Country Life Today: The Ritz hotel set to go up for sale – with a 10-figure price tag

In today's round up we bring you news of the sale of one of London's great landmarks, a fall out between a ghost tour operator and a vicar, a collaboration between Prince Harry and Ed Sheeran and a crofter's 540-mile trip for a lovable lamb.

’10 or so ultra-high net worth individuals’ expected to fight it out for ownership of The Ritz

In the week that Country Life has launched its London Life section, perhaps its appropriate that we have a news story concerning the sale of one of the capital’s great landmarks: The Ritz hotel.

This iconic building on Piccadilly, which backs on to Green Park and sits a short walk across the turf from Buckingham Palace, is perhaps the most famous hotel in the world – though no doubt the owners of the Waldorf Astoria, Raffles and The Savoy would dispute such a claim.

Now, according to a Reuters report, this ‘haven for royals, statesmen and movie stars’  is up for sale – with an astonishing price tag of $1 billion.

The hotel has been owned by the reclusive billionaire Barclay brothers for almost 15 years, and though they had not sought to sell it seems that they have ‘recently received several unsolicited offers for the Ritz’, and have put a valuation of £800 million in their latest accounts –  an inclusion that has ‘fuelled speculation they would sell if they received a high enough bid’, according to Reuters.

The potential buyer of the ultimate trophy asset? There are ‘a pool of 10 or so ultra-high net worth individuals likely to consider a bid’, according to the report.

Full story (Reuters)


The end of ghost tours in ‘England’s most haunted village’

St. Mary’s Church in Prestbury. Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

Ghost tours have been cancelled in Prestbury, the Gloucestershire village dubbed the most haunted in England, following a disagreement between the village vicar and tour operator.

Reverend Nick Bromfield told GloucestershireLive the tours had ‘no part in a place of Christian worship and they don’t belong in a Christian churchyard’, while tour boss Mike James didn’t see the issue.

‘I don’t really understand why he’s taken such offence to storytelling,’ he said. ‘Ghost stories take place all over the world. Why is Prestbury different?’

Full story (GloucestershireLive


On this day…

Sir George Williams. Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

On 11 October, 1821, Sir George Williams was born in Dulverton, West Somerset. The British philanthropist founded the founder of the Young Men’s Christian Association. After his death in 1905, he was commemorated by a stained-glass window in the nave of Westminster Abbey.


No-deal tariffs for farmers are ‘cripplingly high’

In the event of a no-deal, tariff safeguards will be removed for a number of sectors, including dairy products. Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

UK egg producers, cereal farmers and horticultural growers could face no protection against imports, according to the president of the National Farmers’ Union.

Minette Batters spoke after the government confirmed it will remove the tariff safeguards for a number of agricultural sectors in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

She said this ‘severely undermined’ the farming industry, and risked the UK being ‘flooded’ with imports produced to lower standards that would be illegal for British farmers.

A government spokesman stressed the removal of tariff safeguards was a temporary measure, should we leave the EU without an agreement.

‘We will be monitoring the economy closely, as well as continuing to listen to feedback provided through gov.uk,’ he said. ‘The government will also continue to meet regularly with representatives from the food and farming sector to hear their concerns.’

Full story (Country Life)


‘It’s like looking in the mirror’: Prince Harry meets up with Ed Sheeran for World Mental Health Day

The Duke of Sussex and Ed Sheeran have collaborated on a video to mark World Mental Health Day, which took place yesterday (10 October).

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Both Prince Harry and Ed Sheeran want to ensure that not just today but every day, you look after yourself, your friends and those around you. There’s no need to suffer in silence – share how you’re feeling, ask how someone is doing and listen for the answer. Be willing to ask for help when you need it and know that we are all in this together. #WMHD Check out the accounts below for more resources and support: @Heads_Together @Calmzone @MentalHealthFoundation @CharityNoPanic @SamaritansCharity @YoungMindsUK @GiveUsAShoutInsta @Childline_official @LetsTalkAboutMentalHealth @Jedfoundation @Pandas_UK @Charitysane @MindCharity @TimeToChangeCampaign @RethinkMentalIllness @MentalHealthMates @ActionHappiness @MHFAEngland @DitchTheLabel @TheBlurtFoundation

A post shared by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (@sussexroyal) on

The video posted on the Duke and Duchess’s Instagram page, featured the prince and singer-songwriter calling on the public to look out for one another.

‘It’s World Mental Health Day, reach out make sure that your friends, strangers or anybody that might be suffering in silence,’ said Harry.

Full story (Country Life)


And finally… A much-loved lamb

A crofter from Benbecula in the Western Isles made a 540-mile round trip to be reunited with a lamb she regretted selling.

Melanie MacLean gave Norman round-the-clock care in his early days, but sold him last month. When she began to wish she’d kept the lamb, she tracked down his new base in Aberdeenshire and travelled to see him.

Norman was among a flock of 700, but ran straight to his old owner within seconds of her arrival. He will now spend the rest of his days on the croft keeping his father, the croft’s ram, company.

Full story (BBC News)


Country Life Today: Prince Harry’s powerful words on saving the world – ‘We must overcome greed, apathy and selfishness’

In today's round-up, we look at Prince Harry's words about saving the planet, reveal how changing the way we manage