Entertaining Lives – The Nancy Astor & Nancy Lancaster Cookbook
May 18 – May 25, 2023
$7200 per person double occupancy – $2500 single room supplement
Airfare and Transfers not included in price
Thursday 18 May
Arrival transfer from Heathrow Airport to the Kensington Hotel. You will be met outside the customs exit at Heathrow Airport by your guide and transferred to the Kensington Hotel in London.
Afternoon at leisure.
This evening enjoy a welcome reception at the hotel in a private room.
Overnight Kensington Hotel.
Friday 19 May
Breakfast daily at the hotel.
Luxury coach and guide at disposal all day.
Visit and guided tour of the Wallace Collection with one of their own specialist guides.
As one of Britain’s preeminent cultural institutions, the Wallace Collection is home to one of the most significant ensembles of fine and decorative arts in the world.
Highlights include oil paintings from the fourteenth to the late nineteenth centuries by artists such as Titian, Velazquez, Rubens and Van Dyck; princely arms and armour; and one of the finest collections of eighteenth-century French paintings and decorative arts. Visitors can also enjoy superb medieval and Renaissance objects, including Limoges enamel, maiolica, glass and bronzes.
Displayed at Hertford House, former home to Sir Richard and Lady Wallace, this outstanding collection is displayed in a manner designed to evoke the lives and tastes of its founders, creating a special ambiance that remains an essential part of its charm.One of the sexiest collections in Europe’ — The Guardian
After the visit enjoy lunch in the Wallace Restaurant.
A Walk through the History of Fashion
This afternoon you will not only stroll through one of London’s most beautiful galleries, but also through the streets of Knightsbridge and the centuries of fashion that started in Great Britain but shaped the world.
Your specialist fashion guide will weave you through this delightful area of London, highlighting boutiques that dress style setters of the past and present and showcasing designers that are molding the future of fashion.
From here you will have a docent-led tour of the Fashion Galleries at the Victoria & Albert Museum, which can be tailored to the theme of your visit. Spanning five centuries, this Fashion collection is the largest and most comprehensive collection of dresses in the world. Key items in the collection include rare 17th-century gowns, 18th-century ‘mantua’ dresses, 1930s eveningwear, 1960s daywear and post-war couture.
The experience will end in style with a meeting with Jacques Azagury at the Kensington Hotel in a private room and includes Afternoon Tea and biscuits/cakes.
Favourite dress designer of Princess Diana, Jacques gifted Diana the dress that she chose to wear on her very last birthday, weeks before her untimely death. Key to the development of her unique style, Jacques spent much time with the People’s Princess in the last 10 years of her life, and has many a tale to tell and mementos to share. Spotted by the store Browns who bought his first collection, he was hailed by the press including Harpers and Queen and Vogue as one of the most exciting new designers. Following his success Azagury joined the London Designer Collections in 1980 launching his ‘New Romantics’ collection, which was snapped up by major stores such as Harvey Nichols, Harrods, Saks, Bergdorfs and Barneys and is now one of Britain’s foremost designers. Accompanying Jacques will be mannequins with examples of the dresses made for the People’s Princess.
Overnight at the Kensington Hotel
Saturday 20 May
Luxury coach and guide at disposal all day in London
This morning you will visit the Houses of Parliament.
Discover the history and work of UK Parliament on a fun and informative tour delivered by an expert guide. Your tour includes the House of Commons, House of Lords and Westminster Hall.
Both the elected House of Commons and the House of Lords, who are appointed or hereditary, sit in the sumptuous Houses of Parliament, officially called the Palace of Westminster. This neo-Gothic building dates from the mid-19th century – its oldest part is 11th-century Westminster Hall, one of only a few sections that survived a catastrophic 1834 fire. A visit to the Houses of Parliament is a journey to the very heart of British democracy. Nancy Astor was a distinguished member of the House of Commons and the first lady to hold such a position. She replaced her husband and represented Plymouth Sutton, beginning in 1919. She was the first lady of British politics.
Lunch at leisure
This afternoon we will arrange for a presentation and talk by the Political History professor who has headed up the Astor Archives for many years and who will be able to give the group all the inside information about Nancy Astor.
Nancy Witcher Langhorne was born in Danville, Virginia in 1879, the eighth of eleven children born to railroad businessman Chiswell Dabney Langhorne and his wife Nancy Witcher Keene.
Witty, beautiful, glamorous, clever, fashionable, generous – Nancy became known amongst the aristocracy upon arrival in England and moved into high social circles. She soon caught the eye of Waldorf Astor – the son of Viscount Astor – and within six months the couple was married. After the marriage, the Astors moved into Cliveden and Nancy became a prominent hostess amongst the English elite in 1919 she became the first woman MP to take her seat in the House of Commons.
Evening at leisure.
Sunday 21 May
Luxury coach and guide at disposal all day in London.
11.15 am. Attend Church Service at the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace.
Constructed by King Henry VIII, the chapel was decorated by Hans Holbein the Younger in honor of the king’s (short) marriage to Anne of Cleves. Queen Mary I’s heart is said to be buried beneath the choir stalls and it was here that Queen Elizabeth I apparently prayed waiting for news of the progress of the Spanish Armada. King Charles I took the Sacrament of Holy Communion here before his execution in 1649 and the chapel was where Queen Victoria married Prince Albert (her marriage certificate still hangs on the wall). In more recent times, the coffin of Diana, Princess of Wales, was placed before the altar so family and friends could pay their respects before her 1997 funeral. Among the composers and organists associated with the chapel are Thomas Tallis, William Byrd, Henry Purcell and George Frideric Handel.
The chapel is not open to the public except for services.
Morning Visit to Columbia Road Flower Market
Every Sunday, Columbia Road becomes awash with foliage and flowers as the flower market moves in and gives you a taste of the Old East End. Small art galleries, independent shops, vintage clothes stores, delis, cafes and antique shops line the street so once the flowers have been bought, have a wander round and explore this little gem in the East End.
Lunch at leisure
Visit one (or both) of London’s best-kept horticultural secrets – the Chelsea Physic Garden and/or Museum of Garden History at a deconsecrated church next to Lambeth Palace.
Sitting on the Thames Embankment, and sheltered by high walls, Chelsea Physic Garden is one of the oldest and most respected botanic gardens in Europe. It is the oldest in London, and only surpassed in age, in England, by Oxford Botanic Garden.
Founded in 1673 by The Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of London for its apprentices to study medicinal plants and their uses, it became one of the most important centers of botany and plant exchange in the world. Chelsea Physic Garden’s plant collection is unique in being the only botanic garden collection focused on medicinal, herbal, and useful plants.
The Garden Museum was founded by Rosemary and John Nicholson in 1977 in order to rescue the abandoned church of St Mary’s at Lambeth, which was due for demolition. The church is the burial place of John Tradescant (c1570 – 1638), the first great gardener and plant-hunter in British history. His magnificent and enigmatic tomb is the centrepiece of the Sackler Garden, designed to reflect Tradescant’s life and spirit.
The Garden Museum explores and celebrates British gardens and gardening through its collection, temporary exhibitions, events and garden.
Visitors will also see a permanent display of paintings, tools, ephemera and historic artifacts: a glimpse into the uniquely British love affair with gardens.
Monday 22 May
Morning at leisure in London for shopping on own.
Mid-afternoon your luxury coach/guide will be waiting to transfer to you to Cliveden House Hotel for dinner and overnight.
Dinner at leisure this evening.
Tuesday 23 May
Full-day excursion to visit two former homes belonging to Nancy Lancaster – niece of Nancy Astor and one of the founders of the interior design studio Colefax and Fowler.
Luxury coach and guide at disposal all day.
Visit Kelmarsh Hall
Built for the Hanbury family in the 1730s by virtuoso architect, James Gibbs and builder, Francis Smith of Warwick, Kelmarsh Hall was praised by historian Nikolaus Pevsner as, “a perfect, extremely reticent design, done in an impeccable taste.”
One other arbiter of fashion to leave her mark on the Hall was society decorator Nancy Lancaster. Drawn by the house’s fine bone structure, her taste for combining comfort with formality set the trend for the Twentieth Century’s Country House look. Her spirit still pervades the house today in the delicate terracotta coloring of the Great Hall, the exuberant Chinese wallpaper, and seasonal flower arrangements.
Within the 18th-century setting, the gardens that visitors see at Kelmarsh Hall today are largely inspired by Nancy Lancaster. She extended her interior style of shabby chic charm into the gardens and drafted in the garden designer of her day, the talented Norah Lindsay, to help. Around the Hall the landscape architect Geoffrey Jellicoe laid out a formal terrace.
From the sophisticated pastels of the sunken garden through to the showier shades of the 60m long border, the garden leads you on a tour around the perimeter of a triangular walled garden. This secret heart is a relaxing space filled with traditional fruit and vegetables, cut flower beds and a restored vinery. The produce and cut flowers are sold in the Visitor Centre when available.
Lunch is included in the café at Kelmarsh Hall.
After lunch exclusive visit to the very nearby gardens at Cottesbrooke Hall
Before Nancy Lancaster moved into Kelmarsh Hall she rented nearby Cottesbrooke Hall a beautiful Queen Anne House which is full of treasures and fine furniture which also boasts award-winning gardens. It remains the beautiful home of the Macdonald-Buchanan family.
The house was built for Sir John Langham, between 1702 and 1712, in the Queen Anne style by Francis Smith of Warwick. Featuring beautiful rose-coloured brickwork, it shines like a jewel amongst its stunning backdrop of parkland, lakes, vistas, bridges and ha-has.
The gardens, former winners of the coveted Christies and Historic Houses Association “Garden of the Year Award”, are a constant source of innovation and development – from the formal gardens that surround the Hall and to the Wild Garden, which flanks a meandering stream where acers, spring bulbs and gunneras create a romantic and tranquil air. A number of distinguished landscape designers have been involved ~ Robert Weir Schultz, the late Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe and the late Dame Sylvia Crowe. The main inspiration came from the late Hon. Lady Macdonald~Buchanan.
The tour of the gardens will be conducted by Jenny Barnes, head gardener and famous for her unique pruning technique and “rose sculpture”.
Return to Cliveden for overnight.
Dinner at leisure.
Wednesday 24 May
All day spent enjoying Cliveden and its stunning grounds.
Private boat charter on the River Thames</4>
This morning you will enjoy a boat trip, embarking from Cliveden’s own private pier, on a classic Thames boat. See the stretch of the Thames considered by many to be one of the most beautiful called the Cliveden Reach. Go through the picturesque Cookham Lock and enjoy coffee and biscuits on board whilst you see the English countryside at its best from the deck of your exclusive charter.
Return to enjoy a very special lunch in the Boudoir hosted by Jane Churchill and Emily Astor who have recently published a book called “Entertaining in Style” with recipes taken from the Mirador Cookbook.
Jane Churchill is the great-great niece of Nancy Astor and Nancy Lancaster’s great-niece. She discovered the Mirador Cookbook in her family archive and was inspired by its contents to create this book. She is an internationally acclaimed interior designer in her own right. A lover of good food, she says ‘I’m always ready for the next meal!’
Emily Astor is a photographer, author and Nancy Astor’s granddaughter. She grew up at Cliveden and is an expert family historian, producing a personal collection of photographs for her current book ‘Nancy Astor: A Life in Photographs’.
The ladies will be able to share anecdotes about both Nancys and living at Cliveden when it was still a private home.
The rest of the afternoon and evening will be at leisure to enjoy the hotel and its grounds.
Evening at leisure.
Thursday 25 May
Check out this morning. Your coach and guide are available for the short transfer to Heathrow Airport.
Cost based on a minimum of 18 passengers will be $7200 per person sharing a twin room.
Single room supplement :$2500 and includes the following:
Accommodation as follows:
4 nights at the Kensington Hotel, London
3 nights at Cliveden House Hotel
Bed and breakfast rate
- Arrival transfer from Heathrow to London and departure transfer to Heathrow on 18 and 25 May only. (we can arrange transfers at a charge for those arriving early or staying over)
- Welcome reception at the Kensington Hotel in The Study with drinks and canapes
- Guided tour of the Wallace Collection and two-course lunch with coffee
- Afternoon curated guided tour with specialist guides featuring fashion/visit to V & A, curator-led tour, meeting with Jacques Azagury as described in a private room at the Kensington Hotel with tea and biscuits/cakes
- Morning guided tour of the Houses of Parliament with specialist guide
- Afternoon talk by Professor and keeper of the Astor Archives in a private room
- Full day London including church service or visit to Columbia Road Market, visit to Chelsea Physic Garden/Garden Museum
- Full day visit with entrances to Kelmarsh Hall, Cottesbrooke including lunch
- Private Thames Charter with coffee/biscuits (2 hours)
- Private lunch hosted by Emily Astor and Jane Churchill in the Boudoir at Cliveden including three courses and wines
- Transfer to Heathrow Airport from Cliveden with coach/guide
- All coaching where necessary by luxury mini/midi coaches
- Accompanied by Jackie Hayward/Blue Badge Guide throughout (8 days)
- Porterage in/out
- Just Ladies Traveling Escorts
Does NOT include:
- Meals not specified
- Guide gratuities
- REGISTER FOR THIS TRIP:
- EMAIL: WEEZIEGLASCOCK@GMAIL.COM to receive a registration form.
- A non-refundable deposit of $2500 will be due with registration. Travel Insurance is highly recommended!! A signed Waiver is required and on the registration form.
- Registration is not available from the JLT webpage!