Phil visits a masterpiece of Elizabethan architecture set in 1400 acres of Lincolnshire parkland, from its Heaven room and Hell staircase, to its extravagant antiques and gardens.
Phil visits one of the most celebrated stately homes in Britain: Castle Howard in Yorkshire. It's the setting for TV's Brideshead Revisited and Phil is given an extensive guided tour.
Phil visits Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire, ancestral home of the Dukes of Bedford for nearly 400 years, with its magical shell grotto, sumptuous state rooms and 3000-acre deer park.
Phil visits the magnificent Holkham Hall, an 18th-century Palladian mansion in north Norfolk to reveal the mind-boggling amounts of materials, labour and money it took to construct.
Phil travels north of the border to Hopetoun House in the spectacular Scottish Lowlands. With VIP access to estate documents, Phil digs deep in the archives to uncover the extraordinary history of the house and the mind-boggling quantities of materials, skilled labour and money it took to create one of Scotland's grandest-ever designs. Having made their fortune from lead mining, the Hopetoun family spent big on their country pile, employing not one, but two celebrated Scottish architects. Accompanied by the current Lord Hopetoun, Phil inspects the lavish rooms, many of which are unchanged since Georgian times. He also meets the staff and tours the 6500-acre estate.
Phil visits a stately home with a racy reputation: Glorious Goodwood, on the stunning South Downs. Famous for giving guests a good time, Goodwood sits in a vast estate where every acre is dedicated to entertainment. It's where the wealthy flock for a flutter on the horses. It's also famous for cricket, parties and motor racing. Phil's host is the current owner Lord March, who's lived at Goodwood since 1994. He opens the doors to the glamorous state rooms, and takes Phil for a spin round the famous race track in one of his most prized vintage cars. With access to the family archive, Phil reveals the origins of the estate, which stretches back to a royal scandal and the love child of Charles II.
Phil hears tales of lovesick ghosts as he surveys Longleat's lavish interior décor and some of the most elaborate gardening in history.
When is a stately home not a stately home? When it's a stately castle. In Leicestershire, Phil tries some medieval pest control and finds evidence of an aristocratic sex scandal and a lost railway.
Phil is off to Norfolk and a grand pile built by Britain's first prime minister, Sir Robert Walpole. He discovers jaw dropping costs, bedrooms, and a giant silver bed.
Phil explores the magnificent Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire and gets to know its formidable builders, John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough, and his wife Sarah. Lady Henrietta Spencer-Churchill, Phil’s host, explains that the palace was a gift to the Marlborough family from their friend Queen Anne, a monument to the Duke’s victory over the French at the Battle of Blenheim in 1704. However, in the archive Phil discovers the build was plagued with problems: fall-outs with the architect, unpaid builders and costs beyond even the wildest estimates. Phil tots up a total in today’s money that makes Blenheim the most expensive house he’s ever visited.