Overlooked Stately Gems
It is crucial when visiting any country that you soak up some of the history and culture that is on offer. When many people think of the UK, they think of busy cities like London and Liverpool and maybe do not realise the many historical estates lie not far from the hustle and bustle of these modern cities and the modern life they breathe.
English history is so important to its people, and these stately homes really encompass the culture that the country is based around and where it has come from, how far it has come. In addition, they offer some fabulous pieces of art and gardens for walking.
Chatsworth House, Derbyshire
Chatsworth House is home to the Duke and Dutchess of Devonshire, and lies overlooking the River Derwent. This magnificent house has been the home of the Cavendish family since 1549 and today stands as one of the most popular manors in Britain. It was used in the filming of BBC’s Pride and Prejudice, the home of the famous Mr Darcy, and it was also used in the Dutchess, starring Kiera Knightly. The houses current dwellers are huge art enthusiasts and the house and surroundings are filled with examples of contemporary art. If you are near the area, this is a great place to spend a day wandering both in and outdoors.
Castle Howard, Yorkshire
This monumental estate once lay on 13,000 acres and was even served by its own railway station. Currently it covers 1,000 acres but is truly a pleasure to explore or take one of the guided tours by the knowledgeable and friendly staff. This is a destination that suits people of all ages, the adults will enjoy the historical facts and stories, and the children will be kept amused with Geoffrey the Lion’s illustrated trail and can discover the secrets of the house in the cabinet of curiosity.
Burghley House, Lincolnshire
This palace-like stately house is so amazing it was used in the film The Da Vinci Code. It was originally built as the home of Sir William Cecil, Queen Elizabeth I’s first chief advisor, and now it contains many portraits of the Queen along with many other historical figures like Oliver Cromwell and Henry VIII. 2,000 acres of beautifully designed gardens surround the estate and there is a deer park also where one can enjoy the outdoors and marvel at the views of the home.
Blicking Hall, Norfolk
Blickin Hall is most commonly known as being the birthplace of Anne Boleyn, and currently holds a statue and portrait of the future queen. On the anniversary of her death, her ghost is said to arrive at the estate carrying her own severed head!! What is interesting and proves very popular about the house, is that it holds one of the country’s most valuable collection for books and manuscripts from history. The gardens and woodlands surrounding have various walks amoung nature and cycling trails. There is also a pub on the estate, The Buckinghamshire Arms, for that well deserved drink after taking in all the history and scenery!
Montacute House, Somerset
Montacute House is an Elizabethan Mansion which was built in local stone. It has the longest gallery of its kind, The Long Gallery, and it holds over 60 Tudor and Elizabethan portraits which are on loan from the National Portrait Gallery. This manor is a textbook example of English architecture and is one of the only houses of the Elizabethan nature to have remained almost unchanged.
So, when your next in the UK, dont let your holiday be filled with new England and busy city life, remember old England and the royalty that used to reside in these various stately homes. An amazing experience and day-trip for all types!
Member of the marketing team at HomeExchange, a business student from southern Ireland. Currently living in and loving Paris. Passionate about travelling – to travel is to live!