The mane event at Audley End House and Gardens

HORSES and their groom will return to English Heritage s Audley End House & Gardens when the previously unseen stables open to the public for the first time.

HORSES and their groom will return to English Heritage's Audley End House & Gardens when the previously unseen stables open to the public for the first time.

A special event called All The Queen's Horses is being held from Saturday May 1 to Bank Holiday Monday May 3 to mark the occasion.

Queen Victoria will be in attendance along with her entourage who will provide a range of exhilarating arena displays on horseback. Children will also have the opportunity to take part in their very own military drill and hobby horse gymkhana.

The Grade I listed stables were built in the 17th century to impress James I and they were later owned by Charles II.

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The stables are among the finest in the country and were even repaired by Sir Christopher Wren. In its heyday, more than 30 pampered horses would have lived in what looks more like a magnificent country house than stables.

Horses and groom will take up residence alongside a new multi-media exhibition, highlighting the importance of horses to Audley End's noble residents and telling the story of the coachman, grooms, gamekeepers and gardeners working on the estate in the 1880s.

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The combination of live horses and groom as well as authentic saddles and tack, will allow visitors to get up close to the reality of daily life in a Victorian stable - in all its mucky, smelly glory.

The opening of the stables follows on from the success of the recently restored Service Wing. Costumed interpreters are often in residence there to give a sense of life in service at a Victorian country house.

The stables project also includes a new caf� and a children's play area near the Walled Kitchen Garden. The stables, caf� and play area will open to the public on Saturday May 1 and all the live stable activities will continue throughout the summer until September.

Tickets cost �14 for adults, �11.90 for concessions, �7 for children and �35 for a family. Members of English Heritage get in free.

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