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Star Wars and Soyux in Hidden England


From a Soyuz spacecraft that carried a British astronaut, to a showcase event featuring 80 of the world’s best-known sculptors, and even a replica Star Wars TIE fighter, ‘Hidden England’, a consortium of heritage sites including cathedrals, castles, historic homes and gardens from Lincolnshire to Cambridgeshire, is offering some fascinating exhibitions for 2018.

Peterborough Cathedral – which this year is celebrating its 900th anniversary – is one of only eight UK locations to host a first-of-its-kind national tour of the Soyuz spacecraft used by British astronaut Tim Peake when he returned from the International Space Station in 2016.

Peterborough Cathedral

It will be displayed in the Cathedral from 11th August until 5th November 2018, alongside the Space Descent VR – an exhilarating 360° 3D state-of-the-art virtual reality experience using Samsung Gear VR technology – as part of the national tour staged by Samsung and the Science Museum Group.

More out of this world experiences lie in wait for visitors heading to Burghley House where Star Wars fans will be in Jedi heaven at the 2018 Sculpture Garden exhibition, thanks to a full-scale replica model of a Star Wars TIE Silencer spacecraft created by Stamford inventor and YouTube sensation Colin Furze. Among other exhibits making up the ‘Otherworldly’ exhibition – running until October – are a helicopter-ish UFO and a man polishing the moon.

Art will be displayed at another Elizabethan gem, Doddington Hall, near Lincoln, in the form of a sculpture exhibition with more than 300 creations from the UK and overseas. The fourth ‘Sculpture at Doddington’ event, will run from July 28 to September 9, and feature 80 internationally acclaimed sculptors. This year, the Stable Yard indoor gallery space will also display some 120 sculptures alongside a ceramics exhibition – a first for Doddington.

Star Wars
Interplanetary taxi by Andy Hazel

From June, Grimsthorpe Castle will also be opening the doors of its Old Walled Garden for the first time, when visitors can explore the orchard and old greenhouse as well as view a collection of contemporary works that celebrate the art of the letter carver. Visitors will also be able to commission their own artworks from the artists who are exhibiting in the garden.

Close to the A1, and within easy reach of London, the North as well as the East and West Midlands, ‘Hidden England’ joins together five historic houses, along with two of the country’s finest Cathedrals, plus a fascinating garden with its own hidden history.

Visitors can save money with a range of tickets options, including the Hidden England ‘All Houses’ option allowing one visit to each of the eight properties during the year for just £49.50 per person – offering savings of up to 50% on the full admission prices if paid for separately. For a longer stay, partner hotels include one of Britain’s best country house hotels, Hambleton Hall, Rutland’s finest farmhouse hotel, Barnsdale Lodge, and the Grantham Ramada.

The discount tickets are only available online. For full details, as well as more information on attractions and hotels, visit

Mark Bibby Jackson

Mark Bibby Jackson

Before setting up Travel Begins at 40, Mark was the publisher of AsiaLIFE Cambodia and a freelance travel writer. When he is not packing and unpacking his travelling bag, Mark writes novels, including To Cook A Spider and Peppered Justice. He loves walking, eating, tasting beer, isolation and arthouse movies, as well as talking to strangers on planes, buses and trains whenever possible. Most at home when not at home.

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