Thursday, 28 February 2013

Leeds Castle treasure hunt could win you real treasure!

Follow a family treasure trail through the grounds of Leeds Castle this Easter bank holiday to be in with a chance of winning a collectable British Gold Sovereign.

From the 29 March to the 1 April, spring will be in bloom and an exciting treasure hunt will take you around the colourful grounds of the estate in search of answers and clues.There will be questions for children to answer in reward for a chocolate coin, as well as more challenging questions to complete to be in with a chance of winning one of Leeds Castle’s exciting experiences.

The final section of the treasure hunt will be the hardest and if you answer all the questions correctly, your entry will go into the draw to win a gold Sovereign.

Spring arts and craft activities will be available in an exciting marquee. A small additional charge of £2.50 per child applies, which will include a treasure hunt card, chocolate coin, badge and craft activities.

Visit the Leeds Castle shops for a delicious range of Easter treats including a new range of chicken themed fine bone china by Sophie Allport, unusual Chocolate Alchemist eggs and chocolate ducks sitting on mini egg nests, with prices from £1.50.

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

Grannymobile is wheeled into World of Top Gear at Beaullieu

Bringing with it a distinct smell of mothballs, another casualty from the new series of BBC Top Gear has been wheeled into Beaulieu for some rest and recuperation – turn up your hearing aids and dig out those walking sticks, the Grannymobile has arrived!
Mindful of Britain’s ever-growing pensioner population, Jeremy and Richard took it upon themselves to convert a Fiat Multipla into their idea of how a car for old people (such as co-presenter James May) should be, and it is that very vehicle which is now on show at Beaulieu.
The rather, erm, stunning bodywork is painted in the exact same colour as a hearing aid, the front bumper is greatly extended to accommodate all those little knocks and scrapes in the bingo hall car park, and the Fiat badges have been replaced with Rover ones to make the car more familiar and less, you know... foreign. The interior has also been thoughtfully re-designed with useful features such as a flask holder, a recalibrated large print speedometer and waterproof front seat covers to cater for those, ahem... little accidents. The rear seats have also been replaced with Shakletons easy chairs because they are, quote, “so easy to get in and out of, you know”.
Once the modifications were completed, the pair took the car out for a test run in the countryside to see what the pensioners of Christchurch thought, stopping along the way for a game of bingo and a nice cup of tea. Having survived the ordeal... just... well, with a few slight alterations, courtesy of Jeremy’s over-exuberant slip road warning system, the vehicle is now having a nice rest in the World of Top Gear at Beaulieu and welcomes visitors between the hours of 10am and 5pm.
The Grannymobile joins a whole host of cars at Beaulieu created by the Top Gear presenters for some of their most ambitious challenges. Another recent addition is the P45 micro car, also from the latest series, driven by Jeremy on an eventful trip along a dual carriageway, and through the corridors of a shopping mall and the British Library.
The ‘Enormodrome’ recreates the feel of the Top Gear studio with regular features from the programme, including the Cool Wall and the Celebrity ‘Lap Times’ board, kept up to date in line with the show. Visitors can also watch behind-the-scenes footage of the Top Gear production zone and clips of some of the best Top Gear moments.
World of Top Gear can be seen as part of a visit to the whole Beaulieu attraction which also includes the National Motor Museum, BOND IN MOTION, Palace House and Beaulieu Abbey. 

Beaulieu is open every day, except Christmas Day, from 10am. For more information telephone            01590 612345       or visit

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Get ready for a Dirty Weekend at Burghley - World's Biggest Equestrian Assault Course

Burghley House
England's greatest Elizabethan house, one of Britain's top equestrian courses... and one Dirty Weekend! 

Date: Saturday 11th May 2013
Venue: Burghley House, Stamford, Lincolnshire
More details:

For one weekend only, the largest assault course on Earth is being assembled within the grounds of one of England’s finest Elizabethan country estates.

Dirty Weekend is dubbed the 'World's Biggest Assault Course' and features challenging off-road running, followed by an epic After-Party of Festival-proportions.

The run itself consists of 2 options: The Full Mucker (20 miles) and the Half Mucker (13 miles) option for those who want to tackle most of the obstacles, but who find the full distance a little much.

The beautiful parklands surrounding the Elizabethan house are home to the annual Burghley Horse Trials, showpiece of the UK's equestrian calendar. But over one weekend in May, it won't be horses, but people tackling the course as part of the Burghley Horseplay element of the Rat Race Dirty Weekend.

With the House forming a spectacular backdrop, the event - run by Rat Race Adventure Sports, the UK's largest provider of Adventure Sports - will also feature a River Rat Race on the large ornamental lake, a walkway in the trees and the Guinness World Records Zone.

‘Burghley is excited to host the world’s largest assault course, the Rat Race in the stunning surroundings of Burghley Park and Estate,” said David Pennell, Burghley Estate Director.

“We are very used to horses’ and riders’ feats of endurance, but for the first time it will be people on their own two legs pitching their stamina against the grueling obstacles set up for the Dirty Weekend. We look forward to welcoming all the competitors to Burghley for a fantastic Dirty Weekend of truly world record breaking proportions,’

For full details of the Weekend and pricing as well as other events at Burghley, visit or telephone 01780 752451.

For more details about Race Race events, visit

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

The Goldfinger Aston Martin Db5 Returns To Bond In Motion

Turkish Merchant's bike & Turkish police bike from Skyfall
The National Motor Museum at Beaulieu is pleased to announce the return of the most iconic of all Bond cars, the GOLDFINGER Aston Martin DB5, to its BOND IN MOTION exhibition.

his stunning original film car, a must-see for Bond fans and classic car enthusiasts everywhere, will be on display for a limited time only, so if you don’t want to miss out, visit Beaulieu before the end of the Easter holidays to see this elegant motor showcased alongside 49 other vehicles used in the Bond films.

The car has been kindly loaned to the exhibition by the Louwman Museum, Holland, and returns just as an exciting new exhibit has been revealed. Joining the three SKYFALL vehicles currently on display – two Honda CRF250R motorcycles and the Land Rover Defender 110 – is a third scale miniature model of the Aston Martin DB5 which was used in filming SKYFALL.
Parahawk, Jaguar XKR and Aston Martin V8
BOND IN MOTION is the world’s largest exhibition of original James Bond vehicles ever staged, and features a whole range of vehicles from the films, including cars, boats, motorbikes, sleds, jets and many more.

Other star exhibits include the gadget-laden Jaguar XKR driven by Bond villain Zao in DIE ANOTHER DAY, the Aston Martin DBS from QUANTUM OF SOLACE, the Bede Acrostar jet famously flown in OCTOPUSSY, and the BMW 750iL from TOMORROW NEVER DIES, plus iconic vehicle action clips from the James Bond films. This exclusive, one-off exhibition will remain open to visitors until 5th January 2014.

Lotus Esprit 'Wet Nellie' from The Spy Who Loved Me
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 the gardens. Beaulieu is open daily from 10am – 5pm.

For more information please visit or telephone 01590 612345.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Get Fit at Spectacular Treasure Houses of England

Get fit in supreme style this year by participating in everything from twilight walks to demanding triathlons at some of the most beautiful locations in the country. The Treasure Houses of England present the perfect space and backdrop for an array of exciting events while giving the opportunity to raise money for some incredible charities.

Beaulieu Estate is hosting Walk Ten for Marie Curie Cancer Care (10 August) – a unique twilight walk through the picturesque parkland and woods, for an inspiringly worthy cause. Meanwhile, Cycletta New Forest (13 October) is a women’s only event that guides cyclists through Beaulieu’s stunning setting on either a 40km or 80km route, promising a fun foray into cycling for any ability – and also offers a post-ride massage and helpful Helmet Hair Remedy Centre for participants.
Triathlon at Blenheim Palace

Watch the esteemed Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research Blenheim Palace Triathlon which is one of the biggest events in the UK  (8-9 June) and join the masses on the 6th October at the Blenheim Palace BHF Half Marathon. The Running Festival, where keen runners will be taking part in the half marathon and 10km runs to raise vital funds for the British Heart Foundation includes a Corporate Relay and brilliant Kids Activity Zone complete with Dodgeball for a fantastic warm up session for the 2km Family Fun Run.

For something really different why not take part in the Dirty Weekend at Burghley on the 11th May which is quite simply the World's Biggest Assault Course, followed by an Epic After-Party of Festival-proportions. The run itself consists of 2 options: The Full Mucker (20miles) and Half Mucker (13 miles) option for those who want most of the obstacles but who find the full distance a little much.

Taking place on the Castle Howard Estate, with the breathtaking scenery of the Howardian Hills an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty as a backdrop, the Castle Howard Triathlon on the 21st July is considered one of the most demanding triathlons in the country. Now in its fourth year, this event is run by the Castle Triathlon Series. Races are available for children’s and adults, including an adult Olympic distance. For more details visit:

Explore the gorgeous grounds at Holkham Hall while attending the Pedal Norfolk Festival (4-6 May), a magnificent May Bank Holiday weekend of cycle rides, events, entertainment and activities featuring fabulous food and beer. With on site camping and accommodation readily available spend the entire weekend enjoying solo, club and family rides from 20k-50k challenges.

Participate in the charitable Willow 10k on Sunday 6th October 2013 at Hatfield House and help to raise funds for the foundation that helps to arrange special life-enhancing days for seriously ill 16-40 year olds.

On March 24th, Harewood is hosting Age UK’s Wrap Up and Run 10K, a popular chip-timed race which is part of the Spread the Warmth initiative.

Woburn Abbey - Challenge yourself and make a difference by raising money for charity at the second annual tri for life triathlon at Woburn Abbey. There are a range of events from the children’s Scootathlon (4yrs to 8yrs, 400m scoot, 400m cycle, 250m run) to the long distance triathlon (18 and over, 1500m swim /40km cycle /10km run) all set within the stunning setting of the 3,000 acre deer park. Woburn will also be hosting the UK’s leading series of women-only bike rides during their hugely popular Cycletta (30 June). Peruse cycle fashion wear and take advantage of pre-event training advice and motivational information before embarking on a safely managed 40km or 60km course along quiet country roads dotted with various treat stops. Finish at the Cycletta Village where the well deserved pamper zone awaits and marvel at your recent achievement in supreme style.

The Treasure Houses sporting calendar has something for all – from family fun events – including even some in fancy dress to more serious side of fitness with the acclaimed triathlons and marathons, and also the chance to watch some elite athletes at these unique venues.

Events Diary:
24 March 2013 Age UK’s Wrap Up & Run 10k Harewood

20 April 2013 NSPCC Sponsored Walk Blenheim Palace

28 April 2013 7km Run Blenheim Palace

4-6 May 2013 Pedal Norfolk Festival Holkham Hall

11 May 2013 Rat Race Burghley

11 May 2013 Pink Ribbon Walk Blenheim Palace

12 May 2013 Breast Cancer Care Ribbonride Blenheim Palace

19 May 2013 North Norfolk Marathon Holkham Hall

8-9 June 2013 Running Festival Blenheim Palace

29 June Norfolk Superhero Challenge Holkham Hall

30 June 2013 Cycletta Woburn Abbey

21 July 2013 Triathlon Castle Howard

10 August 2013 Walk Ten for Marie Curie Cancer Care Beaulieu

8 September 2013 Tri for Life Woburn Abbey

6 October 2013 BHF Half Marathon & Running Festival Blenheim Palace

12 October 2013 Motor Neurone Disease Oxfordshire Branch Walk Blenheim Palace

13 October 2013 Cycletta New Forest Beaulieu

Leeds Castle Historical Harlem Shake!

Leeds Castle have joined the dance fest sweeping the nation and created their very own historical Harlem Shake! 

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Unique exhibition opens at Harewood House

‘Objectivity; the art of useful things’, 16th February to 1st September
Objectivity; the art of Useful things’. Photo David Usborne in The Servant’s Hall at Harewood alongside objects
from the exhibition, credit Bethany Clark.

Perfect for a day out this half term, Harewood House, Leeds, kick-starts the year with the extraordinary exhibition ‘Objectivity: the art of useful things’, an eclectic mix of objects collected by artist and collector David Usborne. Usborne’s fascination for useful objects he considers ‘accidental masterpieces’ has created a visual exhibition which captures the imagination of all ages. Catch the exhibition early and visitors have the chance to enter a competition during half term (16th – 24th Feb) to win a day ticket for their family or a £25 voucher to spend in the Courtyard Café, by guessing the use of a mysterious object. Entry to the exhibition is included in a Grounds & Below Stairs ticket, and free to Harewood members. David Usborne’s extraordinary collection of useful tools will be on display in the Servants' Hall at Harewood until 1st September

For more details of David Usborne’s Objectivity, visit the Harewood website or visit the Objectivity website  …'A Designer's Book of Curious Tools' (Thames and Hudson 2010) will be available to purchase at Harewood.

Grounds & Below Stairs Ticket Prices: Adult £10, Senior £9, Child £6, Family £30

Monday, 11 February 2013

Expand Your Horizons At The Treasure Houses Of England

Holkham Hall
Try something new and experiment with your imagination at the inspired array of special events and workshops hosted by the magnificent Treasure Houses of England.

Dabble in art, walks, botany and even animal husbandry at the country’s most beautiful and breathtaking castles, palaces and estates for a distinctively different and utterly awe-inspiring day out.
Blenheim Palace is offering an amazing opportunity to join their photography courses available on selected dates throughout the year. Exclusive Photography Courses at Blenheim Palace are designed to offer an introduction to photography, and camera training for anyone who wants to get to grips with their Digital SLR, and understand how to make better use of their camera to achieve improved photographs, all within the stunning setting of Blenheim Palace.

Chatsworth hosts its Historic Textiles Tour (26 March & 21 September 9.30am) -
a guided tour of the textiles on display with special behind-the-scenes visits to the textile archives and conservation room. Discover how historic cloth is cared for and gain exclusive access to the house’s vast archive not on public display.

Chatsworth also presents a brilliant hands-on experience with fascinating animal husbandry guide, Keeping Chickens (23 April, 11 June & 10 September, 1-4pm, suitable for 16 years and over); as well as a fabulous Florabundance series comprising ‘Age of Elegance’ floral demonstrations (15 & 16 June) and floral workshops (17 & 18 June) with renowned floral designer Jonathan Moseley.

A series of exclusive private views, talks and tours exploring the hidden treasures of Castle Howard with curator Dr Christopher Ridgway are planned for 2013.  Starting the season with the Mausoleum Tour on Saturday 27 April with a visit to the mysterious and imposing building where generations of the Howard family are buried in the vaults beneath the spectacular chapel. The tour involves walking across uneven terrain and lasts between 2 and 2.5 hours, so sensible footwear is required. Numbers are limited and tickets cost £35.00 per person and must be pre-booked.

Harewood’s wonderful workshops include Collections in Focus: Drawing (April – November) comprise of sessions looking at iconic landscape-inspired pieces from the Harewood Collection that follow a different theme and examine various different artists each month.  Learn more about Harewood’s wildlife by joining a Walk and Talk session on the majestic Red Kites (15th June, 17th July, 31st Aug, 30th Oct) or Bats (8th June, 14th Sept) or if you are a budding apiarist, how about a course on Beekeeping (22nd&23rd July, 10th&11th August).  Or explore Harewood’s enchanting medieval past with a spectacularly scenic walk and talk from All Saints’ Church to Harewood Castle (14th April, 12th May, 9th June, 14th July, 15th Sept, 13th Oct).

Presenting their much-anticipated and extraordinary exhibition, Glamour and Gowns: Couture by Belinda Bellville and David Sassoon - Holkham Hall will be hosting a talk by David Sassoon himself (19 April, 7pm) to complement this exciting event that catalogues the couture creations and career of one of fashion’s most fascinating figures.

Woburn Abbey’s Come and Grow events are a must for the green-fingered as they tackle everything from Pruning Evergreen Shrubs (2 & 3 February) to Pruning Cornus (Dogwood) (2 & 3 March), Seed Sowing (6 & 7 April), Pruning Forsythia/Philedelphus (4 & 5 May) and Planting Seasonal Bedding (1 & 2 June) - so get growing and monitor their progress through the changing seasons to literally watch the flowers grow! 

New Exhibitions Unveiled At The Treasure Houses Of England For 2013

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

Beaulieu’s National Motor Museum is proud to announce that it is extending its hugely popular and critically acclaimed BOND IN MOTION exhibition (until 5 January 2014) - the exclusive official showcase of 50 original James Bond vehicles, including cars, boats, motorbikes and jets.  From the Aston Martin DB5 in Goldeneye to the Phantom III Rolls-Royce in Goldfinger, expect a bevy of incredible vehicles straight from the silver screen celebrating the brilliant Bond franchise in crowd-pleasing style.

Film is celebrated at Blenheim Palace (9 February – 1 April) with its special exhibition: “Lights, Camera, Action” – which is set to give an insider’s guide to the many film and TV productions that have been hosted by the palace. Visitors will be able to see samples, props and costumes of films including Entrapment (20th Century Fox, 1999), Hamlet (Castle Rock, Kenneth Brannagh, 1996) and Bollywood's Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (Yash Raj films, 2001), to documentaries including BBCs Climbing Britain and ITVs Lewis. From Gulliver’s Travels (2010) to The Young Victoria (2008) and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), discover the key role that that palace has played throughout its extensive career on the big screen, with various activities, talks, tours and workshops, including family-friendly films showings over February Half Term.

Ancestral home to Gold medal winning Olympian David Cecil, Lord Burghley – Burghley House continues to celebrate the Olympic year with a generous gift from Lord Coe – his own 2012 Olympic torch, which joins the original Olympic torch from the 1948 London Games in the Olympic Corridor display that has been especially expanded for the 2013 season. The exhibition to be held within the Treasury Gallery for 2013 focuses on Burghley’s remarkable and beautiful collections of Japanese Lacquer wares.  The special collection was founded in the late 17th century and added to by members of the Cecil family during the following 150 years. 

Chatsworth presents a packed programme of exhibitions, beginning with the brilliant British artist, William Turnbull (10 March-30 June), whose paintings, drawings and sculptures will adorn the North Sketch Gallery and garden; and the Old Master Drawings Cabinet (10 March-31 July), which showcases a series of landscapes by Old Masters such as Rembrandt. Botanical artist and sister of the Duke of Devonshire, Emma Tennant exhibits her watercolours in the New Gallery (24 March-30 June), while the bicentenary of the publication of Pride & Prejudice is celebrated via A Georgian Summer (27 July-29 August) – a special exhibition in the New Gallery and schedule of garden events. In the autumn, Beyond Limits (9 September-27 October), Sotheby’s exhibition of contemporary sculpture in the garden returns for its 8th year, whilst an exhibition of contemporary applied art entitled Modern Makers will be showcased in the New Gallery (18 September- 23 December). 

Duty Calls: Castle Howard in Time of War - While generations of Howard sons went  to fight overseas the impact of war was often more powerfully felt at home.  Between 1815 and 1944 five Howards were killed in action, and for the family war was a time of anxiety as well as bereavement; this was an experience shared with staff and tenants, many of whom are commemorated on war memorials in estate villages. Belgian refugees, enemy prisoners, evacuees, fire, crashed aircraft, and horses commandeered for the front meant that the impact of war was never far away from Castle Howard. From Waterloo to World War II, this exhibition explores the stories of Castle Howard in the time of war. On displayfrom 25 May 2013 to end 2014.

Harewood House displays an extraordinary exhibition of the ordinary.  Art collector, David Usborne’sObjectivity – The Art of Useful Things (16 February-1 September), honours utilitarian items that have a simple beauty  becoming ‘accidental masterpieces’ of modern sculpture.  In Cloud Country (29 March-30 June) is guest curated by Iwona Blazwick of the Whitechapel Gallery and takes inspiration from Harewood’s landscape.  It is a unique anthology that catalogues the work of some of the most acclaimed artists from the 18th-21st centuries, including John Constable, Henry Moore, John Sell Cotman, Giuseppe Penone and Rachel Whiteread who are all united by their intriguing depictions and abstractions of nature.  

Photograph by John Young 1962
Holkham Ballgown Exhibition

Holkham Hall’s ‘Glamour and Gowns’ presents breathtaking ballgowns by society dressmaker and Viscountess Coke’s mother, Belinda Bellville, also co-founder of renowned couture label Bellville Sassoon. The Statue Gallery will see an elegant array of dresses and ball gowns take centre stage alongside drawings, patterns and photographs that chart the fascinating path of couture and Belinda Bellville’s dazzling career over the past fifty years.  The Glamour and Gowns exhibition can be viewed as part of your visit to Holkham Hall which is open every Sunday, Monday and Thursday
(12-4pm) from 25 Mar – 31 Oct.

Woburn Abbey’s Artbeat (29 March-31 August) returns for its fourth year to offer a spellbinding collection of international sculptures set amongst the glorious grounds and gardens of the Abbey, where visitors can wander the trail to appreciate over 60 outstanding works of inimitable art.

Hatfield House
Hatfield House alongside the Royal Academy of Arts will be staging an exhibition of sculptural works by the academicians of the RA in 2013.  Specific pieces will be set throughout the West Garden and North Front against the backdrop of the historic Jacobean house.

The Treasure Houses of England are 10 of the most magnificent palaces, houses and castles in England today.

For more information please click here:

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

February Half Term 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.

Blenheim Palace
Beaulieu has orchestrated a James Bond themed Scalextric track and a special Secret Agent Trail (16-24 February) for younger visitors to go undercover in order to crack the hidden code; while Blenheim Palace (reopening 9 February) presents a filming exhibition “Lights, Camera, Action”, including family-friendly film showings over the half term week. Also its Pleasure Gardens – the perfect place for outdoor activities at the popular Adventure Playground, Butterfly House, the Marlborough Maze – the world’s second largest symbolic hedge maze - or taking a special trip on the miniature train.

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 (16-24 February).

Harewood’s exhibition‘Objectivity: The Art of Useful Things’ (16-24 February) has inspired the half term family activities this February.   From extravagant jelly moulds in the Old Kitchen to tiny feeding spoons in the Bird Garden, learn about the extraordinary tools used to carry out ordinary tasks.  A fascinating collection of often quirky tools will be on display in the Servants’ Hall alongside a stack of activities that will entertain visitors of all ages. The Old Kitchen will serve up tantalising treats in form of jelly making displays, while there will be children’s crafts aplenty in the Still Room. The glorious Gardens will see demonstrations from the gardeners themselves and the keepers in the Bird Garden will unveil some fascinating facts.

Hatfield House’s Half Term Activity Week at Stable Yard (16-24 February) will see the Coach House Restaurant and Shops present a captivating collection of children’s activities ahead of Spring’s exciting park and garden reopening (30 March).

Leed’s Castle presents Creative Cookery at the Castle (18-22 February), which will give children the opportunity to develop their baking skills as they make a white swan out of icing and learn about butter-making for a brilliantly hands-on and suitably sticky-fingered experience.

The first Luminaria lights event at Woburn Abbey will illuminate the Abbey Gardens after dark and promises to be an evening of enchantment and adventure (5-9pm last entry, closes 10pm, Saturday 16th February).  Follow the trail winding through the gardens and set out on a family escapade or an alternative Valentine’s evening.   Experience the historic gardens aglow with warm lights, be entranced by ethereal sculptures, lose yourself in the labyrinth and watch award-winning ice sculptors create works of art.   Separate ticket price, pre-book online and save.

Opening in March:

Burghley House reopens its house and gardens to the public from 16 March, where an awe-inspiring world of stunning scenery and attractions await, and Holkham Hall follows in spectacular suit with its own anticipated reopening on 25 March and launch of a new Children’s Woodland Adventure Play Area with a tree house in the sky, high level walkways, rope ladders and zip-wire.

Woburn Abbey reopens its doors (22 March) for visitors to venture inside before delighting in the dazzling scenery of the Abbey Gardens and grounds and enchanting wildlife found in the Deer Park for an utterly fabulous and truly magical day out.

Weddings at the Treasure Houses of England

Blenheim Palace
For timeless glamour, fairytale romance and awe-inspiring grandeur at some of the country’s most stunning country estates and stately properties – make a statement with a wedding at the Treasure Houses of England.

Featuring ten of England’s most spectacular castles, palaces and houses, the magnificent venues present couples with a beautiful and beguiling backdrop for a brilliantly bespoke and memorable day.  The Treasure Houses’ host of illustrious properties boasts a range of features from fine paintings, objects d’art and antiques to incredible architecture and gorgeous grounds - ensuring extravagant interiors and an atmosphere imbued with Royal heritage and a rich history.

For couples considering a themed wedding, each venue exudes Downton Abbey style romance and nostalgia that are perfect for period costumes and an inspired sense of individual occasion.

Catering for all kinds of weddings, each venue is unique, carefully attending to every need and minutiae for a completely personalised affair.

With an array of options available - every scenario is possible - from lavish, exclusive-hire affairs, marquee weddings and small weddings to civil ceremonies, civil partnerships and elegant evening receptions.

At Beaulieu, couples can enjoy seven thousand acres of enchanting estate and choose from thehistoric setting of Beaulieu Abbey’s 13th century Domus building, elegant Palace House or even the National Motor Museum or Top Gear Enormodrome for something distinctly different. In short, Beaulieu provides an enchanting and unique setting for your wedding day. Beaulieu’s Wedding Fayre is on 24th February.

Oxfordshire’s Blenheim Palace offers the ultimate wedding venue set within stunning ‘Capability’ Brown surroundings.  A variety of unique and elegant facilities are available for you to create your perfect wedding ceremony and reception; from intimate gatherings in the Campaign Rooms, the elegant glass-ceilinged Orangery, to grand receptions inside the Palace’s Long Library. The Palace’s catering partner, Searcys, whose stylish dining additions - including a new Champagne Bar - ensures first-rate food and service at the World Heritage Site Palace.

Opt for the timeless elegance of The Orangery, whose private entrance, glass ceiling, and terrace overlooking the Italian Garden provides a stunning wedding venue. Alternatively, the striking Marlborough Room offers a double vaulted ceiling, chandeliers and fireplace for more intimate gatherings.
Don’t miss Burghley’s Essential Weddings Show (10 November) where a spectacular professional catwalk show combined with canapés, drinks reception, premier pick of wedding suppliers, tour - plus musical firework finale - will provide a planning extravaganza and dazzling day out like no other.

Already making waves throughout Leeds as the ultimate place to get married, Harewood House offers a dramatic and romantic venue courtesy of its Courtyard, elegant Pavilion or the Victorian Terrace with the beautifully restored Italiene Parterre. For the chance to see the venue decked in all its wedding glory, attend the Wedding Showcase Day (10 February and 24 March, 10am-4pm) where the suites will be specially dressed for weddings, and discuss your own dream day with Harewood’s expert co-coordinators.

Chatsworth makes an exceptional location for weddings, receptions and civil partnerships. Set in 1000 acres of stunning Derbyshire parkland with spectacular gardens, it creates the most stunning backdrop for wedding photographs.  This historic venue epitomises quality and elegance, and the Chatsworth Wedding Fair (24 February) provides a fabulous opportunity to meet the dedicated events team and peruse couture gowns while sipping bubbly, sampling cuisine and enjoying a grand showcase of indispensable wedding services.

Kent’s Leeds Castle offers civil marriage and partnership ceremonies at the Castle Dining Room and Maiden’s Tower. A choice of impressive settings is also available for your reception, and when it comes to photographs, Leeds Castle is unrivalled in Kent for its spectacular scenery and backdrops. Leeds Castle Wedding Showcase Days are on the 2 & 3 March.

Hatfield House
Historic Hatfield House is an incomparable choice, with its magnificent Grade 1 listed Old Palace where Elizabeth 1 held her first Council of State, or the stylishly contemporary Riding School that are both available as wedding venues.

Holkham Hall’s tally of four magnificent staterooms present impressive interiors flanked by enticing exteriors at the magical and intimate Temple surrounded by woodland, or the spacious 18th century Walled Gardens that make this one of Norfolk’s premier venues.

Woburn Abbey offers three very distinct wedding venues. From the splendor of The Sculpture Gallery, or The Inn at Woburn for classic country weddings, to the fun and unusual Safari Lodge at Woburn Safari Park - weddings held on the estate are truly unique and can be arranged for just 25 up to 250 guests by a dedicated wedding planner who will ensure that every event is magnificently memorable experience.

Wedding Fair Diary 2013:

10 February    Harewood            Wedding Showcase Day
24 February    Blenheim Palace Wedding Fair
24 February    Chatsworth          Wedding Fair
24 February    Woburn Abbey    Wedding Showcase Day
17 March        Hatfield House     Wedding Fair
24 March        Harewood            Wedding Showcase Day
19 May           Hatfield House     Wedding Fair
20 October     Hatfield House     Wedding Fair
3 November    Hatfield House     Wedding Fair

10 November  Burghley             Essential Wedding Show

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

February Half Term at Leeds Castle

‘Circus Skills Showcase’ at Leeds Castle – See a show, have a go!

Perfect your juggling and other circus skills in a fun packed showcase at Leeds Castle this half term.
Leeds Castle

From the 18 to the 24 February, local performers Simon Chainey and his assistant Chris, as seen on ITV’s ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ and ‘Take Me Out’, will be showcasing their circus skills with hourly family shows from 11am.

With lots of audience participation and friendly competition between themselves, the instructors will demonstrate how traditional circus toys should be used.

The shows will be followed by a hands on workshop, where children and adults can learn skills including juggling, hula hoops, plate spinning, diablo and object balancing.

There is always something going on at Leeds Castle so during your visit, come and see our breath-taking falconry display opposite the Circus Skills Showcase marquee. Shows take place at 1.30pm daily during half term.

After working up an appetite, children will love our half term ‘jester ice-cream’ with three exciting flavours and a Smarties topping for just £3 and ‘clown cookies’ available from our Fairfax Restaurant.

Your Key to the Castle ticket is valid for entrance to the castle and grounds.  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.

Entrance to the Circus Skills Showcase marquee costs £1 per person and under 4s are free. The last show will be at 3pm.

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 3pm and gates close at 5pm (October to March).