Financial Mail

Circle of Animals Representi­ng the Chinese zodiac


one is to the manor born. This is where the commoners play such an important role, coughing up expensive entrance fees which help to keep these stately piles open to the nation, while remaining the private residences of the current dukes and their offspring.

Houses like Blenheim are recognised worldwide thanks to the export value of television shows such as Downton Abbey and its ilk. As life sometimes imitates art, the public has as much entertainm­ent from the soap opera of royal and aristocrat­ic families as from the period

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