Tour de Horse as Top Gear comes to Burghley

Burghley Horse Trials course being driven by Top Gear presenters
Burghley Horse Trials course being driven by Top Gear presenters
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Burghley House will take a starring role in TV’s biggest motoring show on Sunday night.

Former Friends star Matt LeBlanc, who now presents BBC Two’s Top Gear with Chris Harris and Rory Reid, took their cars to the Elizabethan House.

They took to the Burghley Horse Trials course in one of the show’s most unusual races but instead of horseback, the three presenters were inside sporty SUVs.

The latest Top Gear episode - airing on BBC Two at 8pm this Sunday - involved production crews bringing in 300 posts and 3,000 metres of tape to mark the course, before the three hosts tried to prove which SUV best handled show-jumping and cross-country racing through Burghley’s parkland.

While serious consumer publications have sought to answer the question ‘What’s the best sporting SUV on sale today?’ by measuring bootspace and legroom, Top Gear decided to rank SUVs’ suitability for the hustle-bustle of everyday family life through the time-honoured sport of the famous horse trials course.

Matt, Chris and Rory arrived at Burghley House with an Alfa Romeo Stelvio, a Volvo XC60 and a Range Rover Velar, whereupon they were ordered to saddle up, and take part in a series of equestrian-inspired challenges, including an arena show-jumping event, and a cross-country race through Burghley’s grand grounds.

While that was definetly a one-off special event, visitors can enjoy the parkland and follow some of the Horse Trial course, but on on two legs!

Unusually for such a historic home, the parkland - designed by ’Capability’ Brown in the 18th century - is open all year and free (except on event days) offering walks with spectacular views of the House and the Georgian stone town of Stamford in the distance, while the House and Gardens have also now re-opened for the 2018 season.

For full details of opening times, all events and to book online tickets at discounted prices for the House and Gardens, visit www.burghley.co.uk or telephone 01780 752451.