Tonight’s the night, to set the world – or at least Scotland – alight. It’s Burns Night, and they are celebrating at THE BALMORAL, Edinburgh’s Rocco Forte beauty. Thanks to the leadership of hotel boss Richard Cooke, they do a superb job in special events. Tonight, for instance, whisky specialist Cameron Ewen, above, will lead a Burns specialist. From 6pm there will be welcome cocktails, light bites and guided tastings of Highland Park and The Macallan.
Special events in special places make special sense. If that is true, consider this. Over the Coronation of King Charles III, household name Geoffrey Kent , of A&K fame, personally leads a 20-person tour of top British castles, including behind-the-scenes at Windsor Castle.
From 1-9 May, the group will be welcomed to Cowdray House, a picturesque Tudor estate with beautifully landscaped gardens, by my co-host, His Grace the Duke of Roxburghe. This is the perfect entrée into a thrilling life of fine motorsports and polo (my own sport of choice),” says Geoffrey Kent. “Then we will fly by helicopter to the gem of the Scottish borders, Floors Castle, the Duke’s ancestral seat, surrounded by gentle hills, woodlands and riverscapes. From there we have the chance to enjoy country pursuits including golf, clay pigeon shooting, off-road driving and fly fishing.”
The tour includes a memorable day at Goodwood where the motor races in Downton Abbey were filmed, and those on the tour will be invited to get behind the wheel themselves after instruction from professional race car drivers. There’s an opportunity to watch and play polo, with a private lesson from professional players at the Cowdray Polo Academy, where Geoffrey Kent once played with King Charles III – then The Prince of Wales – as captain of the Windsor Park Polo Team. Helicopter transfers offer scenic views of the British countryside, as well as avoiding the long drives between the estates.
This all reminds Girlahead of the late-lamented touch company R&I which evolved into Country Houses & Castles which in turn, under the much-missed Susie Worthy, became Noteworthy . In those now-gone days, accommodation was nearly all in privately-owned palaces. Now, A&K kicks off this Coronation tour by staying at CLARIDGE’S. That, honestly, is true style.