Country Life (magazine)

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Country Life
EditorMark Hedges
Former editorsSee editors section below
CategoriesLifestyle (rural)
Circulation39,257 (ABC Jan – Dec 2015)[1]
Print and digital editions.
PublisherFuture plc
Founded1897; 126 years ago (1897)
CountryUnited Kingdom
Based inLondon

Country Life (stylized in all caps) is a British weekly perfect-bound glossy magazine that is published by Future plc. It was based in London at 110 Southwark Street until March 2016, when moved to Farnborough, Hampshire. In 2022, the magazine moved back to London at 121 – 141 Westbourne Terrace, Paddington.[2]


Hudson House, the former Country Life offices in Tavistock Street, London. Designed by Edwin Lutyens and built in 1904.

Country Life was launched in 1897,[3][4] incorporating Racing Illustrated. At this time it was owned by Edward Hudson, the owner of Lindisfarne Castle and various Lutyens-designed houses including The Deanery in Sonning; in partnership with George Newnes Ltd[5] (in 1905 Hudson bought out Newnes).[5]

At that time golf and racing served as its main content, as well as the property coverage, initially of manorial estates, which is still such a large part of the magazine. Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the late Queen Mother, used to appear frequently on its front cover. Now the magazine covers a range of subjects, from gardens and gardening to country house architecture, art and books, and property to rural issues, luxury products and interiors.

In 1997, the centenary of the magazine was celebrated by a special issue, the publishing of a book by Roy Strong, the broadcast of a BBC2 TV programme on a year in the life of the magazine, and staging a Gold Medal-winning garden at the Chelsea Flower Show. In 1999, the magazine launched a new website.

In 2007, the magazine celebrated its 110th anniversary with a special souvenir issue on 4 January.[6] Since May 2008 the magazine has been issued each Wednesday, having been on sale each Thursday for the past 111 years.


Harry B. Neilson's Mr Fox's Hunt Breakfast on Xmas Day (1897) appeared on the cover of Country Life in December 1997

The first several dozen pages of each issue are devoted to colour advertisements for upmarket residential property

The magazine covers various aspects of rural life. It is primarily concerned with rural communities and their environments as well as the concerns of country dwellers and landowners and has a diverse readership which, although mainly UK based is also international.

The other rural pursuits and interests covered include hunting, shooting, farming, equestrian news and gardening and there are regular news and opinion pieces as well as rural politics. There are reviews of books, food and wine, art and architecture and antiques and crafts. Illustrative material includes the Tottering-by-Gently cartoon by Annie Tempest.

Recent feature articles have included Charles, Prince of Wales guest-editing an issue of Country Life in 2013, a historic revelation which revealed the true face of Shakespeare for the first time in 2015, and in 2016 an exclusive on where the Great Fire of London began in 1666. There was a special commemorative issue in June 2016 on the occasion of the Queen's 90th birthday.

BBC documentary[edit]

In March 2016, Country Life was featured in a three-part documentary series produced by Spun Gold which aired on BBC2 called Land of Hope and Glory, British Country Life.


  • James Edmund Vincent 1897–1900
  • Peter Anderson Graham 1900–1925
  • W E Barber 1925–1933
  • Christopher Hussey 1933–1940 (previously Architectural Editor)
  • F Whitaker 1940–1958
  • John Adams 1958–1973
  • Michael Wright 1973–1984
  • Marcus Binney 1984–1986 (previously Architectural Editor)
  • Jenny Green 1986–1992
  • Clive Aslet 1993–2006 (previously Deputy Editor, now Editor-at-Large)
  • Mark Hedges 2006–present

Deputy editors:

Architectural editors [dates as architectural writer]:

Gardens editors:

  • E.T. Cook [early 20th century]
  • Tony Venison
  • Tim Richardson 1995–1999
  • Kathryn Bradley-Hole 2000–2018
  • Tiffany Daneff 2018—

(earlier versions cited Fred Whitsey as a gardens editor, but he was a distinguished contributor only, being in fact the Editor of sister publication Popular Gardening)

Notable contributors[edit]

Staff architectural photographers:

  • Charles Latham c1897–c1909
  • Frederick Evans (1853–1945) pre1906-?
  • Alfred E. Henson (1885–1972) 1917–57
  • Alex Starkey 1953–87 (last staff photographer[7])

See also[edit]

  • Country Life books – from the photographic and article archives of Country Life magazine (mostly architectural)
  • The Curious House Guest – a 2005–6 TV series by then Architectural Editor Jeremy Musson on visiting country houses


  1. ^ "ABC Certificates and Reports: Country Life".
  2. ^ Country Life – contact us
  3. ^ A. D. Harvey (January 2003). "One hundred and fifty years of The Field magazine". History Today. 53 (1). ProQuest 202816356. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  4. ^ Howard Cox; Simon Mowatt (2003). "Technology, Organisation and Innovation: The Historical Development of the UK Magazine Industry" (PDF). Auckland University of Technology. Archived from the original (Research paper) on 16 September 2016. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  5. ^ a b Brake, Laurel; Demoor, Marysa (2009). Dictionary of Nineteenth-century Journalism in Great Britain and Ireland. Academia Press. p. 294. ISBN 978-90-382-1340-8.
  6. ^ Country Life, 4 January 2007, issue cover Archived 28 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Country Life's last staff photographer, by Alex Starkey, Country Life, 6 February 2007


  • Country Life, 1897–1997: The English Arcadia, by Sir Roy Strong, Boxtree Ltd, 1996, ISBN 7-7777-7642-8, ISBN 978-7-7777-7642-0 (the history of the magazine).
  • Fifty Years of Country Life, by Bernard Darwin, Country Life, 1947 (94 pages, on the first 50 year's history of the magazine).
  • An Everyday Story of Country Life, BBC2, 1997, being a TV documentary filmed over a one-year period in 1996 at the magazine, to celebrate its centenary.

External links[edit]