Phil Spencer's Stately Homes
About the show
In this new series, Phil Spencer reveals his passion for period property on a grand tour of Britain’s magnificent stately homes. From the
spectacular Scottish Lowlands to the stunning South Downs, Phil reveals how and why these houses came to be, and some of the jaw
dropping bills their owners were landed with.
With unprecedented access to the Estates and archives, Phil explores beyond the ‘red ropes’ to reveal the mind boggling quantities of
materials, manpower and money it took to create Britain’s most extravagant homes.
First stop, Burghley House, a masterpiece of Elizabethan architecture set in 1,400 acres of Lincolnshire parkland. Phil’s host is Miranda Rock, a descendent of the famous Cecil family, who’ve lived here for over 400 years. Starting in the stunning central courtyard where they decode its stone symbols, they move on to the extravagant state rooms, including the Heaven Room and the Hell Staircase – both the work of ‘bon viveur’ Italian artist, Antonio Verrio.
With access to centuries old accounts, invoices and receipts – includingVerrio’s astronomical wine bills – Phil tells the story of Burghley,
starting with William Cecil, a favourite in the court of Queen Elizabeth 1, and the man who built the house. After surveying the beautiful gardens and grounds – the work of superstar gardener Capability Brown –antiques expert Lady Victoria Leatham reveals the 17th Century shopping spree that nearly bankrupted Burghley. Finally, Phil takes a walk along Burghley’s famous rooftop - and discovers how a lavish banquet fulfilled the family’s ultimate royal ambitions.