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The best of the UK's travel news

There are new openings galore, whether you want to explore the restored Chatsworth House or meet a literary fox in Hertfordshire, plus a luxury hotel in the Cotswolds and Norfolk art trail

(Picture: Courtesy of Chatsworth House Trust)
(Picture: Courtesy of Chatsworth House Trust)

Chatsworth House is reopening to visitors on March 24 after the biggest restoration and conservation of the house, garden and park since the 1820s.

The 16th century house, originally built by Bess of Hardwick, and its grounds have undergone a ten year programme of renovations costing more than £32 million, with a special exhibition running until October to highlight the work involved.

The project has seen craftsmen use dentistry tools to carve tiny details in stone as well as vast tracts of lead on the roof being replaced, while the Chatsworth Renewed exhibition includes stories of some of the challenges involved, details of the traditional skills needed and tales of the traces left by workmen during Chatsworth’s long history.

Visitors to the Derbyshire property can also try their hand at weaving, to appreciate the house’s rare 17th century tapestries and the care taken to preserve them.

(Picture: Willows Activity Farm)
(Picture: Willows Activity Farm)

Enter the fox's lair

There’s a new experience for families at Willows Activity Farm from March 24, with the opening of Mr Tod’s Lair in the Peter Rabbit Adventure playground.

The new play area is joined by a set of squirrel themed challenges for kids, while Mr Tod will also be appearing in shows at the Peter Rabbit theatre during the school holidays.

Willows Activity Farm, just outside St Albans, is also planning arts and crafts sessions, chocolate hunts, and the chance to see baby rabbits and chicks as well as the usual animals. 

(Picture: Congham Hall)
(Picture: Congham Hall)

Norfolk's free art trail

An exhibition of paintings by Damien Hirst at Houghton Hall stately home has inspired the relaunch of a free art trail in Norfolk, created by Congham Hall Hotel.

Colour Space, a new series of paintings by Hirst, is going on display to the public for the first time from March 25 to July 15, with timed tickets available. Sculptures by the artist will stand in the park and house, and Houghton Hall is also home to a permanent display of art installations by contemporary artists.

The exhibition is one of six venues on the independent trail for art lovers, including stops in King’s Lynn and Norwich. The hotel has a discounted two-night stay available, from £412.20 per room including dinner, bed and breakfast, as a base to explore. 

(Picture: The Fish hotel)
(Picture: The Fish hotel)

Boutique Adventure

After a £4 million renovation, The Fish hotel in the Cotswolds has now reopened, with three new luxury treehouses to stay in from May.

The award-winning spot on the 400-acre Farncombe Estate near Broadway, which calls itself part boutique hotel, part adventure hideout, will also have five hideaway huts from July, along wth a new cinema room, woodland kids’ play area and improvements to all the rooms and suites. 

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