THE 2020 TOWN & COUNTRY HOUSE TOUR

A mix of town and country, this tour includes a blend of residences  from London townhouses to grand stately homes in an array of styles, complete with glorious gardens and each one filled with fabulous furnishings and artwork from various eras and complete with glorious gardens – Visit Kenwood House, Apsley House, the Wallace Collection, Waddesdon Manor, Syon Park, Osterley Park and Sir John Soane’s House.

Based in London, the Town and Country House Tour will allow you to visit a broad range of homes both in Town and in the surrounding countryside. Waddesdon Manor, above, was home to Baron de Rothschild and, along with Syon Park, Kenwood House and Osterley Park, is a fine example of the type of stately home built by prominent aristocrats whose interests were tied to London and who required proximity to the City.

Apsley House, home to the 1st Duke of Wellington, and the Wallace Collection, above, housed in the former home of Lord and Lady Hertford, will both offer glimpses into life in London’s grandest residences, while Sir John Soane’s Museum, Leighton House and 18 Stafford Terrace demonstrate how the homes of 19th century writers and artists would have appeared.

Syon House
Kenwood House
Sir John Soane’s Museum

In addition, guided walking tours will bring you to aristocratic areas, elegant squares and lesser known corners that will immerse you in the history of London and  bring the 18th and 19th centuries to life.

The complete itinerary for the Town and Country House Tour can be found here.

THE 2021 COUNTRY HOUSE TOUR

For 2021, Number One London is offering an up-close look at six of Britain’s finest stately homes, each one showcasing impressive state rooms, private family rooms and perfectly preserved “downstairs” domestic spaces, all presented within a leisurely itinerary. Once we check-in to our hotel in the historic spa town of Buxton, the rest of the tour will be taken as day trips, via luxury coach.

The itinerary includes visits to magnificent properties, some of which have been named as one of England’s 10 Treasure Houses – Castle Howard (above), Harewood House and Chatsworth House – while  Shugborough Hall, Tatton Park and Lyme Park have been chosen for their unique history and architectural significance.

Click link in photo for complete Tour itinerary and links to each property!

ALBERT COTTAGE – ISLE OF WIGHT

Leaving the Castle Hotel, Ryde, Victoria and I headed to East Cowes and our next hotel, Albert Cottage,  once home to Princess Beatrice, Queen Victoria’s younger daughter. The hotel is set in two acres of beautiful gardens backing onto Osborne House, Queen Victoria’s favourite holiday residence. Directly next to the hotel stands the entrance gate to Osborne House, above, still reserved for the use of the current Royals. The public entrance to Osborne House is further on down the street.

The Albert Cottage Hotel

From the hotel website – “Built  in the 1840s, probably by Thomas Cubitt – the then leading master builder in London – ‘Albert Cottage’ was bought in 1852 by Prince Albert to be part of a Botanic Garden development of the Osborne House Estate, and was used together with the adjacent Osborne Cottage by Royal guests. In 1899 a covered corridor was constructed to link the two properties and allow easy movement between them without guests having to brave any inclement weather.”

Princess Beatrice

“This corridor now links the main Hotel and Consort Restaurant & Bar area. When Queen Victoria died in 1901, her successor Edward VII kept both cottages for the use of Victoria’s youngest daughter, Princess Beatrice. In 1913 the Princess moved to Carisbrooke Castle and Albert Cottage was sold to Sir Richard Burbidge, philanthropist Managing Director of Harrods. It was again sold in 1924 to The Hon. Elizabeth Storr, widow of Major L.P. Storr DSO, a war hero killed in action in France in 1918. After later neglect it was turned into a hotel in 1999 and now further developed by current owners HTP Apprenticeship College.”

Upon check-in, Vicky and I were given a two bedroom suite. Vicky’s bedroom looked lovely from the doorway . . . .

And enormous from within. It even offered a sitting area with balcony.

My bedroom was just as lovely, and afforded me views of the Gate. A nice touch – our bathroom shower included instructions.

We had the cozy drawing room to ourselves and enjoyed the expansive garden views.

Some of the other guests were a bit stand-offish, below, but the staff were lovely.

In the afternoon, we made our way to Osborne House for the first of our two day visit to the property. Returning to the hotel that evening, we dined in the Prince Consort Restaurant.

Vicky chose the lamb.

I opted for mussels.

And we split the cheese board for dessert.

Once we had completed our tour of Osborne House, the gardens, beach and Swiss Cottage, Vicky and I headed to the historic town of Cowes and began our sightseeing in Shooters Hill.

Shooters Hill, PicClick UK

As the postcard above illustrates, Shooters Hill has been attracting visitors for quite some time, although today it has mostly been pedestrianized.

Shooters Hill today © Copyright Gillian Thomas

Once more, we were blessed with blue skies and fine weather.

We spent a leisurely few hours admiring the seafront and nosing around in the wide selection of shops. Eventually, we made our way to the Union Inn, which had been recommended to us by our cab driver as the place to eat in Cowes.

From the Island Eye website: “The Union Inn was possibly built after the act of union between England and Scotland, which took place in the year 1707. The pub was a firm favourite of the navy press gang, who used the pub to enlist many young men into their services when the fleet was at Portsmouth.”

As luck would have it, it was a Sunday. And by now, you should know what that means.

More delicious adventures coming soon!

Would you like to experience travel in England first-hand?
Visit our website for a list of upcoming Number One London Tours.

OFF TO CHICHESTER

Our last Wellington archive was located at the Public Record Office in Chichester, West Sussex, where Vicky and I had rented the cozy cottage above.

The cottage was full of charming period details, including the period staircase. You’ll understand why we left our bags on the ground floor for the duration of our stay.

But there was plenty of room outside, as the town of Chichester was literally on our doorstep and the George and Dragon Inn, above, literally around the corner. We both agreed that it looked like the perfect place in which to have lunch.

   Vicky opted for the pie of the day.

And I ordered the ploughman’s lunch. We both had a Pimm’s.

After lunch, we decided that it would be a good idea to explore the historic town and so we set off down the High Street.

The Dolphin Hotel has been a local landmark since 1910, when two neighbouring inns, the Dolphin (1649) and the Anchor (1768) were combined.

Eventually, we arrived at Chichester Cathedral. Construction on the Cathedral was begun in 1075 and it was completed and consecrated in 1108.

As evident in the photos above, the Cathedral contains much of architectural and artistic interest, but what brought us up short was the monument below –

William Huskisson! Who knew?

And nearby, the memorial to his wife, Eliza Emily.

Also a memorial to Sir George Murray, whose Blue Plaque we saw on the High Street earlier.

Next morning, after a cozy night’s sleep, Vicky and I took about twenty steps outside our cottage door to The Exclusive Cake Shop & Vintage Tea Room, where we indulged in scones, a latte (Vicky) and a marshmallow laden hot chocolate (me). Afterwards it was off to the archives for a day of Wellington research.

 

Would you like to experience travel in England first-hand?
Visit our website for a list of upcoming Number One London Tours.