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In this fascinating new series, renowned actress Dame Penelope Keith travels through Britain s charming villages to uncover what makes these places so unique and special. Armed with her beloved vintage Batsford travel books, Penelope explores the rich artistic, literary and royal histories of each region, discovers how time has changed village communities, and seeks out quirky local traditions which continue to this day. From county shows and village fairs to fertility dances and ancient ceremonial gatherings, she seeks out the community heartbeat of each village. She meets remarkable characters and joins in with everything from dangerous carriage driving events to vegetable gala competitions along the way, showing how even the horn dancers, cheese rollers and tree kissers of this world benefit from the continuance of these traditions. Her journey takes her to some of the most picturesque and hidden landscapes in the country, spanning the stunning location of Steven Spielberg s War Horse, Castle Combe, and the site of the original English Country Garden, through a village that hasn t changed in a century, and even to the Queen s own vegetable patch at Balmoral. Join Penelope on her mission to find out why we love villages so much; what s disappeared, changed and stayed the same and what s the secret to their longevity? Episode One: Devon and Cornwall Penelope is in Devon and Cornwall a land of rugged coastal communities and distinct identities. She finds out that ancient traditions are certainly being kept alive and travels to a former silver mining village, a cliff-edge fishing village, the most exposed theatre in the country, and the small communities near Fowey Harbour. Episode Two: Cumbria The actress learns about life in the renowned landscape of Cumbria. From Morecambe Bay to the Pennines, Penny finds there is much more to life in a Cumbrian village than tourists and tea shops. Along the way she meets a community buying its local mountain, indulges in the unique Cumbrian pursuit of hound trailing and visits the home of Sticky Toffee Pudding. Episode Three: Royal Deeside Penelope travels through Royal Deeside in Aberdeenshire, a land of enormous estates. Penelope visits the few villages that exist and explores how important Queen Victoria was in shaping modern Deeside. She takes to the skies in a glider, visits the station built for Queen Victoria in the 1860s, goes to the Highland Games for the first time since the 1950s and discovers the secrets of the present Queen s vegetable patch at Balmoral. S2 Episode Four: East Sussex and Kent In the final episode of the series, Penelope is in East Sussex and Kent a rural, unspoilt swath of the busy south-east. She finds a remarkable hidden village that hasn t changed in almost a century, discovers the origins of the English Country Garden and sees a war memorial which was helped to be established by Rudyard Kipling. Steam power whisks Penelope to the prettiest villages in Kent where she uncovers why so many of them take pride in their beautiful signs. She also visits a village that stopped a naval embarrassment turning into a national disaster and ultimately uncovers the unexpected origins of that seaside village institution the bungalow.
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