Destination: England: London
Hatfield is one of the few stately homes people can easily visit by train. It’s only about an hour’s train ride from London’s King’s Cross station. In summer 2011, Hatfield is celebrating its 400th anniversary with fifteen Henry Moore sculptures that will be installed across the imposing property through September 30.
Every year, Prince Charles opens his gardens at Highgrove, in Gloucestershire, from March until October. Highgrove is now offering exclusive tours (the only way to get onto the estate) which can be booked on-line. The Afternoon Tea Tour (£69.95) includes tea in the Orchard Room, followed by a guided tour of the private gardens (groups are no larger than 15 people). For those who prefer a bit of bubbly, the Champagne and Canapés Tour (£79.95) is a good match. The garden tours last approximately one-and-a-half hours and cover two miles of garden. It’s about a two-hour drive from London to Highgrove. When you purchase a tour, it is presented in a special gift box, including a guide book, information pack and invitation; it’s an ideal present for garden lovers.
A castle that seems to have been pulled from the pages of a fairy tale, Sudeley has an illustrious history. During Tudor times, it served as a royal household of Queen Katherine Parr (the sixth wife of King Henry VIII), who is buried here, and meticulously restored during the 1830s, the castle also served as a favorite meeting spot for the Victorian era’s great politicians. Today, Sudeley is the home of Lady Ashcombe and the Dent-Brocklehurst family, including Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst, a director of London’s Gagosian Gallery who has been curating the successful summer exhibitions for years. Check Sudeley’s Web site (www.sudeleycastle.co.uk) for upcoming exhibitions, which always look incredible within the backdrop of the castle’s beautifully landscaped grounds.
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