New 2018 series of Secrets of the National Trust with Alan Titchmarsh

We’re back for a second series of Channel 5’s Secrets of the National Trust with Alan Titchmarsh, getting a behind-the-scenes look at some of Britain’s most intriguing historic homes and gardens.

Follow Alan as he embarks on the first half of his 12-part journey across the Trust and visits a different property each week to unlock its secrets. Along the way he’ll be joined by some familiar faces, who will uncover tales of high society, life below stairs and the trials, triumphs and scandals of our great estates all across the country.

To go behind the scenes with Alan, tune in at 8pm every Tuesday from the 27 February on Channel 5 for six weeks. The second half of the series will run later in the year.

Tuesday 27 February
Alan Titchmarsh outside Hardwick Hall

Episode 1 – Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire 

Alan Titchmarsh discovers the story of Bess of Hardwick, who rose from humble beginnings to become the second most powerful woman in the country, behind only Queen Elizabeth I. Alan will also uncover the tragic story of Bess’ granddaughter, Arbella Stuart, who ended up imprisoned in the Tower of London. Meanwhile, Peter Purves heads to Oxburgh Hall in Norfolk to cast his eye over embroidered hangings created by Bess and Mary Queen of Scots during periods when latter was imprisoned at Chatsworth – another of Bess’ famous houses.

" There’s nobody stronger than Bess of Hardwick – man or woman."
- Alan at Hardwick
Tuesday 6 March
Alan Titchmarsh outside Stowe School

Episode 2 – Stowe, Buckinghamshire 

Join Alan as he explores the amazing gardens at Stowe, where famed 18th-century garden designer Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown learnt his trade under the patronage of Lord Cobham, whose influence is reflected throughout the gardens. Music producer Pete Waterman heads to Liverpool to visit the childhood home of John Lennon, who once made a memorable visit to Stowe School with the Beatles. Meanwhile, historian Suzannah Lipscomb visits Cliveden Conservation to meet the stonemasons restoring Stowe’s statues.

Tuesday 13 March
Waddesdon Manor in the autumn

Episode 3 – Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire  

On a visit to Waddesdon, Alan uncovers the story of Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild, famed for his lavish lifestyle, notable guests and the parties he threw at his French Renaissance-style château in the heart of the Buckinghamshire countryside. Alison Hammond heads to Polesden Lacey to party 1900s-style, architecture enthusiast Clive Aslet visits another grand design on the Waddesdon estate, and writer and presenter Oz Clarke travels to Kent to see one of Baron Ferdinand’s most prized possessions as it undergoes essential restoration.

Tuesday 20 March
Alan Titchmarsh outside the Workhouse

Episode 4 – The Workhouse, Nottinghamshire 

In this episode, the working lives of people in the 19th and 20th centuries are investigated. Alan uncovers the stories of the Victorian poor who found themselves living in harsh conditions at The Workhouse in Southwell – now the most complete remaining workhouse in the country. Elsewhere, Angellica Bell uncovers the contrasting environment of a Tudor-era town house that was taken over by squatters during the 1980s, while Nigel Havers explores the Back to Back terraced houses in Birmingham, where conditions were only marginally better than life in a workhouse.

" Of all the programmes we did, this really rammed home what life was like, what we used to do to people."
- Alan at The Workhouse
Tuesday 27 March
Visitors walking across the bridge in front of Cragside

Episode 5 – Cragside, Northumberland 

Cragside was the home of William Armstrong, a Victorian industrialist, scientist and philanthropist who came to be known as the ‘Modern Magician’. Join Alan as he explores the world’s first ‘eco home’ – lit by hydroelectric power and brimming with Armstrong’s ingenious inventions that intrigued even royalty. In Cragside’s Pinetum, Miriam O’Reilly tests her head for heights as she scales one of its towering trees, while Angela Rippon heads to William Morris’s home near London to learn about another of Armstrong’s passions: the Arts and Crafts movement.

Tuesday 3 April
A family walking in front of the house at Castle Ward

Episode 6 - Castle Ward, County Down 

Join Alan to discover a house of split personalities that bore witness to lunacy, attempted murder and later the ground-breaking work of pioneering 19th-century scientist, Mary Ward. The drama doesn’t end there, as historian Suzannah Lipscombe learns about Castle Ward’s starring role in the TV adaptation of Game of Thrones and gets hands-on making swords with the show’s resident armourer. 20 miles away, Nina Wadia meets the team at Murlough National Nature Reserve to lend a hand with some vital conservation work and joins the search for butterfly larvae.