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A Study of the evolution of the English Country house offers a fascinating insight into how changing fashions in architecture and the decorative arts shaped the homes of some of the land’s most influential families. This tour takes in four of Northamptonshire’s finest country houses, including Kirby Hall, and Boughton House, Burghley and Milton Hall. One of the great Elizabethan houses of England, Kirby Hall was begun in 1570 for Sir Humphrey Stafford, a descendent of the Earls of Stafford, although he died before the house was completed, and it was subsequently sold to Christopher Hatton, a gifted and ambitious courtier of Queen Elizabeth I. Boughton presents a remarkable blend of the intimate and the grand, with its palatial Versailles style frontage added by Ralph, 1st Duke of Montagu in the 1690s. Burghley, one of the largest and grandest houses of the first Elizabethan Age. Built and mostly designed by William Cecil, Lord High Treasurer to Queen Elizabeth I, between 1555 and 1587.
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Choose from independent arrival at the hotel or pick up at Kettering rail station in the late morning. After lunch, we travel by coach to Milton Hall, a magnificent country house and one of the homes of the Fitzwilliam family for centuries. Built in the Tudor period, it has a splendid series of richly decorated Georgian interiors. We are fortunate to have an exclusive tour as the house is not normally open to the public.
After breakfast we travel by coach to Kirby Hall, a highly important early flowering of true Classical architecture, and the first house in to use the ‘giant order’ in 1570. We will also explore the gardens, with the restored parterre featuring a special treat. After, we travel to Stamford for lunch and a visit to Burghley House with breath-taking staterooms, mainly due to two great collecting Earls. From the evocative Tudor interior of The Old Kitchen and the chapel that leaps into the 18th and 19th centuries, gives some idea of the lavish and extravagant scale of the country house entertaining.
By coach to Boughton House, where we have the opportunity to study especially fine furnishings including, Mortlake tapestries, marquetry tables, 16th-century carpets, in addition to the 1st Duke of Montagu’s architectural façade. The Duke rose to prominence when he succeeded his brother, Edward, as Master of the Horse to Queen Catherine, wife of Charles II, after Edward was dismissed for ‘showing attention to the queen of too ardent a nature’. After lunch, our tour concludes at your chosen point, Rushton Hall Hotel or Kettering rail stop.
When it comes to getting you to your destination. Leger Holidays make it easy, with a selection of travel options for you to choose from
For complete flexibility, make your own transport arrangements to and from the ship. We will provide you with times and locations as well as some useful information for you to make your own arrangements to join your cruise.
If you require any further information to assist with your travel plans, please contact our Holiday Advisors who will be happy to help.
Travel down to Dover and jump onboard your coach for your ferry crossing.
Alternatively, travel the day before your departure and enjoy an overnight stay, with complimentary parking for the duration of your cruise, before being collected after breakfast the following morning.
Step aboard Eurostar at London St Pancras for a fast and comfortable journey to mainland Europe. You can even upgrade your reserved seat to Standard Premier – speak to our Holiday Advisors for more information. On arrival in Paris, Lille or Brussels, you will then join connecting services for your onward journey.
Return flights from London Heathrow with transfers to and from the ship are included in our package on our specific arrival and departure dates. We also include one item of checked in luggage per person.
If our included flights are not suitable, alternative flights may also be available from other airports on our arrival and departure dates. These may have an additional supplement and are subject to availability at the time of booking.
For those travelling from further afield, you can also book overnight accommodation in London, before and after your holiday. Speak to our Holiday Advisors for more information.
For an even more relaxed start to your European holiday, why not stay overnight in Dover or nearby Ashford the night before your cruise from only £65pp? All our quoted prices include car parking for one vehicle for the duration of your cruise and cooked breakfast the following morning. Our coach will collect you and return you to the hotel on its way to/from the port of Dover. And if you don’t want that holiday feeling to end, why not do the same on your return journey?