Two-night visit to Herefordshire
| Tissington Hall and other venues
A two-night tour guided by Gail Bent, who has a MA in Country House studies from Leeds University.
Tissington Hall - has undergone many extensions and alterations, from the elegant 18th century entrance hall with its Gothick plasterwork and chimneypiece to the Edwardian library, embellished with an Art Nouveau frieze.
Mawley Hall - boasts one of the finest examples of stucco work in England. The dazzling entrance hall of this early Georgian house is an exuberant display of the artistry and craftsmanship of Italian plasterers. The cantilevered staircase, with its serpentine handrail, the extraordinary marquetry room and the Graham Rust ceiling fresco in the oak drawing room are all unexpected delights.
Holme Lacy House - rated by Nicholas Pevsner, in his Buildings of England, as the ornately plastered ceilings of the reception rooms as among the finest in England of that date, matching those in the royal palaces.
Eastnor Castle - this is a stunning example of 19th century Castle Revival style, built in a manner of a Welsh-border fortress and is dramatically situated in the Malvern Hills. Perhaps the most spectacular room is the gilded and painted drawing room designed by Pugin, the great 19th century popularizer of Gothic architecture, who created the interiors of the Houses of Parliament.
Hellens - a thoroughly romantic country house, with its ghostly visits by the Black Prince and Bloody Mary, Hellens is intriguingly hidden away among sheltering trees.
Hereford Cathedral - among the 19th- and 20th-century interior embellishments are stained glass by Pugin and tapestries by John Piper. Our guided tour includes the Hereford Mappa Mundi, the largest and finest Medieval world map in existence anywhere.
Sudeley Castle - once the home of Jane Seymour and Catherine Parr. The 1837 restoration is the work of Gilbert Scott. There are rooms designed by William Morris, doyen of the Arts and Crafts movement and the house is filled with Gothic furnishings, some from Horace Walpoleâ€™s Strawberry Hill.
Arbury Hall - with Dutch gabled stables said to be
designed by Christopher Wren.