As the former residence of the Dukes of Portland, Welbeck Abbey, nestled within Sherwood Forest, near Worksop, continues to be a private family home. Tickets are now on sale for a series of guided tours which will enable visitors to see behind its grand façade.
Welbeck Abbey was founded as a monastery in 1153 before it was acquired in 1607 by Bess of Hardwick’s youngest son, Sir Charles Cavendish. Over the next four centuries, it was passed through the generations with, unusually, three females in succession inheriting the estate.
Marriages into the Dukedom of Newcastle, Earldom of Oxford and the Dukedom of Portland, each brought additional wealth, status and power to Welbeck.
Visitors joining the tours, between August 5 and September 7, will hear some of the stories of Welbeck Abbey’s past, while walking the corridors that have been graced over the years by royalty, aristocracy and statesman.
Family members have included Sir Edward Harley and the third Duke of Portland, who was twice Prime Minister. There was also the renowned fifth Duke of Portland, who employed thousands of men to develop Welbeck.
The tours will be run by The Harley Gallery and Foundation, a charity set up by Ivy, Duchess of Portland in 1977 to encourage the enjoyment of the arts.
Lisa Gee, director of The Harley Gallery and Foundation, said: “The tours of Welbeck Abbey’s State Rooms give visitors an opportunity to see fine and decorative arts from the Portland Collection in the richly ornamented and highly decorative formal entertaining rooms that were developed by the Dukes of Portland and their families over the last 400 years.
“It is in marked contrast to the Portland Collection, which is open to visitors daily and which offers a space to view works from the collection in a contemporary gallery space.”
Tickets will cost £20 for a one and a half tour and £26.50 for an extended tour and can be booked by calling in to The Harley Gallery or by calling 01909 501 700. Further details at www.welbeck.co.uk.