864.  The condition of the books and the provenance of their owners, have raised the value of these books which are eventually to be auctioned, with the blessing of their original donor, to provide further funds towards educational projects at Harewood.

Audrey Kingsnorth, a volunteer at Harewood who was instrumental in bringing the Second Hand Book Shop to Harewood added: “It has been a thrilling exercise to learn so much about this family through their treasured books and we are continuing with our research.  I consulted an expert seller who advised that the Lilliputian Library books are rare in such good condition. We eventually intend to put the collection as a whole up for sale but have decided to display them for the time being in the bookshop for everyone to enjoy.”

Harewood House second-hand bookshop within the Harewood House Grounds is open every day 11.00am to 3pm, usual admission prices to Harewood House grounds apply.

Proceeds from the book shop are channelled back into the Trust, benefiting education, the gardens, the bird garden, and the house and collections. It is located within the heart of the visitor facilities in Terrace Cottage situated next to the Adventure Playground. 

Harewood has already set the standard in promoting literacy with their regular series of storytelling events and talks on a wide range of subjects, and the book shop fits nicely into Harewood’s ethos as an educational charitable trust, promoting the joys of all things literary. Money raised by Bookshop sales has already funded a new Learning Garden which is now a resource for schools. 

Friday, 5 October 2012

Autumn gourmet getaway incl. Prosecco in room, dinner & breakfast - Whitley Hall Country House Hotel, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Imagine escaping to a top hotel...
Sipping on chilled Prosecco and enjoying fine food with a sumptuous 3-course dinner in an award-winning restaurant...
Finally, relaxing in superior accommodation with a delicious breakfast the following morning...

You can...and all for just £119 at Whitley Hall Country House Hotel.

Your package includes:

- Overnight accommodation
- A bottle of chilled Prosecco in your room upon arrival (1 x bottle per stay)
- 3-course dinner in the award-winning restaurant
- Full breakfast

Book your perfect autumn escape online now or speak to one of our friendly Reservations team on 0845 0 70 70 90 who can help you find your perfect hotel at the best possible price.

You can also build your own bespoke package, just the way you want it, by browsing our fantastic choice of supplements. Book everything instantly online, and with absolute confidence, in just 3 easy steps.

Please note, promotional prices vary over the duration of the offer. Price displayed of £119 per room, per night is based on Sunday night stays only. Stays Monday - Thursday are priced at £139 per room, per night. Offer is not available on Friday or Saturday nights.

Available: 27 Aug 2012 to 30 Nov 2012

Minimum stay: 1 night(s)

£119.00 Per room per night, Dinner, Bed and Breakfast

Offer Terms & Conditions:
1) Offer valid on stays from 27th August รข€“ 30th November 2012, subject to availability. Excludes Friday & Saturday nights.
2) Minimum 1-night stay.
3) Includes 3-course dinner/allowance towards a la carte menu, full breakfast & a bottle of Prosecco in room upon arrival.
4) Promotional price may vary over the duration of the offer, however, where this is the case, this will be explained in the offer description above.
5) All prices are based on two people sharing a standard double or twin room.
6) No reduction for single occupancy.
7) This promotion is bookable online and through Classic Central Reservation Service only

For more information please visit

Fireworks Set To Go Off With A Bang At Beaulieu Saturday 27th October 2012

Beaulieu’s annual Fireworks Spectacular, one of the largest fireworks displays in the South, will be taking place on Saturday 27th October. The explosive and dynamic display will this year be set to a Superheroes theme.

Admission to the event is from 3pm when you can enjoy all the fun of the fair. Have fun on the Beaulieu Rides and Drives and Old-Time Fairground Rides including a Big Wheel, Gallopers and Swing Boats, all at good-value extra charges. Hot food and drinks are available both inside and out, as well as roast chestnuts and candy floss.

Entertainment on the WAVE 105 stage will include live music playing throughout the evening. Everyone is invited to join in with the spirit of the event by wearing fancy dress, with prizes going to the best dressed. Come early, stay late and have a great time.

Event tickets are available to buy on the day from 3pm priced at Adult £13, Child (aged 5 – 17) £8, plus a great value family ticket for 2 adults and up to 3 children, at £35. To make special savings on advance tickets call 01590 612888 or buy online at Visitors to the event will also be able to see the National Motor Museum, with its popular BOND IN MOTION exhibition showcasing 50 vehicles from the James Bond films.

Normal Beaulieu admission prices apply before 3pm, with visitors welcome to stay and enjoy the fireworks.

For more information, visit or telephone 01590 612345.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Celebrate Global James Bond Day At Beaulieu Friday 5th October 2012

In celebration of Global James Bond Day, Friday 5th October 2012, why not make a visit to BOND IN MOTION at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu? This exclusive exhibition of 50 original James Bond vehicles is the largest of its kind ever staged, and includes some of the most iconic vehicles from the James Bond films.

As part of the day-long series of celebrations taking place all around the world on 5th October, Beaulieu will be presenting the first 50 individuals, couples or families* who purchase a Beaulieu admission ticket and enter the attraction on Global James Bond Day a Bond themed gift. So make sure you arrive for the 10am opening for your chance to receive a gift and enjoy a day at the unique BOND IN MOTION exhibition and the wider Beaulieu attraction!

BOND IN MOTION marks the 50th year of James Bond films. It features a whole range of original vehicles used in the films – some which have never been publicly displayed before – including cars, boats, motorbikes, jets and many more.

See the Aston Martin DB5 from GoldenEye, the instantly recognisable Lotus S1 ‘submarine’ car from The Spy Who Loved Me, affectionately referred to as ‘Wet Nellie’, the Crocodile Submarine cunningly used in Octopussy and Xao’s Jaguar XKR from Die Another Day.
The exhibition has proved to be very popular with film fans and car enthusiasts alike, and has attracted a number of Bond cast and crew members, including James Bond himself, Sir Roger Moore, Bond actresses Britt Ekland, Eunice Gayson, Jenny Hanley and Madeline Smith, actor Colin Salmon who appeared as MI6 Chief of Staff, Charles Robinson, and Bond special effects supervisor Chris Corbould.

BOND IN MOTION can be seen as part of a visit to the whole Beaulieu attraction, which includes the National Motor Museum, World of Top Gear, Beaulieu Abbey, Palace House and gardens.

Beaulieu is open daily from 10am – 5pm. 

For more information please visit or telephone 01590 612345.

*excluding pre-booked groups and entrance with an annual gift aid pass or return for free voucher.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Victorian Christmas Celebrations At Beaulieu: 15th December 2012 – 6th January 2013

Visit Beaulieu this Festive Season, between 15th December and 6th January 2013, for a glimpse of Christmas Past in a Victorian country house.

Palace House, which has been the home of the Montagu family since 1538, is a place of enchantment at this special time of year.  Children can delve into a ‘Box of Delights’ and dress up in period costumes while in the Lower Drawing Room there will be carol singing and musical entertainment for everyone to enjoy.

Visitors can talk to characters from Victorian times to discover what life was really like ‘Upstairs and Downstairs’ at Christmas time and warm themselves in front of the yule log in the hearth of the great fireplace while enjoying a glass of hot fruit punch. The splendid Victorian-style decorations around the house and the magnificent Christmas tree in the Upper Drawing Room will add to the flavour and charm of the season.

In the National Motor Museum, the Victorian theme continues as visitors can see what driving was really like in those early days. Don’t miss the ‘Wheels’ pod-ride transporting you on a journey through one hundred years of motoring history.

See the museum’s exciting BOND IN MOTION exhibition, showcasing 50 original vehicles from the James Bond films. Put on in conjunction with EON Productions, this is the largest exhibition of its kind to be staged anywhere in the world, and celebrates 50 years of the film franchise. See some of the most iconic and best-loved Bond vehicles, including the Aston Martin DB5 from Goldeneye, the ‘Little Nellie’ gyrocopter from You Only Live Twice and Bond villain Zao’s gadget-laden Jaguar XKR used in Die Another Day, plus watch action clips and behind-the-scenes footage from some of the most thrilling vehicle stunt sequences in the films.

In the World of Top Gear Enormodrome watch exclusive footage as the boys take you behind the scenes in the Top Gear production zone, enjoy clips from some of the best Top Gear moments and see actual cars from some of the presenters’ most ambitious challenges.

To complete the day, take a ride on the high-level Monorail or hop on the Veteran London Bus to see the Beaulieu sights.

For shopping delights visit the Beaulieu gift shops which offer everything from soft toys and stocking fillers for children, to a wide selection of motor related items, traditional gifts and Beaulieu’s own wine and festive fare.  There is free parking and free entry to the extensive Gift Shop, conveniently located in the Visitor Reception Hall.

The Beaulieu attraction is open from 10am to 5pm daily, except Christmas Day. For further information visit:

Have A Hauntingly Good Half Term At Beaulieu 27th October – 4th November 2012

Look out for some strange happenings in the neighbourhood at Beaulieu this October Half Term – it will be quite a spectre-cle!

Beaulieu is reputed to be one of Britain’s most haunted places and ghosts have often been seen and heard in its 13th century Abbey and at Palace House, home of the Montagu family since 1538.  Hear Spooky Stories from the costumed guides in Palace House, and children can take a lucky dip in the Witches' Cauldron and be given a Gruesome Face Painting.

In the National Motor Museum, you can follow the Halloween Trail and see some of the 250 vehicles on show, from early motor cars to Land Speed Record Breakers. Don’t miss the museum’s exciting exhibition, BOND IN MOTION, displaying 50 of the best-loved and most iconic vehicles from the James Bond films. See the ‘Little Nellie’ gyro-copter from You Only Live Twice, the quirky Crocodile Submarine used by Bond in Octopussy and the Aston Martin V12 Vanquish, with its adaptive camouflage system used to great effect in Die Another Day. You can also watch fantastic film clips and behind-the-scenes footage of some of the most thrilling vehicle stunt sequences from the film series.

Have a ride on ‘Wheels’, a pod ride through 100 years of motoring history and take a trip on the high-level Beaulieu Moan-o-rail which passes through the roof of the Motor Museum.


Enter ‘On Screen Cars’ to admire vehicle stars from TV and film, including Mr Bean’s lime green Mini, Del Boy’s Trotter Van and Harry Potter’s ‘flying’ Ford Anglia, used in the filming of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Become a part of the world’s greatest car show with Beaulieu’s ‘World of Top Gear’.  Enter the Top Gear Enormodrome to see actual cars from some of the presenter’s most ambitious challenges, hear the stories behind them and enjoy clips of some of the best Top Gear moments.

Beaulieu is open daily from 10am – 5pm. For more information, please visit or telephone 01590 612345.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Blenheim Palace Wildlife Blog: Feeling peckish...

Blenheim Palace Wildlife Blog: Feeling peckish...: A heron sits very still and waits patiently for breakfast to appear.....

October Half Term & Halloween Fun

Ghoulish Ghost Tours
 take place at Leeds Castle

For an endlessly happy Halloween and Half Term holiday, schedule in a spooky trip to the ever-spectacular Treasure Houses of England.

Blenheim Palace’s
Halloween celebrations (27 October – 4 November) will see Witches and Wizards scattered throughout the Pleasure Gardens for a spellbinding Halloween Hunt over October Half Term. Storytelling in the stables includes Maggie Frampton’s puppet theatre on 27 -28 October, try to solve the mystery of the missing Pumpkins. On 3 & 4 November performance storyteller and author Cat Weatherill will bring spooky tales to the Palace.

Half Term Hauntings at Beaulieu
With Beaulieu presenting its Ghost and Ghouls Half Term Hauntings (27 October – 4 November), a crowd-pleasing programme of exciting action is in store for the whole family.  From a Halloween quiz trail starting in the Motor Museum and spooky stories in Palace House to tours with real ghost hunters in the haunted Abbey for a super-scary day of chilling entertainment.  Throw into the magnificent mix, frightening face painting, a ride on the Moan-a-rail, and a Halloween lucky dip – and it’s a formidably frightening formula for memorable and thrilling experience.

Wrap up warm (and you might need your wellies) to take part in Castle Howard’s spooky halloween trail.  Creep your way through Ray Wood, find all our friendly pumpkins along the way, they will keep the ghosts and ghouls away!  (27 Oct – 4 Nov, 10 – 4).

Alternatively, join the Burghley Pumpkin Trail (20 – 28 October) around the gorgeous Sculpture Garden and explore Burghley House’s spectacular surrounds to find the hidden pumpkins and receive a special treat.

Sink into the delights of the season and admire Harewood in all of its Autumn Glory (27 October-4 November) as a bevy of indoor and outdoor events celebrate the colourful season amongst beautifully inspiring scenery.  Whilst on the farm at Hatfield you can enjoy their farm themed craft week and follow the Halloween Trails.
Holkham Hall
Halloween Fun for the Family
Holkham Hall’s Halloween (27-31 October) invites visitors into their magical and mystical mayhem, where they’ll be greeted with spooky skeletons, wicked witches and sinister silhouettes in the courtyard and Bygones Museum. Create a potion or spell with their wizard – who will also lead a creepy lantern parade, and listen to the ghoulish storytelling or watch the amazing fire juggling.  And don’t miss Holkham’s spooky basement tours (27, 29, 31 October) as they present an exciting chance to hunt for all things ghoulish and unlock the hidden secrets in the underground labyrinth of the massive hall. Children will be enthralled and entertained to the max at Leeds Castle (27 October-2 November) with a fantastic array of activities such as mask making and spooky themed crafts. Their ghoulish Ghost Tours (29, 30 & 31 October) will definitely stir the senses, as will the Fairfax Restaurant’s tasty store of Halloween themed food.

Or why not dine in style at The Inn at Woburn Abbey for their Halloween themed ‘dish of the day’ (31 October) and enjoy a sumptuous and festively fun menu for a marvellous meal out amidst a truly spellbinding setting.

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

Monday, 1 October 2012

Holkham Walled Garden: Starting work on the Arena of Plants

Holkham Walled Garden: Starting work on the Arena of Plants:   The end of September 2012. The weather is favourable so a start is being made on the winter project of digging out and laying the pat...

Ginger And Spice Make All Things Nice At Holkham This Christmas

A Sheringham baker will be adding her sweet magical touch to Holkham’s Christmas celebrations this winter with a specially-created house made of ginger and spice and all things nice.

Emma Thorburn, the baker behind Sheringham-based business ‘Buns of Fun’, is the creator of an impressive three feet high and wide gingerbread house which will be on display at Holkham over two magical weekends of traditional family entertainment this Christmas.

The hand-built confectionery creation, topped with ‘roof slates’ made of large tiddlywinks covered with granulated sugar and a dusting of holographic glitter, will sit amid the sparkle of beautiful Victorian decorations in the Hall’s North Dining Room, ready to be enjoyed with a sprinkling of entertainment, seasonal food and a visit from Father Christmas himself.

With a commission from Viscountess Coke, the product of their meeting almost three years ago at the North Norfolk Food and Drink Festival hosted at Holkham, Emma has been gingerly planning the biscuit building. With plans for ridge tiles made of Jelly Tots and hand-made finials, the house promises to look good enough to eat. The garden path will be lined with lollipops with hand-made fondant leaves and bay trees like cake pops made of hardened fondant and sprinkles will sit by each side of the front door. The chimney will be clad with mini gingerbread men sprinkles to look like brick work, carried around the house in several bands.

When asked what her inspiration for the sugary project was, Emma said: “When Lady Coke approached me to ask whether it would be possible to build a giant gingerbread house for Holkham, I was extremely excited about the challenge – I wanted to make something really special and set about designing the most magical gingerbread house I could. To make things a bit different to the average gingerbread building, I plan on adding a dog and his kennel, carol singers in bonnets and capes and garlanded Christmas trees as well as a few surprises!

“My largest creation to date has been as a student at college, studying Art and Design, some 20 years ago, when I designed a theatre in 3D. Since then a combination of making Fimo wedding cake toppers, cakes and goodies has seen my business grow to creating quirky bespoke small and large cakes for any event. The popularity of my cakes (travelling as far as Denmark, Sweden and Edinburgh) has prompted me to launch my own website and social networking sites.”
Holkham’s Christmas Celebrations are on December 1 - 2 and 8 -9 from 11am to 5pm each day and Emma’s creation can be seen in the North Dining Room. Visitors will also be able to see the magnificently decorated grand state rooms of the north Norfolk property and meet Victorian characters dressed in splendid costumes. There will be story-telling, dancing, carol singing, an opportunity to watch the preparation of festive fare, buy Christmas gifts and crafts, and a special treat for children will be a visit to Father Christmas to collect a gift and leave him their secret Christmas wishes. There will also be a unique chance for visitors to see Father Christmas’s reindeer enjoying a welcome short break at Holkham before their hectic schedule of present deliveries begins on Christmas Eve.

Tickets for the two weekends of Christmas Celebrations are £12 for adults, £8 for children (2 to 16 years) and £36 for families (two adults and two children). For further information on these events or to book tickets contact 01328 713111, email or visit

Emma Thorburn’s website is, Facebook page is ‘Buns of Fun’ and Twitter is @BunsoffunEmma.

Holkham Hall is a member of the Treasure Houses of England, ten of the most magnificent palaces, stately homes and castles in England.