We know it’s tough at the moment. Like many of you, we’re trying to work, to home-school, to keep upbeat and calm. It’s like nothing we’ve ever known before and it’s hard.
With the news yesterday that the majority of children probably won’t return to school until at least September, we hope we can help in some small way by offering an affordable Outdoor Learning Day.
You might already know that we re-opened our grounds at weekends on a limited basis a few weeks ago, and from next week (15th June), we will also be opening up on Mondays.
An Outdoor Learning Day About Castles
We’ve set this page up as a one-stop resource for an Outdoor Learning Day at Eastnor Castle. A change of home-school scenery and a day in the fresh air might be just the ticket and what better topic to focus on than… Castles!
It’s worth noting that Eastnor Castle, at around 200 years old, is a ‘new’ castle and has never been involved in the battle. It has many traditional castles features however such as turrets, a keep, a portcullis, battlements, a flag and thick stone walls.
Below are some free child-focused educational resources for learning all about castles*. Perhaps you could spend some time learning about Castles with your child(ren) and then visit us to see a real-life Castle!
General Information on Castles:
An Information Video on Castles:
How to Draw a Castle:
Eastnor Castle History:
*Please note that other than the Eastnor Castle History page, these all link to external resources which have been reviewed but for which we do not hold any responsibility for the content.
- Find out all you can about castles and then visit one in real-life;
- Tickets are limited so social distancing can be observed at all times;
- Toilets are open and cleaned throughout the day;
- Enjoy the ‘Great Outdoors’ with woodland and lakeside walks through 100 acres of land;
- The Ice Cream Parlour is open for an ice cream treat!
- Plenty of picnic areas throughout the ground;
- Ticket prices are currently just £2.50 for children and £5.00 for adults;
- Dogs are welcome too!
We hope to see you soon, find out more about our Limited Grounds Opening and Buy Tickets.
We are delighted to announce that following an update to Government guidance, we are now able to reopen parts of Eastnor Castle grounds to visitors on selected days throughout May, June & July.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank our visitors for their patience and support during the last few months and we look forward to welcoming you back again.
We take the safety of our visitors very seriously so changes have been put in place in order for us to reopen our gates; this means a visit to Eastnor Castle will be a little different for now.
Please find below a summary of the information which we hope will help you decide if you’d like to visit.
Covid-19 Safe Space
We have been working extensively with an external Health & Safety Consultant to ensure we have Covid-19 controls in place. A full risk assessment has been carried out and recommendations implemented as necessary.
We respectfully request that all of our visitors adhere to social distance rules whilst they are here (signage is in place to support this) and wash/sanitise their hands regularly. Please stay away if you or any of your household are showing symptoms of Coronavirus.
Dates and Times:
We will be open on the following days:
Saturday 30th May until Sunday 7th June: SATURDAYS & SUNDAYS
Saturday 13th June until Monday 20th July: SATURDAYS, SUNDAYS & MONDAYS
10.30am until 5.30pm. Last admission will be at 3.00pm.
Facilities and Attractions:
The following facilities and attractions will be OPEN:
- The Grounds (including the arboretum, valley lawn and lakeside walks)
- The Portcullis Toilets
- The Ice Cream Parlour (card payments only)
- The Woodland Play Area
- Junior Obstacle Course (open from Saturday 4th July)
- Adventure Playground (open from Saturday 4th July)
- Rope Swings (open from Saturday 4th July)
- Tuck Shop selling hot & cold drinks and snacks (Saturdays & Sundays only)
The following facilities and attractions will be CLOSED:
Tickets are LIMITED and are ONLY AVAILABLE ONLINE. No entry will be given to anyone without a pre-purchased ticket. Tickets are £5.00 for adults (aged 16 or over) and £2.50 for children (aged 3-15 years). Children aged 2 and under are free of charge and do not require a ticket. Tickets will be checked on arrival so please have them printed out if possible ready to show. Buy your tickets here.
We are limiting the number of visitors, therefore, there is lots of room in our car parks. Please don’t park too close to others. Car parking is free of charge.
We have provided hand sanitiser stations as you enter the grounds and also near the Ice Cream Parlour. Please also bring your own sanitiser if you wish.
The Portcullis toilets will be open during your visit and cleaned throughout the day. We will be limiting the number of people allowed in at any one time and operating a ‘one in, one out’ policy.
Members of staff may be wearing face coverings in certain areas. They will still be giving a welcome smile, but you just won’t be able to see it!
The picnic benches around the grounds are all 2 metres apart.
All our bins will have their lids removed.
Playgrounds will be closed in line with Government guidance.
Payment will be by card only; WE WILL NOT BE ACCEPTING ANY CASH PAYMENTS. There will be a queuing system in place, please keep 2 metres apart.
The Castle Tea Room will not be open so visitors are encouraged to bring their own picnics. On Saturdays and Sundays there will be a Tuck Shop operating from the Courtyard selling hot & cold drinks and snacks.
Bottled water will be available to buy in the ice cream parlour and tuck shop. Alternatively, there is a drinking water tap on the Valley Lawn for visitors to refill their own containers.
Eastnor Castle Privilege Cards:
Eastnor Castle Privilege Cards are valid for this period. Please ensure you have your card ready to show to the Admission staff on arrival. Please kindly note that all Privilege Cardholders will be contacted in due course to arrange an expiry date extension once our Visitor Opening is back to normal.
Discounted Tickets / Promotions:
Discounted/complimentary tickets or affiliation cards and memberships such as English Heritage, Gardeners World etc. are not valid during this period.
Historic House members are welcome but must pre-book tickets by selecting ‘Historic Houses Member’ ticket(s). Membership numbers must be inputted at checkout.
We will not be giving out any Children’s Fun Booklets or selling Guide Books. A simple Grounds Map will be available to pick up from the admission area. If you would like to print this out at home and bring it with you, you can download it here. We have also provided links to some external resources for an Outdoor Learning Day at Eastnor Castle, based on the home-schooling topic of castles.
Dogs are welcome at Eastnor but must be kept on a lead at all times, other than in the ‘Dogs Off Leads’ area.
A short note to say this has been a particularly challenging period for a lot of people. We are a small family business and have had to close our doors throughout a period which would normally be our busiest time. We are reopening cautiously and doing so in circumstances which are completely new to us. During your visit, should you notice anything we could be doing better, please let us know in person so that we can take measures to fix it.
If you choose to visit then thank you for your support. We have reduced our ticket prices to reflect our scaled-down attractions but any tickets sold now will help us to recover as a business and open again in full as soon as we’re able to.
Buy your tickets here.
Following last night’s Government update with regards to the Coronavirus outbreak, it is with great sadness we announce that Eastnor Castle, grounds, arboretum and Deer Park Campsite will remain closed to visitors until further notice.
This is a tremendously sad and difficult time for so many people and our thanks go out to all the healthcare and key workers who are doing such an incredible job trying to keep us safe.
If you’ve pre-purchased tickets for any events in the coming months, please see below for information:
OLYMPEGG EASTER TREASURE HUNT
Event cancelled. You will have already received an email last week regarding your ticket options. If we have not yet heard back from you then we will now automatically issue a full refund on your tickets.
SPOT THE EGGS EASTER TREASURE HUNT
Event cancelled. All pre-purchased tickets holders will be emailed and a full refund will be issued. You do not need to contact us.
Event cancelled. All pre-purchased tickets holders will be emailed and a full refund will be issued. You do not need to contact us.
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM OUTDOOR THEATRE
Event cancelled. All pre-purchased tickets holders will be emailed and a full refund will be issued. You do not need to contact us.
DEER PARK CAMPSITE
The Deer Park Campsite is closed until at least 10th May. All pre-purchased camping tickets up until this date will be refunded. You do not need to contact us.
We don’t currently have any news on our other events or later Deer Park opening so please bear with us and we will update you as soon as possible. Please also bear with us whilst we process these refunds.
The best way to contact us with any questions at the moment is by email email@example.com. We will have limited staff cover in the office so if you call and we aren’t able to answer, please leave a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Please stay home, stay safe and we look forward to seeing you again soon.
With very best wishes from the team at Eastnor.
We’re all aware of what is happening in the world right now regarding the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak. Firstly, we want to extend our thoughts to those who are feeling the effects of this terrible situation, be it through illness, worry, business closures, changed plans (or all of the above!).
The health of our staff and visitors is important to us and, like everyone else, we’re adhering to all guidelines issued by the British Government and Public Health England.
We were due to open our doors to visitors for the season on Friday 10th April and we’re keen to ensure we can still do that in some capacity. As it stands today (and this may change); please see below for our Easter opening plan.
Easter Opening Plan
We are fortunate enough to be situated in a beautiful rural area with lots of outdoor space around us. We will therefore still be opening for Easter but removing any unnecessary episodes of contact and crowds. If you wish to visit to enjoy some fresh air and a runaround in our 100 acres of grounds, please read on for details (please bear in mind that all of these steps are to try and keep everyone safe, please make your own decisions on whether to visit based on your own personal circumstances).
- We will open our grounds only (NOT the castle) from Monday 6th to Sunday 19th April from 10.30 am until 5.30 pm.
- We will not be operating our OlympEgg Easter Treasure Hunt. Instead, we will have our grounds open and operate a simple ‘Spot the Eggs Easter Treasure Hunt’ around the grounds. Children can look for clues, complete a Treasure Hunt form and swap it for a MaltEaster chocolate bunny as they depart.
- Tickets will be available for this event ONLINE ONLY. We wish to minimise the amount of contact between visitors and staff so our visitor entrance will be closed and an outdoor ticket-check station will be operating near the entrance. To re-iterate, visitors WILL NOT be able to buy tickets when they arrive.
- We will not be operating our giant chocolate Easter Egg draw and will instead be donating the eggs to charity.
- Please watch this space for details on our Tea Room and Ice Cream Parlour opening. As always, picnics are welcome and visitors are welcome to enjoy a picnic in their own space within the grounds.
- We will have extra hand-washing stations around the grounds so that our visitors can regularly wash their hands.
- Signs will be placed around the grounds advising guests to take extra caution around areas which may get busier than others (such as the Adventure Playground).
- Dogs are still very welcome but must be kept on a lead other than in the Dogs Off Leads area.
- If you have already purchased a ticket for our Easter OlympEGG Treasure Hunt, you may transfer your ticket and visit on another date throughout the year or you may still visit at Easter and we will happily refund part of your ticket as you’ll no longer be able to go inside the castle. If you have already purchased a ticket we will contact you directly by email.
- Tickets will be available to buy online at the end of this week (20th March) and will be available to buy until 3.30pm on the day of your visit.
- Please keep an eye on our website and social media channels for further updates. Facebook | Twitter
- Tickets will be limited to avoid any overcrowding.
- No promotions such as Historic Houses or English Heritage will be available for this event.
- Privilege Card holders are welcome as usual.
- Tickets will cost £8.50 for adults, £5.50 for children and £23.00 for a family of 2 adults and up to 3 children.
Eastnor ChilliFest news to follow as soon as we have it.
If you have a wedding, party, event or Eastnor holiday cottage booked in the coming weeks and have any concerns at all, we’re here to help!
Thank you for reading; if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
With very best wishes from the Eastnor Team.
With great excitement, we announce that our ‘Charity of the Year 2020’ will be Acorns Children’s Hospice.
Charity of the Year Programme
Running for the 4th year in 2020, our Charity of the Year programme allows us to pledge support to a local charity in a number of ways including the use of the castle for a fundraising dinner, the use of the grounds for a family fun day, complimentary tickets, collection boxes at the Visitor Entrance and an open invitation to be present on any day we are open to visitors.
Acorns Children’s Hospice
We were keen to support Acorns Children’s Hospice after a chance visit to the hospice in Worcester last April when a visitor to Eastnor Castle’s Easter Treasure Hunt asked if she could donate the giant Easter Egg she had won to a local Children’s Hospice. Happy to oblige, the giant chocolate egg was dropped into Acorns for the Three Counties on the Bath Road in Worcester.
Becky Williams, Head of Marketing at Eastnor Castle said: “From the first chance visit to Acorns last April, it was clear that Acorns was a very special place indeed and we were keen to discuss our Charity of the Year programme with them as soon as possible.”
She continued: “Acorns Children’s Hospice provides specialist palliative care for life-limited and life-threatened babies, children and young people, and support for their families. They need £27,000 per day to run their services and rely on donations and fundraising by the community and local businesses for 70% of this amount. We hope that we can contribute towards this amount and also raise the profile of Acorns Children’s Hospice amongst our visitors. We’ve already met with the team and are looking forward to working together on a number of events throughout the year.”
Mel Hall, Area Fundraiser for Acorns Children’s Hospice adds: “We are thrilled to be chosen as Eastnor Castle’s Charity of the Year. We rely on the generosity of supporters to continue providing our vital services to children and families – so this partnership is really important”
“We’re excited to see what the year brings, not just in terms of fundraising, but the awareness this will help bring Acorns as we aim to deliver the best possible care and support to all the families across Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire that need us”
Details of the events being arranged at Eastnor Castle by Acorns Children’s Hospice are being finalised and will be announced soon… stay tuned to our social channels!
Photograph Left to right: Becky Williams, Head of Marketing and Sarah Littlewood, Head of Visitor Services from Eastnor Castle meet with Janine Warner, Deputy Head Nurse and Susan Hayward, Head of Care from Acorns Children’s Hospice.
We’ve enjoyed our fair share of location filming here at Eastnor over the years and have featured in many different productions from documentaries to dramas and music films. One of our most memorable filming projects however came in February and March 2018 when we had the pleasure of hosting a 350 strong cast and crew for HBO’s ‘SUCCESSION’ as they filmed all over the Eastnor Estate during one of the coldest winters for years (remember the ‘Beast from the East’ brrrrr?)
Succession Director Chairs set up in the Long Library
Chairs for the stars!
HOW IT CAME ABOUT…
Award-winning Supervising Location Manager and industry veteran, Sue Quinn, whose impressive back catalogue includes family favourite films such as Notting Hill, Love Actually, and the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts franchises, has an enviable reputation for knowing her historic houses and flagged Eastnor Castle as a potential location. After multiple recces of the castle interiors, grounds and the wider estate, Eastnor was chosen to be the location for Succession Season 1, episodes 9 and 10, to be directed by British Director, Mark Mylod (Game of Thrones, Cold Feet and The Affair).
SUCCESS FOR SUCCESSION
Little then did we realise just how successful this brand new HBO TV satirical drama, Succession, would become (the clue was probably in the title!). As the Succession team proudly won 2 coveted awards at the 2020 Golden Globe Awards earlier this week (‘Best Television Series – Drama’ and ‘Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series (Brian Cox) – Drama’), we’re looking back at some of our highlights from when Succession filmed at Eastnor Castle.
THE BEAST FROM THE EAST
From the day the location team arrived, temperatures started to plummet, and soon blizzards, strong winds and drifting snow caused widespread disruption throughout Eastnor as the ‘Beast from the East’ combined with storm ‘Emma’, to give us some of the most testing weather conditions ever experienced.
Despite what the weather threw at us though, it did not deter the highly professional cast and crew who battled against the elements both day and night to ensure that filming stayed on schedule.
Ice on the Upper Terrace
Hats and warm coats for all the crew
EPISODE 9 – “PRE-NUPTIAL’ AND EPISODE 10 – ‘NOBODY IS EVER MISSING’
Eastnor has played host to hundreds of weddings over the years and we’ve seen some pretty spectacular sights along the way (décor, entertainment, dresses, flowers), but nothing could prepare us for the stunning glass marquee that was erected on the castle’s Lower Terrace (courtesy of Good Intents Marquees) for the star-studded ‘wedding’ of Shiv (Sarah Snook) and Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) in episodes 9 and 10.
The huge glass structure, which took a week to build, filled the Lower Terrace, and the night shoots with in-bound helicopters, crowd scenes and glamourous setting, soon became the talking point of Eastnor.
The stunning glass marquee on the Lower Terrace
The glass marquee setting for ‘the wedding’, dressed by an amazing Props Team and food stylists, was spectacular!
The equally stunning marquee interiors (image from Good Intents)
EXTRAS, EXTRAS, EXTRAS
“We need lots of extras and fast” was a cry early on in the project. So we did what we do best at Eastnor Castle, and rallied the local community (friends, waitresses, students, gamekeepers daughters, sons of staff) to help! This created a real buzz in the community as everyone enjoyed their 15 minutes or more of fame, and even kick-started a film career for some!
FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD
Never had we seen so much food! We were surrounded by food villages, rolling hot and cold buffets, and 24/7 smoothies, chocolate and artisan coffee in the Tea Room, Courtyard and Visitor Car Park. Some days we were invited by the locations team to enjoy the ‘leftovers’ and as a team of foodies, we were more than happy to oblige!
Location trucks, production trucks, crew trucks, catering trucks, prop trucks… there were hundreds of trucks! Everywhere we looked there were trucks and temporary marquees housing the stars of Succession, the location team, production, costumes, props and make-up. The huddle of Movie Makers trucks in our Woodyard, in full view of passing traffic, was the cause of widespread local curiosity. Despite countless calls to the Castle office asking what was being filmed, our lips remained sealed, even when someone claimed to have spotted Tom Cruise in the vicinity!
Trucks on the Lower Terrace
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!
From the warmth of the Castle Office we were able to see plenty of filming action! In fact, we could barely move for cabling, lights, cameras, rigs and props, not to mention people! Even the boss’s office doubled up as Kendall’s (Jeremy Strong) hotel room for 6 weeks, including the erection of a temporary 6ft false wall, forcing our General Manager to climb over his desk every morning to get to his computer!
Ready for a Night Shoot
A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP
With over 350 cast and crew onsite for nearly 8 weeks, plenty of overnight accommodation was needed in the local area! As the Castle Bedrooms were being used as sets, our self-catering holiday cottages were in demand. The Director of Photography stayed at Golden Gates Lodge in the Eastnor Deer Park, whilst the location team stayed at Hillend House prior to it being renovated into a 9 bedroom/bathroom rental property. Other members of the cast and crew stayed in hotels in Ledbury, Malvern, Cheltenham and Hereford.
It is fair to say that once the full complement of cast and crew arrived on site, we were initially shell-shocked by the sheer volume of people and the level of activity. But after nearly 8 weeks of working alongside the whole team, we all agreed that they were one of the best film crews we have had the pleasure of hosting at Eastnor Castle.
Everyone working on Succession, without exception, from the carpenters to the sparks, to props and the locations team, to the Director, were all incredibly friendly and professional, respecting the heritage and integrity of the castle for the duration.
By the time we said our fond farewells, lasting friendships had been forged. As the last of the locations team headed out of Eastnor onto the next shoot location, our Filming Co-ordinator Charlotte, admitted to missing the daily frenetic activity that a full-on shoot of this scale brings with it.
Charlotte feeling star-struck!
IT’S A DOG’S LIFE!
As a dog-loving team and a dog-friendly venue, we couldn’t have been happier to dog-sit the dashing Dachshund, Louis, whilst his ‘Mummy’ was busy on set. Louis settled in very quickly, swaddled in his very own cashmere dog blankets and cuddling his red bouncy bone, and become part of the Eastnor Castle office team!
A NOTE OF THANKS
Feedback is very important to us so we were thrilled to receive this feedback from Sue at the end of the filming project:
“120 miles from London and well worth the fight to be out of the 25-mile radius. Eastnor is a magical and wonderful location to film at, it has everything. One of the very few intact and privately-owned castles that is a rare Gothic Revival stately dream. Because it is a working home it is not too precious and is, therefore, more ideal for working with film crews. The owner James is very accommodating and so are all the amazing staff that work for him, it is a “can” do environment in which they work. Anything is possible. Apart from having a very happy time filming in every kind of weather, snow, ice, floods and high winds we were able to able to continue. The castle itself is also a star, it is nestled into the Malvern valley with the beautiful surrounding countryside, but the interiors are a dream with rich colours that are set off with the beautiful interiors by Pugin. I can’t wait to come back and hope I am involved with another project that I can use Eastnor for.”
Congratulations Succession on your tremendous success; we are so proud to have played a small part in your incredible journey!
#succcession #season1 #hbo #skydrama #goldenglobes #filming #filmlocation
As the festive season gets into full swing, we’re delighted to be opening our doors for a very special evening of Christmas magic, just a week before the big day!
On the evening of Wednesday 18th December, James Hervey-Bathurst, the owner of Eastnor Castle, will be welcoming visitors from 6 pm until 8.30 pm to sample the delights of Christmas at Eastnor.
The castle doors will swing open for three scheduled tours, each led by James himself and will take in the beautifully decorated Great Hall including a 20-foot tree featuring decorations handed down through generations. The historic bedrooms and the atmospheric, candle-lit dining room will give people a glimpse into Christmas from a bygone era.
The tour will include a glass of wine and a mince pie as well as Christmas carols by members of the Ledbury Choral Society.
The event is to raise funds for the Eastnor Church Tower Appeal in which James is heavily involved. Up to £120,000 needs to be raised for a project to repair the ancient and beautiful church and to improve its facilities to allow wider use.
The Church is a grade 1-listed Place of Worship and on the Historic England Buildings at Risk Register. The church plays an important role at the centre of the village for regular worship and is used daily by the village school and weekly for bellringing practice. It is situated within the Malvern Hills AONB and enjoyed by visitors to Eastnor Castle and the deer park.
Tickets for the Festive Christmas Evening cost £25 per person and are available online at eastnorcastle.com/christmas-tours
We are delighted to announce that our ‘Charity of the Year 2019’ will be the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity.
Charity of the Year Programme at Eastnor Castle
Now in its 3rd year, our Charity of the Year programme allows us to pledge support to a local charity in a number of ways including the use of the castle for a fundraising dinner, the use of the grounds for a family fun day, complimentary tickets, collection boxes at the visitor entrance and an open invitation to be present on any day we are open to visitors.
We were keen to support the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity after meeting them at our Eastnor SOS Day in June and hearing of the critical work they do throughout six Midlands counties, including Herefordshire.
David Littlewood, General Manager at Eastnor Castle, went to meet some of the Midlands Air Ambulance Team based at their Strensham airbase to see first-hand how donations from local businesses support the service they offer. He’s pictured here (3rd from left) with Dr David Balthazar, Pilot Tim Hutchins and Critical Care Paramedic Colin Apps.
Meeting the Midlands Air Ambulance Members
He said: “We are thrilled to able to support the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity this year. We are in awe of the work that they do and had no idea that the charity receives no Government or National Lottery funding and relies solely on donations and fundraising. They need to raise in excess of £9 million each year to operate and we hope that we’re not only able to contribute in some way towards this but that we can also help to raise their profile amongst our visitors. We’ve already met with the team and are excited about working together on a number of events throughout the year.”
Mary Seldon, Fundraising Executive for Midlands Air Ambulance Charity in Herefordshire added: “Midlands Air Ambulance Charity relies solely on donations from local businesses and the general public, to undertake around 2,000 air ambulance missions every year. We’re so grateful to Eastnor Castle for choosing to support us this year, as it will help to raise vital funds and awareness in the local area. We’re really excited to partner with such a stunning visitor attraction.”
Details of the events being arranged here by the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity are still being finalised but will be announced soon… Stay tuned to our social channels!
As we’re waking up to regular frosts on the ground now and winter has definitely set in, it got us thinking about what makes a winter wedding so special. Here are our top tips for why a winter wedding is a smart choice!
Don’t worry about the weather
Let’s face it, if you plan a winter wedding, the chances are that you’re not going to be able to spend your entire drinks reception outside having photos taken and mingling with your guests. It’s probably going to be cold. Although this shrieks alarm bells for many, just have a little think about how much time the average couple spends checking the weather forecast and praying for dry, warm weather in the lead up to their wedding, and think about how better you can spend that time!
Just assume it’s going to be cold. Anything warmer will be a bonus, right?! The good news is that we’ve got the indoor wedding thing all covered here so there’s no need to worry about back up plans; we’ve got plenty of space inside to conduct your whole wedding, from the morning preparations to the evening celebrations… it can all happen inside a warm cosy castle with no need to step a foot outside unless you want to!
Bring on the romance
Winter weddings are undeniably romantic. That dusk light and pinky-orange glow to the sky make everyone feel warm and fuzzy. Add some open fires, candles and lanterns into the mix and you’re suddenly living the winter wedding dream. A dusting of fresh snow too (disclaimer – we can’t promise this, sorry)… and yes you get the idea, it’s all about creating the magical Winter Wonderland scenes worthy of a Pinterest prize!
It’s all about supply and demand for winter weddings. They’re just not as popular at summer weddings so use this to your advantage when negotiating with suppliers. Venues and suppliers will have more dates available in the winter so don’t be afraid to ask for a discount or special deal… most suppliers will be glad of the winter work when it’s normally quiet so will welcome the booking at a discounted rate. Some wedding venues, we included, offer a discount for holding your wedding mid-week too so take a look at those dates between Christmas and New Year when the majority of your guests will be off work meaning a full guest list at a less-than-normal rate!
Who doesn’t love a glorious, twinkling Christmas tree?! Every year, around the beginning of December, we create all the festive vibes when a 20ft Nordmann Fir Christmas Tree arrives in the magnificent Great Hall and is professionally decorated with baubles and lights to within an inch of its life. Add in some super festive garlands down the stunning staircase and glorious festoons above the fireplace and you’ve suddenly got yourself a fully-decorated venue! Apart from some simple table centrepieces and candles which you can provide on a minimal budget, you’re good to go!
Two words… Hearty Food! Sometimes the heat of a summer wedding can impinge on the appetite of your guests. At a winter wedding, your guests will appreciate a delicious, hearty menu. The menus at Eastnor Castle are designed in collaboration with the happy couple and cooked by our talented in-house chefs, using locally sourced produce. Popular winter menus include Fillet of Herefordshire Beef, Rack of Welsh Lamb and Cotswold Chicken Supreme. A firm favourite for evening food is the traditional hog roast served on the Upper Terrace next to a roaring fire pit! Is your mouth watering yet?
If nothing else, your winter wonderland wedding will always be remembered, your wedding day will stand out from all the others held during the spring or summer and provide your guests with a reason (other than snow and Christmas!) to be excited about winter!
Find out more about Winter Weddings at Eastnor Castle or call us on 01531 633160 to arrange a viewing.
Autumn Events at Eastnor Castle
Elf House Making & Broomstick Building, Giant Leaf Pile Kicking & Conker Collecting… Eastnor Castle Gets Kids Outside with Magical Events. The fact that the castle nestles on the fringes of the Malvern Hills, the landscape that inspired Tolkien’s Middle Earth, ensures a fairy tale visit in its own right. However, we’ve added to the magic for children and adults alike with two magical autumn events this September. What’s more, the dog can come along too as we welcome our furry friends in all areas of the castle and grounds.
Autumn Antics – Sunday 23rd September
There’s no need to travel to New England to see spectacular displays of Autumn foliage. Our Breath-taking arboretum and tree trail is a testament to the Victorian’s passion for creating exotic gardens based on worldly travels.
Children are encouraged to climb the trees, dive into giant piles of leaves and collect conkers and cones to their heart’s content.
Herefordshire Wildlife Trust will also be on hand to teach elf-house making and also hands-on lessons in pressing apples to make your own apple juice.
Broomstick Making & Racing – Sunday 30th September
Don’t miss the castle’s last Open Day of 2018 – it’s going to be spellbinding. Budding witches and wizards can attend broomstick-making classes against the enchanted backdrop of Eastnor Castle and then take part in broomstick races and zoom off around the grounds hunting for clues in a magical treasure hunt.
Both of these events are included in the entrance prices alongside the collection of permanent attractions which include a maze, adventure playground, tree-top walkway, woodland play area, rope-swings, tree trails and lakeside walks. Opening times are 10.30 am until 5.30 pm and prices are Adults: £7.00, Children: £5.00, Families: £20.00 (Grounds only admission, castle upgrades are available. Online ticket prices shown, tickets cost more on the gate).
FIND OUT MORE AND BUY TICKETS
As mentioned in an earlier blog, this is a useful phrase, with a respectable pedigree and it can certainly be applied to the snow we had last week. After two days of fine snow and wind ie blizzards, this pile of snow was found under the roof over our Pugin bedroom, luckily just as the thaw set in.
Snow Blizzards Hit Eastnor Castle
We do not have one of those vacuum cleaners that suck up water and so presumably are also fit for snow. Anyway, if we did, it would probably suck up the fibreglass insulation as well, so we use traditional methods: hand shovel and black plastic bags. Anthony Marriott, one of our house managers and the one who detected the tell-tale drip, and I lit the roof space with a bright lamp and set about scooping up the snow and bagging it up to be disposed of for melting outside. If it melts under the roof, it can bring down a ceiling or at least make a mess of the paintwork. An hour and a half later (there were other piles elsewhere) it was all gone, and we had managed not to step between any rafters and damage the ceiling below in a more forceful way.
The photograph not only shows the offending snow but also the cast-iron roof trusses designed by the castle architect, Robert Smirke. The slates rest on cast iron purlins and are held in place by nails. It is a system that has survived the test of time, but unfortunately, the seal between the slates or torching as described here, has long dropped off, and we have not replaced it, allowing, as an architect might say, the ingress of snow. If we had the wrong type of snow every winter, I would think about it.
4th March 2018
The heavy snow produced a magical and seasonal appearance to the landscape, and the lake froze over. We cleared the drive before anyone slipped off the road and drove into the yew hedge, which was already under a lot of pressure from the weight of snow, which, at least for the natural world, was definitely the “wrong kind of snow“.
Snow at Eastnor Castle
Sadly, our cedars and other confers suffered heavily as the weight of snow broke boughs off close to the trunk. All night we could hear cracks and crashes as they came down. Other trees, such as the magnolia in our garden, suffered too, but not as badly.
New Trees for Eastnor Castle
In a well-timed visit, however, Martin Gardner, Co-ordinator of the International Conifer Conservation Programme at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, appeared yesterday with a supply of young specimen trees from seeds taken from native trees under threat. They included firs from Turkey (Abies nordmanniana) and a critically-endangered Notofagus Alessandrini from Chile. They will be very welcome additions to our stock and will be carefully planned out as soon as the snow clears.
On a different note, a team of men has been clearing the snow from the valleys on the roof to allow the water to run off unimpeded when the snow melts. In the case of the roof, it has been the right kind of snow as it is the powder kind that blows in between the slates and causes trouble to our interiors.
19th December 2017
MICHAEL BALL AND ALFIE BOE ANNOUNCE ‘TOGETHER AGAIN’ TOUR DATES FOR 2017
Following the stunning success of their Platinum-selling album ‘Together’ and 29 sold-out shows across the UK in 2016, Michael Ball and Alfie Boe have announced today that they will return in 2017 for a selection of exclusive dates throughout the country.
Summer will see them performing outdoors at some of the UK’s most beautiful stately homes and castles, with six dates announced in June. In winter, they’ll come back inside to play ten arena dates in November and December.
Tickets for all dates go on sale on Friday, December 16th at 10 am from www.livenation.co.uk and www.gigsandtours.com. VIP Hospitality and Meet & Greet packages are also available to purchase via VIP Nation.
SUNDAY 18TH: EASTNOR CASTLE, LEDBURY
TUESDAY 20TH: WALCOT HALL, SHREWSBURY
WEDNESDAY 21ST: STANSTEAD PARK, CHICHESTER
SATURDAY 24TH: EUSTON HALL, THETFORD
SUNDAY 25TH: LINCOLN CASTLE, LINCOLN
WEDNESDAY 28TH: OPEN AIR THEATRE, SCARBOROUGH
THURSDAY 30TH: MOTORPOINT ARENA, CARDIFF
SATURDAY 2ND: CENTRE, BRIGHTON
SUNDAY 3RD: INTERNATIONAL CENTRE, BOURNEMOUTH
TUESDAY 5TH: GENTING ARENA, BIRMINGHAM
THURSDAY 7TH: ARENA, MANCHESTER
FRIDAY 8TH: FIRST DIRECT ARENA, LEEDS
SUNDAY 10TH: SSE HYDRO, GLASGOW
MONDAY 11TH: AECC, ABERDEEN
WEDNESDAY 13TH: MOTORPOINT ARENA, NOTTINGHAM
THURSDAY 14TH: O2 ARENA, LONDON
Micheal Ball and Alfie Boe History
Having first met 10 years ago, performing together in ‘Kismet’ at the London Coliseum, Michael and Alfie became lifelong friends. That same year, Michael Ball made history as the first musical theatre star to be given a solo concert at the Royal Albert Hall’s BBC Proms and asked Alfie Boe to join him to perform at the classical music festival.
This instant personal connection and professional mutual admiration make for the perfect pairing and, to the delight of their hundreds of thousands of fans across the globe, has been finally realised with the Decca-released ‘Together’ to spectacular success. The album has gone Platinum in just 6 weeks and is on track to become the biggest selling domestic release of 2016!
Michael and Alfie say, ‘There are simply no words for how incredible this is for us. We have always wanted to work together, it was just a case of getting the timing right. We are so grateful to all our fans who have supported us and everyone involved for believing in us. We are literally having the best time and are so happy with the success of the album and the tour’.
The two critically-acclaimed artists have received a plethora of prestigious awards, record-breaking sales and chart successes. Over his extraordinary 30 year career, Michael’s outstanding performances have made smash-hit box office history. He is a double Olivier Award winner, multi-platinum recording artist, top-selling live concert performer and hugely popular radio and TV presenter. Alfie’s exceptional voice has made him Britain’s most popular and biggest-selling tenor He has conquered the world’s greatest opera stages and arenas, led the cast of Les Misérables, stole the show at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert at Buckingham Palace– as well achieving UK album sales of over a million, and four top ten albums.
Tickets are on sale from 10 am on Friday 16th December and are available from www.livenation.co.uk and www.gigsandtours.com.
Our lake is an important feature in the landscape and was made by blocking up two streams once the old house, Castleditch, was demolished in 1818. A few years ago, we had to restore the weir and did so with the help of English Heritage, now Historic England, and the Country Houses Foundation, but this time we have been on our own, as it were.
The first image shows Tony Mckenna and his team from AES Europe https://www.aeseurope.co.uk/ Corby, in the process of hanging netting along the south bank where wave action over the years has severely undermined the bank, causing soil, trees etc to fall into the lake and making the edge unstable. The AES system, also used by the National Trust, will encourage the growth of vegetation to stabilise the bank over the period when the netting is still in place and after a couple of years, we are assured, the bank will look quite natural. If it works, we will extend the protection to other affected areas.
It is good to know, though I may not be around to see it when it happens.
6th December 2016
SIR CLIFF RICHARD JUST FABULOUS ROCK ‘n’ ROLL UK 2017 TOUR
Legendary Singer To Play A Series Of Fully Seated Outdoor Concerts In Intimate Arenas Built Especially For Sir Cliff And His Fans
Support Act To Be Announced
To celebrate the release of his incredible new album “Just…Fabulous Rock ‘n’ Roll“, the UK’s most successful hit-maker, Cliff Richard, will be heading out on a summer tour of the UK’s most beautiful castles and historic locations in 2017 for a series of fully seated outdoor concerts in fabulous intimate arenas, built especially for Cliff Richard and his fans. Tickets will go on general sale on Monday 14th November from www.livenation.co.uk
Cliff has returned to his roots to record an album of his favourite songs from the golden era of rock ‘n’ roll. These include Cliff’s renditions of seminal tracks such as Roll Over Beethoven, Great Balls of Fire, Sweet Little Sixteen and his very own debut single, Move It. The album also features a duet with fellow idol Elvis Presley on Blue Suede Shoes. This has been a career-long dream of Cliff’s, which now becomes a reality. The new release follows the huge success of his last studio album, ‘The Fabulous Rock ‘n’ Roll Songbook’ in 2013, and the celebratory ’75 at 75 – 75 Career Spanning Hits’ in 2015.
Cliff released his debut single Move It in August 1958. It is credited with being the first British rock ‘n’ roll hit, bringing what had previously been an American genre across the Atlantic, for the first time. ‘Just… Fabulous Rock ‘n’ Roll’ will, astonishingly, be his 102nd album.
The ‘Just Fabulous Rock ‘n’ Roll Tour’ will stop by the following UK venues through June and July 2017:
SIR CLIFF RICHARD JUST FABULOUS ROCK ‘n’ ROLL UK 2017 TOUR With support to be announced
Saturday 17th Eastnor Castle, Herefordshire
Sunday 18th Stansted Park, Hampshire
Wednesday 21st Walcot Hall, Shropshire
Thursday 22nd Catton Hall, Derbyshire
Saturday 24th Lincoln Castle, Lincolnshire
Sunday 25th Euston Hall, Suffolk
Wednesday 28th Harewood House, Leeds
Thursday 29th Open Air Theatre, Scarborough
Saturday 1st Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich London
Sunday 2nd Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich London
Tickets go on sale at 10 am on Monday 14th November (subject to per-ticket charge plus order processing fee) and are available from www.livenation.co.uk
LIMITED CAMPING IS AVAILABLE IN THE EASTNOR DEER PARK CAMPSITE FOR THE CLIFF RICHARD CONCERT
We have been restoring Clencher’s Mill, a watermill near the edge of the estate off the Glynch Brook. It was bought in about 1700 and has medieval origins. It was modernised in 1812 and redundant after 1939.
Most of the original mechanical equipment has survived and has been put back into working order with the help of a number of grants, referred to in more detail in my earlier blog, but one vital machine was missing, namely the bolter, perhaps not unexpectedly given one alternative meaning for its name. When in place, its job is to separate the meal ie the ground wheat that comes out of the millstones and consists of flour and bran. Some mills just supplied wholemeal ie the mixture, but there is clear evidence that we had a bolter at our mill as certain elements remained.
Rather than have a new one made, we looked for an old one. Alan Stoyel from the SPAB: https://www.spab.org.uk/spab-mills-section/ identified one at Wormbridge Mill, near Hereford, which had closed in about 1900. It was still in place, and the owner, a good friend of ours, was happy to part with it as all the rest of the equipment had already been removed, probably for scrap. It did not quite fit through the door and needed quite a bit of wood replacing, which was undertaken by John Churchill of Burns & Churchill in Ledbury. It was also narrowed to fit.
The images show John, with Steve Howick, our project manager and dedicated volunteer, and Adam Marriott, our millwright, taking a break from fitting new parts and talking to Norman Walker, a retired gamekeeper who used to live at Wormbridge Mill and who remembers the bolter and rest of the mill machinery in place. He was glad to see it being restored and put back to work, though there is some way to go before fine bolted flour is available for baking.
We have also recently had the benefit of a visit by John Brandrick a great expert in the matter of recording mill structures and machinery. His skills in the art of technical drawings are clearly evident in the picture below which allows us to see in one view all aspects of the mill. John’s work is of exceptional quality and more can be viewed on his very informative website at https://milldrawings.com/
The team has made excellent progress and seems to have enjoyed the job so far. We hope to be ready when the mill has an open day on 14th May at 10.30am.
21st February 2016
Electricity first arrived at Eastnor in 1910 when a generator was installed where the Land Rover Experience centre is now. It was used to power 110-volt lighting circuits, some of which survived until a couple of years ago when we had the chandelier in the Pugin Gothic Drawing Room rewired, not before time, we were told. The old bulbs, with their robust tungsten filaments, produce some light and quite a bit of welcome heat, so they were still fit for purpose if supplemented by more modern lights at a lower level.
We have rewired gradually, introducing three-phase in the 1990s and a stand-by generator, acquired second hand from a local authority, to keep the lights on during power cuts. But the demand for power has risen, with multiple and simultaneous uses of hair driers, more by wedding guests than by my wife and daughters, and the installation of a new electric oven, a ten rack Rationale, in the catering kitchen. I admit I have also caught my younger children using an electric fire occasionally in their draughty playroom (my mother used to hide electric fires and reserve them for guest use only).
Our last distribution board has run out of capacity, so we are installing a new Hager model to meet ongoing needs. The image shows Justin Hill and Jason Blewitt working on the two-day job. The mains and generator supplies are switched off, of course, but there is a temporary generator to supply light and my laptop and office. Justin and his father, Michael, fitted the original distribution board when the three-phase came in. The house is unnaturally quiet, apart from the plaintive squeaking of the fire alarm system telling us the power is off. The emergency lighting has worked for the statutory time required and is now rather dim. I am using a head torch to access areas away from natural light. Most of the staff have a day off, though calls are being diverted to the Estate Office. It will be a relief to have the job done and to have a safer system with more capacity.
5th February 2016
In the image, from left to right, are Peter Walker, Stephen Price and Robin Whittaker who have been previously involved in the Worcestershire County Archives, Robin having just retired as the County Archivist, and Hazel Lein, the archivist at Eastnor. The gentlemen, with guidance and assistance from Hazel, have just complete 5 years’ work, at a rate of about one day a month, sifting through and cataloguing deeds that cover among others, land, in the parishes of s of Stoulton, Bransford, Leigh, Castlemorton and Strensham, where our family owned land until it was mostly sold at the beginning of the last century. The reason given for the sale was that the houses and farms had suffered from underinvestment in previous 40 years partly as a result of the Agricultural Depression and probably also because the family diverted the money to other purposes and were not fit to let. They could also make more money by selling off the land to developers especially in the area of the new town of Malvern Link, hence the road names like Somers Park Avenue and Somers Road.
It has been a sometimes slow but for these historians a very exciting task. The original deeds that were still wrapped in the solicitor’s bundles had been placed in six large cupboards in the muniment room. Many of the deeds antedate our ownership of the properties concerned, as well as covering important manorial records. Some of the documents are mediaeval, most on vellum and often the lingua franca seems to be Latin, which Robin can read with ease. But he modestly asserts that that is quite normal for a man of his profession.
They have recorded 3500 items from 67 archive boxes. They have cleaned, sorted indexed and placed everyone in archive quality boxes. They have found deeds relating to various subjects such as houses in Worcester and Droitwich as well as land sold to build Malvern Link Station. There are records of the Worcester Yeomanry’s formation during the Napoleonic Wars, and include a note of a consignment of cutlasses being returned to the Tower of London, then an arsenal, because they were rusty. Attacking an invading Frenchman with a rusty weapon would clearly have been bad for our reputation and possibly not very effective.
Peter, Stephen & Robin have enjoyed the task and been genuinely excited by the chance to view documents that have not seen the light of day for several hundred years. We could not have had a more eminent, knowledgeable, group of experts. Hazel is thrilled to see the project complete, but will miss the fun and the ad hoc tutorials! A note of what we hold will go to the County Archive, and we will allow scholars and other interested parties to inspect the papers on certain conditions. We are very grateful to the team for completing the job.
After our review of what has happened in the 2015 visitor season, when we had about 42,000 through the gates, we have decided to change the layout of our shop and ice cream parlour. Here is an image of Andy Rollins, Andy Thornber and Bob Hayter from our Works Department at the slightly easier demolition stage of the project. They are fitting the work in around the refurbishment of the old Post Office, an attractive building with a thatched roof, at the main entrance to the Castle and Grounds. The new floors went in earlier this week, so there is no access while they are setting.
Buying ice creams and souvenirs is an essential part of the visitor experience, and it now makes sense to combine them by knocking down the temporary partition wall between the two areas. The aim will be to encourage a flow of visitors between the two outlets and streamline the operation while making it easier for visitors to access.
Ice creams sell in almost any weather, but the right sort of sun certainly helps. The parlour is conveniently situated on the way to the playground and to the tea room. We staff it with young people keen for seasonal work. Our shop, which is run by Rachel, who otherwise helps with our in-house catering, is a more complicated business, but not weather dependent. We stock some Eastnor Castle branded souvenirs, post cards and other gifts. At one time we also included remaindered books, which sold rather well, but I think Amazon may have taken that market.
We re-open at Easter when these adjustments will be put to the test. I am confident there will be an improvement, and it will not just be attributable to the weather.
Eastnor Castle, near Ledbury, are celebrating the 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland over the Bank Holiday weekend with a specially designed family treasure hunt in the fairytale castle and grounds. The event will take place on Sunday 30th and Monday 31st August.
Visitors will follow in Alice’s footsteps and use a Wonderland map to navigate around the March Hare’s House, The Queen’s Croquet Ground, The Duchess’s House and the Rabbit Hole to find a number of curiosities, solve the riddles and win a prize. There will also be a Mad Hatter’s tea tent with entertainment throughout the day, including garden games for children of all ages.
All the other usual attractions will be available on the day including the maze, adventure playground, Little Off Roaders and entry to the castle.
Gates open at 11.00am to 5.00pm and admission prices for the Castle & Grounds are Adults: £10.00, Children: £6.50 and a Family Ticket (2+3) is priced at £26.50. Discounted tickets are available on-line.
Further details are available on the Eastnor Castle website: www.eastnorcastle.com or call 01531 633160.
20th August 2015
Please kindly note that the A438 which runs past the entrance of Eastnor Castle will be closed from 17th to 21st August. There is no access to the Castle through Hollybush; the best way to approach is from the A449. There are ‘Road Closed’ signs at the turning onto the A438 but access is still available to Eastnor Castle. Please call us on 01531 633160 if you need any further information.
We have made the decision this morning to cancel our Exotic Animals week following feedback posted on our Facebook page.
The Exotic Animal week has always been very well received at Eastnor and was based around educating our visitors about these animals and highlighting the associated conservation issues they face.
However, the enjoyment and safety of our visitors is paramount and on advice received from external agencies we have decided to cancel the event.
We are very sorry to all our visitors who were expecting to attend the Exotic Animal week and anyone who has purchased on-line tickets will be refunded in full.
Sarah Roberts started with us as Sarah Bullock 10 1/2 years ago and will leave us on Friday 17th July. We are very sorry to see her go as she has been in the Eastnor team over an exciting period of change and positive development and has contributed much to our progress at that time.
When Sarah joined us from Challenge Business, the office was still squeezed into one side of the Portcullis, which was not ideal, though in a good position physically to intercept callers and visitors as portcullises traditionally should be. In those days, when we were only just getting our website started, we used to rely heavily on advertising in local newspapers, and so Sarah had a busy time mostly saying ‘no’ to a number of very persistent sales teams, who wanted us to use them every week during the season. Overall this time, she was responsible for producing our print run of annual leaflets for distribution around the area into campsites, hotels, pubs, shops, other attractions and Tourist Information Centres. Sarah gradually formed an excellent working relationship with our designers and printers at Ad-lib Design Partnership in Worcester and our leaflets are clear and appealing, it seems, standing out well against a lot of competition in the outlets we are able to use.
As we have moved firmly into digital era, Sarah has worked closely with our web site designers and managers, extracting all the information needed from her colleagues in the office and getting it uploaded, including my blogs, which she always tactfully reminds me are due, though the subject of this one is not her choice. Using the internet and a website requires great patience as what is done today is likely to be superseded by some new technology tomorrow, making the old look positively steam age. Mostly, those who have visited our website have liked it and some have enquired who produced it-, and we have had every confidence in Sarah’s ability to distil complaints or ‘suggestions’, so that we only hear about the more important ones. But she has to keep all involved on their toes as the website is now the place where visitors have their first impression of Eastnor and so it is vitally important.
Throughout all this time, Sarah has maintained a heavy pace of work, under even greater pressure after she returned to work part-time from maternity leave. She has been a cheerful and valued member of the Castle Office team, and we will miss her. We are very grateful for all her hard work.
12th July 2015
We are lucky enough to have a lot of weddings at Eastnor. They are usually very happy occasions, though making all the arrangements can sometimes be quite demanding as every ceremony and reception is different. Proposals and engagements are inevitably more private affairs, and if any couples get engaged at Eastnor, we rarely hear about it.
So it was wonderful to learn of the engagement of Gareth Roberts & Rachel White at the recent Midland Rovers Owners Club rally in the Park. The MROC have been coming to Eastnor for over 40 years, but this part of the programme was a first. Gareth persuaded Rachel to drive to part of the park where there is a good view of the Castle and where Land Rover Experience drivers often take a coffee break. He said they were to collect a piece of equipment left there earlier in the Rally, and when they could not find it, he suggested they should wait there for a while and take in the view. Shortly afterwards, the convoy shown in the image appeared and the answer to his question was “Yes”, although the words read from right to left. He gave Rachel a conventional engagement ring supplemented by a special ring in the form of a hexagon nut as Rachel is a Land Rover enthusiast too.
It was all recorded on video and can be seen on You Tube. We wish the couple every happiness, and many more rallies in Eastnor Park. The MROC should be back for the annual Memorial Trial in memory of my father next autumn. I wonder if others will follow Gareth’s romantic lead?
Many thanks to gareth and Rachel for agreeing to this blog and to Russ Brown, Clubs Editor, of Land Rover Owner International for the background information!
23rd June 2015
Our annual vintage weekend, which this year included a celebration of the 100th birthday of our Ransomes traction engine, went well, attracting about 4000 visitors over 2 days. It was a different crowd from the Chilli festival, with many local families turning up whose grandparents and even parents could remember seeing some of the exhibits in their earlier working lives. As we had a nice gathering of original Minis, you did not have to be very old to have seen them running about in their original condition.
There were 2 steam wagons and quite a few steam rollers. We had a hand-driven juvenile carousel – the owner and wheel turner were an impressive 70 years old, but the ride was older. I also exhibited my showman’s van, and it attracted a lot of attention as I allowed the visitors to look around inside and the stove was alight. The tug-of-war proved popular, though the engine at the end of the rope seemed more resistant to slipping on the courtyard gravel and so did rather better than the human team in the end.
A more permanent attraction is our Land Rover Little Off Roaders circuit in the old Kitchen Garden near the visitor entrance. The Land Rovers are battery powered and can be turned off remotely in case of need. They are one or two-wheel drive and useful for steering and braking training, if not speed management. The circuit does not have the usual challenges of mud and ruts but is proving popular nevertheless, and we are lucky that Land Rover itself has sponsored the facility and the vehicles. One day, perhaps, they will be vintage too, but in the meantime, they are available to ride most weekends at a small extra cost.
JHB 22nd June 2015
This brand new Land Rover Drive-in Heritage Day event is taking place on Sunday 31st May and is a must for all Land Rover enthusiasts.
Eastnor Castle is known as the ‘Spiritual Home of Land Rover’ who has been testing vehicles here for over 50 years. It was the current owner, James Hervey-Bathurst’s father that established the relationship with Land Rover back in the 1960’s and since then the partnership has gone from strength to strength.
To celebrate this, we are holding the Drive-In Day in the castle courtyard which will see an impressive display of unique and classic Land Rovers. There will be a complete line-up of Range Rovers from the very first Velar Badged prototypes through to the latest models plus other vehicles like ‘Monty’ a rare, dark green Tickford station wagon (pictured).
Inside the castle will be a display of images showing Land Rover’s connection with Eastnor Castle over the years and the whole day will be compared by Les Clayton. Les will be interviewing the owners of the display vehicle and sharing the history of the unique models on display.
As a celebration of Land Rover, anyone arriving in a Land Rover, of any age will receive half price entry on the day.
David Littlewood, General Manager says ‘Having Land Rover at Eastnor for all these years is fantastic, not only for us as a business but also for local people who are employed by them or supply goods to them. Land Rover really is something very positive to shout about, for us at Eastnor but also the whole country as they continue to thrive as a company. The Drive-In day will showcase many unique models which most people will not get to see very often, set in the backdrop of Eastnor Castle, Land Rover’s spiritual home, this should be a very special day’.
All the other usual attractions will be available on the day including the maze, adventure playground, Little Off Roaders and entry to the castle.
Gates open at 11.00am to 5.00pm and admission prices for grounds are Adults: £6.50, Children: £4.50 and a Family Ticket (2+3) is priced at £17.50. Upgraded tickets for entrance to the castle are available to purchase and discounted tickets are available on-line.
Further details are available on the Eastnor Castle website: www.eastnorcastle.com or call 01531 633160.
The Ransomes 6 Nominal horse power general purpose agricultural engine came into our collection in 1974 after a life working in an agricultural and equine feed mill in Dublin. It had lost its original livery and received a coat of blue paint, though the Ransomes transfer with the company crest is still visible at the front end of the boiler barrel. But it was in remarkably good condition and complete with all its fittings, so we were able to steam it almost as soon as it came home. We transferred the number DCJ 15 to it from a Fordson tractor in the collection of the late William (“Bill”) Thomas Jones, who part owned the engine and recovered it from Ireland with his low loader.
As the images show, the Ransomes, which left the works in 1915 with the number 26839, has not been restored much in the last 40 years. It retains its steel wheels and so looks very much as it did in its earlier life. As a result, it is much appreciated at steam rallies, where other engines are often glistening with new paint and shiny brass.
We have used the engine to drive a circular saw and a threshing machine as it is very well governed with a Gardner governor.( According to Wikipedia, the Gardner Governor Company, founded by Robert Gardner, introduced the first effective speed controls for steam engines in 1859 with an innovation, known as the flyball governor). It makes a great noise when at work, but is slow on the road due to the lack of rubber tyres and springs.
At our steam events, it is a popular other half of a tug of war, though the visitors’ team find the courtyard gravel quite a disadvantage, but we will see how they get on this Sunday & Monday when the Ransomes will be out and on display in steam.
22nd May 2015
Nostalgia returns to Eastnor Castle, near Ledbury for the May Bank Holiday, on Sunday 24th and Bank Holiday Monday 25th May with a Vintage Day of family fun.
An interesting line-up of working Steam-Engines will be on display in the courtyard in front of the castle, with a 100th birthday celebration for our Ransomes Sims & Jefferies agricultural engine and we will mark 40 years at Eastnor for our Foden tractor. Alongside will be a vintage carousel and chair swing, punch & judy, tea tent, garden games and live music.
James Hervey-Bathurst, Owner of Eastnor Castle said ” Our Ransomes is a very popular and solid half of the family tug of war, but it will also be running a threshing machine as it was designed to do in 1915. It is one of the few traction engines that has not been repainted since it’s preservation, and so it has a very authentic look. Other vintage vehicles, including a Stanley steam car, will be on display, and our showman’s living van will also be open to visitors. We look forward to a fun event”.
The usual castle attractions will also be open, including the new Land Rover Little Off Roaders and Rota Swing, Knight’s Maze, Burma Bridge Tree Top Walkway and Adventure Playgroud, Tearoom, Gift shop and Ice Cream Parlour.
Vintage Family Fun will be open from 11am to 5.30pm on both days and please click here to buy discounted tickets on-line.
Official opening by Elizabeth Hurley on Sunday at 12 noon in the Castle Courtyard
Now in it’s 4th year, the Chilli Festival at Eastnor Castle is back on Sunday 3rd and Bank Holiday Monday 4th May. This year, there will be over 50 stalls and entertainment, showcasing all things HOT!
The castle courtyard will be transformed into a Chilli Market and visitors will be able to try and buy delicious products such as chocolate, bread, cake, vodka, cocktails and chutney as well as grow-your-own chilli plants. There will also be a number of specialist hot food suppliers selling authentic Asian curries and other spicy foods.
Sarah Littlewood, Event Co-ordinator at the Castle (pictured) said:
“This year we are delighted to have local resident, actress and model Elizabeth Hurley opening our event on Sunday morning at 12pm.
One of our big Chillies has just arrived from an off-road journey across the Eastnor Estate into the castle courtyard and is hotting up for the big event. We are really thrilled with the success of our Chilli Festival as it has gained a huge following“.
There is a huge amount going on over the weekend with something for all chilli fans. Back by popular demand is the Clifton Chilli Club with their chilli shenanigans which includes our legendary chilli eating competition. Join local chefs Felice Tocchini, Rayeesa, Tom Court, Rob Swift and vegetarian specialist Lizzy in the cookery demonstrations marquee and children can join in Easy Peasy cookery school.
To create a real carnival atmosphere, there will be live musical entertainment from local Mexican band – Los Squideros from Hereford, joining them will be Andalus an authentic Gypsy Kings sounding band to entertain the crowds.
Plus all our usual attractions including the maze, new swing and Land Rover Little Off Roaders.
For further information and book discounted tickets click here.