Your holiday summary

Holiday type Christmas markets
Country United Kingdom
Travel type Make your own way
Price range From £329
Travel partner Travel Editions
Duration 3 nights
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0330 333 6761

Grand private houses

A special private home heritage tour telling the story of the Lygon, Scudamore, Somers-Cocks and Hervey-Bathurst families in their houses and estates from the 11th century to the present day.

A very special visit is arranged at Madresfield Court which dates back to the 12th century and was remodelled in the 19th century, as well as a private visit to Kentchurch Court, home of Jan Lucas-Scudamore where we will enjoy a homemade lunch. We will also visit nearby Dore Abbey in the Golden Valley in Herefordshire which was founded in 1147 and the private residence of the impressive Eastnor Castle, a monument to members of the Somers-Cocks/Hervey-Bathhurst family which stands on an outlying hill in the Malvern's range, just inside the Eastnor Deer Park. The castle is visible for miles with views of Wales in the west, the cotswolds in the east and the Forest of Dean in the south.


  • Two nights bed and breakfast at the four star Thistle Cheltenham, based on shared occupancy of a twin/double room
  • Welcome reception
  • First night dinner with wine
  • Two-course lunch at Kentchurch Court
  • Second night dinner in the hotel restaurant
  • All talks, guided tours and admissions
  • Coach transfers and tour manager throughout

Not included

  • Single room supplement
  • Extra nights on bed and breakfast basis
  • Holiday insurance
  • Meals other than those stated
  • Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, telephone calls etc
  • Porterage and gratuities
Day one

Arrive independently at the Thistle Cheltenham from 15.00. This evening there will be a welcome reception, dinner with wine and an introductory talk by host Mike Stone.

Day two

We begin our story with Ralph Scudamore, who arrived from Normandy to build a castle in Ewyas Harold in 1042, whose family moved to a moated manor at Kentchurch in the 14th century. The house you will see now was modernised by renowned architect John Nash between 1773 and 1795 and contains carvings by Grinling Gibbons and a fine collection of portraits dating back to the 16th century. Filming for Regency House Party and Country House Rescue has taken place here and as part of your visit a two-course lunch has been organised for you (included) and there will also be time to visit the gardens. On to nearby Dore abbey, daughter house of the Cistercian abbey at Morimond, which was founded in 1147. Large parts of the 12th to 13th century buildings of the main Cistercian abbey survive as they were incorporated into the later parish church. The abbey was dissolved in 1536 and was bought by a local landowner. This evening dinner will be included at the hotel restaurant.

Day three

This morning we visit Berkeley castle, home to the Berkeley family since their ancestor, Robert Fitzharding, completed the Keep in the late 12th Century. The contents of the castle have been chosen and collected by members of the Berkeley family throughout the centuries and reflect the history of their home. Located within 6,000 acres, the castle also has a medieval deer park. After lunch (not included) we visit Madresfield Court, which began its life as a great hall in the 12th century. In 1593 the house was rebuilt and again in the 19th century it was substantially remodeled to resemble a moated Elizabethan house. The Court chapel was decorated in the Arts & Crafts style and the Lygon family has owned the house and estate for several centuries. The novelist Evelyn Waugh visited the house and may have based the Flyte family in Brideshead Revisited on the Lygons. Return to the hotel for approximately 17.30.

NB: Exact order of excursions may vary according to local conditions and tour manager's discretion.

Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 49 passengers.
Thistle Cheltenham

Located in the Cotswolds, close to the historic town of Cheltenham, and set within its own landscaped gardens the four star Thistle Cheltenham offers a restaurant, bar, indoor pool and health club. Bedrooms are en-suite with bath/shower, TV, telephone, wifi, safe, hairdryer and tea/coffee making facilities. Complimentary car parking is available on-site at the hotel.

This offer has no departures. [NEED SOME CONTENT HERE].

The actual tour went well and guides etc were good The hotel was not so good. The room was reasonably well appointed, but a fan would have been nice, bearing in mind the v hot weather.. Other rooms seemed to have one.
Jul 2013