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Britain is a place of traditions that date back many hundreds of years – just look at our unwavering attachment to the customary mid-afternoon cuppa.

This issue, we delve into the centuries-old ceremonies integral to the Houses of Parliament, a place that combines 1,000 years of history, majestic architecture and the drama of modern-day politics

Continuing the theme, you can’t get much more traditional than the country’s big houses, whose strict upstairs/downstairs hierarchy was never – or almost never – disturbed. Looking back further in time, we explore the age-old rites of the Anglo-Saxons, whose devotion to their king saw a ship full of treasure hauled up a river valley to his final resting place at Sutton Hoo. We also profile the man who put the Bard’s birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon, on the map, and round up the country’s best hotels for a pampering stay.

House Rules

The Houses of Parliament. Credit: Mammuth/Getty

With its stunning architecture and fascinating history, a visit to the seat of British government is quite an experience.

Upstairs Downstairs

Marble Hall, Holkham Hall. Credit: Ivan Vdovin/Alamy

With the Downton Abbey film about to hit our screens, we explore what relationships were really like between the upstairs and downstairs residents of Britain’s big houses.

Our Chief of Men

A portrait of Oliver Cromwell. Credit: ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

Oliver Cromwell, Charles I’s nemesis, was quick to seize control after the death of the king, unceremoniously throwing out the royal rule book. Brutal tyrant or revolutionary hero? You decide…

Plus, we have a brilliant competition: your chance to win a luxurious two-night stay with breakfast and dinner at St Michaels Resort in Cornwall.

Buy your copy here.