Britain’s oldest stately homes are drawing in the crowds with endurance events
If you are visiting a stately home this summer, there may be a lot more to do than a gentle stroll around the grounds and a cream tea. An increasing number of Britain’s country houses are hosting some of the most challenging sporting events around, including open-water swimming, 220-mile cycle rides, and 18-hour survival courses involving catching and killing your own food!
For the athletes, it is a chance to take part in a challenge with views of some of the most stunning grounds in the UK, and for the venues, it is an opportunity to reach a new audience and attract a different crowd.
The Telegraph highlights some of the most exciting – and grueling – endurance events in Britain’s historic houses.
1. CYCLING – 70-mile cycle at Chillington Hall in Staffordshire. The estate has been owned by the Giffard family since 1178 and hosts the cycle in celebration of the British bicycle makers, Condor. The route winds through the estate’s landscaped grounds, before climbing out of the valley. After the race, there is a mini food-festival with food trucks and rider workshops.
2. TRIATHLON – the race is set across the 13,000 acres of Castle Howard’s estate, and said to be one of the hardest of the Castle Triathlon series, which holds events across stately homes. It begins with a swim in the house’s Great Lake, followed by a cycle route around the Howardian Hills and a run that ends outside the doors of the house. It takes place July 21st and 22nd.
3. SWIM – a 1,500m open-water race takes place in September at Anne Boleyn’s childhood home - Hever Castle in Kent. The 700-year old castle will attract hundreds of competitors who will be throwing themselves into the 38-acre lake at night.
4. OBSTACLE COURSE - Tough Mudder pitches up in the 17th Century historic house Badminton Estate in Gloucestershire this August. The 10-mile course will feature more than 20 obstacles over hilly parkland and dense wood, such as a set of 60ft-high rotating barriers and a ditch filled with 10 tonnes of ice.