Secrets of the National Trust revealed in Channel 5 TV series

Alan Titchmarsh cooking in the kitchen at Attingham

We opened our doors to Channel 5 for a series which explored the estates, historic houses and miles of breathtaking countryside and coastline that we look after.

Across six, 60 minute episodes, host Alan Titchmarsh found out about our conservation work and, with the help of some of our specialists, discovered the stories hidden behind the buildings and gardens in the series, Secrets of the National Trust with Alan Titchmarsh.

During each episode Alan explored a new location where he took an in-depth look at the history of the property and met the people who look after it. Alongside this, a host of other experts and enthusiasts, including Anneka Rice, Jon Culshaw and Joan Bakewell, took us on a tour around the country with one-off films.
 

Tuesday 7 February
Alan Titchmarsh explores the art collection at Knole

Episode 1: The treasures of Knole 

Alan Titchmarsh goes behind-the-scenes of Knole to discover how the priceless treasures are being saved from the cold, damp and decay. He crawls between the walls in search of superstitious rituals and meets the researchers cataloguing the smells and sounds of Knole’s priceless antique furniture.

" I’m a book man, and at Knole I was specially shown the Virginia Woolf manuscript for Orlando, which she wrote about Vita Sackville-West. It was the purple ink,hand-written manuscript. That was a real moment"
- Alan Titchmarsh at Knole
Tuesday 14 February
Alan Titchmarsh chats to Liz Hunter-Macfarlane at Wray Castle

Episode 2: Hill Top – The inspiration for Beatrix Potter 

In the Lake District Alan finds out about the area that inspired some of our best-known children’s books and tells the tale of their author, Beatrix Potter. Elsewhere, Oz Clarke meets the team at our Plant Conservation Centre and Jon Culshaw discovers the extraordinary collection at Snowshill Manor.

Tuesday 21 February
Alan Titchmarsh talks to Katherine Dowd in the kitchen garden at Attingham

Episode 3: Wealth and power at Attingham Park 

During this episode, Alan visits Attingham Park to tell the incredible story of the 2nd Lord Berwick, the extravagant 19th-century owner who squandered the family fortune. Anneka Rice goes fly-fishing on the River Test and Lisa Holloway is in Norfolk at one of the world’s leading textile conservation studios as they set about restoring a 430 year old tapestry.

" There is the most astonishing table setting at Attingham. It is set up with an ormolu (gilt bronze) candelabra. It shines like a royal banquet"
- Alan Titchmarsh at Attingham
Tuesday 28 February
Alan Titchmarsh helps repair the machinery at Quarry Bank

Episode 4: The Industrial Revolution at Quarry Bank 

At Quarry Bank, Alan learns about the people behind Britain’s Industrial Revolution, uncovering the true stories of the child workers. Oz Clarke climbs the battlements of Dunster Castle and historian Dan Jones joins an archaeological dig on the South Coast.

" The machinery at Quarry Bank is incredibly powerful.There is one piece of machinery that is about 75ft (23m) long and winds cotton onto bobbins. It marches towards you"
- Alan Titchmarsh at Quarry Bank
Tuesday 7 March
Alan Titchmarsh on the roof at Lyme Park

Episode 5: Preserving our heritage at Lyme  

Alan rolls up his sleeves to help the specialists working hard to maintain Lyme in Cheshire, from winding the 50 clocks throughout the house to vacuuming a 17th century tapestry. Dan Jones goes panning for gold in Wales and Jon Culshaw visits one of the most famous trees in the world at Woolsthorpe Manor.

" To hold a book from 1487 in your hands is magical. The clock collection is also stupendous. I was allowed to go and wind several, including the turret clock. I could spend all day looking at them"
- Alan Titchmarsh at Lyme
Tuesday 14 March
Alan Titchmarsh with the garden volunteers at Fountains Abbey

Episode 6: Unearthing medieval history at Fountains Abbey  

Exploring Fountains Abbey, Alan learns about the monks who lived and worked there over 800 years ago and meets the researchers who have recently discovered the burial site of more than 2000 monks that had been hidden for centuries. Anneka Rice learns the historic technique of spade making at the last working water-driven spade mill in Britain and Miriam O’Reilly spends a night out on the South Downs with the our bat experts.

" The cellarium of Fountains Abbey, which was the refectory, is astonishing, with an enormous vaulted roof."
- Alan Titchmarsh at Fountains Abbey
Lighting rigged up outside Montacute House, Somerset, during filming for the 2015 BBC adaptation of Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall

For film and TV lovers 

Ever wondered where films and programmes set in cobbled streets, rolling hills and Tudor mansions were filmed? Many of the houses, castles and landscapes we care for have been locations for much-loved films and TV shows. Here, we go behind the scenes on the set of Game of Thrones, The Hollow Crown, Dr Thorne and many more.