Have a go at… sharing a secret at Hodsock Priory
Want to know a secret? With stories of scandal, secret passageways and royal visitors, Hodsock Priory invites you to an evening of curious tales and tea.
Famed for the blanket of snowdrops which captivate thousands of visitors at the start of each year, and a popular wedding venue choice for blushing brides, Hodsock Priory is offering up increasingly unique events to attract the visitor.
This spring, the public were invited to the live-in home of the Buchanan family (Sir Andrew Buchanan is lord lieutenant – the Queen’s personal representative for Nottinghamshire) , to share with them an intimate evening of secrets from Hodsock alongside a tour of the house and light refreshments.
We were greeted by George Buchanan (son of Sir Andrew Buchanan), who took over management of the estate in 2006. The talk was very informative but with an informal tone, and George, with his welcoming and charming manner made a wonderful host.
George was keen to share as much as possible throughout the evening – and wasn’t short of interesting tales to tell. The house has a wealth of history to unfold from as far back as the 15th Century when it is believed Henry VIII himself visited. To think we were following in the footsteps of such an important historical figure was a definite highlight to the evening.
From memories of magnificent costume balls [see detailed costume pictured], to World War correspondence and gambling, the colourful history invites your imagination to run wild. A dashing mix of childhood memory, antiquity and scandal, the full secrets of the priory were laid bare.
Unlike most tours where you are expected to stay well behind the velvet rope and merely peep at artefacts, George willingly handed items around and left them out on display to inspect at your leisure.
One of my favourite pieces from the collection was a slice of fruit cake from the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Wills and Kate), which came in a delightful embellished tin keepsake as a gift to Sir Andrew who attended the royal wedding in 2011.
We were taken throughout the house into the upstairs bedrooms to take a glimpse at the bridal suite, and then guided through secret passageways that lead to the ‘moat’ outside.
Towards the end of the tour we were invited to take tea informally alongside George and his father Sir Andrew who made a brief appearance. Both gentlemen readily mingled amongst the audience ensuring everyone was well looked after and had enjoyed their glimpse into life at Hodsock.
Afterwards, we took a brief stroll around the gardens and bluebell wood – a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ spectacular open for the first time this year, for just a few days to the public. The dusky spring evening provided the perfect backdrop, creating a magical atmosphere.
There are so many more secrets and details of which I would love to share, but it would only be fair for you to discover them yourself. I highly recommend booking your tickets for the next time George opens his doors on September 12. Tickets for the event are already available to purchase online.
Hodsock have many other events throughout the calendar year including an outdoor production of ‘The Sword in the Stone’ to be enjoyed during July.