Britain’s stately homes are a part of our history, albeit an exclusive part. Their landscaped gardens and parks offer a view of that history, or just the chance for the kids to run off some energy. Some like Wimpole Hall
even offer period food to complete the experience.
Our stately homes provide snapshots of history: Calke Abbey
shows how fortunes of the great can decline; Blickling Hall
, the Boleyn family home near Aylsham
with its superb library and gardens shows how the elite in Tudor times were becoming cultured; Florence Court in Enniskillen
, a magnificent Georgian pile, shows the Irish aristocracy isolated, yet still Irish with local furniture abounding.
So many stately homes have enormous gardens to enjoy, and these days other pleasures within them – Belton House
has a fantastic adventure playground; Erddig near Wrexham has woodland walks plus the national collection of ivies; Somerleyton Hall
has a marvellous maze.
But it is the ostentation, the grandeur, that most want to see. Castle Howard
in Yorkshire would be a good place to start. Kedleston Hall
has some of the best Adam interiors in England; and Berrington Hall
with its Capability Brown
gardens shows the wealth of the elite, able to alter the face of the earth.
While most stately homes were built in the 18th century when fortunes were being made(in the colonies - and from slavery), the timescale runs from medieval times – take Clevedon court
in North Somerset
– to the Victorian era – Lanhydrock
being a good example.
Visiting a stately home is one of our great day trip traditions, and getting better all the time. With the country dotted with them, you don’t even need to venture far from home.
We also include 1000's of Historic Houses
We started off trying to set up a small anarchist community, but people wouldn't obey the rules. - Alan Bennett
On this day:
Eddystone Lighthouse Smashed by Storm - 1703, Britains 1st policewoman goes on duty - 1914, Train Downs Nazi Plane - 1942, Ross McWhirter killed by IRA - 1975, Damilola Taylor Stabbed to Death - 2000
More dates from British history