Thursday, May 3, 2018 – Thursday, May 10, 2018
8 Days – $2,500

$500.00 deposit due upon booking. Final Payment of 2,000.00 due by February 20, 2018
The Country House Tour

Putting an Upstairs, Downstairs spin on our Country House tour, we offer an up-close look at six of Britain’s finest stately homes, each showcasing well preserved servants’ quarters in addition to fabulous state and family rooms, all presented within a leisurely itinerary. Once we check in to our hotel in Buxton, the rest of the tour will be taken as day trips, via luxury coach.

Day 1

Day 1 – Upon your arrival in Manchester, the complimentary airport shuttle will take you directly to our hotel, the four-star Crowne Plaza Airport Hotel. Meet your fellow travelers in the Lobby Bar for a cocktail before we dine together this evening in The Grill Room.

Day 2

This morning we transfer via private motor coach to Grade I listed Tatton Park, one of the most complete estates to come under the care of the National Trust. It comprises the neo-classical mansion, extensive, award winning gardens, a working farm and a 1,000 acre deer park. The rich furnishings of the Tatton Park mansion and its important library and furniture collections reflect the growing wealth and status of the Egerton family at the end of the 18th and during the 19th centuries.

Below stairs we will gain a striking picture of the number of servants and level of domestic management necessary to run such a large establishment. Afterwards, there will be time to explore the gardens and grounds on your own and to visit the gift shop or stop for lunch. This afternoon we’ll transfer to the Old Hall Hotel in Buxton, where we’ll be staying for the remainder of the tour.

Day 3

We spend today at Harewood House, family seat of the Earl and Countess of Harewood and now film set, having stood in for Buckingham Palace during the filming of ITV’s Victoria.  The magnificent House displays fourteen state rooms featuring the work of Robert Adam and extensive domestic rooms below stairs, all of which will be seen during our guided tour of the house.  Following our tour, take some time to stroll the `Capability’ Brown landscapes, the award winning gardens and ornamental lakes.

Day 4

Today, our morning drive brings us to Shugborough Hall, home to the Anson family, the Earls of Lichfield, since 1624 and a rare example of a complete estate with all major buildings surviving, including the Hall, servant’s quarters complete with kitchens and dairy , a working farm, watermill, brewery and a walled garden. . 3 pm pick up for return to Buxton Old Hall Hotel Free time to explore Buxton before dinner.

Day 5

A full day at Castle Howard, one of the Treasure Houses of England, is in store for us today. Ancestral seat of the Carlisle branch of the Howard family, many will recognize it as “Brideshead” in two different film adaptations of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited and various interiors were used in filming Death Comes to Pemberley and as Kensington Palace in Victoria.  And it’s easy to understand why – Castle Howard contains stunning interiors and a vast array of incredible artwork. You will be free to take in all 145 rooms, including downstairs areas, at your pace. The grounds feature an arboretum, the Atlas Fountain and the Temple of the Four Winds.

Day 6

Our visit today to Lyme Park will include a guided tour of the house and, as a nod to the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, an in-depth look at Lyme during the Regency period and Lyme’s very own Regency hero, Thomas Legh of Lyme. Thomas (1792-1857) was the eldest, illegitimate son of Colonel Thomas Legh of Lyme and a maid from the Vicarage near his Lancashire estate, Haydock. As a five year old, Thomas inherited Lyme and its estates – the equivalent today of around £2 million – which allowed him to travel the world. Thomas was also a romantic hero: he was instrumental in saving a young heiress, Ellen Turner, who had been abducted, and later married her himself. After our tour of the house and below stairs areas, you’ll be free to explore the 1,400 acre estate with its medieval herd of red deer, the elegant Rose Garden and the lake where a certain Miss Bennet came upon a damp Mr. Darcy in the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice.

Day 7

Today is the first of two days we’ll be visiting one of Britain’s most iconic stately homes: Grade I listed Chatsworth House. The House is another location said to have served as a model for Jane Austen’s Pemberley and, since our tour will be a private one, held when the house is closed to the public, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to draw your own conclusions. Our guide will take us through the house and State Rooms, including the magnificent Painted Hall, the Sculpture Gallery and the Victorian Theatre. Home to the Dukes of Devonshire, our guide will also share with us the history of the memorable people who have left their stamp upon Chatsworth House, including the Bachelor Duke, William Cavendish, who served as Ambassador to Russia under Czar Nicholas I, Georgiana Spencer and Elizabeth Foster, two of the parties in one of history’s strangest ménage a trios, and Deborah Mitford, perhaps the most beloved of all the Devonshire Duchesses. We will have time after the tour to explore the house at our own pace before enjoying a Ploughman’s Lunch in the sophisticated Cavendish Restaurant.

Day 8

This morning we’ll meet our guide at Edensor, the picturesque model village built to the specifications of the 6th Duke of Devonshire with the help of Joseph Paxton. It is said that after looking through a book of house designs for the new village, the indecisive Duke chose one of each. Edensor therefore is a charming mix of designs, extending from Norman and Jacobean to Swiss-style and Italian villas. Many are virtually untouched, including parts of the old vicarage, two cottages overlooking the green, the old farmhouse which now houses the post office, shop and tea rooms, as well as the Gardener’s Cottage across the road. There will be time for a cuppa at the Edensor Tea Room and also time to visit St. Peter’s Church and it’s cemetery where Kathleen (“Kick”) Kennedy Cavendish and Deborah Mitford Cavendish rest.

We’ll then take a five minute walk to Chatsworth House, crossing over the iconic bridge for a breathtaking view of the House before embarking on a private guided Garden Tour. The 105 acre gardens at Chatsworth are full of surprises with waterworks, sculptures and a wide variety of plants on show. Our guide will share with us the hidden stories and history of the gardens, including the famed glasshouses built by Joseph Paxton, after which you will be free to explore the grounds on your own. This afternoon, we return to the Crowne Plaza Airport Hotel, where we will close the tour with a farewell dinner this evening.

What’s included:

  • 2 nights at Crowne Plaza Airport Hotel, Manchester
  • 6 nights at the Old Hall Hotel, Buxton
  • 7 full English Breakfasts
  • 8 Dinners
  • Entry or admission fees to all listed venues
  • Private coach transportation on travel days
  • Services of a professional guide throughout