THE REGENCY TOUR – MAY 2021

Regency England – a time like no other. The madness of King George led to his son, the Prince Regent, assuming the throne and ushering in a period of artistic achievement, social upheaval, architectural genius and reckless excess such as the world had rarely seen. On this Tour, we will walk in the footsteps of Beau Brummell and Jane Austen, and stroll the streets of London and the promenades in Brighton,  the ton’s seaside playground. You’ll tour stately homes and pleasure palaces and see how the Regent influenced the world around him. Join with fellow Regency enthusiasts as we relive the glamour and greed, sin and secrets, fashions and faux pas that shaped Regency England.

Click link in photo for complete itinerary and details!

 

 

KENWOOD HOUSE – PART ONE

In 2014, Victoria and I visited Kenwood House together, just one of many visits each of us have made to Kenwood before and since. What’s so special about Kenwood House? Situated in Hampstead Heath, Kenwood is one of the last examples of a private estate remaining in London.
Just inside the gate is this gardener’s cottage, but Kenwood House can boast rather more unique survivors of a bygone age in its grounds, including a bath house and dairy.
A flight of stairs lead to the baths themselves.

Just outside the baths, you’ll find these stairs and a doorway that leads to . . . . . the terrace at the rear of the house.

The Orangery
As you can see, the views were stunning and we decided to walk down to the dairy before touring the house.
On the way, we encountered several others strolling the grounds, including the cutie below, whose name, we learned, was Duke. Really. Not even kidding. Duke.
Around to the front entrance
The classical portico, added by Robert Adam for William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield
The walking the path leading to the Dairy
From the website:

Kenwood became what would be described in 1838 as ‘beyond all question, the finest country residence in the suburbs of London’. Tending a dairy was then a fashionable hobby for aristocratic women, following the example of the French queen Marie Antoinette. But such dairies were still functional, and the one at Kenwood would have supplied the house with butter, milk and cream, while ice was stored in the ice-house below.

Now, after restoration, the three dairy buildings can be appreciated once again: the small, colourfully decorated octagonal tea room, where Louisa entertained her friends, the rooms where the dairymaid lived, and the dairy room. The original marble benches in the dairy room are still here, although the more than 30 black marble milk pans and basins listed in the accounts are missing.

By this time, we were both a bit peckish, so we decided to walk back to the cafe for lunch before touring the house.

Roses in the Brewhouse Restaurant garden
Brewhouse Restaurant
“Hey, Vic,” I said through a mouthful of clotted cream once we’d been served.
“Hhhmmm?”
“I have something to say to you and I want you to look me in the eye while I say it.”
“Is it something bad?”
“Non. It’s something good. You ready?”
Victoria nodded.
“Here we are. Together. In London. At Kenwood House.”
Victoria grinned at me. “I know. It’s terrific. Alone together in England. Like minded travelers wallowing in British history.”
“We can overdose on 19th century Britain and Wellington to our hearts content.”
I’m not certain, but I think it was at this point that Victoria and I clapped our hands together and laughed with childlike glee.
Before long, we struck up a conversation with a really nice lady named Frances. The three of us walked outside and continued the conversation, talking about where Frances had been in the U.S. and where we’d been in England. Then I handed her our Number One London business card, which prompted Frances to tell us that she loved historical research, herself being a direct descendant of architect James Wyatt. Which prompted even more discussion, as you may well imagine.

Finally, Victoria and I entered the house and were greeted by two volunteer docents, who welcomed us warmly and asked us if this was our first visit to Kenwood House. Victoria told the young man that she’d been to the house before and had also seen the traveling exhibit of its artwork when it showed in Milwaukee. Which led to more discussion and mention of our blog. I handed him our card.

“I know this site,” he said. “It’s great.”

Victoria and I glanced at each other. Was he having us on?

“I have a blog about London, too. The Lost Valley of London. I travel round London and shoot videos of out of the way places and my adventures.”

This jogged my memory. “Wait a minute,” I said, “I know your site. You wear a pith helmet, right?” Really, what were the odds that Anthony and I should meet at Kenwood House? All of this led to more discussion and mutual admiration, which lasted another few minutes.

We did, finally, tour the house and for that part of our visit I hand you over to Victoria, who will be bringing you Part Two of our day at Kenwood House soon.

You can see Kenwood House up close and personal on
Number One London’s 2020 Town and Country House Tour.

During our upcoming Scottish Retreat in September, we’ll be starting and ending our adventure in Edinburgh – an opportunity for visits to Edinburgh Castle, above, Holyrood Palace and a stroll up (or down) the Royal Mile.

Our week will include a mix of days out and days in, allowing you to experience life in a country house and to explore the rich Scottish history in the area. Day trips will include visits to castles and stately homes, museums, charming time capsule villages and a once in a lifetime Land Rover Highland Safari with your own private ghillie. The Scottish Retreat will offer you the opportunity to see the most of Scotland, literally from its lofty peaks to shining lochs – we’ll be cruising legendary Loch Lomond, too!

We’ll be staying at historic Gargunnock House, a classic example of the gentleman’s shooting box, complete with open fires, flagstone floors, period details, spiraling staircases and Georgian furnishings.

Being a period property, Gargunnock House has a limited number of bedrooms and there are only 5 spaces left on the tour.
Visit our website for dates and complete itinerary.

 

JOIN US FOR A HIGHLAND SAFARI

The highlight of every Number One London Tours adventure in Scotland is always the Highland Safari and we’ll be embarking on another during our Scottish Retreat in September. We’ll be returning to the Blair Athol Estates for a half day Land Rover tour with our ghillie guides behind the wheel to show us over the vast landscape that includes rugged terrain, rushing streams, breathtaking views and the native wildlife, including wild deer, horses and sheep. We’ll also be visiting Blair Castle, ancestral home of the clan Murray.

I could continue to wax lyrical about the Highland Safari experience, but instead I’ll just show you the pictures I’ve taken on past tours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

During the Scottish Retreat in September, we’ll be staying at Gargunnock House, a classic example of the gentleman’s shooting box, complete with open fires, flagstone floors, period details, spiraling staircases and Georgian furnishings.

Being a period property, Gargunnock House has a limited number of bedrooms and there are only 5 spaces left on the tour.

Visit our website for dates and complete itinerary.

 

 

THE 2019 SCOTTISH RETREAT – GLAMIS CASTLE

 

We’re looking forward to our Scottish Retreat in September and thinking about our upcoming visit to Glamis Castle, a site that is steeped in history. Glamis (above) has been the ancestral seat to the Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne since 1372, the inspiration for Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the childhood home of HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and birthplace of HRH The Princess Margaret.

While the Castle has been used in the past as a stronghold, a barrack and a hospital, Glamis is first and foremost a beloved family home, as these pictures of the interiors attest, many of which we’ll be seeing during our guided tour of the Castle –

 

 

 

 

Unsurprisingly, many legends surround the Castle, most notably that of the “Monster of Glamis,” a hideously deformed heir who was hidden away in a secret room for life. Then there’s the stubborn bloodstain that cannot be removed from the floorboards in one of the castle rooms, said to be the blood of King Malcolm II, who was cut down by the Claymore swords of his rebellious subjects in the castle in 1084, and the tale of the Ogilvies, neighboring aristocrats who came to Glamis and begged for protection from their sworn enemies, the Lindsay family. The Ogilvies were escorted to a chamber under the castle and left there without food or water for over a month. When the chamber was opened, only one of the Ogilvies was barely alive. Rumour goes that their skulls are still kept in yet another secret chamber within the Castle.

While every Castle needs a good legend, or three, I prefer the real life story of the bravery of Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, who visited Glamis often throughout her lifetime.

From the Castle website – “During the First World War Glamis Castle became a convalescent hospital. Lady Elizabeth’s kindness won her the hearts of many of the soldiers who passed through Glamis. On 16th September 1916 two soldiers discovered a fire in a room under the castle roof. As they ran to raise the alarm, the first person they came across was Lady Elizabeth who showed great presence of mind and immediately telephoned both the local and Dundee fire brigades. She then marshalled everyone to fight the fire, organising a chain to convey buckets of water from the river. Later, with the fire raging above them, she organised the removal of the valuables out onto the Lawn. In 1918 the armistice signalled the end of the war and the end of an era. Once the last soldier had left Glamis in 1919 Lady Elizabeth was launched into the high society of the day at her coming out party.”

Outside, you’ll find the walled and the Italian gardens.

 

During the Scottish Retreat in September, we’ll be staying at Gargunnock House, a classic example of the gentleman’s shooting box, complete with open fires, flagstone floors, period details, spiraling staircases and Georgian furnishings.

 

 

Being a period property, Gargunnock House has a limited number of bedrooms and there are only 5 spaces left on the tour.

Visit our website for dates and complete itinerary.