Dates: 1st - 4th October 2023
Dates: 6th-9th August 2023
This tour is based in Uckfield and during your three days in the county you will have the chance to visit some of the finest houses. One of the most celebrated is Goodwood the home of the Dukes of Richmond and Gordon. An immaculately run house with a breath-taking art collection including works by all the great masters, including van Dyck and George Stubbs, also a unique service of Sèvres porcelain. Other houses include the eccentric Royal Pavilion at Brighton, the creation of the fevered imagination of the Prince Regent, as well as flower-decked Parham and the Gage family home at Firle.
See www.traveleditions.co.uk/tour/country-houses-of-sussex-tour for full details and booking arrangements. Quoting reference NM 2023.
Available Departures: 06 – August 2023 – £1099.00
A delightful tour looking at some of England’s finest country houses, all in the lovely county of Sussex. In the company of the inimitable Nicholas Merchant, some of the houses visited on this tour have exceptional art collections, including a remarkable collection of paintings by Turner, who visited and painted at Petworth House on many occasions. Elsewhere, you will discover remarkable collections of art, furniture and porcelain as well as some superb architecture dating back to the Elizabethan period. And, to top it all, a visit to cosmopolitan Brighton, home to the eccentric and rather wonderful Brighton Pavilion.
Day 1: Arrive independently at the East Sussex National Hotel from 15.00 and enjoy a cream tea at 15.30.
This evening there will be a welcome reception, dinner with wine and introductory talk from Nicholas – ‘Some Country Houses of Sussex.’
Day 2: Goodwood House and Stansted Park.
Our first visit of the day is to Goodwood House. Descended from the “Merry Monarch” Charles II, the Dukes of Richmond and Gordon represent a continuum, which has ensured superlative collections in English Country Houses. This is never more true than in this strangely-shaped house. Here in abundance, are works by Canaletto, Lawrence and George Stubbs. In the magnificently restored state rooms is furniture by great French and English makers on which rest magnificent examples of porcelain from Sèvres, bought when the then Duke travelled to France in 1765. We then head to Stansted Park for lunch (included) and a guided tour. The house appears as if it dates from the mid 17th century, but was actually totally renovated during the reign of Edward VII having been gutted by fire. Its interest lies not so much in the fine contents, including works by French artist Liotard, but its very domestic feel including complete Edwardian Kitchens with all their paraphernalia. Most extraordinary is the Regency Gothick chapel, built c 1890, by one Lewis Way whose mission was to convert Jews to Christianity. It also boasts remarkable walled gardens. Second talk from Nicholas ‘Sevres Porcelain and Mme de Pompadour’ and dinner at the hotel.
Day 3: Firle Place and Brighton Pavilion.
First up today is a guided visit to Firle Place, set at the foot of the Sussex Downs and the home of Viscount Gage. Not only is it set in one of the finest parks in the county, but its collections are of breath-taking quality, be it Old Master paintings, French and English Furniture, and Sèvres porcelain, notably the “Melbourne” service delivered on 20th March 1771. Lunch is included here before departing for Brighton Pavilion. Quite simply, there is nowhere on earth quite like the Brighton Pavilion! Built in the late 18th and early 19th century at the whim of the Prince Regent, the pavilion represents this extravagant and quixotic gentleman at his most wayward. Having started as an “ordinary” seaside villa it morphed into a sometimes Chinese, sometimes Indian pleasure dome, which leaves the 21st century as bewildered by its fanciful architecture as it did the 18th century. Here we will enjoy a special “Closer Look tour.” This evening Nicholas will give a third talk ‘Grinling Gibbons master wood carver’ followed by dinner at the hotel.
Day 4: Parham House and Petworth House.
Our first visit of the day is to Parham House for a guided tour. Parham is a tranquil Elizabethan E-plan house set in a deer park below the South Downs. Sold to the Pearson family in 1922, it was immaculately and sensitively restored and now contains, amongst many treasures one of the finest collections of needlework in the country. One of the most outstanding features is the Long Gallery stretching the length of the South Front with panoramic views over the Downs. After lunch (included) we depart for Petworth House, a magnificent house built in the French style of the late 17th century by the “Proud” Duke of Somerset, using his wife’s fortune. It contains the National Trust’s finest collection of pictures and sculpture and was much frequented by J M W Turner, of whose paintings there are 20 in the house. Return to the hotel for approximately 17.45