Great Heiresses – How America Saved the English Country House

How America Saved the English Country House

and changed English society, taste and design

We explore the remarkable story of American investment at the end of the 19th century which saved many of England’s great country houses from financial ruin, and had a lasting impact on English society.  American tycoons and ‘dollar princesses’ were the stars of this phenomenon, and by 1914 over 300 American heiresses had married into the British aristocracy.

We visit some of the glorious English country houses rescued or shaped by this wave of ‘Gilded Age’ investment, including Blenheim Palace, Highclere Castle, Cliveden and Leeds Castle.

On our journey we will see spectacular architecture, grand and extravagant design – and we discover the extraordinary life stories associated with the great estates, from railroad heiress Gloria Vanderbilt at Blenheim Palace, to Nancy Astor, the first woman to sit as a Member of Parliament.  Throughout you will be accompanied by expert guides who can share their insights as you explore hidden histories, gain new perspectives and experience the best of each location.



  • Enjoy bespoke tours of great English country houses with fascinating American connections.
  • A chance to explore the remarkable lives of  influential Americans such as Consuelo Vanderbilt, who left a gilded American childhood for a loveless marriage at Blenheim, and Nancy Lancaster, a renowned 20th century taste-maker.
  • Discover the perfect Georgian city of Bath – and the picturesque rural delights of the South Downs National Park and the Cotswolds.

Want to know more?

  • Download the full itinerary for Great Heiresses – How America Saved the English Country House.
  • Discover more tours – take a look at our inspiring Telling the Stories of England brochure.
  • Get in touch with us using the Enquire Now button.
  • Telephone our team on +44 1629 700648 or US Toll Free 1-844-221-3366

Activity level:


Helen Jackson, professional curator and heritage advisor

Recommended Airport

London Heathrow



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