Desired Destination: Gloucestershire {The Badminton Estate, Calcot Manor, Sudeley Castle}

23/12/2011 § 6 Comments

The Great Hall at the Badminton Estate.

After finding photos of the Beaufort Hunt in 1949, I immediately wanted to see the sprawling estate that I noticed was peeking around the edges.  The Duke and Duchess of Beaufort live at the Badminton Estate in Gloucestershire, England, two hours west of London.  One look at the Great Hall (pictured above) and I knew I was in love…and in urgent need of a hop across the pond to visit Gloucestershire.

Thus, Gloucestershire is my first Desired Destination feature.

It turns out the Duke lets some of the Estate’s cottages periodically. 
If I moved, would you come and visit me?

Badminton Church, built by the 5th Duke in 1785.

The east front.

The clock tower.

The stables.

And yes, the Badminton Estate is where the sport takes its name, although it isn’t known why, as the sport actually traces its roots back to mid-18th century India and the bored British officers stationed there.  The present-day Badminton is open for special events, garden tours, and The Badminton Shoot, but is probably best known now for hosting the annual Badminton Horse Trials in May.  I would love to be there for the prestigious three-day event.

The Badminton Estate
South Gloucestershire
Tel:  +44 (0) 1454 218 203

After a long day knocking about Badminton, I would check into Calcot Manor, a 35-room country house hotel set on 220 acres of meadowland that was established in the 1300s.  Thoroughly modernized while remaining true to the storied heritage of the home, Calcot Manor also boasts one of the best spas in the UK, the Calcot Spa.  It is simply gorgeous and would be a perfect home base for my relaxing minibreak in the British countryside.

Calcot Manor
Near Tetbury
Tel: +44 (0) 1666 890 391

I’d also make a point to visit Sudeley Castle, best known as the final resting place of Queen Katherine Parr, Henry VIII’s last and surviving wife.  With a long history that dates back to the tenth century, the Castle fell into disrepair after the Civil War and remained that way until its rescue in 1837 by brothers John and William Dent — of the fine accessories and glovemaking Dents, from Worcester — and its subsequent restoration.  The Castle has remained a Dent family home since that time, and was opened up to the public in 1969.  During this year’s season (1 April through 28 October, 2012) visitors can wander on their own through the gardens and inside the Castle’s original 15th century west wing, as well as take in a number of exhibitions.  Offered on a more limited basis are guided tours through the Castle apartments where the family currently resides.  Also of note this year at the Castle is the Queen Katherine Parr Quincentenary, marking 500 years since her birth.

Sudeley Castle
GL54 5JD
Tel: +44 (0) 1242 602 308

Images via Badminton House and Calcot Manor.

The Duke of Beaufort’s Hunt, 1949

23/12/2011 § 2 Comments

Photos of the Duke of Beaufort’s Hunt, March 1949, at Badminton House in Gloucestershire, England.  The Beaufort is one of the oldest and largest fox hunts in England.  Founded by the 1st Duke of Beaufort in 1682, later heads of the House of Beaufort have all either hunted or occupied The Beaufort’s mastership, and the hounds, kennels and stables are still held by the family.  The 11th and current Duke of Beaufort, David Robert Somerset, currently occupies the mastership of the pack and acts as its patron.

Two unfortunate things about these photos.  First, the pictures are not captioned so I have no idea who is who — but I do know that the 10th Duke of Beaufort isn’t shown.  Second, as the pictures are in black and white, you don’t get to notice the distinctive livery color of the Duke’s Hunt.  Instead of wearing the traditional red, the huntsman and whippers-in wear green, while the subscribers wear blue coats with buff facings (you can notice the buff facings, though).

Aside from that, they’re really great.  I especially love the ladies sitting sidesaddle with their top hats, and the servants navigating their way around the horses with their silver trays.  Lovely.  It’s no accident I’ve been finding myself looking for a beaver fur top hat of my own…

A lovely illustration of the Beaufort Hunt I found over at The Anglophile:

And a few images of the Duke of Beaufort’s Hunt today:

To learn more about the Duke of Beaufort’s Hunt, head over to their website here.

I’m also excited to mention that I’ve started my own club. 

More on that in a bit…

All other images via LIFE and Beaufort Hunt.

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