Every year, around 27 million visits are made to the National Trust’s 300 houses and gardens. But this all came to a halt in March 2020, as tourism sites across the country closed. In this new six-part series, George Clarke, along with his faithful four-legged companion Loki the Siberian husky, discovers some of the UK’s most impressive historic homes, as he’s granted special access to some of these extraordinary places, delving into the hidden recesses that visitors don’t normally get to see. Walking around the stunning gardens, open countryside and spectacular surrounding scenery of these treasured estates, George finds out about the fascinating architecture, design and stories behind each property. And while adhering to social distancing, he meets the people keeping these sites in working order until they’re ready to be re-opened. In this episode, George visits the majestic 1000-year-old Dunster Castle in Somerset, once home to a family who spent six centuries renovating it from fortress to family home. He discovers it’s not size that matters at the country’s finest surviving 17th-century water gardens, Westbury Court in Gloucestershire, and goes back to his roots in Tyne and Wear at Washington Old Hall, the ancestral home to the first president of the USA. George then trumps it all with a walk around the glorious Croome Park in Worcestershire, the 32-year labour-of-love of ‘England’s Greatest Gardener’, 18th-century landscape architect Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown.
George Clarke’s National Trust Unlocked – Sunday 9pm on Channel 4