BEST known worldwide for its famous horse trials, Burghley has much more to offer – so cue a bumper year of attractions and events at England’s greatest Elizabethan house.
Having just re-opened for the new season, the Lincolnshire stately home has put together a packed programme including a look at the collections of two countesses spanning more than 200 years.
Showcasing items not usually on public display, the 2022 Treasury Exhibition provides an insight into Anne Cavendish (1649-1703) and Hannah-Sophia Chambers (1702-1765).
The two highly independent, spirited women had a passion for collecting, and not always what you might expect. They left a legacy of treasures and oddities for future generations to admire.
But ‘The Collections Of Two Countesses’ exhibition is just the icing on a cake, the ingredients for which range from fine food markets and a TVR car rally, to summer proms and a Classic Ibiza concert.
Picture: Matty Graham
While the sweeping parkland surrounding the estate is open daily free of charge throughout the year, the House and Gardens are ticketed attractions.
The South Gardens – they can normally only be glimpsed from the windows of the House above – are open for spring displays up until April 8, plus a National Gardens Scheme opening on April 10-11.
Meanwhile, the house itself – built by William Cecil, one of Elizabethan England’s most powerful figures – will be open every day, except Fridays, until October 30.
House and garden tickets include a self-guided tour of the 18 state rooms, as well as allowing visitors to explore the historic collection of paintings, ceramics and works of art.
Outside are the Garden of Surprises, an Elizabethan water garden inspired by the Garden built by William Cecil, and the Sculpture Garden, an intriguing and evolving garden with hidden pathways and secret features creating a natural gallery for Burghley’s annual themed sculpture exhibitions.
Picture: Neil Hepworth
The Spring Fine Food Market celebrates local food and drink producers from April 9-10, and the family favourite Burghley Easter Egg Hunt returns on Easter Sunday.
This year welcomes back the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials from September 1 to 4 but a different kind of horse power will be revving up when the TVR Car Club gathers in force on April 10.
Across the estate, events include the return of Beastly Boring Tours for children with costumed guides, which will be available every school holiday throughout the year.
Spring also marks an end of an era after eight years when the last ever Rat Race Dirty Weekend, the world’s biggest obstacle course, is staged at Burghley one final time on May 7.
For summer spectacle, the House will be the backdrop for the 17th annual Battle Proms Picnic Concert – a celebration with music, fireworks, Spitfire fly-past, cannons, and cavalry – on July 9, while Classic Ibiza is back to chill on July 30.
There’ll be chills of another kind entirely at the Burghley Halloween Trail (October 15-30), alongside Spooky Tours, featuring torch-lit tours and haunting hidden history (October 19-29).
The Burghley Christmas Fair rounds off the calendar from November 24 to 27.
And if the place seems familiar even if you’ve not visited before, perhaps that’s because the house has starred in movies such as The Da Vinci Code, Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, and doubled as Windsor Castle in royal soap opera The Crown.
Watch out soon for DC superhero movie The Flash, too, where word has it that Burghley is the latest stately home to be turned into Wayne Manor, home of Batman alter-ego Bruce Wayne.
For full details of opening times, events and to book online tickets, which cost £20 for adults and £9 for children, visit www.burghley.co.uk or call 01780 752451. * Top image: John Lawrence