London. Gather at the hotel in central London for a reception and dinner. Spend the first of two nights in London.
London. See a number of key works in the history of Palladianism and other 18th-century English styles in the West End of London. These include a well-preserved town house, a private members club (subject to confirmation), Burlington House, later home to the Royal Academy but still retaining parts of the 1714 building, and Spencer House, the finest private house in London, designed by John Vardy and James 'Athenian' Stuart.
Stoke Park, Lamport Hall. Drive north to Northamptonshire to see two rare examples of 17th-century pure classicism. Stoke Park Pavilions are survivals from a 1620s house, among the earliest manifestations of Palladianism in England and therefore attributed to Inigo Jones. His pupil and assistant, John Webb, designed robust and rusticated Lamport Hall in 1655 for the family which lived there for over 300 years. Overnight in a country hotel in Leicestershire.
Wentworth Woodhouse, Nostell Priory. Wentworth is the largest private house in England and has the longest house frontage in Europe. Despite a complex building history, it is essentially 18th-century Palladian, and contains some very grand interiors. Afflicted by existential threats for 70 years, its future was secured only in 2017. Nostell Priory is an architectural treasure by James Paine, with modifications by Robert Adam. The collection of Chippendale furniture here is unequalled. First of four nights in York.
York. York has been among the largest and most prosperous cities in Britain and possesses many fine buildings of every era. Lord Burlington's Assembly Rooms of 1732 has an important place in the history of Palladianism, York Minster is England's largest Gothic cathedral and Fairfax House (1745) is one of the best preserved and furnished Georgian town house in England.
Castle Howard. One of the great houses of Europe, Castle Howard was begun in 1699 to designs by the leading architect of the English Baroque, Sir John Vanbrugh. Fine collections of artworks and furniture, grand gardens and park, famous garden temple and mausoleum. Scampston Hall can be classified as the perfect English country house, combining fine architecture with a wealth of art treasures, ‘Capability’ Brown parkland and a contemporary garden within the walls of the former produce garden.
Rokeby, Constable Burton. The northernmost property on the tour, privately owned Rokeby Park in County Durham is a particularly beautiful Palladian mansion. Completed in 1735, probably to the designs of its owner Sir Thomas Robinson, there are interiors by the York architect John Carr. Back in Yorkshire, Constable Burton Hall is another work by Carr, whose comprehensive rebuilding completed in 1768 again makes for an exceptionally handsome mid-size mansion.
Harewood, Henbury. Dazzling Neo-Classical Harewood Houe is one of the grandest and most beautiful of English country houses, with architecture by John Carr (1772) and Charles Barry (1843), interiors by Adam, furniture by Chippendale, park by ‘Capability’ Brown and excellent paintings, Renaissance to modern. Henbury Hall in Cheshire, modelled closely on Palladio's Villa La Rotonda outside Vicenza, dates to the 1980s, the architect being Julian Bicknell (subject to availability). First of two nights in Baslow on the Chatsworth Estate.
Chatsworth, Haddon. A day in Derbyshire. The home of the Duke of Devonshire, and dating largely to the 1690s and 1840s, Chatsworth is not only one of the grandest country houses in Britain but also an extraordinary treasure-house of great art, fine furniture and lavish interiors – ‘the Palace of the Peaks.’ Haddon Hall is late medieval and Tudor and extraordinarily unchanged amid exquisite terraced gardens. For some it is the most arrestingly beautiful and atmospheric house in England.
Kedleston. Through the ‘Capability’ Brown park to Kedleston Hall, one of the supreme monuments of Classical architecture and decoration in England, which aspires to recreate the glories of Ancient Rome in the foothills of the Peak District. An impeccable manifestation of aristocratic wealth, education and taste, it was the creation of Sir Nathaniel Curzon and, initially, three architects, of whom Robert Adam emerged the victor. Return to London by train from Derby, arriving St Pancras Station early evening.
Please note that some of the visits are by special permission and the itinerary may be subject to change in light of this.
Price, per person
Two sharing: £4,780. Single occupancy: £5,570.
Hotel accommodation; private coach throughout; breakfasts, 3 lunches and 6 dinners with wine, water, coffee; admission to houses, gardens and sites; all tips; all taxes; the services of the lecturer and tour manager.
Transatlantic flights to and from the UK are not included in the price of the tour. We ask that you make your own flight reservation and inform us of the details. Additional nights can be arranged before or after the hotel, on request.
St Ermin's Hotel, London: situated in central London but tucked into a tree-lined courtyard behind St James's Park tube station. This 4-star hotel has a contemporary and tasteful decor. Service is excellent. The William Cecil, Lincolnshire; set in the historic Burghley Estate, the property dates to the 17th century. Bedrooms are uniquely decorated and furnished with wooden furniture, original features and modern touches. (4-stars). The Grange, York: 10 minutes’ walk from the Minster, The Grange is converted from a Georgian town house; décor and furnishings combine period and modern; very good restaurant. (4-stars). The Cavendish Hotel, Baslow: located on the Chatsworth Estate, it has been an inn for centuries. All bedrooms have good views and elegant décor with original artwork (4-stars).
Unavoidably there is quite a lot of walking on this tour and it would not be suitable for anyone with difficulties with everyday walking and stair-climbing. Coaches can rarely park near the houses, many of the parks and gardens are extensive and most of the houses visited don’t have lifts. Average distance by coach per day c. 70 miles.
Are you fit enough to join the tour?
Between 12 and 22 paying participants.
This tour is designed in partnership with the Center for Palladian Studies in America (CPSA) with their members in mind.