Thursday, 18 December 2014

Elvis’s Cadillac Is In The Building! - Beaulieu National Motor Museum

Elvis's Cadillac
Lady Montagu with Cadillac Seville
The latest exhibit to go on display in the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu is the 1977 Cadillac Seville purchased and driven by the King of Rock & Roll, Elvis Presley. The Cadillac was purchased by Elvis in October 1976 for his own use and he chose the burgundy and silver colour scheme himself. The car is in original condition and still has the CB radio installed that Elvis used to communicate with the kitchen at Graceland and to the guard house outside Graceland, to open the gates.

One of the first people to see the car at Beaulieu was Lady Fiona Montagu, wife of the museum’s founder, Lord Montagu. Lady Montagu has been a life-long fan of the King and posed for a picture beside the car in her own version of Elvis’s famous Las Vegas white jumpsuit. Lady Montagu said: “I am a huge fan and had the costume made to wear at an Elvis themed fund raising evening we held in the museum last year in support of our Beaulieu education charity, the Countryside Education Trust.”

The Cadillac Seville V8 Automatic was manufactured by General Motors and the body custom built by Fisher for Cadillac. Its features include electronic windows and mirrors and a grey interior with wood grain accents on the dashboard, doors and steering wheel.

Previously auctioned in Las Vegas in 1994 and sold for $101,500 to a private collector, it again came up for sale in August when Graceland held its first ever auction. The auction coincided with Elvis Week at Graceland, which commemorates the legend's death on August 16th, 1977. All the items in the auction were offered from third-party collectors. Among the items were rare and unique artefacts from the collection of Greg Page, founding member of Australian children’s music group, The Wiggles, and one of the world’s biggest and most well-known Elvis Presley collectors. Page’s items included Elvis’s 1977 Cadillac Seville.

The car was purchased at the auction for $81,250 by Steve Horn as a present for his wife Suzannah. Steve and Suzannah who are great Elvis fans, run Europe’s Tribute to Elvis, an annual Europe tribute artist contest held in Blackpool with the winner taking part in the contest finals in Memphis. Explaining their decision to offer the car for display at Beaulieu, Steve said: “We wanted to give all of Elvis’s UK fans an opportunity to see his car and Beaulieu is the perfect location. We are delighted they could find a space for it.”

Other highlights of the Graceland auction included Presley's first-known signature – on a Tupelo, Mississippi, school library card – a handwritten set list from 1969 and jewellery, like the beloved lion's head pendant he wore while meeting President Richard Nixon.

The Cadillac was the last car Elvis purchased for his personal use and it was driven by him on the day prior to his death. It is believed that Elvis purchased more than 200 Cadillacs in his life; for himself, friends, family and even strangers. After his death it was gifted by his father, Vernon, to Elvis’s girlfriend, Ginger Alden.

The car is now on display in the National Motor Museum and can be seen as part of a visit to the whole Beaulieu attraction, www.beaulieu.co.uk.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Discover ‘Life at Chatsworth’ This Winter with Behind the Scenes Talks and Artisans Showcase

The curious can discover what it takes to run one of the UK’s most prestigious country estates this winter as staff at Chatsworth deliver a series of entertaining talks throughout January, February and March - including two special opportunities to hear about what happens behind the scenes by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire themselves.

The two exclusive talks, entitled ‘Life at Chatsworth’, will see the 12th Duke and Duchess give an inside account on a decade spent occupying the magnificent estate, which has been passed down through 16 generations of Cavendish family and encompasses 30,000 acres of garden, farmland and parkland. Taking place in the Hartington Room at Chatsworth Stables on 5 and 10 March 2015, early booking is advised.

Chatsworth staff will be delivering a number of regular talks throughout the season, including Head Housekeeper Christine Robinson, who recently published her memoires in ‘Chatsworth: The Housekeepers Tale’. Christine, whose family have worked at Chatsworth for over 200 years, will reveal the motivation behind her book with an opportunity to have copies signed. 

The talks also feature Head of Gardens and Landscape Steve Porter on designers and fashion and their influence on the Chatsworth Garden; Textiles Department Supervisor Susie Stokoe revealing the secrets behind the Mortlake Tapestries; and Archeologist Oliver Jessop talking about glimpses of the Tudor House revealed by the Masterplan.

The talks will run most Fridays from 23 January 2015 to 6 March 2015 in the Hartington Room. Places need to be booked in advance and start at £12 per person. For more information visit http://www.chatsworth.org/attractions-and-events/events/event/winter-talks

Winter visitors will also be able to enjoy a collection of fine artwork as the ‘Peak District Artisans’ return to Chatsworth, showcasing an eclectic line-up of artists, artisans and designer-makers from across the region.

The second exhibition to take place at Chatsworth, artists will include a variety of big names such as the award-winning Sue Prince and Ingrid Karlsson-Kemp. Earlier this year, Sue’s work was chosen for London Stories, an exhibition for the Serco Prize for Illustration at the London Transport Museum, whilst Ingrid’s display will include pieces created for her exhibition as part of Umea, Sweden’s Capital of Culture celebrations.

The spring exhibition will run daily between 10.30am and 3.30pm, from 7 January 2015 to 22 March 2015, where works from 36 ‘Peak District Artisan’ members will be on display in the Carriage House at Chatsworth Stables. Admission is free.

Chatsworth House, Garden, Farmyard, Shops and Restaurants all will remain open until 4 January 2015 (closed on 24, 25, 26 December and 1 January 2015). The house, garden, farmyard and Cavendish restaurant will re-open for the new season on 28 March 2015. The Carriage House restaurant and the gift shops at the stables remain open every day.

For more information on what’s on during winter, visit www.chatsworth.org

Monday, 1 December 2014

Cheeky team of mischievous elves join Father Christmas present giving at Holkham this Christmas

Children will have the chance to enjoy a very special appointment just days before Christmas when Holkham Hall presents an audience with the great man himself. 

Father Christmas will be joined by his cheeky team of mischievous elves. Under the watchful eye of Mother Christmas, he will entertain the young audience with tales of wonderment and magic in the magnificently decorated and grand state room, the Saloon at Holkham Hall.  The ukulele- playing elves will have a colourful and musical repertoire to add to the entertainment.  Each child’s visit will reach an exciting finale with their very own personalised gift from Father Christmas. 

The event takes place on Saturday and Sunday, December 20 and 21 and is recommended for children aged 12 years and under who will receive a personalised present. A special Christmas pop-up shop in the hall will give visitors the opportunity to browse for last-minute presents and festive treats after the performance.

The seasonal visit by Father Christmas is a highlight of a magical month of entertainment at Holkham, from the moment the doors open in early December. In the days leading up to his visit, there will be a magnificent line-up of festive activities and events, guaranteed to give everyone the very best Christmas experience before the big day. 
Visitors will be spoilt for choice with Holkham’s exciting festive programme that sees the hall traditionally decorated for Christmas for two weekends on December 6/7 and 13/14, when the fun-loving ukulele elves will join in the merriment, along with costumed characters, music and carol singing, story-telling and art activities, face painting and carriage rides, as well as festive food and drink and an opportunity to browse the Holkham gift shop for that perfect Christmas present.

The Marble Hall is the perfect backdrop for two evening musical concerts on December 5 and 13 and a weekend of Christmas theatre with Charles Dickens’ classic novel, ‘Great Expectations’ on December 20 and 21.

The return of Holkham’s popular mid-week candlelight tours of the hall will ensure there is something for all tastes.

Full details of Holkham’s Christmas programme in December and opportunities to book tickets online can be found by visiting www.holkham.co.uk

Monday, 17 November 2014

Christmas at England's greatest Elizabethan house - Burghley


Christmas at Burghley

Christmas will be even more sparkling this year at England’s greatest Elizabethan house – with a free craft fair, extra seasonal shopping and a feast of festive food.

Dressed for the occasion, Burghley House, on the edge of Stamford, will have more Christmas decorations than ever before, while this year the annual Craft Fair will move to the House, adding to the festive feel around the cobbled courtyards.

For 2014, the Burghley Christmas Fair, run by the Rural Crafts Association, has been brought up the House and will nestle within the Brewhouse and courtyard, close to Burghley’s Orangery restaurant and shops. Entry this year is free of charge and stalls will feature unique textiles, unusual sculptures, artisan chocolates, jewellery and cashmere and silk pashminas (27-30 November, 9am until 5pm and 4pm on Sunday).

Also over that weekend, the free-to-enter Christmas Fine Food Market returns to offer visitors even more tasty treats. A celebration of local produce, stall holders will be selling local cheese, meats, cupcakes, cider and much more in the festively decorated courtyards, Saturday 29th November - Sunday 30th November.

Or how about Christmas carols in the intimate surroundings of the family Chapel within the House? What more traditional way to begin festive celebrations than at the Chapel Carol Concert with music spanning the House’s five centuries of history. Mulled wine and mince pies will be served in the candlelit Old Kitchen during the interval. (Sunday 14th December). 

For a chance to warm up with some seasonal food and drink, Burghley’s ever-popular Orangery Restaurant - housed in a building that provided space for the family’s love of horticulture and designed by Capability Brown – is now open Wednesday to Sunday, 10am until 4pm, until 21 December.

As well as the autumn and festive menus, a Christmas Afternoon Tea (available 19 November - 21 December) features turkey and cranberry or Stilton and red onion marmalade sandwiches, cranberry and white chocolate blondie and dark chocolate yule log.

For a spot of retail therapy, Burghley's Courtyard Shop is also open while extra seasonal shopping will again be available at the special Christmas Shop in the Brewhouse offering a selection of decorations, festive lighting, winter fragrances, chocolates and cosy winter accessories. Both shops open Wednesday through Sunday, 10am to 4pm, until 21 December.

While the house may be closed for winter, Burghley's parkland, with its resident herd of deer, remains open with free entry right through the year - perfect for winter walks or a chance to blow away the Christmas cobwebs.

For full details, opening times and to book tickets, see www.burghley.co.uk

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Kirstie Allsopp starts the festive season in style at Living Crafts for Christmas, Blenheim Palace

Kirstie Allsopp to film at Living Crafts
Queen of all things handmade Kirstie Allsopp will be spoilt for choice when she films at Living Crafts for Christmas on 21 November. This event is a unique Christmas shopping experience with so many contemporary crafters, jewellers, ceramicists, milliners, artists and toymakers who travel from across the UK to Blenheim Palace. Over 150 specially selected designer-makers will be showcasing British handmade art and craft in floored and heated pavilions and the Orangery, and the Campaign Rooms will feature a Jewellery Quarter.

Kirstie Allsopp to film at Living Crafts
This four day craft extravaganza is the perfect place to find presents for all the family from special commissions and original gifts to quirky stocking fillers.  The pavilions will be brimming with high quality art, craft and Christmas cheer and remember to enjoy the Christmas entertainment, roasting hot chestnuts, mulled cider or steaming hot chocolate. Be inspired by the handcrafted decorations, wreaths, candles and garlands, perfect for decorating your festive home. Specialist food and drink producers in ‘Tastes of Christmas’ will tempt you with traditional treats and perfect foodie gifts: everything from handmade chocolates, wines, connoisseur preserves, oils and marinades to Christmas cakes and puddings. Blenheim Palace will be dressed for the season with sumptuous gold and glitter. The Great Court will be adorned with twinkling Christmas trees, creating a magical ambience, while the beautiful parkland, lakeside walks and formal gardens are majestic in the winter light, just waiting to be explored. A feast of winter warming food is available in the Water Terrace Café and the Oxfordshire Pantry, featuring local produce, and don’t forget to drop into the Champagne Bar!

This is a perfect pre-Christmas day out for all the family.

Visit www.livingcrafts.co.uk
Facebook LivingCraftsUK
Twitter @LivingCraftsUK

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Down the Rabbit Hole with Alice at Chatsworth this Christmas 8 November 2014 - 4 January 2015

Visitors to Chatsworth this Christmas should prepare to head down the rabbit hole and through the looking glass as this year’s Christmas theme takes inspiration from the vivid and fantastical world created by author Lewis Carroll in his classic ‘Alice's Adventures in Wonderland’, from 8 November to 4 January. 
Chatsworth Christmas

Chatsworth Christmas

Chatsworth Christmas


















Fifty-two Christmas trees and 900,000 fairy lights will ensure Chatsworth dazzles with lots of traditional Christmas sparkle. Inside the house, 18 fir trees will be adorned with 6,000 tree ornaments. Preparations for this year's Christmas started almost a year ago, with the staff at Chatsworth creating most of the wonderful displays and costumes in-house. 

Head housekeeper Christine Robinson said: "Teams from the textiles department, carpenters, painters and housekeepers have been working all year to create the individual displays to bring the theme to life. This year, we have a giant rabbit's burrow for the White Rabbit, costumes for visitors to try on and a magical hall of mirrors as visitors journey with Alice through her dream of a Chatsworth wonderland."

Chatsworth is extending its Christmas opening period this year and re-opening the house, garden and farmyard after Christmas for visitors to enjoy over the remaining school holiday period. The house will be closed on Dec 24, 25 and 26, and re-open on Dec 27 until 31 December, and from 2 to 4 January 2015. 

Chatsworth will be expecting grins as wide as a Cheshire Cat as visitors are taken on a magical journey through the lower floors of the house.  The interiors are transformed to recreate classic scenes from the enduringly popular story of a girl named Alice, who falls down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar creatures such as the White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter, a sleepy Dormouse and the Queen of Hearts.

On arrival, the North Entrance Hall will be dressed to create the illusion of tumbling down the rabbit hole into Wonderland, where visitors will encounter the Mad Hatter's Tea Party; the Game of Croquet, and the table with the infamous ‘Drink Me’ bottle and ‘Eat Me’ cake. 

Playing Card Soldiers, White Rabbits, and Tweedledum and Tweedledee costumed guides will be on hand to direct visitors through to majestic woodland scene. There, a giant Caterpillar will be smoking his pipe on top of an oversized mushroom as psychedelic sitar music plays. 

Classic lines from the book are on show en route while sounds include the White Rabbit muttering 'I'm late, I'm late' or Alice crying out 'Curiouser and Curiouser' add to the feeling of entering the disorientating story. 

Always popular with children - and grown-ups too - is the opportunity to get into character themselves by dressing up in some of the Alice in Wonderland themed costumes, made by the Chatsworth Textiles team, in the Inner Court Marquee.

The Painted Hall is the perfect setting for the extravagant Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. The huge dining room table will be adorned with dozens of tea cups, saucers, cake stands, and even an over-sized steaming teapot. 

The displays will also feature traditional Christmas elements, with numerous fir trees and Christmas garlands adorned with baubles and fairy lights. 

This year’s theme extends to farmyard and adventure playground with Alice in Wonderland themed craft activities in the Christmas marquee where little ones can make a mad hat, white rabbit ears, teapot card or a traditional reindeer headband. Magician Professor Shell will be making rabbits disappear while the popular nativities featuring the farmyard animals and young visitors take place on weekends in December. This is offered on a first come first served basis and will incur an additional £2.50. 

Other Christmas at Chatsworth events to look out for include C.W.Sellors* Christmas Wishes on 8-9 November, register online at www.cwsellors.com, the popular Christmas Markets from November 13 to 23, and Wreath Making on December 3-4 2014.For information on opening times, advance tickets, prices and other events, please visit www.chatsworth.org 

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Wallace And Gromit Anti-Pesto Van Is The Latest Star To Join Beaulieu’s On Screen Cars Exhibition

Wallace & Gromit Anti-Pesto Van,
Beaulieu's On Screen Cars
The Wallace and Gromit Anti-Pesto Van is the latest exhibit to arrive in Beaulieu’s On Screen Cars display. A plasticine version of this Austin A35 van was created for the film Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.

Nick Park, creator of the Wallace and Gromit animations, used to own an A35 and thought it was the ideal model to use in the film because “the van needed to be big enough to transport Wallace’s invention, the Bunvac 2000, while slick enough to go on high-speed chases.”

In the film, Tottington Hall’s Giant Vegetable Competition is fast approaching and Wallace and Gromit are running a vegetable security and humane pest control business, Anti-Pesto. In order to cope with the increasing amount of captured rabbits Wallace invents a brainwashing machine, but a mistake during the operation creates a ‘Were-Rabbit’, a giant rabbit which eats vegetables of any size. It’s down to Wallace and Gromit to capture the rampaging beast before the competition!

The Anti-Pesto Van, which has been loaned to Beaulieu following a call-out for new vehicles for the exhibition, joins a host of other star vehicles.

The ‘flying’ Ford Anglia on display was used during the making of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. In the film, the enchanted flying car is stolen a number of times by Ron Weasley, on one occasion to rescue his friend Harry Potter from the Dursleys’ house, and on another to return to Hogwarts after the gate to Platform 9¾ is sealed by house elf Dobby.

Sharing the spotlight with the Anglia is TV favourite, Mr Bean’s lime green mini. This particular car was used in the character's third series and made its first television appearance on 1st January 1991.

Another TV favourite on display is Del Boy’s beloved Trotter Van. Possibly the nation's most famous three-wheel vehicle, this Regal van featured in the BBC sitcom Only Fools and Horses. It was the sole transport for the Trotter family of Del, Rodney, Grandad and Uncle Albert, until Del Boy later went ‘upmarket’ and purchased a Capri Ghia.

On Screen Cars can be seen as part of a visit to the whole Beaulieu attraction, which also includes the National Motor Museum, World of Top Gear, Beaulieu Abbey, and Palace House and gardens. Visit www.beaulieu.co.uk for further information.

Exclusive Dining at Burghley House – Feel like Royalty as you dine in the exclusive surroundgs of Burghley House

Burghley House Great Hall
Burghley has been entertaining guests throughout its history and today provides a wonderful backdrop for a variety of events.

The Great Hall, with its stunning Tudor fireplace was once used by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert who dined here during their stay in 1844.

This beautiful room can accommodate up to 100 people seated on rounds or the Victorian banquet table (the very same table used by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert) which seats up to 42 people which provides an unparalleled historic grandeur for those looking to hold a quintessentially English dining experience within one of the country’s finest Elizabethan homes.

For Private or Corporate Dining Enquiries please contact Event Manager Kara Lockyer to discuss your event requirements on 01780 761 992 or kara.lockyer@burghley.co.uk

Monday, 3 November 2014

Victorian Christmas Celebrations At Beaulieu - 20th December 2014 – 4th January 2015

Giant Christmas Tree
Visit Beaulieu this Festive Season, between 20th December and 4th January 2015, for a glimpse of Christmas Past in a Victorian country house.

See one of the largest outdoor Christmas trees in the New Forest, adorned with seasonal decorations and follow the fairy light path to Palace House, the home of the Montagu family since 1538, which is a place of enchantment at this special time of year.  Children can follow the Christmas Cracker quiz trail and hear how festive traditions have developed over the ages before delving into a  ‘Box of Delights’ to dress up in period costume. 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.

Palace House Staff at Christmas
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 ‘Wheels’, a pod-ride transporting you on a journey through one hundred years of motoring history.

In the World of Top Gear Enormodrome watch exclusive footage as the presenters 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 festive fare.  There is free parking and free entry to the extensive Gift Shop which is conveniently located in the Visitor Reception Hall.

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

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Second New Forest Attraction Gets Top Marks From VisitEngland

Beaulieu and the National Motor Museum
A second New Forest attraction has been hailed as one of the nation’s best attractions. The Beaulieu attraction, home of Lord Montagu and the National Motor Museum, has been given top marks from VisitEngland which praised it for giving a full day's visit of educational as well as entertainment value offered in an attractive historic setting which is maintained to an exceptionally high standard.

The gold accolade was awarded to Beaulieu as a result of the most recent Visitor Attraction Quality Scheme audit in August. Its report concluded that Beaulieu is an outstanding visitor attraction with the many elements to its offering being individually interesting, fun and well presented; collectively adding up to a full and satisfying day out for visitors.

The range of content far exceeded expectation both in variety and sheer scale, from stately home to a Top Gear experience, from an enormous car and motorbike display to an exhibition on Beaulieu's secret role in the Second World War.

Commercial Director, Stephen Munn, said: “We are delighted to receive further affirmation of the quality of the Beaulieu attraction and its staff and the level of customer care shown to our visitors, maintaining the standard that saw the attraction being given the top award in the large Visitor Attraction of the Year category at the 2013 VisitEngland Awards for Excellence.

“It is a great accolade for the New Forest that two of its leading visitor attractions, Beaulieu and Paultons Park, have been awarded this premier standard, out of only ten so far awarded nationwide.”

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Holkham to invest £4.5m in new exhibition and visitor facilities

A Site Layout Plan of the proposed
Ground Floor - credit Hopkins Architects LLP
Proposed interior of events building
- credit Hopkins Architects LLP
Plans for a major transformation of the former stables and redundant pottery buildings at Holkham will create exciting new and improved facilities for visitors to the hall and park. Working with one of the UK’s leading names, Hopkins Architects, the project will create many new features.

The plans include a new café and restaurant which will double the amount of indoor seating.  The current café is no longer able to accommodate the number of visitors coming to Holkham Park, which is estimated to have risen by more than 50% over the past four years.

A larger shop will extend the opportunities to showcase the local suppliers and producers who provide most of the gifts and items for sale in the shop. The conversion of the former pottery into an indoor events facility will create a space capable of seating over 250. This will enable the estate to host weddings and conferences, which will extend the visitor season beyond the busy summer months and support local accommodation providers in low season.

The longstanding Bygones Museum which is owned by the Bygones Charity (Registered No. 801090) will close and be replaced by a new exhibition telling the story of Holkham’s unique farming heritage.

The exhibition is being designed by Drinkall Dean and will become the focal point of the estate’s ambitious education programme which now employs a full time education officer and works with over 50 schools. The aim of the new exhibition will be to show how the land is linked to food production and will explore themes of nutrition and cookery, which are increasingly relevant to young people.

Since the Bygones collection began in 1979 it has accumulated thousands of donated items varying from agricultural machines to mechanical toys and household implements. Some of the objects in the current exhibition will be reused but the estate is looking for a new home for many of the objects that have been collected over the years and is currently in the process of contacting the many people who have donated items over the years to see if they would like them returned.

Objects that cannot be re-homed will be sold and the proceeds retained by the charity to further its educational objectives which are “establishing and maintaining an exhibition centre at Holkham, Norfolk for educational purposes, with particular reference to the achievements and influence of the agricultural reformers, Coke of Norfolk and ‘Turnip’ Townshend of Raynham and to the provision of facilities for the demonstration and study of agricultural evolution with special emphasis on East Anglia.”

Dick Joice, a progressive farmer whose own collection formed the nucleus of the Bygones Museum farmed on both the Holkham and Raynham Estates and would certainly approve this far seeing Holkham enterprise for the 21st century.

David Horton-Fawkes, estates director at Holkham said: “Holkham was the crucible of the Agricultural Revolution and the four course rotation, and there can be no story which is more relevant to Norfolk and Holkham.  The whole project will create considerable building work for 15 months, but we believe the final result will provide a fantastic new visitor experience which has been designed to rival anything found in any other stately home in the country.”

The estate has worked closely with English Heritage and North Norfolk District Council to ensure all the plans for the mainly Grade II listed buildings will be in keeping and that there will be minimal impact on areas of major historical importance.

While building work is underway, the hall will be open at its normal opening times and temporary facilities will be used in 2015 for ticketing, the café and gift shop. 

Anyone who originally donated an item and may be interested in having it returned should email enquiries@holkham.co.uk or telephone the Estate Office on 01328 710227 by the end of November 2014.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Get Ghostly This Halloween at Chatsworth

Halloween at Chatsworth
Choose Your Pumpkin



















Spooktacular Chatsworth is full of scary surprises this half term as the haunting Halloween Hoot returns to the eerie Peak District.

With ghoulish fun lurking round every corner, the garden, farmyard and house will be transformed from October 25 to November 2 by a host of Halloween helpers. Families brave enough to enter can witness the tricks, treats and spooky stories on offer, with activities ranging from broomstick making to trips into the spooky spell weavers lair.

Dare to ride the Fright Flight that travels deep into Warlock Wood, but mind your head - you will be shooting the spooks and spotting the bats as you go! A scary scattering of spiders and snakes will also be joining the resident farmyard animals, as well as a craft marquee, for a real hands-on fright fest this Halloween.

Visitors can take a walk through Chatsworth’s Halloween trail, with the house exhibiting a selection of historical items sure to give you a shock, including a man trap, a 16th century book of spells, a death mask, an autopsy report from 1777 and more. Ceramic pumpkins will light the way and highlight items from the collection with extra spooky significance.

In the garden, seek out hidden pumpkins, venture into the abandoned tunnel and much more. Spooky stories fit for the whole family will be taking place under the canopy every 30 minutes from 11.30 am – 4.00pm and afterwards learn how to make a witch’s broomstick.  Included with admission to the house, garden and/or farmyard, check www.chatsworth.org for more information on dates, times and prices.

Caravans And Charabancs – Leisure Motoring After The First World War – Saturday 15 November 2014

A 1922 Piggott caravan with an Armstrong Siddeley

Day trippers on board a charabanc on Southsea promenade
On Saturday 15th November, transport historian and member of the National Motor Museum Trust’s Advisory Council, Richard Peskett, and Curator of The Caravan Club Collection, Angela Willis, will host a special evening exploring the growth in leisure motoring after the First World War.

The evening will form part of the NMMT’s Heritage Lottery Funded project Caravans & Charabancs – Leisure Motoring after the First World War. Using a wealth of material from the NMMT and Caravan Club Collections, Caravans and Charabancs will explore how social and technological developments before and during the First World War, coupled with a post-war influx of surplus materials, led to a boom in leisure motoring in the decades after the conflict. Richard and Angela will tell the fascinating stories behind many previously unseen photographs, which chart the increasing demand in charabanc outings and caravan holidays amongst the British war-weary.

The evening, starting at 7.30pm, will be held in the Lecture Theatre of the National Motor Museum Collections’ Centre. A pay bar is available for the purchase of beers, wines, soft drinks, tea and coffee. Before, the Museum will open from 6.00pm for a private viewing at no extra charge.

Tickets are £10 (with all profits going to the National Motor Museum Trust) and are available by contacting Theresa Browning on 01590 614792, email: friends@beaulieu.co.uk

Monday, 13 October 2014

‘Batsworth House’ in New Conservation Scheme at Chatsworth

A new conservation project at Chatsworth has seen it dubbed ‘Batsworth House’ as it aims to protect and restore the local habitat of hundreds of bats including endangered species.

The ‘Batsworth’ nickname came from conservation team at the Derbyshire estate of the Duke of Devonshire as they created a new home for the area’s bat colony to reduce the disturbance caused by the reopening of the historic Burntwood Quarry to provide new stone for conservation work on the grade 1 listed Chatsworth House.

Made out of excavated sand stone, the bat house features 4-metre deep cellars and a roof space, which will provide cool rooms for the bats to retreat to in hot or cold weather, along with seven bat boxes placed around the quarry perimeter. ‘Batsworth’ will aid the preservation of the local bat population which includes the Common and Soprano Pipstrille, as well as the Brown Long-Eared, Whiskered, Daubenton and Natterer bat.

Sean Doxey, Head of Special Projects at Chatsworth, said: “We do a lot of conservation work around the estate to keep the landscape and its wildlife in the best possible condition for the many thousands of visitors that come here. The bat house will provide a new home for the hundreds of bats that have made Burntwood Quarry their home in the hundred years or so since it was closed."

The reopened site will have almost 30,000 tonnes of new stone removed from a section of the existing quarry face to support heritage repairs to Chatsworth House, stable block and surrounding buildings. The quarry, which has not been used since the early 1900s, was the original source of the Ashover gritstone used to build Chatsworth in 1687.

The Peak District National Park Authority approved plans to reopen Burntwood Quarry last November after agreeing that small scale quarrying of local stone for use on the nationally important Chatsworth House was in the public interest.

Halloween Entertainment at Blenheim Palace

Families can enjoy plenty of Halloween entertainment at Blenheim Palace during October Half-Term. As the Autumn season draws in, and our thoughts turn to Halloween tricks and treats, Blenheim Palace offers the perfect family day out.
Family Halloween fun at Blenheim Palace
From 25th October – 2nd November the Blenheim Palace ghost train will taking families from the Palace through the spooky tunnel to the Pleasure Gardens to enjoy a whole host of haunts.
Families can lurk around the Labyrinth or take the ‘Which Witch is Which?’ trail to win some treats, get creepily crafty in the Pottering About studio and try their hand at pumpkin carving in the Pleasure Gardens Deli.
There will also be classic spooky storytelling in the cinema of the Stables Courtyard with ghostly tales including ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’ and ‘The Canterville Ghost’ perfect for getting into the Halloween spirit.  
Families with older children can also experience a themed tour to learn all about Victorian Passions and Pursuits at Blenheim Palace. On Wednesday 29th October visitors can learn about the five Victorian Dukes, their outstanding characters and their interesting wives.


There are plenty of spooky goings-on to enjoy and experience at Blenheim Palace this half term holiday for all the family.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Join in the ghoulish fun this Halloween at Holkham

Ghoulish adventures and spooktacular happenings will set hearts racing at Holkham Hall when it hosts a spine-tingling array of Halloween events sure to terrify the bravest of souls.

Halloween fun at Holkham
Halloween Horrors will take place from October 26 to 31 with lots of scary activities, ghostly games and gory fun and frights for everyone to enjoy celebrating Halloween.


In the Bygones Museum visitors can discover the wonders inside the amazing ‘Curiovan’ and see the natural world in a magical way. Their sense of curiosity and wonder will be awakened by the specimen jars, dancing skeletons, singing mechanical birds, clockwork ladybirds and tiny skeletal fairies which are among the many exhibits to be discovered and explored. 

Ghostly fun!
A yarnsmith will enthral his listeners and bring to life his spell-binding, mystical tales and Victorian stories of ghosts, witches and devils.  Some hauntingly scary fun with silhouette bingo, a skull-duggery challenge, pumpkin carving and craft activities to make the scariest pop-up ghost will keep everyone occupied.

In the vast 18th century walled gardens Halloween visitors will be able to pit their wits against the ghosts and play phantom football, or test their knowledge and try the mind-boggling code breaker trail.  Spooky body parts and frightful factoids are all to be found in the state rooms of Holkham Hall where children can make pencil ghosts and join in the fun. In the magnificent setting of the Old Kitchen, ‘Kiddycook’ will be on hand to help younger visitors decorate their own tasty Halloween cookie with some gruesome additions.

Everyone is encouraged to come dressed up for the occasion and can have their outfits enhanced by ghoulish face painting to add some gory grazes and weeping wounds providing a touch of the macabre.  A fancy dress parade will take place each day at 12 noon.


Holkham’s Halloween events run from October 26 to 31. The hall will be open on the Sunday, Monday and Thursday. All other areas will be open every day. For further information and admission prices go to http://www.holkham.co.uk/html/Halloween2014.html

Book a special appointment with Father Christmas at Holkham just days before he goes on his rounds delivering presents

Father Christmas and his helpers
Children will have the chance to enjoy a very special appointment just days before Christmas when Holkham Hall presents an audience with the great man himself. 

Father Christmas will be joined by his cheeky team of mischievous elves. Under the watchful eye of Mother Christmas, he will entertain the young audience with tales of wonderment and magic in the magnificently decorated and grand state room, the Saloon at Holkham Hall.  The ukulele- playing elves will have a colourful and musical repertoire to add to the entertainment.  Each child’s visit will reach an exciting finale with their very own personalised gift from Father Christmas. 

Father Christmas At Holkham
The event takes place on Saturday and Sunday, December 20 and 21 and is recommended for children aged 12 years and under who will receive a personalised present. A special Christmas pop-up shop in the hall will give visitors the opportunity to browse for last-minute presents and festive treats after the performance.

The seasonal visit by Father Christmas is a highlight of a magical month of entertainment at Holkham, from the moment the doors open in early December. In the days leading up to his visit, there will be a magnificent line-up of festive activities and events, guaranteed to give everyone the very best Christmas experience before the big day. 
Visitors will be spoilt for choice with Holkham’s exciting festive programme that sees the hall traditionally decorated for Christmas for two weekends on December 6/7 and 13/14, when the fun-loving ukulele elves will join in the merriment, along with costumed characters, music and carol singing, story-telling and art activities, face painting and carriage rides, as well as festive food and drink and an opportunity to browse the Holkham gift shop for that perfect Christmas present.

The Marble Hall is the perfect backdrop for two evening musical concerts on December 5 and 13 and a weekend of Christmas theatre with Charles Dickens’ classic novel, ‘Great Expectations’ on December 20 and 21.

The return of Holkham’s popular mid-week candlelight tours of the hall will ensure there is something for all tastes.


Full details of Holkham’s Christmas programme in December and opportunities to book tickets online can be found by visiting www.holkham.co.uk

Friday, 3 October 2014

Ai Weiwei break with Classic British Hotels & Blenheim Palace

Classic British Hotels have created a great offer for visitors to have bed, breakfast and Blenheim Palace
 Classic British Hotels Offer

To celebrate the exciting art exhibition of Chinese political activist Ai Weiwei at the Palace, from 1st October – 14th December – the package has been designed for guests to experience the best of Oxfordshire.

The exclusive break includes a one night stay for two and entry to Blenheim Palace with two Palace, Park and Gardens tickets.


Find out more with Classic British Hotels. 

Monday, 29 September 2014

Living Crafts for Christmas

Wrap up your festive shopping at Blenheim Palace

Enjoy Christmas shopping in style in the majestic setting of Blenheim Palace as over 150 British designer-makers take part in Living Crafts for Christmas from Thursday 20 – Sunday 23 November. This highlight of the festive season showcases a huge range of contemporary crafts from across the UK, giving you the opportunity to buy from the makers. 

The Great Court is transformed into a winter wonderland with twinkling
Christmas trees, roasting chestnuts, mulled wine and steaming hot chocolate as the sounds of festive street theatre and a duo singing Christmas favourites fill the air.


Blenheim Palace Christmas Shopping

With exquisite gold and silver designs in the Jewellery Quarter, studio glass, toys, millinery, fashions, ceramics, original art, wreaths and handcrafted decorations, this unique shopping experience has everything from individual gifts and special commissions to simple stocking fillers.



Festive aromas from the specialist food and drink in ‘Tastes of Christmas’ will tempt you with traditional treats and more unusual foodie gifts. Try handmade fudges and chocolates, waxed Cheddar truckles, connoisseur preserves and chutneys, while embracing the Christmas spirit with whiskies, fruit liqueurs, mulling syrups and wines for those special occasions. 



Blenheim Palace will be dressed for the season, celebrating in sparkle and splendour, with the theme of this year’s décor being ‘Glitter and Gold’ while the beautiful parkland and formal gardens are waiting to be explored in their full winter glory.

A feast of winter warming food is available in the Water Terrace Café and the Oxfordshire Pantry featuring local produce and don’t forget to drop into the Champagne Bar!

This is a perfect festive day out for all the family with a magical seasonal atmosphere at Britain’s Greatest Palace.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Ai Weiwei at Blenheim Palace

Ai Weiwei exhibition

Blenheim Art Foundation is delighted to announce the most extensive UK exhibition to date by celebrated Chinese artist and social activist Ai Weiwei. Opening at Blenheim Palace on 1 October as the inaugural and launch exhibition of the Blenheim Art Foundation, the exhibition will showcase more than 50 artworks by Ai Weiwei produced over the last 30 years. Featuring early photography dating to Ai’s time spent in New York in the 1980s through to new site-specific works conceived in China especially for the Palace, the show will give visitors the opportunity to experience first-hand the breadth of the artist’s practice, taking place throughout Blenheim Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and its grounds.

Ai Weiwei at Blenheim Palace is the first major contemporary art exhibition to be presented in a building that dates back to 1704 and was famously the birth place of British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill in 1874. Inviting a new experience of Blenheim Palace by integrating artworks throughout the richly furnished palace rooms, as well as in the park and Formal Gardens, the exhibition will showcase the work of an artist known for his decisive breaking of tradition and will invite visitors to consider the artist’s particular vision, which questions what it is that we call ‘contemporary’. 

A globally-recognised social activist, Ai Weiwei has not been able to leave China since 2011 when his passport was confiscated by Chinese authorities. The exhibition at Blenheim Palace is therefore realised through a close collaboration between the artist and the Blenheim Art Foundation team who have worked together with 3D plans and models of the site and grounds. New works realised for the Palace will include ‘Soft Ground (Great Hall)’, a site-specific carpet measuring 4510cm by 200cm displayed in the Great Hall; alongside hand-painted porcelain plates with ‘freedom flower’ details in the China Ante Room and ‘Sunflower Seed Stools’, also crafted in porcelain.
                    
Seminal artworks on display will include ‘Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads: Gold’ (2010), Ai Weiwei’s reinterpretation of the legendary bronze zodiac head statues that once surrounded the fountain-clock at Emperor Yuanming Yuan’s Beijing imperial retreat and ‘He Xie’ (2010), featuring 2300 small porcelain crabs presented in the Red Drawing Room. The show will feature 55 photographs by Ai Weiwei documenting his time spent in New York 1983-1993 alongside ‘Marble Surveillance Camera’ (2010), a poignant reminder of Ai’s current situation; ‘Slanted Table’ (1997), a reconfigured Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) table; and ‘Map of China’, (2009) formed from wood reclaimed from temples also dating to the Qing Dynasty.

As the inaugural exhibition of the Blenheim Art Foundation, Ai Weiwei at Blenheim Palace marks a new programme of contemporary art, which will see exhibitions presented at the palace by internationally acclaimed contemporary artists. It is founded by Lord Edward Spencer-Churchill, whose family have resided at Blenheim Palace since it was built in the early 18th century, and whose father the 11th Duke of Marlborough is the current owner. A dedicated collector of contemporary art, Lord Edward has long held the ambition to launch a contemporary art programme at Blenheim Palace. He realises Blenheim Art Foundation with newly appointed Director, Michael Frahm.



Lord Edward Spencer-Churchill, Founder, Blenheim Art Foundation, said:
“The launch of the Blenheim Art Foundation is a very exciting moment for Blenheim Palace. We are delighted to be able to host an artist of the calibre and eminence of Ai Weiwei at Blenheim and hope that our new programme of contemporary art, beginning with this exhibition, will challenge and inspire our visitors.”

Michael Frahm, Director, Blenheim Art Foundation, said:

“This exhibition presents an extensive view of the artist's diverse practice spanning more than three decades from the early 1980s in New York to modern day Beijing, where he is today confined to the borders of China. Ai Weiwei's way of approaching the world challenges the status quo and he continues to raise critical questions on social, cultural and political issues. It has been a true pleasure working with Ai Weiwei, turning our vision into reality, and it is a great privilege for us to launch Blenheim Art Foundation with one of the most important living artists.