Undiscovered treasures at the heart of the country
A treasure trove of great family days out and activities, combined with some of England’s most stunning heritage sites. Set in England’s historic heart, each of our 8 historic sites is unique and together they offer 1000 years of living history. All are within an hour’s drive of one another with picturesque towns, delightful villages and magnificent countryside in between. Close to the A1 and easy to reach from London, the North and the East and West Midlands, Hidden England is easy to get to and a joy to explore. All of the Hidden England houses welcome group visits and offer special admission rates and facilities. So whether you’re a thrill seeker, or fancy exploring our historic houses, we hope to see you soon…with a big grin on your face!
Lincoln Cathedral is one of the finest medieval buildings in Europe and reputedly the third largest in the UK. For almost 300 years the tallest building in the world! Yet, in spite of its size, it is filled with wonderful detail. It is place of pilgrimage, a place of holiness and of prayer, but also a place to explore.
Lincoln Cathedral welcomes families and there is something for everyone. Children love seeking out the funny carvings. Not just the Imp, but the cat and mouse and so many other little details that brightened the masons’ days.
We run family friendly tours, which are included in the admission price. Hear the many stories behind the wonderful windows, treasures and carvings you will see, all told by our experienced guides.www.lincolncathedral.com
Begun in 1595 by Robert Smythson Doddington Hall has never been sold or cleared out and is still a lived-in and much loved family home, filled with history and interest. For many, the Gardens at Doddington are just as spectacular as the Hall itself. Remaining faithful to the original Elizabethan layout, mellow walls provide the framework for the formal East Front and West Gardens and there are acres of romantic wild gardens beyond along with a Kitchen Garden growing produce for the popular Farm Shop and Restaurant. Open Wednesday, Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday and by appointment for group visits.www.doddingtonhall.com
Belvoir Castle stands high on a hill overlooking 16,000 acres of woodland and farmland. Visitors from all over the world are welcomed here to events in the park, weddings, our world famous pheasant and partridge Belvoir Shoot, tours of the Castle and its art collection and our recently renovated gardens. Whatever draws you to Belvoir will enable you to share the magic of this estate. The present Castle is the fourth to have stood on the site since Norman times. The existing Castle was completed in the early 19th century after previous buildings suffered complete or partial destruction during the Wars of the Roses, the Civil War and a major fire in 1816. From the elegance of the Elizabeth Saloon and the majesty of the State Dining Room to the delights of the Regents Gallery and the military splendour of the Guard Room, Belvoir possesses one of the most stunning interiors of the period.www.belvoircastle.com
Easton Walled Gardens
A regular contributor to Country Life, Ursula Cholmeley has restored this ancient 12 acre garden from a wilderness in 2000. The gardens include meadows, roses, sweet peas, spring bulbs and shrubs, cutflower and vegetable gardens. The emphasis is firmly on horticulture although the cakes are pretty good too! Listed in both the Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraph as favourite gardens with tearooms, this is a visit to exceed expectations. Just off the A1, the gardens, shop and tearoom are open four days a week, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays from mid February until the end of October. Gardens open daily during Snowdrop and Sweet Pea Weeks.www.eastonwalledgardens.co.uk
Buildings that were fortified and given the right to‘crennellate’, or build defensive battlements were called castle and the term remained long after the need to defend against marauding enemies had passed. Grimsthorpe was enlarged in the 1540s to host a visit during a ‘progression of magnificence’ by King Henry VIII in 1541. Although there have been many structural changes to the house since then the footprint of the building is largely unchanged from this time. There’s been a deer park at Grimsthorpe since medieval times and today the park can be enjoyed by walking or cycling along the track and trails that stretch for miles across the landscape. Ancient oak woodland and areas of limestone grassland are abundant with wild flowers, birds and insects, many of which are county rarities. It’s possible to hire cycles from us and you can set off on your own park adventure. Come and visit us soon.www.grimsthorpe.co.uk
Home to William Cecil, Lord High Treasurer to Queen Elizabeth I, Burghley is a true treasure house and is open to visitors between mid-March and early November. Your visit to our 18 State Rooms begins in the original soaring Tudor kitchen and includes the Queen Elizabeth I Bedroom...which she never actually stayed in! Our Gardens of Surprise offer a modern interpretation of an Elizabethan trick garden, where you might just get splashed, and our annual exhibition in the Sculpture Garden always has a fresh and interesting approach. The Orangery Restaurant, set in ‘Capability’ Brown’s original building, serves delicious locally sourced food and the Courtyard and Garden Shops are stocked with interesting gifts. With over 450 years of family history and fabulous places to eat and shop Burghley is one not to be missed.www.burghley.co.uk
Just as Lincoln Cathedral is famed for its Gothic architecture, so Peterborough Cathedral is for its magnificent Norman construction. The building was finished in 1118 and there will be great celebrations in 2018 when we reach our 900th anniversary.
When you enter the beautiful light interior, look up! The medieval nave ceiling is painted with weird and wonderful motifs like a goat riding an ass, and the stone fan vaulted ceiling at the east end is thought to be by John Wastell, famed for his later work at King’s College Chapel in Cambridge.
Henry VIII’s first wife, Katharine of Argon, is buried here and so was Mary Queen of Scots after her execution at Fotheringhay in 1587. Old Scarlett the gravedigger, whose portrait hangs by the west door, dug both their graves and was probably the inspiration for the gravedigger in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. With tranquil precincts and a new state-of-the-art Visitor Centre opening in 2016, there is much here to enjoy.www.peterborough-cathedral.org.uk
Built under the order of William the Conqueror in the 11th century, Rockingham Castle has been a Royal Castle for 450 years and 450 years a family home. The predominantly Tudor building, structured within Norman walls, has architecture, furniture and works of art from practically every century, and our friendly team of guides are always on hand to answer questions and offer insight into the castle’s history. Twelve acres of formal and wild garden are also open to visitors, and offer sweeping views of the breathtaking Welland Valley. In total five local counties are visible from the grounds on a clear day. Guests are welcomed on open days and special events, and function rooms are also available for private bookings and conferences.www.rockinghamcastle.com