Rockingham Castle

Nicholas Merchant Guest Lecturer


19th July – 22nd July 2020

16th – 19th August 2020

Tel: 0207 251 0045

Price: From £775.00, dbb, entrance fees, transport to destinations, talks by Arts Society lecturer, Nicholas Merchant.

Since Travel Editions started running this holiday some five years ago, it is interesting to note that other companies have added these beautiful and unspoilt parts of England to their destinations.

It is hardly surprising.

Take this picture for example, here is the Earl of Cardigan explaining the Charge of the Light Brigade, to Prince Albert and seven of his children. It hangs in the staircase-well at Deene Park.

Here he lived a scandal-ridden life with his wife and erstwhile mistress, née Adeline Horsey de Horsey, riding to hounds and raising eyebrows. Visiting country houses is not all about the works of art and crenelleted towers, a dash of gossip always lightens the journey!

Also on this tour is the magnificent palace of the Marquesses of Exeter, Burghley, in one of England’s most handsome stone-built towns, Stamford. Built by Elizabeth I most trusted advisor, William Cecil, it is laden with works of art, particularly rich in the purchases of the 5th Earl and his wife who went on the Grand Tour at least four times, spending all the time. So extensive and varied are the treasures in the house that every year, there is a special exhibition focussing on a particular aspect of the rich haul of artefacts which fill this mansion

Each of the houses which we visit on this tour has a tale to tell and unusual and sometimes strange treasures to behold.

Grimsthorpe, with its façade by Sir John Vanbrugh, contains a collection of royal thrones and hangings, acquired as “perks”, or more properly perquisites, resulting from the role of the owner, the Willougby d’Eresby family as sometime Lord Great Chamberlain.

Elton Hall, which ought to be better known, contains plates from a service made at Sèvres for Catherine the Great of Russia, the annotated prayer book of King Henry VIII and a most unusual modern fountain in the centre of the walled garden. This house, dating from medieval times is the home of the Proby family.

The Dukes of Buccleuch specialise in splendid houses, Boughton, is their Northamptonshire house, which in the perplexing game of genealogy has connections with Deene, as mentioned above. Boughton was updated in the French manner by the ambitious Ralph Montagu, Ambassador to France and Master of the King’s Wardrobe in the time of William II. A vast collection of Mortlake tapestries are complemented by magnificent French furniture and family portraits. This house is unique in its completeness. “….Of course, we have not used the State Rooms since William II was here”.

Rockingham Castle, on its hill above the Welland Valley is the most ancient of our destinations dating from the time of William The Conqueror, in whose reign a wooden castle was built here. Now it is more substantial and the home of the Watsons who have been here for 450 years when they bought the lease from the crown. They were friendly with the author Charles Dickens and he refers to the house in his novel, “Bleak House”. Here also some remarkable 20th century paintings including a Stanley Spencer.

Northamptonshire and neighbouring Lincolnshire are rural and unspoilt with a catalogue of great houses of which these are but a few. If you do not know them, we look forward to introducing them to you, whilst you stay at Barnsdale Lodge, on the edge of the Earl of Gainsboroughs’ estate at Exton.


For all enquiries regarding itineraries and talks, please contact Nicholas Merchant on 01423 340017
or e-mail

To book please contact Travel Editions on 0207 251 0045