I studied and taught history at the University of Hull and was awarded a PHD in 1997. I went on to a successful career in heritage and have worked for a range of historic properties and national heritage organisations, including the Heritage Lottery Fund, The National Archives and English Heritage. I am now Chief Executive of the Heritage Education Trust, a charity that encourages children to visit and learn from historic properties through the Sandford Award scheme. I am also joint Chief Curator for Historic Royal Palaces, the charity that manages Hampton Court Palace, the Tower of London, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace, the Banqueting House, Whitehall and Hillsborough Castle.
I often appear on television and radio, and I am a regular contributor to history magazines, notably BBC History. I give talks on my books across the country.