Surprising histories and spectacular places: Listen to series three

A young woman in the Chinese Chippendale bedroom at Saltram, Devon.

Download and listen to twelve audio episodes exploring the renowned gardens, world-class interiors and breathtaking walks of the National Trust.

Presented by an expert guide, these 20-minute episodes give an inside look at some of the most extraordinary places cared for by the National Trust. Along the way we'll tell the stories of the people behind them, from the humble cabinet maker who became the 'Shakespeare of Furniture' to the devoted rangers who watch over wildlife on Northumbria's weather-beaten shores.

Chippendale’s chinoiserie furniture and Chinese wallpaper in the State Dressing Room at Nostell

Chippendale at Nostell 

Join us as we explore how the inhabitants of Nostell in West Yorkshire used furniture, architecture and interior design to elevate their status and political clout. At the centre of the story is local man Thomas Chippendale, known today as 'The Shakespeare of Furniture'. We'll delve into an archive of letters and an incredible illustrated manual in order to understand this man of talent, ambition and business nous.

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The temple at Sheringham Park

Repton's vision at Sheringham 

In this episode we’re at Sheringham in Norfolk to discover 1,000 acres of glorious parkland, woods and clifftops. Learn about the designer who sculpted the landscape, Humphry Repton, and meet the staff and volunteers who keep his vision alive today. We’ll take you on a stroll through Sheringham’s magnificent rhododendron gardens as we unearth the colourful history of these exotic flowers – from the adventures of the plant hunter who sourced them to their starring role in the Upcher family’s 1950s champagne parties.

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Northumberland Coast

Walking with wildlife in Northumbria 

We’re off to the North East with ranger Kate Martin for a bracing and beautiful walk along Long Nanny beach. Join us as we stroll over sand dunes and past a freshwater stream, exploring the wildlife that calls this spectacular shoreline home. Learn to identify the birds that breed here each year – including ringed plovers and rare little terns – and hear from the dedicated staff who camp out under the stars to protect them.

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Visitors admiring William Morris's wallpaper designs at Red House

William Morris at Red House 

In episode four we’re at Red House in South East London, once home to one of Britain’s most celebrated designers of the 20th Century, William Morris. Famous for his iconic floral wallpaper designs, Morris’s prints and patterns are still in fashion today. But his story doesn’t end there – he was also a poet, translator, novelist and political figure. Join us to explore the house where Morris’s creativity blossomed, and uncover the intriguing twists and turns in the life of this prolific printmaker.

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visitors in the maze summerhouse at Glendurgan Garden

A tropical garden at Glendurgan 

Join us on a journey through a tropical Cornish paradise at Glendurgan Garden – where lush rolling valleys meet the sea, and exotic plants grow alongside native wildflowers. We get to know the Fox family, who laid down the plans for the garden back in the 1820s, and still live in the house today. And we’ll navigate the mind-bending maze that continues to puzzle visitors of all ages, and embodies the spirit of play in which Glendurgan was conceived.

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Wicken Fen - sunset over Sedge Fen

A walk through ancient wetlands in East Anglia 

We’re at Wicken Fen in East Anglia for a walk through the National Trust’s oldest nature reserve. Here, open skies meet narrow waterways, giant reeds sway in the wind, and herds of wild ponies run free. We’ll set off on foot, exploring the multi-use trails that allow easy access to this other-worldly place, before venturing across the water on boat. Along the way, we’ll discover how a landscape created thousands of years ago is still providing a crucial home for thousands of animals, birds and plants.

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A view of Clouds Hill on a sunny day looking towards the front door of the cottage

Lawrence of Arabia's humble home at Clouds Hill 

In this episode we’re at Clouds Hill, the rustic retreat of T.E. Lawrence. Nestled among pine trees in the Dorset countryside, this dilapidated cottage is where 'Lawrence of Arabia' fled his new-found fame, following his adventures in the desert during the First World War. We’ll take you on a tour of the intimate spaces where he entertained friends, listened to music, and kept his beloved motorbike - giving you a true sense of this complex and fascinating character.

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A waterfall in winter surrounded by trees

A winter garden in Wales 

Join us in the foothills of Snowdonia National Park as we take a crisp winter stroll through the world-famous Bodnant Garden. You’ll encounter dramatic waterfalls and romantic dells, towering trees and exotic rhododendrons – all set before a backdrop of snow-dusted mountains. Hear about Henry Pochin, the plant hunter and aspiring politician who created Bodnant 150 years ago, and meet the gardeners who continue his legacy today.

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Young visitor enjoying the view

Escaping the city at Box Hill 

In this episode we’re at Box Hill, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty just a short train ride from Central London. A million visitors flock to this verdant part of the Surrey countryside every year – whether to cycle the legendary Olympic incline, absorb the breath-taking views or explore the diverse wildlife and plants. On our walk, you’ll hear what makes Box Hill special for so many people, and discover how getting out into the countryside might be easier than you think.

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Living room of Mendips, childhood home of John Lennon

Backstage at the Beatles’ childhood homes 

Join us in Liverpool as we step inside the childhood homes of two men who changed the face of pop culture: John Lennon and Paul McCartney. We’ll take you on a trip down Penny Lane to visit the houses where John and Paul grew up, bought their first guitars and wrote some of the Beatles’ world-famous songs. Along the way you’ll hear from fans that have made the pilgrimage to the birthplace of Britain’s best-loved band.

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