Special events and tours for all ages are expected to draw crowds to royal residences and stately homes across the country this summer. London offers one of the most colorful new attractions with Superbloom outside the Tower of London. To celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June, 20 million wildflower seeds were sown in the tower moat to create a unique fragrant garden.
In early August, the flowers currently in bloom should defy the dry weather and turn into a sea of yellow and gold.
Tickets allow you to follow a gently rolling new path through the moat which is normally off-limits to anyone except Beefeaters and staff.
Adult Superbloom tickets cost £12 or pay £36.50 to include the Tower and Crown Jewels Another garden normally closed to the public is Eythrope at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire. The stunning four-acre walled garden was created by 19th-century horticulturist Alice de Rothschild, and private viewings this summer mark the 100th anniversary of her death.
Walk through the gate with a guide to see the flower, vegetable and herb beds, greenhouses and orchard that supply the Waddesdon Estate’s restaurants and hotel.
The sprawling mansion was built to resemble the grandest castles in France’s Loire Valley and has hosted Queen Victoria and appeared in everything from Bond films to Downton Abbey.
Entrance to the house and grounds costs £25.20 or book a tour of Eythrope including lunch or afternoon tea for £50. Families and young visitors are the focus of the new Horrible Histories style events of the summer at Burghley House, near Peterborough. The hour-long Beastly Boring Tours are led by costumed guides and focus on the most gruesome stories of those who lived and died in the huge house.
After the tour, explore what is called “England’s largest Elizabethan house” with its riot of spiers, turrets and grand rooms filled with artwork. Order a picnic in a wicker basket with a rug to complete the day.
Beastly Boring Tours cost £13 per person and include entry to the house and gardens.
New to the aptly named Chillingham Castle in Northumberland, the Ghostbusters Workshops will run from 10pm to midnight. Late-night masterclasses demonstrate how to use ghost-hunting equipment before a guided tour of the castle, believed to be Britain’s most haunted.
For an earlier event, Chillingham organizes tours and family ghost hunts from 7.30pm. During the day, you can also visit the castle, following in the footsteps of royal visitors from Henry VIII to James I. Adult entry is £10.50, ghost tours are £25.
Another royal visit will be celebrated in style at Hopetoun House near Edinburgh. King George IV’s Grand Ball on August 21 marks the 200th anniversary of the King’s visit to Scotland and includes dinner and a live orchestra, hosted by Mrs Bennet’s Ballroom School of Dance. Guests are encouraged to dress to impress in Regency costumes. The nature trails around Hopetoun House are alive each summer with swallows, swallows, dragonflies and more. Adult entry to House and Gardens costs £12.50. Tickets for the Grand Ball cost £100 each.