Susan Li at North Cadbury Court

The American TV presenter who was too sexy for an English country estate: Reporter turns up in tight dress and high heels - but is forced to change into tweed and wellies

An American TV presenter who turned up at an English country house to film wearing a dress and high heels was forced to change into a tweed outfit by the owner who took exception to her appearance.

CNBC presenter Susan Li visited North Cadbury Court in Wincanton, Somerset to film a travel piece about the 1,500-acre estate's Downton Abbey-style holidays.

But after showing up to begin filming wearing a fitted white dress and heels, Miss Li was asked to change after the owner Archie Montgomery called her outfit 'more appropriate to Kensington and Chelsea' than a traditional English estate.

Staff at the estate were then forced to hastily gather a selection of clothes for Miss Li, which included a thick cashmere jumper, a gilet, Wellington boots and a flat cap.

Mr Montgomery said: 'Susan arrived, looking gorgeous, wearing a white jersey dress and heels that were more appropriate to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

'She was beautifully made up. We rather thought this may be the case.

'I said "Really, we need to dress you a bit more appropriately".

'We got a selection of clothes laid out. The amazing thing was that we managed to have everything fit her, down to the smart Wellington boots.

'She was very relaxed. She looked terrific in the tweed, so I think she was very happy.'

Miss Li is one of the best-known faces on American TV and co-anchors CNBC’s flagship morning programme Squawk Box.

She jetted into the UK to film a piece on North Cadbury Court for the channel’s luxury US travel show First Class.

Downton Abbey is a huge hit in America - drawing 10 million viewers - and has sparked a boom in US tourists seeking the authentic English country experience.

After her wardrobe change, she indulged in the many traditional activities available on the estate, including clay pigeon shooting and golf.

Mr Montgomery said: 'She hit a clay with her second shot, which we all thought was rather stunning. High fives all round. She was very game-on. She was up for anything.' 

And in a bid to avoid similar sartorial faux pas by future guests, he offered a tips for dressing appropriately in a country pile.

He explained: 'In a British country house I would think mostly wear something warm, as some country houses aren’t as warm as ours.

'I think the whole Downton-esq dressing for the occasion will appeal to the Americans.

'Particularly if you’re engaging in field sports, I think it is not only sensible because the clothing is generally geared for the weather, but I think it is all part of the charm and the respect for the occasion to dress appropriately.

'And if it is a matter of wearing one’s estate tweed, I think that is all part of the occasion - in much the same way people dress up in black tie to go out to dinner.'

North Cadbury Court has been described as a modern Downton Abbey and boasts a cellar casino and disco, a heated swimming pool, sauna and pistol range.

It also has a ballroom that can seat 150 as well as a dining room to feed 96 guests.

Mr Montgomery added: 'The house will appeal to Americans looking for a Downton Abbey experience because it is a genuine old English estate.

'But we have got to bring Downton into the modern age a bit. This is Downton Abey with a modern touch.

'In the casino, we have exactly the same lamps that you’ll see in Downton Abbey. And it is all beautiful wall paper in the cellar.

'Lord Grantham would look absolutely the part in his smoking jacket in our poker room. In fact, I might ask him if he wants to come and play.'

Miss Li’s feature on the estate will be broadcast on CNBC in March as part of a travel guide to the UK for Americans.


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Susan Li at North Cadbury Court