Hampton Court interiors reopen for self-guided tours

The libary at Hampton Court in Herefordshire

THE MOST RECENT changes to Coronavirus precautions in effect at Hampton Court in Herefordshire, a key filming location for six episodes of the first series of Suvivors, mean that limited access to the castle interiors is now available once again.

Access to the grounds and gardens at Hampton Court, along with limited access to the Orangery cafe, was reenabled on 1 April 2021. At that time, the castle interiors remained inaccessible.

In the last few days, and in line with the evolving government Covid guidelines, visitor access to the castle been opened up – for self-guided tours.

Because staff will not be accompanying visitor groups inside the castle, some areas (such as the main stone staircase and first floor landing) will remain out of bounds.

Self-guided tours will be available between 11:00 and 16:00, with access to the castle provided through the Orangery cafe.

A statement on the Hampton Court web site explains the updated arrangements:

Following government guidelines, we will be opening up in stages this year.

Our gardens and grounds are now open, with the exception of the Maze and the Gothic Tower which have to remain closed to ensure effective social distancing. Please see the Visit Us page for opening times and prices for the gardens.

Coronavirus precautions will be in place across the estate and please adhere to relevant signage. The Orangery Cafe will be offering a limited menu for both inside and outside seating. The Gift Shop and Ice Cream Parlour will remain closed for the time being, but prepackaged ice creams are available from the Orangery Cafe. The Castle is open for self-guided tours only. These are available between 11am and 4pm and entrance to the castle tour is in the Orangery Cafe.

We will be able to open more facilities throughout the following weeks and months, in line with the government’s step system. Please keep an eye on our website, or follow us on Facebook or Instagram, for more information and details of any upcoming events.

We welcome feedback from visitors and are happy to answer any questions. Please speak to a member of staff during your visit or email us at visit@hamptoncourtcastle.co.uk.

Monsal Dale provides base for new episode of Countryfile

BBC1 Countryfile - 16 May 2021 - iPlayer title screen

MONSAL DALE, THE key filming location for the third series Survivors episode Mad Dog, provides the ‘centre of operations’ for the ‘White Peak’ episode of Countryfile, first shown on BBC1 on 16 May 2021.

Presenters Matt Baker and Charlotte Smith introduce all segments of the show from different locations in the Monsal Valley in the heart of the Peak District to “celebrate the 70th anniversary of the UK’s first national park”.

Key sites from across the Dale feature throughout the episode, which ends with the creation of an artwork (made from natural materials) on the valley floor beneath the viaduct (close to the spot where Charles Vaughan tumbles from his horse in the opening moments of Mad Dog).

Matt joins a pioneering scheme to restore ruined farm buildings and meets ‘legend’ of the Peak District Gordon Miller, one of the area’s early rangers and a last link to those who brought about the national park. Charlotte channels her inner artist to help create a giant anniversary art mural and records the special sounds of the park’s waterways. Sean Fletcher meets a ‘tyre runner’ using the Peak District’s hills to help his mental health. Meanwhile, as some of his traditional crops fail, Adam takes a glimpse at what the farming of tomorrow might look like, and Joe Crowley investigates new pollution laws causing controversy in the countryside.


Hampton Court to open ‘luxury holiday cottages’ in castle grounds

Hampton Court on Antiques Roadtrip (S21, E17) - the house and garden from the air - shot two

THE RECENTLY REVAMPED Hampton Court web site reveals the estate’s plans to open ‘luxury holiday cottages’ in a ‘quiet part of the grounds’ as an additional revenue stream that can help to ‘protect the long term future of the estate’.

Few details have been provided as yet, but the development suggests that (rental costs and availability permitting) Survivors fans could have the chance to enjoy a residential break inside the grounds of the show’s most iconic series one location.

The first of the cottages, which appear to be renovations of existing structures on the estate’s grounds, are expected to open in 2022. The announcement on the site explains:

Hampton Court Castle has been an important part of the Herefordshire countryside for over 600 years. Over the centuries the estate has evolved and it is still being added to and updated now.

The latest part of this work is the development of luxury holiday cottages. This new venture will bring life to a quiet part of the grounds, restoring and preserving some of the old buildings, while helping to protect the long term future of the estate.

The first holiday cottages will open in 2022, and will allow visitors a chance to stay on the Castle grounds and explore the beautiful Herefordshire countryside. They will provide an ideal base for walking, cycling or just relaxing and enjoying the sumptuous food and drink that is on offer in Herefordshire.

Each cottage will be sympathetically restored and designed to be a home away from home, maintaining many original features as well as modern comforts.

The redesigned Hampton Court web site also integrates drone and ground-level video footage of the main castle, the formal gardens and the grounds of the estate into its main design.

Hampton Court Castle re-opened the estate to visitors on 1 April 2021, although the castle building is not currently accessible and other Covid safety restrictions remain in effect.