Many of the houses have special tours or exhibits which illustrate what life was like 'downstairs' and the daily chores undertaken giving a fascinating insight to behind the scenes.

In Palace House, costumed guides take on the characters of servants who are known to have lived and worked in the house in the late 1800s when Lord Henry Scott , the first Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, was in residence. On selected days, Barkham and Herbert, the House-maids, Harrison the Nursery-maid, Bellmore the Valet and Stuart the Footman give talks on their daily lives as servants in a Victorian country house. Other ‘chat’ topics include Victorian food preparation in the Palace House kitchen, Victorians and their medicinal remedies and ghostly stories of Palace House.

Blenheim Palace
Below Stairs at Blenheim Palace
The Untold Story brings to life enticing tales of the dramatic history, events and the people who have lived here, through the eyes of the household staff.  Follow Grace Ridley, a virtual Lady's Maid as she introduces you to some of the more colourful characters who have lived at Blenheim Palace.  Understand more about the lives of servants, their working conditions and their relationships with the family.

Chatsworth offers a series of ‘behind the scenes’ events allowing glimpses of how Chatsworth is cared for. At the moment there is intensive restoration work taking place on part of the house, and visitors can climb the scaffolding on special scaffolding tours to enjoy fantastic views not normally seen, and experience up close the stonemasonry taking place. Visitors can also experience Christmas behind the scenes and view how the house is magnificently prepared for the festive season.

Hatfield House
Hatfield House Kitchen
The original Kitchen in the House has recently been restored. Visitors can see how the staff prepared a banquet for Queen Victoria’s visit in 1846, learn about everyday life and experience the atmosphere of a Victorian  kitchen under the direction of the French chef.

The still room was where jams, jellies and preserves were made. There is a huge pestle and mortar, which was used to grind the spices so popular in Victorian times. The pastry room, on the cool north side of the house, was used to prepare ornate cakes and biscuits and for the storage of dry goods. In the adjoining scullery, the scullery maid worked hard washing up all the pots and pans, and preparing the vegetables from Hatfield’s garden.

Holkham Hall
The public tour of Holkham Hall ends with the kitchen, which has much the same effect on today’s visitors as it did for a young lady who saw it, just recently completed, in 1756: ‘Such an amazing large and good kitchen I never saw, everything in it so nice and clever.’ It measures about 23 by 50 feet (over 7 by 15 metres) and rises through two storeys, well lit by windows at both ends. The great open roasting range and massive iron ovens that are still in place date from the 1850s, when the kitchen was modernised; opposite them are shelves of polished copper pans and rows of ornate jelly and sweetmeat moulds. The kitchen and, on special occasions, even the roasting range remained in use until 1939.

Woburn Abbey
New for 2011:Staff and Servants Exhibition.   Take a closer look at those employed by the Earls and Dukes of Bedford from the 16th century to the present day.  We have drawn on Woburn Abbey’s historical archives to create an exhibition that reveals who the people ‘below stairs’ were; how they ensured this great house functioned successfully, their positions, wages and even their medical histories.