Great Country Houses Of Yorkshire With David Starkey

3 nights starting from

  • Talk and dinner with David Starkey at magnificent Newby House

  • Visit Harewood House accompanied by David Starkey

  • Temple Newsam with parkland landscaped by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown

  • Wonderful York and the historic Treasurer’s House

  • Romantic ruins of Fountains Abbey

Further to the huge success of our “Country Houses Fit for a King” tour to Northamptonshire and Lincolnshire, we have added a second tour featuring the UK’s leading historian, David Starkey, to some of England’s largest county’s most magnificent properties including Sutton Park, Newby Hall and Harewood House. Yorkshire's grand stately homes boast Capability Brown landscapes, Vanbrugh masterpieces and Adam interiors. Graced with great works of art and priceless antiques, they reveal the region's vivid history, and who better to help bring them to life than the TV presenter and celebrated historian David Starkey? On this new four-day tour, David Starkey will join Telegraph readers for a private dinner and talk at Newby Hall, built in the 1690s by Sir Christopher Wren, and a guided visit to the 18th century Harewood House with its 100 acres of landscaped gardens. You’ll also enjoy an expert tour of Temple Newsam, a fine Tudor-Jacobean mansion, on the outskirts of Leeds, The Treasurers House behind York Minster and Sutton Park, home of Samantha Cameron’s father Sir Reginald Sheffield.

David Starkey says:

“This tour takes you to Yorkshire’s largest, grandest and most beautiful country houses. These power houses symbolise the values of an elite and I’ll be asking you to re-enter the minds, the habits, the tastes, of the people who built them. This will be a fun and challenging few days and we will even tease each other over dinner, so you’re guaranteed to learn with a smile on your face.”

Quoted price below is for Telegraph Subscribers only and your subscribers number will be needed at time of booking. (Subscribers will also receive a copy of the book ''Crown and Country: The Kings and Queens of England by David Starkey'')

For non-subscribers of the Telegraph, a supplement of £50 per person will be added to your booking.

Available Departures


19 - June - 2020 £ 985.00 Travel Info Book Now

Provisional Timings

24 - July - 2020 £ 985.00 Travel Info Book Now

Provisional Timings

02 - October - 2020 £ 985.00 Travel Info Book Now

Provisional Timings


Day 1: Arrive and check in to the Ripon Spa Hotel and enjoy a welcome drink, dinner with wine and talk from your host and guide, Nicholas Merchant.

Day 2: Sutton Park and York Treasurer’s House
This morning you’ll visit Sutton-on-the-Forest, a village mentioned in the Domesday Book which has been in the possession of either the Crown or the nobility for most of the past 1,000 years. It’s also famous for being where Laurence Sterne, the Anglican Vicar of All Hallows Church, wrote the first two volumes of ‘Tristram Shandy’. You’ll also enjoy a guided tour of Sutton Park, purchased in 1963 by Sir Reginald and Lady Sheffield the father of Samantha Cameron. Sir Reginald is a direct descendant of John Sheffield, the 1st Duke of Buckingham and the man responsible for building Buckingham House, better known as Buckingham Palace. After lunch (not included) you’ll enjoy a tour to the Treasurers House, nestled behind York Minster and the first house to be donated to the National Trust complete with its contents. Dinner at the hotel.

Day 3: Temple Newsam and dinner at the Orangery at Newby Hall with talk from David Starkey
Today you’ll visit Temple Newsam, a fine Tudor-Jacobean mansion, on the outskirts of Leeds set in 1,500 acres of parkland landscaped by 'Capability' Brown. Its name refers to the Knights Templar, who once owned the lands, and it’s the birthplace of Lord Darnley, husband of Mary Queen of Scots. In an interview for Radio 4's Front Row, ex-Culture Minister Mark Fisher placed Temple Newsam House in the top three non-national museums in the country. You’ll have free time to explore Ripon this afternoon before your evening visit to Newby Hall. David Starkey will join you for dinner and give a lively - and no doubt provocative - talk about the historical significance of the grand houses you’re visiting.

Day 4: Harewood House with David Starkey, Fountains Abbey, William Burges Church and Studley Royal Water Garden
Today you will again be joined by David Starkey for a visit to Harewood House, built in the 18th century and now home to an exceptional art collection, renowned bird garden and farm experience. After lunch you’ll have time to explore the ruins of Fountains Abbey and William Burges Church. Veiled in a secluded valley, this National Trust property promises to captivate with its vast Cistercian abbey ruins, Georgian water garden, medieval deer park, Elizabethan Hall and Gothic church.  In Porter’s Lodge uncover the story of the devout monks who founded the abbey in search of a simpler life and see the mill created by these skilful masters of machinery. Studley Royal Water Garden is an outstanding example of the ‘English’ garden style that swept across Europe during the eighteenth century, and is what makes this magnificent estate a World Heritage Site. Created by father and son John and William Aislabie, the design of this garden is a pre-cursor to the style which later became synonymous with ‘Capability’ Brown where elegant ponds and cascades entwine with rustic bridges, classical temples and statues. Return to the hotel for approximately 1700.

NB: Exact order of itinerary may vary according to local conditions and tour managers discretion.

Please note: Post tour extra nights are available at a supplement.

Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 49 passengers


  • Three nights' bed and breakfast at the four-star Ripon Spa Hotel, Ripon, based on shared occupancy of twin/double room
  • Cream tea on arrival
  • Welcome reception
  • Two dinners at the hotel (wine included on first night)
  • Tour, welcome drink, dinner with wine and talk from David Starkey at Newby Hall
  • Tours and entrance fees as detailed
  • Full coach touring itinerary 
  • Talk and accompanied visits with Nicholas Merchant 


  • Transport to the hotel is not included
  • Holiday insurance
  • Single room supplement 
  • Extra nights on bed & breakfast basis
  • Meals other than those stated
  • Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, telephone calls etc
  • Porterage and gratuities


Ripon Spa Hotel

Stylish, traditional three-star hotel located five minutes from the centre of the lovely market town of Ripon.  Set in spacious grounds and privately-owned by the same family for more than a century, the “spa” in its name is purely historic, but the hotel boasts a restaurant, bar,  and comfortable bedrooms with all modern appointments including en-suite bath/shower, flat screen digital TV and radio, direct dial telephones, trouser press, hair dryer and tea and coffee making facilities. Complimentary car parking is available at the hotel.

Ripon Spa Hotel Website


Guest lecturer, historian: David Starkey

David Starkey is a respected author and broadcaster who specialised in Tudor history at Cambridge and lectured for 25 years at the London School of Economics. He has written numerous works on British history, covering periods from the Magna Carta to the present day. His landmark television series include Elizabeth (2000), Monarchy (2004-7), The Churchills (2012) and Reformation: Europe's Holy War (2017).

The brilliant historian, author and broadcaster will join you for dinner in the orangery of Newby Hall, one of Britain’s finest Adam Houses. After a tour, David Starkey will give a talk on the rich history of the stately homes that you’ll visit in this remarkable part of the English countryside. He will also join you the following day for a tour of Harewood House, one of the Treasure Houses of England.

Please note that all our UK tours start and finish at the relevant hotel.  

You can normally check in from 3pm onwards but hotels will always be happy to store your luggage if you arrive earlier in the day. 

For full details of how to get to the hotel, directions and the nearest train station, please click on the hotel website or call our office for details. These will also be sent automatically with your confirmation. 

The welcome reception and first evening dinner / talk will commence at about 7pm - full details will be sent with your joining instructions about 10 days prior to the arrival date. 

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