200th Anniversary of Battle of Waterloo to be marked at Apsley House and Wellington Arch

The Duke of Wellington’s handwritten orders from the Battle of Waterloo, his battle sword, and a pair of original ‘Wellington Boots’ are among the objects that will go on display in two new exhibitions next year at the two central London properties associated with the battle and its victorious commander – Wellington Arch and Apsley House.  

Arthur Wellesley, First Duke of Wellington

Arthur Wellesley, First Duke of Wellington

On 18th June 1815, in a terrible confrontation in present-day Belgium, the first Duke of Wellington commanded an allied army which, aided by the Prussian forces of Marshal Blucher, finally defeated the French Emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte. The victory ended over 20 years of conflict in Europe and the wider world.

The Battle of Waterloo by William Allan

The Battle of Waterloo by William Allan

Opening on Saturday 18 April 2015 and to mark the Waterloo bicentenary, the two exhibitions at Apsley House and Wellington Arch will together explore the life of the Iron Duke and one of the most important battles in English and European history.

Built in 1825-27, Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner was intended as a proclamation of Wellington’s victories over Napoleon. The Arch is surmounted by the largest bronze sculpture in Europe, depicting the angel of peace descending on the four-horsed chariot of war.

Wellington Arch

Wellington Arch

Hyde Park Corner

Hyde Park Corner

A new exhibition at Wellington Arch: Waterloo 1815 – The Battle for Peace, will give an overview of the battle, the reasons for it, the people involved in it, and its legacy. Items on display include the sword the Duke of Wellington carried at Waterloo, his handwritten battle orders on scraps of vellum, and an original pair of ‘Wellington boots’. The leather boots that Wellington had custom-made for campaigning were much admired and imitated: adapted over the years to new materials, they still remain popular today.

Apsley House stands opposite the Wellington Arch – still home to the Dukes of Wellington today, Apsley House has changed comparatively little since the first Duke lived there. The house was enlarged in 1828 while Wellington was Prime Minister by the architect Benjamin Dean Wyatt.

Inside Apsley House

Inside Apsley House

In 2015 the Waterloo Gallery – where Wellington held the annual Waterloo Banquets to commemorate the great victory – will be re-presented. A copy of the only surviving menu plan from the annual banquets will go on display and the magnificent Portuguese silver gilt centrepiece and dinner service will be returned to the Gallery, taking its place on a formal banqueting table. The service was commissioned by the Portuguese Council of Regency in 1816 to honour Wellington’s role in liberating Portugal.

Elsewhere in the house, a new exhibition will open with a host of Wellington and Waterloo memorabilia and visitors to Apsley House will be able to explore the collection via four new multimedia tours.

Outside of London, Walmer Castle in Kent – where the Duke of Wellington spent part of each year in his role as Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports and where he died in 1852 – will be redisplayed in 2015 to shed light on the Duke and on the other fascinating figures from the castle’s history.

Walmer Castle, Kent

Walmer Castle, Kent

New displays will chart Wellington’s career, the story of his time spent at Walmer, his death there, and the iconic ‘celebrity’ status he attained during and after his life.

Borde Hill Garden’s Sculpture Exhibition now open


The 2015 Sculpture Exhibition at Borde Hill Garden, sponsored by 1st Central Insurance, has been opened by internationally renowned sculptor, Angela Conner, and Andy James, CEO of 1st Central, in the presence of local Sussex dignitaries and guests.

“Respond 1” is her new piece, made of stainless steel, especially commissioned for Borde Hill’s 50th Anniversary of the charity opening to the public.


Borde Hill Garden is English Heritage Listed Grade II*, set in 200 acres of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with spectacular vistas across the Ouse Valley Viaduct. The Garden was created in 1892 by the current owner’s great grandfather and plant expedition sponsor, Colonel Stephenson R Clarke.

The Beauty of Borde Hill Gardens

The Beauty of Borde Hill Gardens

Thanks to his foresight and hard work this impressive estate boasts a botanically rich and nationally important collection of trees and shrubs; and is highly regarded as one of England’s ‘great gardens’. The numerous exotic trees, ponds, old potting sheds, Italian and Rose Gardens all provide the ideal setting for exhibiting art.

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Now in its 16th year, the Sculpture Exhibition at Borde Hill is a notable celebration of art and sculpture by both established and up and coming artists. During the Exhibition the Garden is transformed into an outdoor gallery, enabling visitors to enjoy unique works of art by 13 different sculptors.

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The bronze, resin, stone, metalwork, ceramics, steel, clay and glass sculptures will be sited in strategic positions within this historical Garden setting. This not only offers glorious backdrops including the unique ‘garden rooms’ and Elizabethan House, but entices visitors to appreciate this extraordinary mix of art whilst exploring the unique plant collection that has put Borde Hill Garden on the map.

For the first time the Sculpture Exhibition extents into the woodland with life size sculptures made from clay and cloth.


The Stephenson Clarke family, who have lived at Borde Hill for four generations, commented: “We are delighted to be celebrating another year of sculptures in the Garden. Over the years we have seen such a breadth of talent, and it is a joy to see the beauty of the Garden enhanced by the works of so many credible artists”. 

The Exhibition runs from 1 st May to 1 st September and admission is included in the standard entry price. All works in the exhibition are available for sale.

Borde Hill Garden, near Haywards Heath, West Sussex opens to the public 10am to 6pm (or dusk if earlier) on:

–              28th March – 13th September

–              Each Sunday in September and October

–              Halloween Week (23rd October – 1st November)

Entry to Borde Hill Garden, (which includes activities and adventure playground), is just £8.20 per adult (£9.02 gift aid), £7.65 concession and £5.10 per child. A Day Family ticket is £22 (2 + 2) or £25 (2+3).

Café Elvira beckons with hearty breakfasts, morning coffee, delicious home cooked lunches and Sussex cream teas at Little Ritz Vintage Tea in the garden. For a special treat, visitors can dine at award-winning restaurant Jeremy’s. The Green Tree Gallery offers a beautiful and contemporary selection of affordable arts and crafts.

Borde Hill Garden, Borde Hill Lane, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH16 1XP

For further information visit www.bordehill.co.uk  or telephone 01444 450326


Horses, historical adventures and a house at Audley End House and Gardens

History is vividly brought to life once again at Audley End House and Gardens in Saffron Walden, Essex, for the new season.



There is something for everyone to enjoy with friends and family with a whole array of historical adventures at the dazzling English Heritage site.

One of the top sights of East Anglia, Audley End is an eye-catching stately home, based in astonishing grounds. Visitors throughout the year cannot only see the grand house and estate, complete with the beautifully structured Walled Organic Kitchen Garden with wonderful apple espaliers, but are also welcome to explore the service wing, stables and nursery as costumed characters allow people to experience Life Above and Below Stairs every weekend from May to October. Mrs Crocombe will be preparing meals in the kitchen and Miss Dormer will be organising the children in the nursery, whilst new for this year – the groom and stable-hands will be inviting visitors to experience a day in the life of a busy Victorian stable yard complete with horses, crafts, dressing up and games.

Entertaining Elizabeth: Jousts Jesters and Music is a brand new event falling on Sunday 24 and Monday 25 May. Visitors should allow enough time for preparing their bow and perfecting that curtsey. This event will include an action packed medieval sporting contest as knights on horseback, complete with lances will battle in a thrilling joust tournament.

Audley in Bloom on Saturday 13 June is a fantastic opportunity for green-fingered guests to join the garden team for the day and explore the wonders of the blossoming Great British garden. Workshops will be led by expert team members and visitors can ask them questions at a special Gardeners Question Time. Plus, enjoyable music, lots of cream teas available and crafts for the kids.

There are plenty of events throughout the year to keep the young ones entertained starting with Fool School from Tuesday 26 to Friday 29 May. Children will be excited to learn about some of the skills and tricks used by court fools to entertain royalty.

Children can treat dads for Fathers Day at the charming Classic Cars display on Sunday 21 June where they can admire a range of vintage vehicles in a spectacular setting.

Discoveries and Inventions from Monday 27 to Friday 31 July will take visitors through history’s most exciting inventions followed by Ugly Bug Safari on Monday 3 to Friday 7 August allowing children to grab magnifying glasses and join the big hunt for some mini beasts and a discovery of a bug’s life.

A chance to impress royalty arrives Monday 10 to Friday 14 August, at the popular Kings and Queens event. Children will uncover the crucial curtsey, bow like a pro and be able to amuse without being a fool. Then they have the opportunity to play like a Georgian, from battledores to shuttlecocks at Georgian Games Galore commencing Monday 17 to Friday 21 August.

An irresistible big event takes place on bank holiday Sunday 30 to Monday 31 August. World War II: Soldiers & Spies an explosive action packed weekend drives visitors into wartime Britain, from the trooper of the D-Day landings to the kitchen maid dishing out meagre wartime rations, this remarkable event will show life of the battlefield to the lifestyle of the home-front.

This is followed by another large event, Apple Festival on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 September. From bobbing and weaving to tasting and trapping, apples have never been so tempting. Visitors can taste the delicious treats in the tea room and see how the Victorians would have cooked a Pink Lady or a Granny Smith in the service wing. Guests can even get hands on in the walled garden with archery and pottery.

Families can be spooked out this Halloween on Monday 26 to Friday 30 October at Frightening Fairytales and Spooky Stories. A family adventure to dress up and give staff a fright to remember. Visitors will also need to steady their nerves while hearing the terrifying tales. Additionally Victorian Ghost Stories for over 16s will be featuring on Friday 30 to Saturday 31 October. Visitors can join the Halloween excitement for a thrilling adventure and discover deep, dark secrets of the Victorians.

Completing the 2015 events the next programme is, A Victorian Christmas on Saturday 28 to 29 November and Saturday 5 to 6 December. Visitors can take a step back in time and immerse themselves in the sights, sounds and smells of a traditional, magical Victorian Christmas. English Heritage really does have it all wrapped at Audley End House and Gardens!

Stonehenge: Wish you were here

Stonehenge: Wish you were here

Visitors to Stonehenge until 31 August will have the chance to see Wish You Were Here a new exhibition in the visitor centre, curated by archaeologist, broadcaster and writer Julian Richards.

It celebrates the changing ways in which Stonehenge has been experienced by its many visitors over the last two centuries and its status as a world-wide icon through historical souvenirs and guidebooks, postcards and photographs.

Stonehenge Wish You Were Here Exhibit 3

Highlights of the exhibition include:

  • Every Stonehenge guidebook from the very first edition dating back to 1823, through to the current edition, written by Julian Richards himself.
  • A postcard wall where hundreds of postcards chart the changing face of Stonehenge and the responses of visitors to their experience.
  • An eclectic selection of objects ranging from china ornaments with depictions of Stonehenge on them, to a Great Trilithon-shaped toasting fork and the iconic Spinal Tap shaped LP.

Though an isolated ruin in the 19th century, Stonehenge saw enough visitors to warrant the production of the first guide books and souvenirs. The first admission charge was introduced in 1901 to address the cost of increasing amounts of damage to help pay for a police constable.

Postcards went on sale in the early 1900’s and from that point on, cards in sepia, lurid ‘tints’, black-and-white and full colour, document the changing face of Stonehenge and its surroundings.  From the 1970s onwards the growing international recognition of Stonehenge saw the iconic stone circle spawn an eclectic range of art, music and popular culture.

Admission to the special exhibition is included in the entry price for Stonehenge.

Visitors are being invited to share their experiences on social media with the hashtag #stonehengewishyouwerehere.