In this fascinating new series, renowned actress Dame Penelope Keith travels through Britains 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, from the stunning location of Steven Spielbergs War Horse, Castle Combe, to the site of the original English Country Garden. 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?
1. East Anglia Penelope begins her journey with a trip to East Anglia. While there, she attends a regatta on the Norfolk Broads, takes to the skies over the village of Little Snoring, learns to speak like a native of the county and attends a fete complete with a performance by wheelbarrow display team the Red Sparrows. 2. North-West England and North Wales In this episode, Penelope travels to the industrial heartlands of north-west England and north Wales, where she explores a Victorian garden in the shadow of a nuclear power plant, finds out about burgeoning tourism in Snowdonia, and goes to her first music festival. 3. South-West England Penelope concludes her first trip with visits to Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire, where she sees villages that have been used on film and TV. These include the community where To the Manor Born was filmed, and the setting of Steven Spielbergs War Horse, Castle Combe, where she also discovers a motor racing circuit.