An American Aristocrat’s Guide to Great Estates
Sprawling estates and magnificent castles dot Britain’s landscape, passed down from one aristocratic heir or heiress to the next. But life in a stately home isn’t quite the fairy tale it’s made out to be.
Join me, Julie Montagu, Viscountess Hinchingbrooke, as I venture through some of the most storied and remarkable estates in Great Britain. From England’s Newby Hall and Holdenby House to Scotland’s Inveraray and Floors Castles, this is an all-access look at grand residences and the families who keep their histories alive.
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Episode 4 – Boughton House
In this episode, I visit Boughton House, one of the most well preserved 17th-century homes in the UK. I quickly discover that this Northamptonshire property has surprising ties to my own Montagu family.
In a historical house like Boughton, there’s ample room for fun and games. Before the days of television and the internet, I find out that one of the most popular forms of entertainment in the early 18th Century was dance.
Tracing the Montagu ancestry back, the 2nd Duke of Montagu, John, was the life and soul of the party! So much so, a dance was created for him in 1720. I learn a key component of this dance, the minuet step.
Episode 3 – Holdenby House
In this episode, I visit the 450-year-old Holdenby House. It lies within the Northamptonshire estate that was once the palace and prison of King Charles. It is one of the largest prodigy houses of the Tudor period and enjoys grade II listed status.
You can view clips from this episode, including me learning how the house’s historical paintings are maintained and restored, as well as learning about the fascinating sport of falconry.
Episode 2 – Doddington Hall
In this episode, I visit Doddington Hall, an Elizabethan manor house in Lincolnshire. This country house has Flemish tapestries and walled gardens, as well as a restaurant, cafe and shop. I discover how its owners run a retail empire to help keep it alive.
Clips from this episode include me learning how the estate’s beekeepers contribute to the upkeep of the estate, and I try my hand at painting!
Episode 1 – Eastnor Castle
In the first episode of the series, I head to Eastnor Castle, a 19th-century mock or revival castle two miles from the town of Ledbury in Herefordshire. I meet the family who calls it home and learn what it takes to maintain a 97-room building!