Great British Country Houses of the Thames River Valley with Dr. Oliver Cox

Great British Country Houses of the Thames River Valley with Dr. Oliver Cox


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Join country house historian, Dr. Oliver Cox, for a virtual boat trip down the River Thames from its source near Oxford to the heart of the City of London. As we journey down the enchanting Thames Valley we’ll stop off at a number of beautiful and important country houses, discovering their art and architecture, and the owners and guests who filled their rooms.

Throughout British history the Thames Valley has been synonymous with estates owned by the rich and powerful. This lush area is dotted with lavish country houses and castles such as Windsor Castle; former Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli’s Hughenden; and the sprawling Cliveden House, designed by famed architect Charles Barry. It is also the site for many of England’s most celebrated (and posh) sporting events: Royal Ascot for horse racing and the Royal Henley Regatta, first launched in 1839.

From the Duke of Marlborough and his astounding Blenheim Palace to the pioneering motor manufacturer Lord Nuffield, via fortunes made through the East India Company like Francis Sykes who purchased Basildon Park in 1771, to gentry families stretching back to the Domesday Book, the country houses of the Thames Valley are architectural marvels that tell a fascinating story of England.

Our journey starts near the source of the Thames, at Kelmscott Manor, the enchanting home of William Morris, the world-famous Arts & Crafts designed. We then motor downstream for a brief foray into the historic university city of Oxford, before jumping back aboard to explore the pioneering gardens at Nuneham Park, which frequently played host to King George III and the ancient ancestral home of the Stonor family at Stonor Park. As we get closer to London, we will explore the ‘string of pearls’ – a series of beautiful Thames-side homes to the west of London – before disembarking our vessel at the Royal Naval Hospital Greenwich to immerse ourselves in the recently-restored murals by Sir James Thornhill.

Led by a leading historian of country houses, Dr. Oliver Cox, this interactive seminar will provide a perfect introduction for anyone who wants to know more about some of the most beautiful houses in the south of England and the brilliant architects and designers who created them. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an insight into some of England’s most beautiful buildings and gorgeous gardens.

Dr. Oliver Cox is Heritage Engagement Fellow at the University of Oxford. He leads the University’s partnership work with the UK and international heritage community, and is co-lead of the Oxford University Heritage Network. He is a is a historian with particular interest in the social and cultural history of the country house, and received his undergraduate, masters and doctoral degrees from the University of Oxford. Oliver has published widely on topics including eighteenth-century landscape design and the position of the country house in modern Britain, lectured extensively across the USA, acts as a research and exhibitions consultant for a range of country houses, and is a trustee of a leading regional art gallery.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
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K
K.
Wonderful trip down the Thames

This was a terrific look at several great houses of the Thames Valley. Dr. Cox was a wonderful guide with both history and anecdotes associated with the these homes. I loved his dry sense of humor and how organized and accessible his lecture was.

J
J.K.
The Real Story Behind British Country Houses

Even if you've seen some of the houses discussed here, you learn new facts about how they were built and what went on in them

A
A.

Dr. Cox's choices of houses is quite good. There are so many from which to choose. I had previously seen none of these and was pleased with his narrative.

Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
100%
(3)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
K
K.
Wonderful trip down the Thames

This was a terrific look at several great houses of the Thames Valley. Dr. Cox was a wonderful guide with both history and anecdotes associated with the these homes. I loved his dry sense of humor and how organized and accessible his lecture was.

J
J.K.
The Real Story Behind British Country Houses

Even if you've seen some of the houses discussed here, you learn new facts about how they were built and what went on in them

A
A.

Dr. Cox's choices of houses is quite good. There are so many from which to choose. I had previously seen none of these and was pleased with his narrative.