Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Discover the Magic of Narnia at Chatsworth this Christmas 9 November to 23 December 2013

Nativity at Chatsowrth
Chatsworth will transport visitors to the magical land of Narnia this Christmas as the house undergoes a spectacular transformation to bring C.S. Lewis's classic tale of 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe' to life from 9 November to 23 December.

The lower floors will be decorated with trees, snow and sleighs to recreate the wintry wonderland discovered by Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy as they burst through the wardrobe for the first time.

Visitors will be taken on a magical journey as they experience London in wartime in the North Entrance Hall before walking through wardrobe doors surrounded by furs to enter the Narnian forest under the icy grip of the White Witch.

The Oak Room is the perfect setting for Mr Tumnus's cosy house inside a tree while the grandeur of the Painted Hall lends itself to becoming the icy palace of the White Witch with many more surprises to discover in this once in a lifetime experience.

Children will love finding hidden clues on the way, while costumed guides will help bring the story to life. Other favourite characters from the tale including Aslan himself will make this year's festive visit to Chatsworth a very special event for all the family.

Other festive dates include the popular Christmas markets now taking place over 10 days (November 14 to 24); the famous farmyard nativity plays featuring real animals; twilight evenings in the house as well as floral demonstrations and wreath making. Christmas also arrives at the farm shop with a range of Christmas foods, gifts and treats in stock from 18 October. The farm shop will be open until midday 24 December.

Chatsworth closes on 23 December, and re-opens its restaurants and shops from January 6 2014.

Please check the website for dates, times and prices as applicable.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Wedding Open Day - Castle Howard 10th November 2013

Meet our professional wedding team and a handful of our carefully selected wedding suppliers and discover Yorkshire’s most romantic venue dressed for a civil ceremony and wedding breakfast.

Open for viewings from 11am until 3pm.

Pre-register online to receive complimentary admission.

To book an appointment with our wedding coordinator, please contact Jane Nordli on 07971 094338 or visit our wedding pages.

NSPCC Christmas Fair at Castle Howard

Castle Howard
Friday 8th November 2013.

Each year, this popular shopping fair raises over £30,000 for the NSPCC and is organised by the volunteers of the Norton & Villages fundraising committee.

This year there will be over 50 stalls selling a wide range of gifts for adults, teenagers and children. There will also be a raffle with prizes kindly donated by local businesses.

All proceeds go directly to the NSPCC. Tickets cost £7.00 per person (under 13s free), available on the day from our ticket office. Open from 9.30am until 3.30pm.

Or why not attend a special preview evening on Thursday 7 November with wine and canap├ęs. Tickets cost £15.00 and must be bought in advance by emailing:

To find out more visit

Half Term Terrifying Tree Trail at Castle Howard

Children will enjoy exploring the grounds this half term with our new terrifying tree trail. Creep through the dark woodland and peer into the undergrowth. Remember to keep your eyes peeled for what's lurking just around the next corner.
Pick up one of our free trails and see if you can spot all of the spooky sights.

Visit on Thursday 31 October and meet owls in the grounds and Geoffrey the Lion will be prowling the gardens too.

Donation of the Percy Lambert Plaque: 14th October 2013

National Motor Museum
On a misty February morning at Brooklands in 1913, Percy Lambert achieved the long sought-after target of being the first man to drive 100 miles in one hour. In a streamlined Talbot belonging to the Earl of Shrewsbury and Talbot, Lambert broke the record by driving 103.76 miles within the hour. To commemorate the occasion, a brass plaque was placed on the wall of the Clubhouse where it remained until the track closed. Tragically, the same year, on the 31st October 1913, Lambert was fatally injured trying to improve on his own record and was pronounced dead on arrival at Weybridge Cottage Hospital.

Brooklands Museum
When the Clubhouse was being cleared out after World War II the plaque was discarded and rescued by the Brooklands racing motorcyclist, Charles Mortimer. Recognising its historic significance, he later donated it to The National Motor Museum at Beaulieu. The plaque was in turn loaned by the National Motor Museum Trust to the newly founded Brooklands Museum in the 1980s for inclusion in a display on Percy Lambert.

NMM Curatorial Officer Gail Stewart-Bye with John Pulford
Now, in the centenary year of not just Lambert’s great achievement, but of his death too, The National Motor Museum Trust has kindly donated the plaque to Brooklands Museum for permanent display, together with replicas of his silk racing jacket and cap.

John Pulford, Head of Collections & Interpretation at Brooklands Museum Trust Ltd said: “We are extremely grateful to the National Motor Museum for its generous donation of the Percy Lambert plaque and his replica silk racing jacket and cap.  In this the 100th anniversary year, not just of his I00 miles in one hour record, but of his death too, it is very appropriate that these items can be seen together in their original environment and stand as a fitting tribute to an outstanding Edwardian racing driver.”

Allan Winn and Andrea Bishop
Andrea Bishop, Director of Collections at the National Motor Museum, said: “In this 100th anniversary year is was important to tell Percy Lambert’s story. His original racing silks at the National Motor Museum required urgent conservation and replica sets were required for display at Beaulieu and Brooklands. I am very grateful to Arts Council England for its support in this endeavour, and also to Alfred Dunhill Ltd. We had loaned the Percy Lambert plaque to Brooklands for many years, and the centenary of his achievements provided an appropriate occasion to donate it, along with the display silks.”

Simply Smart Sunday 10th November at Beaulieu

Simply Smart 10th November
Sunday 10th November will see the welcome return of Beaulieu’s popular Simply Smart rally, when all Smart car owners can drive into the grounds of the National Motor Museum to join a colourful display of these quirky motors. 2013 marks the 10th anniversary of the Smart Roadster, so owners of this model are particularly encouraged to take part. The event, now in its third year, has built up a loyal following and there is always a wonderful variety of creative designs and colour themes to be seen.

This event is well supported by owners’ club, SmartManiacs, with a large number of their members attending. At the club’s request, the event is always held around the time of Remembrance Day, 11th November, which this year falls the day after the event. To honour this special day, a two minutes silence will be held at 11am, which visitors are invited to take part in, with Mr Tod Sloan, a retired Royal Navy CPO, providing a reading.

Smart cars lined up in front of Beaulieu
The Ridgeway Group, which owns a number of dealerships throughout Hampshire, will also be in attendance, bringing along a small selection of their pristine Smart models.

On the day, visitors to Beaulieu will have the opportunity to vote for their favourite Smart car on display in the People’s Choice Award. The awards will be presented in the afternoon, with the winner receiving a Beaulieu Trophy and the chance to lead the top ten cars voted for, in a cavalcade through the parkland.

Participants can also enjoy all the delights of the Beaulieu attraction and can take advantage of one of the last chances to see BOND IN MOTION before it closes permanently on the 5th January 2014. This fantastic exhibition showcases 50 vehicles from the James Bond films, including the Lotus Esprit submarine car from The Spy Who Loved Me, affectionately referred to as ‘Wet Nellie’, the iconic Aston Martin DB5 from Goldeneye and the Rolls-Royce Phantom III from Goldfinger.

For entrants arriving on the day in a Smart car and participating in the event, individual ticket prices are £10 per adult and £5 per child.

Book advance tickets online at or on telephone number 01590 612888, which you can also call for information on group/club entry. For all enquiries regarding trade stands, telephone 01590 614614.

If you buy your Simply Smart event tickets in advance (before 5pm on the 8th November 2013), you will be automatically entered into a prize draw to win an Autoglym Concours Collection Valet Gift Pack. The winner will be announced on the day, during the awards presentation ceremony.*

Entry into the Beaulieu parkland with your Smart car is from 9.30am, when refreshments will be available.

All other visitors who wish to see the event, but not participate in a Smart car should enter Beaulieu via the Main Reception from 10am at normal attraction admission prices.

Admission to the event includes entry to the whole Beaulieu attraction; the National Motor Museum and BOND IN MOTION, World of Top Gear, On Screen Cars, Beaulieu Abbey, and Palace House and gardens.

Simply Smart is part of a growing calendar of Simply rallies which has rapidly expanded to include a wide variety of themes covering many makes and models. All Simply rallies are run and organised by Beaulieu and take place in the grounds of the National Motor Museum.

For more information please visit or join the conversation with @Beaulieu_Hants on Twitter using #simplysmart.

*The prize draw is only available to advance ticket holders, aged 18 years or older, who participate in the event with their Smart car and have their car on display in the showground. The winner must be present to receive the Gift Pack in person. If the first drawn person does not come forward, the prize will go to the next person drawn who is present.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Have a Haunted Halloween at Woburn Abbey this Half Term

Woburn Abbey and Gardens are putting on a series of Halloween activities for families this autumn half term. During the week from the 26th October to the 3rd November spend a day at the historic house and gardens with all of the extra children’s activities included in the regular admission price.

Whilst exploring the Abbey, visitors of all ages can take part in a Halloween treasure hunt. A series of cryptic clues will be hidden across three floors of the Abbey for them to find and decipher to solve a seasonal mystery.

The Russell Room in the South Court of Woburn Abbey will play host to some spooky storytelling suitable for children of all ages. Visitors can hear a storyteller recite a tale about ‘The Ghostly Goat of Woburn Abbey’ with performances taking place at 12noon and 2pm every day of the half term week. A variety of craft activities with a Halloween theme will be available throughout the day. These include a chance for younger visitors to make their own witches hat and conjure some magical spells, as well as an opportunity to take part in The Big Draw – a national event to promote drawing that takes place throughout October.

The treasure hunt, storytelling, craft and drawing activities will take place every day of the half term week from the 26th October to the 3rd November 2013 and are included in the regular admission price of Woburn Abbey and Gardens.

There are no tricks in The Duchess’ Tea Room, only treats, so stop by to enjoy a steaming hot drink or a delicious slice of something sweet. The Duchess’ Gift Shop will also be open every day for special and spooky souvenirs.

For visitor interest in learning some practical gardening advice during their visit, the Woburn Abbey Garden’s monthly Come and Grow session will coincide with the Halloween activities on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd November. The topic for this event is winter projects and visitors can take part in a free guided tour of the gardens starting at 12 noon.

Woburn Abbey Gardens and Deer Park is open from 10am to 5pm and the Abbey itself is open from 11am to 5pm each day.

Woburn Abbey, Woburn, Bedfordshire MK 17 9WA
Just south east of Milton Keynes, Woburn Abbey is signposted from junctions 12 and 13 of the M1. It is also easily accessible from the A5.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Half Term and Halloween at the Treasure Houses of England

Spooky goings on in Palace House, Beaulieu

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

is one of Britain’s most haunted places and ghosts have often been seen and heard in the 13th century Abbey and at Palace House.  So if you’re looking for something spooky to do for Half Term, don’t miss the strange goings on at Beaulieu’s Ghost and Ghouls Half Term Hauntings (26 October – 3 November).  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 a memorable and thrilling experience.

Halloween at Blenheim Palace
Blenheim Palace’s Halloween celebrations (26 October – 3 November) will cast a ghoulish spell of spooky entertainment and family fun with a 'Ghosts and Goblins' Halloween Hunt in the Pleasure Gardens hedge maze, a fantastic range of Halloween inspired arts and crafts activities, and spooky tours of the Palace on weekdays

Wrap up warm and tread through crispy Autumn leaves on Burghley’s Pumpkin Trail (28 October – 3 November) around the Sculpture Garden and explore Burghley House’s spectacular surrounds to find the hidden pumpkins and receive a special treat.  There’s also spooky family fun to be had by touring the state rooms by flickering candlelight – limited places please book in advance.

Castle Howard will host its first ever Halloween event when the magnificent  grounds of the historic house are transformed into a spooky wonderland for a family friendly ‘Chills and Thrills’ spectacular.

Halloween at Harewood
Book in advance for Chatsworth Luminaire in the House and Garden taking place 26-30 October. For the very first time the glorious interiors of Chatsworth will be open at night, atmospherically lit with candles and soft reflected light, whilst the garden will be lit with illuminations playing out the legend of Artemis, Goddess of the moon and the hunt.

Sink into the delights of the season and admire Harewood in all of its Autumn Glory (26 October- 3 November) as a bevy of indoor and outdoor events celebrate the colourful season amongst beautifully inspiring scenery including trails, twilight tales and tasty treats, crafts and Hallowe’en fun.

Whilst on the farm at Hatfield you can enjoy their farm themed craft week and follow the Halloween Trails.

And don’t miss Holkham Hall where spooky spiders weave a magical web of fun and mystery! (27-31 October).  Visitors can explore magical and mystical mayhem – where spidery facts and body parts abound in the hall, hunt for them all and create your very own breed of spider whilst discovering some scary arachnid factoids along the way. Count the creepy crawlies hidden on their webs in the walled gardens and find your way out of the webbed maze.  At the Bygones Museum, home of Holkham’s largest spidery resident, there’s more entangling frights with mad scientists busy mixing their potions, spells, slime and smells, creating a horrifying hair-raising experience. Along with creepy craft activities, ghoulish face painting, pumpkin carving and frightfully delicious feasts to horrify your tastebuds to make your visit truly 'spooktacular'!

Halloween at Holkham Hall
Children will be enthralled and entertained to the max at Leeds Castle (26 October- 3 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 take a Bat Walk on Tuesday 29 October at WoburnAbbey where you can learn all about the species of bats living in the Abbey Gardens on an exclusive night-time tour.

  • The Treasure Houses of England are 10 of the most magnificent palaces, houses and castles in England today. Together they attract in excess of 2.8 million visitors annually.
  • Members are Beaulieu, Blenheim Palace, Burghley House, Castle Howard, Chatsworth, Harewood, Hatfield House, Holkham Hall, Leeds Castle and Woburn Abbey.
  • One of the most compelling features of the Treasure Houses of England is that they all offer the visitor a living history. Most are still homes to the great families who have owned them for generations. Others keep their heritage alive by re-creating scenes and events that have dominated and shaped England from the 9th century to the present day.
  • Between them they house some of the most important art collections in the world with famous works from artists such as Van Dyck and Gainsborough. The connoisseur of fine furniture, porcelain and china will find priceless examples of Chippendale, Wedgwood and Meissen.
  • Each house is an architectural masterpiece surrounded by beautiful parklands and gardens.

Autumn Colours at the Treasure Houses of England

Autumn view at Blenheim Palace
Admire autumn in all of its awe-inspiring glory and take a group visit to the magnificent Treasure Houses of England. Marvel at the season’s spectacular colours courtesy of dazzling floral displays and special days out at the beautiful grounds and pristine parklands that surround the country’s most stunning palaces, estates and castles. 

From the sweet rose-scented Victorian Flower Garden to the Ornamental Kitchen Garden complete with 1870’s restored vine house, Beaulieu – literally meaning ‘beautiful place’ – is an absolute must-see. Take a stroll with their scenic Mill Pond walk and wander into the natural splendour of the Wilderness Garden, which dates back to the 1770’s.

The Secret Garden, one of Blenheim Palace’s most popular attractions, is a garden for all seasons. Conceived by the 10th Duke, it boasts magnificent mature trees along side new planting, water features, and a twisting stream, it is a perfect spot to relax and admire the myriad of autumn colours.

Local flower societies transform Burghley’s staterooms into fabulous floral displays during Burghley Flower Festival (Saturday 5- Sunday 13 October). Take a tour through the prettified interiors of this great Elizabethan house where the painted ceilings and seventeenth century art will be inspirationally echoed by breathtaking blooms.

Take a stroll through Ray Wood at Castle Howard and marvel in the season’s striking tones and resplendent autumn colour, from the many shrubs and trees, and huge array of ripened fruit and berries.  Then make your way to the ornamental kitchen garden - Castle Howard Potager – for the autumn vegetable garden harvest.

Having evolved over more than 450 years, the 105 acre Chatsworth garden continues to change today. There is plenty to discover at every turn, including permanent sculptures to be found.  The famous waterworks include the 300 year old Cascade, the trough waterfall in the rockery and the enormous gravity-fed Emperor fountain. As well as the huge maze, the rockery and the rose, cottage and kitchen gardens, there are also over five miles of walks with rare trees, shrubs, streams and ponds to discover.

There are over 100 acres of Gardens at Harewood. They are full of variety, with plants from all over the world - all in the setting of a magnificent landscape created by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. Harewood’s renowned Bird Garden is home to exotic species including penguins, owls, flamingos
 and parrots and the Himalayan Garden is an extraordinary world in miniature, a plant-hunter’s paradise.

Stock up on garden essentials and a great array of plants at Holkham Hall’s Plant Fair (28-29 September). Hosted in the vast arena of the Walled Gardens, a range of plant nurseries from across East Anglia present special seasonal plants and offer up top tips to gardeners. Or for a chance to see the spectacular arboretum with its many unusual and rare specimen trees resplendent in their autumn foliage, book onto one of the Autumn tours of the private gardens surrounding the 18th century hall.

Set in 500 acres of picturesque parkland, Leeds Castle is the perfect setting for an autumn day out.  Take a stroll through the Wood Garden, which follows the curve of the River Len to the Pavilion Lawn.  Meanwhile, the Culpeper Garden features the heady likes of roses and exotic blooms for an intoxicating palette and fusion of scents.

Woburn Abbey’s
tranquil Abbey Gardens are open for everyone to enjoy the brilliance of Humphry Repton. Make your way through approximately 30 acres of serene formal and natural garden environments: from manicured lawns and colourful flower beds to peaceful woodland glades and ponds teeming with life.  Discover the bog garden, a recent addition with it carnivorous plants, the romance of the Doric Temple which was carefully restored last year and watch the recreation work in progress on the rockery and grotto.

Treasure Houses of England
  • The Treasure Houses of England are 10 of the most magnificent palaces, houses and castles in England today. Together they attract in excess of 2.8 million visitors annually.
  • Members are Beaulieu, Blenheim Palace, Burghley House, Castle Howard, Chatsworth, Harewood, Hatfield House, Holkham Hall, Leeds Castle and Woburn Abbey.
  • One of the most compelling features of the Treasure Houses of England is that they all offer the visitor a living history. Most are still homes to the great families who have owned them for generations. Others keep their heritage alive by re-creating scenes and events that have dominated and shaped England from the 9th century to the present day.
  • Between them they house some of the most important art collections in the world with famous works from artists such as Van Dyck and Gainsborough. The connoisseur of fine furniture, porcelain and china will find priceless examples of Chippendale, Wedgwood and Meissen.
  • Each house is an architectural masterpiece surrounded by beautiful parklands and gardens.