Have you ever wanted to experience the splendor and opulence of living in a stately home? Next year - for the first time - some of England’s finest houses are opening their doors and bedrooms to guests who want to immerse themselves in English history and get a taste of life as a modern aristocrat.
Inspired by the Grand Tours of the 18th century, Grand Historic Tours will provide guests with privileged access to three houses for nine days, during which they will join the lives of their hosts and take part in the activities which support their estates in the 21st century.
The first tour - which is limited to 12 people - will begin at Mapperton House, voted the Nation’s Finest Manor House by Country Life Magazine. Guests will be welcomed for three days by Luke and Julie Montagu, otherwise known as Viscount and Viscountess Hinchingbrooke. Julie also hosts the Smithsonian Channel show ‘An American Aristocrat’s Guide to Great Estates’ which features each of the houses on the tour.
At Mapperton, guests will enjoy a private tour of the house with Julie’s father-in-law the Earl of Sandwich, who will of course tell the story of the eponymous snack as well as his family’s wider contribution to Britain’s naval history.
From Mapperton guests will travel north to Eastnor Castle, where they will be warmly welcomed to the vast Grade 1 listed castle by James and Lucy Hervey-Bathurst. Guests will spend three days in some of England’s grandest accommodation, enjoying formal dinners, private tours and exclusive activities in the castle grounds. Adventurous guests may also choose to join the Land Rover experience, driving across 66 miles of off-road trails on the Eastnor estate.
From Eastnor the journey continues north to Newby Hall in Yorkshire, a Georgian masterpiece originally designed by Sir Christopher Wren and remodelled by Robert Adam. Rick and Lucinda Compton will ensure that their guests experience the very best of Newby, with private house and garden tours as well as a black tie farewell dinner in the Statue Gallery, containing one of the finest private collections of ancient Roman statuary.
Julie Montagu says: ‘It was such a privilege to get to know these houses and their wonderful owners during the filming of my series. The houses and estates have really adapted for the modern world – so yes we have wifi and some bathrooms even have showers. We are really looking forward to making new friends and sharing these extraordinary places - it’s going to be a lot of fun and I promise that guests will leave with stories that will last a lifetime!’
Grand Historic Tours is a partnership between Julie Montagu, Mapperton Estate and Beyond Capricorn, a boutique provider of tailor-made holidays and tours. For more information and bookings please visit grandhistorictours.com.