How to spend the year at our country houses

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Discover Andalucia

Winter is a time when we start thinking about the year ahead and all the exciting things we plan to see and do. That’s why we’ve rounded up the best events taking place in or around the fabulous locations of our 16 characterful country houses during 2024.

January

Harrington House: New Year’s Day Racing at Cheltenham 

Kick off the new year at Cheltenham Races, just a stone’s throw from our country house in Bourton-on-the-Water. The New Year’s Day race day is a yearly family favourite with seven races, entertainment, and a family fun zone. It’s also great for collecting top tips on horses to back at the Cheltenham Festival in March. Read our blog on what to do in the Cotswolds in January to find out more. 

Monk Coniston & Derwent Bank: Stargazing Nights  

The National Trust is organising stargazing nights throughout January and February, including Fell Foot on 12 January and 3 February, Allan Bank on 13 January, and Aira Force on 2 February, all near our country houses, Monk Coniston and Derwent Bank.

Dark Skies

February

Holnicote House: Snowdrop Valley, Exmoor 

The month of February sees the earliest signs that spring is coming and there’s no better show than the carpet of snowdrops in Snowdrop Valley near Wheddon Cross. If you’re staying at Holnicote House, you’re in for a treat.  

Larpool Hall, Thorns Hall & Newfield Hall: North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales Dark Skies Festival 

From 9-25 February, both the North York Moors (on the doorstep of Larpool Hall in Whitby) and the Yorkshire Dales (for those staying at Thorns Hall or Newfield Hall) will be celebrating their ninth Dark Skies Festival with activities like night runs, stargazing, astrophotography workshops, and mindfulness experiences.  

Dolserau Hall & Nythfa House: Welsh Dark Skies Festival 

Dolserau Hall in Snowdonia (Eyri) and Nythfa House in the Brecon Beacons (Bannau Brycheiniog) will put you at the heart of the Welsh Dark Skies Festival. All of Wales’ national parks and AONBs are hosting events, including guest lectures, a mobile observatory, and pop-up planetarium. 

Abingworth Hall: South Downs Dark Skies Festival 

Over two weeks from 10-18 February, you’ll be able to explore the starlit skies above the South Downs. Expect a whole host of events such as wildlife walks and stargazing parties, all in easy reach of Abingworth Hall

March

Larpool Hall: Farndale Daffodil Walk 

From around mid-March the famous ‘daffodil valley’ in the heart of the North York Moors comes to life. Walk 3.5 miles alongside the River Dove from Low Mill to Church Houses for the best chance of seeing this stunning spot in bloom. 

Nether Grange: Howick Hall & Gardens 

Bulb enthusiast, Lady Grey, planted many varieties of snowdrops and daffodils in the gardens at Howick Hall. Expect a colourful spring display of daffodils, crocuses, and snowdrops, and if you’re lucky you might just spot red squirrels as you sip on a hot drink in the tearoom. Best of all, it’s just a 16-minute drive from our country house in the coastal village of Alnmouth. 

Harrington House: Icons of British Fashion, Blenheim Palace 

The largest event in the palace’s history is set to open from 23 March to 30 June, where you’ll follow a route through the palace celebrating a different designer and icon. There’s a curated selection of drawings, materials, clothing, patterns, photos, and more on display.

April

Dolserau Hall: Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife 

Spring marks the return of the ospreys to Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife near our country house in Dolgellau, Snowdonia. You can watch live pictures from the nests at the visitor centre and keep a watchful eye through the telescopes. 

Chy Morvah: Porthleven Food Festival 

Also near Chy Morvah is a free three-day food festival taking place from 26-28 April in partnership with chef Jude Kereama. Learn top tips from your favourite chefs at the Chef’s Theatre, meet the makers at the Cornish market, join a master class, and soak up the atmosphere. It’s family friendly, too, with a family zone and plenty of live music. 

May

Nether Grange: The Alnwick Garden, Cherry Blossom 

With the largest collection of ‘Taihaku’ in the world, the cherry blossom season at The Alnwick Garden is stunning. If you’re staying at our country house, Nether Grange, from the end of April to the beginning of May, you’ll be down the road from this natural spectacle. 

Holnicote House: West Somerset Railway Spring Steam Gala 

Those staying at Holnicote House over the May bank holiday (3-6 May) will be able to head to the West Somerset Railway Spring Steam Spectacular. Expect vintage locomotives and plenty of train-related fun. 

Harrington House: Winchcombe Cotswolds Walking Festival 

This walking festival features 21 walks through the Cotswolds AONB plus two events between 17-19 May. You’ll be taken to places few people know about and learn more about the area’s flora, fauna, and life in the Cotswolds. 

Derwent Bank: Keswick Mountain Festival 

From the 17-19 May you can combine a holiday at our country house in the Lake District with Keswick Mountain Festival. This multi-sport event promises plenty of thrills with activities like the mountain run, open-water swims, and Keswick 3 Peaks walk, plus live music and delicious food and drink. 

Chy Morvah: St Ives Food & Drink Festival 

Usually taking place in mid-May, the St Ives Food & Drink Festival brings all the action to Porthminster Beach. It’s a spectacular backdrop for live music, chef demos, artisan makers, and masterclasses. Exact dates to be confirmed.  

Freshwater Bay House: Isle of Wight Walking Festival 

It’s the 25th anniversary of the Isle of Wight Walking Festival, taking place from 11-19 May. Locals will show you lesser-known walks throughout the island, allowing you to discover more about its countryside, flora, and fauna. 

June

Larpool Hall: North York Moors Open Studios  

On two weekends (June 1-2 and 8-9) you’re welcome to browse local artist studios and look behind the scenes. All kinds of creatives take part, including specialists in ceramics, textiles, paint, photography, and jewellery.  

Freshwater Bay House: Isle of Wight Festival 

Musical talent from all over the world is coming to the Isle of Wight Festival, taking place from 20-23 June. World-class artists are headlining the festival, including the Pet Shop Boys, The Prodigy, and Green Day.

Cowes Regatta

July

Freshwater Bay House: Cowes Week Regatta 

From 27 July to 2 August, the Isle of Wight hosts the popular Cowes Regatta. Between 800 and 1,000 boats compete over the week in what promises to be a standout competition.  

Abingworth Hall: Goodwood Festival of Speed 

Hailed as the world's greatest celebration of motorsport car culture, this popular annual event was first staged in 1993. It has since grown to become a huge automotive garden party set against the spectacular backdrop of Goodwood House. This year’s event takes place on 11-14 July.  

Derwent Bank & Monk Coniston: Lake District Music Festival 

Throughout July and August, you’ll find a whole host of music concerts in venues across the Lake District. There’s everything from world music to jazz and classical music to enjoy in breathtaking surroundings. Line-up and tickets are usually released in May. 

Newfield Hall: Great Yorkshire Show 

Running from 9-12 July, the Great Yorkshire Show returns to Harrogate, about an hour’s drive away from our country house in the Yorkshire Dales. This yearly popular event includes competitions, exhibits, and entertainment that showcases the best of the region’s farming and produce.

August

Longmynd House: Ludlow Magnalonga 

Walk and feast your way through the Shropshire Hills. Based on a similar route by Ludlow’s twin town, San Pietro, this eight-mile walk celebrates local food and the countryside. Tickets are available from mid-July. 

Nythfa House: Brecon Jazz Festival 

Enjoy jazz music in and around the Brecon Beacons (Bannau Brycheiniog). You’ll find gigs and events for all ages, plus there’s the fringe festival either side of the event, so there’s plenty to please lovers of this genre.   

Alltshellach: Highland Games 

August marks the time of year for the Highland Games, taking place at different towns throughout the month. Watch the famed heavy events, dancing, and hill race while soaking up the atmosphere. 

Larpool Hall: Whitby Folk Week 

From 17-24 August, Whitby’s the setting for a week of concerts, ceilidhs, dances, social dances, storytelling, and music workshops for beginners and advanced. There’s also a music and craft fair where you can browse handmade goods, including art and jewellery. 

Nether Grange: Lindisfarne Festival 

Running from 29 August-1 September, the Lindisfarne Festival takes place near our country house in Northumberland. It’s an annual music and creative arts festival that also includes yoga sessions, holistic therapies, and comedy shows. Tickets are already on sale (line-up to be announced).

September

Larpool Hall: North York Moors Railway Annual Steam Gala 

Every September the NYMR holds its annual steam gala, celebrating the heritage locomotives (exact dates to be confirmed). 

Longmynd House: Ludlow Food Festival 

Over 100 foodie exhibitors, chefs, and authors come together from 13 to 15 September. It takes place inside Ludlow Castle, too, with plenty of talks, demonstrations, and activities to enjoy.  

Chy Morvah: St Ives September Festival 

Enjoy two music-filled weeks at the St Ives September Festival from 14 to 28 September. There are other cultural offerings, too, including poetry, open studios, films, and exhibitions.  

Harrington House: Jane Austen Festival 

The longest-running and largest Jane Austen Festival in the world returns to Bath for 10 days of literary fun from 13-22 September. Events include guided tours, costumed balls, theatre shows, and talks.

Cheese festival

October

Newfield Hall & Thorns Hall: Yorkshire Dales Cheese Festival 

A whole weekend to celebrate the Dales’ local produce. You can pop from one business to the next sampling treats, watching demos, meeting the makers, and tucking into specially created dishes.  

Nythfa House: Brecon Arts Festival 

Throughout October you’ll find all kinds of exhibitions, open studios, stalls, and workshops involving local artists and cultural venues.  

Harrington House: Cheltenham Literature Festival 

This highly-anticipated event in the literary world draws in famous and emerging authors for 10 days of talks, events, and activities in the heart of Cheltenham. It celebrates new voices in poetry and spoken word as well as emerging talent next to world-renowned authors. Exact dates and line-up to be confirmed. 

Derwent Bank: Winter Droving 

Every October, Penrith (near our country house in Keswick) hosts the Winter Droving festival to mark the clocks falling back. Celebrations include a torchlit parade, street performances, plenty of mask-wearing, funfair rides, and market stalls.

November

Monk Coniston: Cumbria Dark Skies Festival 

This year’s festival took place from the end of October through until the beginning of November, and we’re hoping to expect the same in 2024. Events include stargazing swims, night-sky photography workshops, night walks, and bushcraft cookery classes.  

Holnicote House: Dulverton Exmoor Literary Festival 

Between walks you can catch talks, a pop-up bookshop, writing competitions, and workshops from leading authors. 2023 saw Michael Morpurgo and Alice Thomson lead the line-up.  

Nythfa House: Hay Festival, Winter Weekend 

The end of November marks the start of the Hay Festival Winter Weekend where you can listen to author talks in the lead up to the Christmas lights being switched on in Hay-on-Wye. Exact dates to be confirmed.

December

Derwent Bank: Keswick Victorian Fayre 

The first Sunday of December brings the Victorian Fayre to Keswick, where stalls sell homemade goods and food, and dances and music take place to raise money for charity.  

Peveril of the Peak: Christmas at Chatsworth House 

Christmas at Chatsworth House never fails to impress. Admire the house in its full festive splendour and browse the fabulous market for Christmas gifts with an extra thoughtful touch. You can enjoy all this plus festive walks in the Peak District on our Christmas Markets & Winter Walking in the Peak District holiday. 

Larpool Hall: Christmas at Castle Howard 

See one of Britain’s most magnificent stately homes decorated for Christmas. Combine a visit here with wintery walks in the North York Moors on our Christmas Markets & Winter Walking holiday.

7 Night Shropshire Hills Guided Walking

7 Night Shropshire Hills Guided Walking

Call 020 3974 8865 or click here to book

7 Night Southern Yorkshire Dales Guided Walking

7 Night Southern Yorkshire Dales Guided Walking

Call 020 3974 8865 or click here to book

7 Night Isle of Wight Guided Walking

7 Night Isle of Wight Guided Walking

Call 020 3974 8865 or click here to book

7 Night Peak District Guided Walking

7 Night Peak District Guided Walking

Call 020 3974 8865 or click here to book