The shortlist for the 2016 Hudson’s Heritage Awards has been announced!

Hudson's Heritage Awards Logo 2016The shortlist for the renowned 2016 Hudson’s Heritage Awards, celebrating the best visitor experiences at heritage attractions in the UK, has been announced. Established in 2011, the awards are an independent scheme judged by an expert panel chaired by Norman Hudson, OBE. The winners and the highly commended will be presented at Goldsmith’s Hall in London on 1st March 2016.

Best Family Day OutBestFamilyDayOutSBT Processed

  • Chester Cathedral, Chester
  • Newby Hall, North Yorkshire
  • Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-Upon-Avon
  • The Alnwick Garden, Northumberland

Best Eating Out

  • Glansevern Gardens, Mid Wales
  • Northern Ireland Assembley, Belfast
  • Dunvegan Castle, Isle of Skye
  • Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire

The Best ShoppingBestShoppingCotehele Processed

  • Blackwell, The Arts and Crafts Centre, Cumbria
  • Dartington Hall, Devon
  • The Harley Gallery, Nottinghamshire
  • Cotehele, Cornwall

Best Accommodation

  • Leeds Castle, Leeds
  • Bruisyard Hall, Suffolk
  • The Churches Conservation Trust
  • Frampton Court, Gloucester

Best Loos

  • The Alnwick Garden, Northumberland
  • Lowther Castle, Cumbria

Best New DiscoveryBestNewDiscoveryBletchleyPark Processed

  • Bletchley Park, Milton Keynes
  • The Judge’s Lodging, Presteigne
  • Woburn Abbey and Gardens, Bedford

Best Innovation

  • Grimsthorpe Castle, Lincolnshire
  • Attingham Park, Shropshire
  • Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire
  • Croome Park, Worcester
  • Woburn Abbey and Gardens, Bedford

Best Wedding VenueBestWeddingVenueChiddingstoneCastle

  • Wentworth Conservatory, Barnsley
  • Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire
  • Chiddingstone Castle, Kent
  • Combermere Abbey, Shropshire

Best Event/Exhibition

  • Dunham Massey, Greater Manchester
  • The Alnwick Garden, Northumberland
  • Houghton Hall, Norfolk
  • Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire
  • Woburn Abbey and Gardens, Bedford

Best Hidden GemBestHiddenGemStMarys Processed

  • Winterbourne House & Gardens, Birmingham
  • Keats House, London
  • Painshill Gardens, The Crystal Grotto, Surrey
  • St Mary’s House & Garden, West Sussex

The Best Picnic Spot award is the only award which is by public nomination. The nominated lunchtime locations are:

  • Lowther Castle, Cumbria
  • Clearburn New Lanark, Lanarkshire, Scotland
  • Durham Cathedral Woodlands, Durham

Congratulations to all those shortlisted!


World War One Centenary

HHHANDG_1This year marks the First World War Centenary. For so many of us the atrocities of World War One seem distant and unreal, but a great deal of the UK’s country houses have very personal and historically important connections with wartime. The famous quote from the Ode of Remembrance, ‘We will remember them’, has never been more prolific or important than it is today, 100 years after the beginning of the Great War. Many of the stately homes and country houses affected by war are remembering the events of 1914-1918 with special exhibitions, trails and events this year.

As the war progressed, Britain’s hospitals became overcrowded and unable to deal with the extreme volumes of severely wounded soldiers returning to Blighty from the front. More military hospitals and convalescence centres were desperately needed and many of the country’s stately homes opened their doors to the wounded heroes of the war. Country houses could offer plenty of interior and exterior space for convalescence and respite, and with the men away at war, often the ladies of the houses revelled in being able to play their part in the war effort by opening their homes to recovering soldiers.

The advent of conscription meant Britain’s aristocratic families waved their boys off to fight alongside every other family in the country. Societal position often meant men from the UK’s stately homes joined the army in higher ranking positions, but regardless of status many did not survive the war. Many of the exhibitions occurring this year examine the effects of war on soldiers, families, tenants and servants in the country houses and stately homes of the early 20th Century. Stories are told through letters, photographs, artefacts, memorabilia and personal belongings, although this is history it seems surprisingly more recent than we generally consider.

Dunham Massey Hall in Cheshire was one of those properties transformed into a military hospital, becoming a sanctuary from the trenches for almost 300 soldiers. This year Dunham Massey takes us back in time, transforming the hall and recreating Stamford Military Hospital. Visitors can discover what life was like in wartime, for patients and for the staff who lived and worked at Dunham. Go to Dunham Massey on

Belmont House have created an exhibition to show snippets of life at Belmont during the Great War. The exhibition contains artifacts which have been discovered in the House and information on family members and men of the Parish who were involved in World War One. Go to Belmont House on

Holkham Hall’s 2014 exhibtion tells a small part of the story of the impact of the Great War on the Coke family and Holkham Village. The Coke family was, as many others, very personally affected by the war and the story is told through personal letters, archives, books, photographs and atrefects in this touching exhibtion. On display in the courtyard is a two thirds scale profile of a Mark V tank and a replica 20 ft section of Somme battlefield trench. Go to Holkham Hall on

Duty Calls is a series of exhibitions and events in Yorkshire which explores the effect and impact of war on country houses and their communities. The linked exhibitons, trails and events, at 9 of Yorkshire’s country houses, share stories about the effect of war on the properties over the centuries. It examines these effects on a personal level, as well as exploring the social and economic consequences of wartime on the country house. Exhibitions feature paintings, photographs, arms and militia, as well as archival and oral histories.

Castle Howard’s Duty Calls exhibtion explores the stories of the castle in wartime. The experience of war at Castle Howard was shared with family members, staff and tenants. The Castle saw many apsects of war, taking in refugees and evacuees, coping with crashed aircraft and losing family members, staff and horses to the Front. Go to Castle Howard on

Many of the owners of Kiplin Hall, family members and local commuities have by touched or affected by war. The Duty Calls exhibiton at Kiplin recounts the effect of war on the Hall and community through a series of trails and events throughout 2014. Go to Kiplin Hall on

Nostell Priory’s exhibitions allows vistors to listen to the stories of the house’s war, brought to life by local actors. Nostell has made it their mission to discover the small stories of the Great War from landowner to labourer. Go to Nostell Priory on

There are 9 houses taking part in Duty Calls altogether, follow the links below for much more information.
Brodsworth Hall
(Go to Brodsworth Hall on
Beningbrough Hall
Newby Hall
(Go to Newby Hall on
Fairfax House
(Go to Fairfax House on
Lotherton Hall
(Go to Lotherton Hall on
Sewerby Hall

There are so many more exhibitions, trails and walks happening in country houses and stately homes around the country to commemorate the centenary. We would love to hear which ones you have visited, tweet us @HudsonsHeritage

Mrs Hudson recommends………………treating your Mum

Walpole and I

Walpole and I

If you’re looking for a special way to surprise your Mum this Mothering Sunday, look no further! Walpole and I have been doing our research and we’ve found some wonderful events to inspire you.

Make Mother’s Day memorable this year at Hever Castle in Kent. Take the whole family on Sunday 30th March, treat your Mum to a delicious 3 course lunch or afternoon tea at the Guthrie Pavilion in the Castle’s elegant Italian Gardens. Youngsters will be able to make a gift for Mum at the craft and cupcake decorating workshops.

Treat your Mum to an exquisite lunch on Mother’s Day at Weston Park. Served in the Victorian Orangery, the meal will be prepared by Head Chef at Weston Park, Guy Day. Finish your day with a stroll around the beautiful formal gardens.

Comtpon Verney Art Gallery is celebrating Mother’s Day this year by offering free admission to Mothers and Grandmothers all day on Sunday 30th March. Compton Verney is home to six diverse collections, plus a children’s adventure playground, nature trails and there are plenty of indoor activities in the resource and discovery rooms. There’s something for all the family!

Make sure Mum feels like a Queen this Mother’s Day, at Bolton Castle in Yorkshire. Book a Special Afternoon Tea at the Castle and indulge in sumptuous sandwiches and scones. Ooh gosh, I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!

Spend some quality time with your Mum at Gibside. Take a Springtime walk through the Georgian landscape garden or go looking for wildlife in the woods. Stop for a tasty cream tea in the Potting Shed Cafe and visit Gibside’s resident artists at the stables where you can make a special gift for Mum.

Remember a simpler time this year and make your Mum a posy with colourful Spring flowers at Glendurgan Gardens in Cornwall. Wander through the garden, to the beautiful hamlet of Durgan, watch birds and boats, skim stones and build sandcastles. Full of fun, natural beauty and amazing plants, take in the stunning surrounding, relax and unwind.

Which will you pick? Tweet us @hudsonsheritage and let us know how you plan to treat your Mum this Mothering Sunday.

Mrs Hudson recommends…..a Romantic Weekend

Walpole and I

Walpole and I

I can’t think of anything more romantic than celebrating Valentine’s Day in one of Britain’s great historic houses. Whether you choose a candlelit dinner for two or an overnight stay, you will be guaranteed a magical time!

Escape to Weston Park for an unforgettable romantic break. Indulge yourselves in the magnificent surroundings, savour the seasonally inspired Valentine’s menu and enjoy a luxurious night’s sleep in a grand country house bedroom.

Treat yourselves to an evening at Hever Castle. Delight in a delicious dinner for two or splash out with a romantic overnight stay in the Astor Wing.

Spoil yourselves at  Wentworth Woodhouse with a 4 course Valentine’s Day meal, served in the Pillared Hall. Perfect.

Indulge in a sumptuous Valentine dinner at Chatsworth. Enjoy your exquisite meal in the candlelit 18th Century Stables Courtyard.

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and places will be limited. Contact the property now to book your romantic evening and surprise your loved one.

If you’re feeling adventurous this February, make your way along to Basildon Park otherwise known as Downton’s Abbey’s Grantham House. Enjoy the self led ‘Follow Your Heart’ trail through the breathtaking estate every day until 23rd February.

Finally, for all the outdoorsy types, join the Valentine Lantern Walk at Biddulph Grange Garden. Take yourself on a global adventure; experience the romance of Italy and view the Victorian vision of China and recreation of a Himalayan Glen on this lantern lit Valentines garden walk. End your romantic evening with a cake and hot drink by the roaring fire in the garden room.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Mrs Hudson recommends…..Snowdrop Walks

Walpole and I

Walpole and I

Tis the season for Snowdrops! Thank goodness, Walpole and I are desperate to stretch our legs with a wintry walk after a long January huddled up in front of the fire. Here are five of our favourite Snowdrop walks.

Oxburgh Hall is offering guided snowdrop walks every weekend throughout February and the early part of March so no excuses to miss this spectacular event.

Stokesay Court will be open on Sunday 23rd February. Spend your afternoon enjoying a crisp walk through the snowdrop carpeted woodland  and end your day with tea and home made cakes in the Old Kitchen.

Kiplin Hall is opening its gardens on Sundays through to Wednesdays from the 2nd February until the 26th March. Plenty of opportunity to spend a lazy day wandering around the stunning grounds, taking in the stunning snowdrops and budding spring flowers.

Deene Park’s gardens will be open on 16th and 23rd February for Snowdrop Sundays and the Old Kitchen Tearoom will be serving hot food and drinks to warm you through after a chilly stroll.

Burton Agnes Hall and Gardens’ Snowdrop Spectacular is not to be missed. Visit between the 8th February and the 2nd March and take the beautiful woodland walk, finishing your trip with a visit to the cafe for a warm meal and a lovely cup of tea.

Well, I must dash, Walpole’s ready to leave and I must locate my wellies! Which are your favourite snowdrop walks? Don’t forget to tweet us your photos @HudsonsHeritage

Mrs Hudson recommends….. New Year Events

Walpole and I

Walpole and I

After a decadent Christmas, Walpole and I are sticking to our New Year’s resolution to seek out and enjoy the best events at some of our favourite Hudson’s properties for the beginning of the 2014.

Petworth House have opened their new exhibition ‘Constable at Petworth’ which runs until 24th March. Most of the paintings on display were executed by John Constable during his two visits to Petworth House in 1834. After the sell out success of their Turner’s Sussex exhibition in 2013, I think we can expect great things of ‘Constable at Petworth’. Booking is essential, so plan your visit quickly!

The 7th of February brings us the Mayor’s Charity Ball at Strawberry Hill House. The Mayor of the London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames is throwing the 2014 ball in aid of Home Start Richmond and The Avenue Club, Kew. Ticket prices include a three course meal with wine and dancing, now where are my dancing shoes?

Lovers of Mr Darcy should head to Lyme Park Park this month to experience two very special Pride and Prejudice themed events. The exterior of the hall was used as a Pemberley, in the BBC adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel. ‘The Only Way is Pemberley’ is Lyme Park’s Winter exhibition, running until 16th February 2014 and celebrates the 200th anniversary of the publicaton of Pride and Prejudice.

Then, on the 26th January Wickham’s regiment returns to Pemberley in a spectacular display at Lyme Park, so we will march down to meet the officers.           

Ever wondered what life was like in Tudor England? Head to Bolton Castle on 15th and 16th February and step back in time! Experience Tudor cookery, weapon drills herbal medicine, crafts and games.  Sadly Walpole cannnot join me this time, dogs won’t be allowed in the castle and grounds due to the Falconry experience (which sounds very exciting!).

February is snowdrop season, pop along to Burton Agnes Hall, in Yorkshire, between 8th February and 2nd March and wander through a wonderful blanket of snowdrops on the woodland walk

If you’re taking a break in Devon, Hartland Abbey’s Snowdrop Sundays are well worth a visit. Visit on 9th or 16th February between 11am and 4pm, and experience the stunning snowdrops.

Finally Deene Park, in Northamptonshire, is opening its gardens on 17th and 24th February, from 11am-4pm for Snowdrop Sundays. Stroll along and take in the sights.

Gosh, I’m quite exhausted, what a selection! Walpole needs a quick lie down and then we’re off!