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The Ultimate Grand Tour: Britain's Greatest Country Houses

The tour of some the UK's most significant country houses, which we have recently completed in just under a week, has been one of our best road trips so far. It had been planned long ago and was much anticipated: we were extremely excited to visit these treasuries, housing tremendously important collections of fine and decorative arts, including the finest examples of English architecture, historic interiors, and of course, cabinetmaking.

Having departed from London last Wednesday we headed straight to Nostell Priory, one of Thomas Chippendale's largest commissions of furniture; then we followed up to York and Fairfax House, arguably the world's best collection of brown furniture. Magnificent Castle Howard and powerful Alnwick Castle, the seat of the Percy family, the Dukes of Northumberland, since 1309, were our stops on the way up to Edinburgh, where we caught traditionally sunny and warm Scottish weather and also made some shopping (soon in stock), and down to Glasgow. The following day, we enjoyed Culzean Castle, endowed with Robert Adam's interiors, and the breathtaking Scottish countryside, on our way to the legendary Dumfries House, saved by Prince Charles some years ago. Harewood House, which we enjoyed immensely on the way back to London, became perhaps our favourite due to its historic accuracy and consistency. Chatsworth's grand baroque interiors were of course most impressive, but scaffolding and ongoing restoration works outside, unfortunately, did not allow to fully enjoy its beauty. Anyway, it will be a good excuse to come once more; it is definitely worth a second visit.

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