Revealed: New events and tours at UK palaces and stately homes, from the wildflower garden at the Tower of London to ghost hunt workshops at Chillingham Castle

  • Burghley House near Peterborough is hosting new Horrible Histories-style events this summer 
  • Superbloom at the Tower of London gives you access to the moat that is normally off-limits to the public
  • Take a private tour of the stunning four-acre walled garden at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire

Every week our Holiday Hero Neil Simpson takes an in-depth look at a brilliant holiday topic, doing all the legwork so you don’t have to. This week: All-new events at country houses and gardens.

Special events and tours for all ages are set to draw crowds at Royal residences and stately homes across the country this summer.

London is offering one of the most colourful 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’s moat to create a unique scented garden.

Visitors can explore the moat around the Tower of London, which has been turned into a wildflower garden to celebrate the Queen ’s Platinum Jubilee (pictured)

As August begins, the flowers currently in bloom are set to defy the dry weather and turn to a sea of yellow and gold.

Tickets let you follow a new, gently rolling path through the moat that is normally off-limits to anyone but the Beefeaters and staff.

Adult Superbloom tickets cost £12 or pay £36.50 to include the Tower and Crown Jewels (

Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire (above) is offering private tours of its four-acre walled garden, which features glasshouses and an orchard 

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 horticulturalist Alice de Rothschild, and private tours this summer mark the 100th anniversary of her death. 

Step through the gate with a guide to see the flower, vegetable and herb beds, glasshouses and orchard that supply the restaurants and hotel on the Waddesdon estate.

The vast manor house was built to resemble the biggest chateaux of France’s Loire Valley, and has played host to Queen Victoria and appeared in everything from Bond films to Downton Abbey.

Burghley House near Peterborough (pictured) has launched new Beastly Boring Tours that concentrate on the most gruesome stories of those who lived and died in the huge property 

Horrible history: The Beastly Boring Tours are led by costumed guides (pictured) 

Entrance to house and grounds costs £25.20 or book an Eythrope tour including lunch or afternoon tea for £50 (

Families and young visitors are the focus of the summer’s new Horrible Histories-style events at Burghley House near Peterborough. The hour-long Beastly Boring Tours are led by costumed guides and concentrate on the most gruesome stories of those who lived and died in the huge house. 

After the tour, explore what’s called ‘the greatest Elizabethan house in England’ with its riot of spires, turrets and grand, art-filled rooms. Order a picnic in a wicker basket along with a rug to make the day complete.

Beastly Boring Tours cost £13pp and include entry to the house and gardens (

New at the aptly named Chillingham Castle in Northumberland are Ghost Hunt Workshops set to run from 10pm to midnight. The late-night masterclasses (over-18s only) show how to use ghost-hunting equipment before a guided tour of the castle, said to be the most haunted in Britain.

For an earlier event, Chillingham has family ghost tours and hunts from 7.30pm. In the daytime you can also tour the castle, following in the footsteps of Royal visitors from Henry VIII to James I. Adult admission costs £10.50, ghost tours cost £25pp (

Fright night: Join a ghost hunt workshop and go inside the supposedly haunted Chillingham Castle in Northumberland (pictured)

Hopetoun House near Edinburgh (above) is hosting a grand ball for King George IV on August 21 to mark the 200th anniversary of the King’s visit to Scotland

Another Royal visit will be celebrated in style at Hopetoun House near Edinburgh. The Grand Ball for King George IV on August 21 marks the 200th anniversary of the King’s visit to Scotland, and includes dinner and a live band, organised by dance school Mrs Bennet’s Ballroom. 

Guests are encouraged to dress to impress in Regency costumes. Nature trails around Hopetoun House are alive each summer with house martins, swallows, dragonflies and more.

Adult entry to House and Gardens costs £12.50. Tickets to the Grand Ball cost £100 each (

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