If you would be interested in joining the Pennington Ancestors Tour, please contact us.
A unique opportunity to visit Muncaster Castle and the Lake District as guests of Iona and Peter Frost Pennington, the current owners of Muncaster, with unique access to the Castle, its artifacts and family history and with Peter Frost Pennington as your personal guide throughout this exclusive visit to historic Cumbria.
The tour will include several visits to Muncaster Castle, talks on the family history, presentations on Castle contents and history, a gala dinner in the Castle and excursions to Cumbria’s finest historical sites and attractions, all hosted by the Pennington family in person, who have lived at the Castle for 800 years.
Your accommodation for the visit will be at the 3* Pennington Hotel in Ravenglass, a beautiful coastal village just one mile from the Castle. The hotel is owned by the Pennington family and Ravenglass itself, steeped in history, is located within two UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Sunday 12th May;
If you are arriving by plane from North America or elsewhere, you will need to arrive at Manchester Airport with sufficient time to transfer to Ravenglass, Cumbria by mid to late afternoon. This journey can either be made by rail to Ravenglass station (3-4 hours), by taxi or hire car (2-3 hours).
If you would like to arrive earlier or stay on at the end of the tour, we can arrange additional nights’ accommodation at the Pennington Hotel at a supplementary cost of £110 per room per night to include breakfast.
Relax and settle in at the Pennington Hotel and explore your surroundings before meeting for dinner with Iona and Peter Frost Pennington in the hotel’s Estuary Restaurant. Peter Frost Pennington will talk through the itinerary for the week and answer any questions you may have.
Monday 13th May;
Transferring by minibus to Muncaster Castle in the morning, we gather in the Castle’s Family Dining Room for tea and coffee with biscuits. Iona & Peter Frost Pennington welcome you to Muncaster, with an introduction to the Castle and procedures to be followed.
Next, we walk from the Castle to the Hawk & Owl Centre to meet the Head Falconer for a tour of the Centre followed by the 11.30am World of Owls Flying Display in the Old Rose Garden
The party will then have some free time to explore the gardens which in May are at their most vibrant and colourful and to get to know the layout of the site. Lunch will be taken in the Family Dining Room with Iona and Peter and a chance to ask any early questions.
After lunch, there will be a talk and presentation by Peter Frost Pennington on the history of Muncaster, dating back to 1208 when the Castle’s construction began, and the Pennington family, with history in Cumbria dating back to 1066, including photography and artefacts.
There will then be a guided tour of the Castle, both the formal rooms and “backstairs”, with Peter Frost Pennington.
After the tour, the group will return to the Pennington Hotel to prepare for the evening dinner at the Castle. Beginning with a reception by Iona and Peter in the Great Hall and followed by dinner in the Family Dining Room, the evening concludes with a talk by Peter on the close historical ties between Cumbria and the USA.
Tuesday 14th May;
The day starts off with a trip to Whitehaven, an historic port steeped in historical connections between the UK and America, from first American President George Washington’s Whitehaven ancestry to John Paul Jones, the American naval commander born in Whitehaven who returned to invade the port. This will include a guided tour of Whitehaven, its history, architecture, churches and American connections.
We will return to the Pennington for a buffet lunch before joining the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway for a narrow-gauge steam train journey up through Eskdale in a private carriage. Here we will visit the historic village of Boot and enjoy a guided tour of Eskdale Corn Mill. Dating from the 1700s and with a water-powered wheel, it is the oldest working mill in the Lake District.
From here we take a short trip by minibus to visit the impressive Roman remains of Hardknott Fort with a talk from Peter on the Roman history of the area, connections with Hadrian’s Wall and links with Muncaster. On the way back to Ravenglass we will visit the Roman Bath House dating from AD130 with some of the tallest remaining Roman structures in Britain.
In the evening, there will be a special Fine Dining event in a private dining room at the 17th century Inn at Ravenglass with stunning views over the estuary. Owned by the Pennington family, the Inn specialises in fresh fish and so the dinner, in the company of Iona and Peter, will feature locally-landed fish and shellfish, freshly prepared by the Inn’s expert kitchen team.
After dinner, there will be an introduction by Peter to the next day’s events and a question and answer session on what it is like to live in and maintain an 800-year-old Castle.
Wednesday 15th May;
We have an early start to visit the historic Levens Hall. Dating from 1170, it is one of Cumbria’s finest stately homes and we will enjoy a guided tour of the house and gardens, including the world famous Topiary Gardens containing over 100 individual pieces.
We will have lunch at Levens before departing for Coniston Water, the third largest lake in the Lake District, to enjoy a trip around the lake on the National Trust’s Steam Yacht Gondola with an afternoon cream tea served on board. After the tour of Coniston Water, we will return to Ravenglass to prepare for the evening entertainment.
Dinner in the Family Dining Room at Muncaster Castle will be followed by a private Twilight Owl Flying Display in Muncaster’s atmospheric gardens before returning to the Pennington Hotel.
Thursday 16th May;
We travel North today to visit one of the most beautiful and impressive stately homes in the North of England, Dalemain, for a guided tour of the house including behind the scenes “Housekeeper Tour”. There will be time to explore the delightful gardens before lunch at Dalemain.
A short trip down the road brings us to Ullswater for a boat trip on one of England’s most scenic lakes before reaching Glenridding where there will be time to explore this lovely village nestling at the base of the mountain of Helvellyn.
From here we will return to the Pennington Hotel for an evening meal with Iona and Peter who will outline the final exciting day at Muncaster Castle.
Friday 17th May;
A full day at Muncaster Castle, which begins with a tour of St Michael’s Church, the history of the parish church and site and its connections with the Pennington family, followed by the opportunity, for those who wish to, to research ancestry and parish records.
There will then be an exhibition of the Castle’s historic tapestries and textiles with accompanying talk by textiles experts on the history and importance of the Pennington collection. Lunch will be taken in the Family Dining Room followed by the stunning Sky Hunters bird of prey display on the meadow. Afternoon tea in the Family Dining Room will be followed by a guided tour of some of the 77 acres of gardens.
The gardens are at their best at this time of year with beautiful displays of rhododendron and wild bluebell woods, and the tour gives the opportunity to find out about the gardens’ history and the roles of the Pennington forebears in their creation. Then there is a last chance to have a look around and buy some essential souvenirs before returning to the Pennington to prepare for the evening’s Gala Dinner.
The Black Tie Gala Dinner in the Castle begins with a drinks reception in the Great Hall. Dinner in Formal Dining Room will be hosted by Iona and Peter Frost Pennington, followed by a final farewell in the Great Hall. Departure will be from in front of the illuminated Castle.
Saturday 18th May;
Depart after breakfast.
Your tour includes:
- All hotel accommodation at the Pennington Hotel, Ravenglass
- All breakfasts, lunches and dinners plus all morning coffees/teas and afternoon teas mentioned in the itinerary.
- All group tours and activities.
- All group transportation during tour days.
The tour is hosted by Iona and Peter Frost Pennington.
The group is escorted daily by Peter Frost Pennington
The prices for the tour, not including flights and transfers from airports is £2,950 (single supplement £550) per person.
Please note this tour will run with a minimum of ten people and a maximum of 20 so places are limited.
Final date for booking is 31st December 2018.
Please note that in order to enjoy this tour fully, you must be able to walk up to five city blocks in a limited amount of time and be able to climb several flights of stairs.
Please email us for more information, to book or for a copy of the terms and conditions for this tour.