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5 British Stately Homes Worth a Visit

Blenheim Palace

With over 300 years of history to discover, incredible baroque architecture, over 2000 acres of parkland with 150 acres of beautiful gardens, it’s not surprising that Blenheim Palace is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Situated in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, Blenheim Palace is home to the 12th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough. The palace was built in the early 18th Century as a gift from Queen Anne, to John Churchill, the 1st Duke of Marlborough; who led the Battle of Blenheim to victory.

Being the birthplace of Winston Churchill there is a Churchill exhibition as well as the Churchill Memorial Garden; there are numerous tours, exploring both the public and private side of the palace; lake tours; an impressive collection of paintings, and an indoor cinema showing a variety of documentaries and films about the palace and its history.

Home to historical monuments, rural activity, plenty of parkland trails, an abundance of nature, a Butterfly house, a hedge maze and a miniature train, this historical treasure provides something for the whole family.

Highclere Castle

This glamourous Victorian Castle set amidst 1000 acres of parkland in Hampshire, is the main setting for Downton Abbey – the award-winning period drama.

Be transported back in time as you stroll through the wonderful smoking room with 17th Century Dutch paintings, a music room with a beautiful baroque ceiling and a charming gothic style Saloon. Recognise the servant areas that housed about 60 members of staff and have been recreated in film studios for Downton Abbey. Be delighted by the walled gardens, meadows, gardens, lawns, temples and woods that surround the tremendous, captivating castle.

With breath-taking views, Castle tours, afternoon teas, history, a multitude of events and exhibitions, including a fabulous Egyptian exhibition – this is definitely one to visit this summer, but make sure you plan ahead and check the opening dates online.

Blickling Hall

The birthplace of Anne Boleyn, Blickling Hall is an incredibly grand stately home, which is part of the Blickling estate in Norfolk.

Once voted the most haunted house in Britain, it is said that Anne Boleyn’s headless ghost arrives by coach at Blickling Hall every year on the anniversary of her death.

In the house, see the amazing interiors, discover the servant’s quarters, tapestries, furniture, paintings, ceilings and one of the most historically important national book collections in the library.

The estate consists of thousands of acres of woodland, parkland and farmland, plus staggeringly attractive formal and informal gardens. There are cycle tracks, colour coded walks, fishing on the lake, giant board games and croquet.

A hub of activity, with their very own bookshop and RAF museum, as well as different events – from costumed interpretations to art and craft exhibitions, there is always something different to see and do. Just keep your eyes peeled for any ghosts!

Photo courtesy of The National Trust https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/blickling-estate

Tredegar House

Tredegar House is a striking 17th-century country house, set in 90-acres of magnificent parkland in Newport, Wales. This architectural wonder was owned by the Morgan family (later Lords Tredegar); one of the most powerful and influential families in the area, for more than 500 years. The National Trust took over the management of the mansion in 2012.

It’s one of the more relaxed stately homes to visit, and offers an interactive experience for its visitors. Allowing picnics on the grounds; dog walks in the park; there aren’t many restricted areas in the house and you can even climb the steps to the top of Tredegar House to view the conservation work happening on the roof! There is also a cosy café and a gift shop and they host loads of events suitable for children, from Easter Egg hunts to pirate activities.

Photo courtesy of The National Trust https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/tredegar-house

Falkland Palace

Harvey Wood 1993.
National Trust for Scotland

One of Scotland’s most enchanting stately homes, it was the country residence of the Stuart Monarchs for 200 years. Popular with royalty for its hunting and hawking in the Fife forest as well as for tennis – Falkland Palace is home to the oldest Royal Tennis Court in Britain (built in 1539), played on by Mary Queen of Scots

The Renaissance palace was built by King James II and although part of the palace is in ruins, it has been extensively restored by the National Trust for Scotland. It has a tapestry gallery, portraits of the Stuart Monarchs and one of the only surviving practicing Roman Catholic Chapels in a Palace owned by the Crown.

Set in 9 acres of beautiful maintained grounds and formal gardens with willow sculptures, a Labyrinth and a wonderful wildflower meadow it’s a great place to while away the afternoon.

 

 

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