Great British Royalty Trail

Click on the pins on the map to reveal some of the weird and wonderful links between HHA houses and our royalty - past and present.

Discover which Hall was home to the mistress of King George IV; which house is haunted by the ghost of King Charles I; which property inspired Queen Victoria to build Balmoral; which castle has its own private army; and where King Edward II met his murky end with a red hot poker!

Search by property name or location below or use the scale bar to zoom in and out of the map.

South West Back to top
Picture of Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens
Royal shooting parties and specimen trees
The Prince of Wales, later to become King George V, first visited Abbotsbury Sub Tropical Gardens in 1904 when the Earl of Ilchester invited him to join a shooting party.
ACTON COURT - Gloucestershire
Picture of Acton Court
Rare royal apartments and the King’s ‘privy’
The Poyntz family lived here from 1363 till 1680, when the manor house was sold, but by great good fortune it has survived as a virtually intact unique Tudor building.
Picture of Athelhampton House
A royal house but Queen Victoria was ‘not amused’
Athelhampton is located in the neighbouring village to Puddletown. Queen Victoria disliked its original name 'Piddletown' and changed it to what it is now! The names of the River Piddle and Piddle Valley remain unchanged.
BERKELEY CASTLE - Gloucestershire
Picture of Berkeley Castle
The murky murder of King Edward II
Berkeley Castle has belonged to the current family since 1153 when it was given to Robert Fitzharding as a reward for his generous financial support during the twelfth century civil wars; he had backed King Stephen’s cousin, Maud rather than the king himself. Robert changed his family’s surname to Berkeley after he was given the Castle and the family has lived there ever since.
CADHAY - Devon
Picture of Cadhay
Surviving the dangerous politics of the Tudor court
Cadhay started life as a mediaeval hall house built by the de Cadehay family in about 1350. It subsequently grew both in size and grandeur and by the late sixteenth century the house was closely involved with the politics and power struggles of the Tudor court.
CHAVENAGE HOUSE - Gloucestershire
Picture of Chavenage
The ghost of King Charles I seeks retribution for treason
Chavenage is an Elizabethan manor house set in the Cotswolds. The earliest recorded owner of the site in the Middle Ages was Princess Goda, the sister of Edward the Confessor, but there are records of Chavenage Green being the meeting place of the Hundred Court even earlier, in the ninth century.
Picture of Longleat House
Royal visitors and no 'sweating sickness'
Longleat House has received many royal visitors including Elizabeth I, Charles II, George III (and both George V and VI before they took up the throne). More recently HRH Princess Margaret, HM The Queen and HRH Prince Edward have also visited.
Picture of Prideaux Place
A royal pardon for all crimes past, present and future
From Prideaux Place one looks across the park with its herd of fallow deer. It is thought to be the oldest in the country and has been dated back to its enclosure by the Romans in 435AD.
Picture of Sherborne Castle
Follow the royal trail from the Tudor age to modern times
The castle was built by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1594 and has been the home of the Digby family since 1617.
Picture of Tiverton Castle
William and Katherine first married at Tiverton in 1495?
Once upon a time Princess Katherine Plantagenet lived at Tiverton Castle. In 1495 when she was 16 she married William Courtenay who became Earl of Devon.
Scotland Back to top
Picture of Abbotsford
The inspiration for Balmoral
Abbotsford was the Scottish Borders home of the world-famous novelist Sir Walter Scott, and various European monarchs, Indian statesmen, US Presidents and Japanese emperors have visited the house that he built.
Picture of Blair Castle
A castle with its own private army
Queen Victoria’s first visit to Scotland took place in 1842; she lunched at Dunkeld and Lord Glenlyon (later 6th Duke of Atholl) arranged a parade of hundreds of local men, as a tribute to the young queen.
Picture of Glamis Castle
Charming childhood home of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother
Glamis Castle, located in Angus in Scotland, was the childhood home of HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. Glamis is a picturesque castle set in a 14,500 acre estate and is considered to be one of the most charming buildings in all of Scotland.
Picture of Inveraray Castle and Garden
Queen Victoria's 'Sweetie Seat'
Inveraray Castle was the home of Princess Louise – Queen Victoria’s fourth daughter who married the 9th Duke of Argyll. Victoria had considered a number of possible suitors for her fourth daughter, who was known for her liberalism and feminism.
Picture of Mellerstain House
Racing – the sport of kings (and queens)
The 12th Earl and Countess of Haddington were lifelong friends of Elizabeth the Queen Mother and of King George VI, so Lady Mary Baillie Hamilton, their unmarried daughter, was chosen as a Maid of Honour at The Queen’s Coronation in 1953.
Yorkshire and The Humber Back to top
Picture of Allerton Castle
The castle that inspired a nursery rhyme
Allerton Castle was once owned by Prince Frederick, Duke of York, 2nd son of King George III. He rebuilt the house to designs by Henry Holland, but sold the estate shortly afterwards in 1789.
Picture of Harewood House
Home to Princess Mary and her ‘secret’ garden
Harewood House in Yorkshire was home to HRH Princess Mary, The Princess Royal, for four decades. The only daughter of King George V and Queen Mary, Princess Mary married Henry, 6th Earl of Harewood in 1922 and they moved into Harewood House in 1929 following the death of his father.
KIPLIN HALL - Yorkshire
Picture of Kiplin Hall
Royal mistresses and marital scandals
George Calvert built Kiplin Hall in the 1620s. He was Secretary of State to King James I, who made him the 1st Baron Baltimore. George later founded Maryland, named Terra Mariae by Charles I for his French queen, Henrietta Maria.
Picture of Markenfield Hall
An ill-fated rebellion with devastating consequences
The story of Markenfield Hall is one of the saddest and most romantic in English history. Deeply intertwined with the fortunes of nearby Fountains Abbey, this great house was one of the most important centres of the Rising of the North in 1569.
Picture of Newby Hall
King Charles II’s IOU worth £400 million, and a secret sanctuary for the Royal Family
The late Diana, Princess of Wales and Mr Richard Compton, owner of Newby Hall, shared a great-grandfather (the Duke of Abercorn), which made them second cousins.
SUTTON PARK - Yorkshire
Picture of Sutton Park
The family who built the original ‘Buck House’
It was the owners of Sutton Park, the Sheffields, who originally built Buckingham House, which is now better known as the home of Her Majesty The Queen, Buckingham Palace.
Picture of Castle Howard
An ‘informal’ royal visit and a detailed itinerary
In 1850, Queen Victoria was invited to Castle Howard by the 7th Earl of Carlisle for a private visit, partly because he was a confidant of the royal family, but also the invite meant they could break their journey to Scotland by stopping off in Yorkshire.
West Midlands Back to top
Picture of Upton Cressett Hall
The princes’ safehouse
The young Edward V, son of King Edward IV, and one of the famed 'Princes in the Tower', stayed at the manor of Upton Cressett in April 1483 on his fateful and hurried journey from Ludlow to the Tower of London.
EASTNOR CASTLE - Herefordshire
Picture of Eastnor Castle
Built for a right royal welcome
Eastnor Castle was built to make royalty feel at home, but to date the castle has never received a reigning British monarch. Many a member of the Royal Family has received a warm welcome at the Castle, but successive occupants of the throne have always eluded Eastnor, though the owner, James Hervey-Bathurst, says he still lives in hope!.
HARVINGTON HALL - Worcestershire
Picture of Harvington Hall
A Hall with a fine set of priest holes
Harvington Hall is a moated medieval and Elizabethan manor house near Kidderminster with original Elizabethan wall paintings and the finest series of priest holes in the UK.
RAGLEY HALL - Warwickshire
Picture of Ragley Hall
An influential and elegant mistress of the Prince Regent
The 2nd Marchioness at Ragley was the mistress of the future King George IV, and Ragley Hall has a Prince Regent’s Bedroom, which is believed to be where he stayed when he visited his lover.
WESTON PARK - Shropshire
Picture of Weston Park
Host to a royal honeymoon
Weston Park’s loyalty to the Crown dates back to the time of the Civil War and subsequent Restoration. Royalist Sir Orlando Bridgeman was instructed to preside over the trial of the men who had condemned Charles I to death.
East of England Back to top
Picture of The Abbey
An ancient abbey for medieval monarchs
King Stephen and his wife Queen Matilda founded the Abbey at Coggeshall in 1140 on land that Matilda inherited from her father, the Count of Boulogna. This was the 13th and last Savignac house to be founded in England. The Abbey was merged with the Cistercian order in 1147/48.
Picture of Glemham Hall
‘Royal’ shoots in the traditional manner
Glemham Hall was built circa 1560 by the de Glemham family, and is a beautiful house in the early Renaissance style. It is now used for weddings, self-catering accommodation and country sports as well as special events.
Picture of Hedingham Castle
An ancient lineage, littered with royal visits and skirmishes
Aubrey de Vere was one of William the Conqueror's most favoured knights. After the Battle of Hastings he was given land in many counties including Middlesex, where he owned Kensington and Earls Court.
Picture of Holkham Hall
400 years of royal connections and a remarkable royal friendship
Four hundred years of royal connections highlight the links between the family and the monarchy since the time of Elizabeth I. The 2nd Earl of Leicester was great friends with King Edward VII and the present Viscount Coke was a Page of Honour at a Garter Ceremony in 1980.
Picture of Layer Marney Tower
Entertaining Tudor royals
When David Starkey printed his book about young King Henry VIII, the current owners of Layer Marney Tower discovered that King Henry VIII had stayed there.
South East Back to top
Picture of Blenheim Palace
Royal friendships, favours and formalities
Magnificent Blenheim Palace has had many links with British royalty, but the personal stories of some of its most famous inhabitants reveal that the powerful and privileged can be just as content or discontent as anyone else.
CHENIES MANOR HOUSE - Buckinghamshire
Picture of Chenies Manor House
Is the ghost of Henry VIII still prowling the corridors, looking for Catherine Howard?
Elizabeth MacLeod Matthews recalls her experience of something going bump in the middle of the night.
Picture of Chiddingstone Castle
Royal body parts and drinks bills
Chiddingstone Castle has an unparalleled collection of Stuart and Jacobite portraits, relics and memorabilia. The Stuarts reigned in England between 1603 and 1714, and after this date many people remained loyal to James II and his descendants. They were known as Jacobites, because Jacobus is James in Latin.
Hever Castle
Childhood home of Anne Boleyn and ancestral home of both Will and Kate
Hever Castle has discovered that Prince William and his wife, Kate Middleton, are distantly related. They are 12th cousins once removed and are descended from the Boleyn family who owned Hever Castle between 1462 and 1583.
Picture of Leeds Castle
Home to six Medieval Queens
Leeds Castle has been dubbed Kent’s Royal Palace during its 900 year turbulent history. The story begins in 1119 when the Saxon manor of Esledes was considered an ideal place for the descendant of one of William the Conqueror’s lords, Robert de Crevecoeur, to build the first fortified stone castle on the site.
Picture of Loseley Park
Queen Elizabeth I, a very fussy visitor
In 1508 Sir Christopher More bought the Loseley Estate, and his son, William More, undertook major improvements at the instruction of Queen Elizabeth, to whom he acted as adviser. In the 1560s, the monarch visited Loseley Park and told him that the house was 'Not meet for me to tarrey at'!
Picture of Painshill Park
Royal patronage for a unique historic landscape park
HRH The Prince of Wales is the Royal Patron at Painshill and has visited several times to view the ongoing restoration of the 18th century landscape and its iconic follies.
Picture of Pashley Manor Gardens
A childhood haunt of the ill-fated Anne Boleyn
The house at Pashley was owned by Anne Boleyn’s family (her great grandfather in 1454 and grandfather in 1525, and then her uncle Sir James Bulleyn who sold it in 1540).
STOWE HOUSE - Buckinghamshire
Picture of Stowe House
Courting financial ruin to entertain Victoria and Albert
It was the debt-ridden 2nd Duke of Buckingham and Chandos who managed to entice an unwilling Queen Victoria and Prince Albert to stay at Stowe in January 1845, after a year of petitioning.
The North Front, Waddesdon Manor.  ©The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor. Photo: Hugh Palmer
An illuminating royal visit
Queen Victoria visited Waddesdon in May 1890 when she enjoyed a wonderful lunch cooked by Baron Ferdinand’s French chef and enjoyed turning on the lights - electricity had been installed at Waddesdon.
Picture of Riverhill House
Feeding silk worms for the Queen’s wedding dress
The silk worms at Lullingstone Castle were used to produce silk for the Queen's wedding dress but the owners were desperate for mulberry leaves to feed them. The Rogers family from Riverhill sent leaves from their own mulberry tree and in return received a small piece of the wedding dress silk as a thank you.
East Midlands Back to top
Picture of Grimsthorpe Castle
A unique collection of royal ‘perks’
The house was built specifically for a visit by King Henry VIII in 1541, and many of the Tudor features of the house are still visible today. . He came to stay and hunt in the deer park, which also partially survives.
HODSOCK PRIORY - Nottinghamshire
Picture of Hodsock Priory
Entertaining royalty - and finding fancy dress for the Queen’s Jubilee
From the mid-twelfth century, the Cressey family owned Hodsock. Over 200 years they held significant positions of power and entertained kings Henry II, John and Edward I.
ROCKINGHAM CASTLE - Northamptonshire
Picture of Rockingham Castle
Visited by 15 monarchs, including Henry VIII
This remarkable castle was built on the instruction of William the Conqueror because it provided a stronghold to support the Norman subjugation of his new kingdom. It was viewed as an important seat of government, and the Great Council of Rockingham was held here in 1095.
North West Back to top
ISEL HALL - Cumbria
Picture of Isel Hall
Visited by Princess Alexandra
Princess Alexandra, the wife of the Prince of Wales who later became Edward VII, came to Isel Hall in order to open the new railway bridge at Carlisle in 1876. She enjoyed her stay so much she returned the following year.
Picture of Levens Hall
Over 400 years of royal memorabilia
Levens has had a variety of, often curious, connections with royalty over the past 450 years with memorabilia ranging from the ornate Coat of Arms of Queen Elizabeth I, to a yew planted in the topiary garden by HRH the Prince of Wales in 2010.
Picture of Mirehouse
No fireworks to mark this Diamond Jubilee
In 1897, the year of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, the hill behind the house caught fire and the estate fire engine was used to rush up the hill to take water to it.
Channel Islands Back to top
SAUSMAREZ MANOR - Channel Islands
Picture of Sausmarez Manor
A historic house with links to HM Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother
Sausmarez has two connections with the late Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. She visited Sausmarez in 1963 and the owners still have on show the sofa where she sat to take tea.