What would a trip to Great Britain be, without a stop off at some of the most beautiful stately homes the country has to offer? In this guide we’ll be giving you a glimpse in to some of the homes that made the big screen, The Da Vinci Code, Pride and Prejudice to name a few. We’ll also reveal a surprising link to the United States.
We start our guide with Lyme Park, set in the heart of the picturesque Peak District, just 2.5 hours from London by train.
This stately home is one of Cheshire’s oldest estates and has been home to many people over the years, not least a certain Mr Darcy (played by Colin Firth) in the BBC production of Jane Austen’s, ‘Pride and Prejudice’. Whilst visiting be sure to take a walk through the Edwardian rose garden and see the iconic reflecting lake that Mr Darcy once famously emerged from after his swim.
Did you know? The estate is home to one of the oldest printed books in Britain, the Lyme Caxton Missal. Published in 1487 and on show in the library of Lyme Park, you can see the original 500 year old book for yourself and even turn the pages, albeit on the touchscreens provided!
If history isn’t your thing, simply marvel in the beautiful 1,300 acre estate and walk among its medieval herd of red and fallow deer.
Further North East of Lyme Park, just a short trip outside York is the stunning 18th century estate of Castle Howard. This stately home started its journey in 1699 where the 3rd Earl of Carlisle (and a little help from his friend) began construction. Little did they know this would be a project that would last over 100 years and spanned the lifetimes of three Earls!
Did you know? The house has survived a major fire in 1940, been home to a girl’s school during World War II and most recently set the scene for the production of “Brideshead Revisited” starring Michael Gambon and Emma Thompson as Lord and Lady Marchmain.
Whether you want to explore some of the most famous British artists work, delve in to a treasure trove of European art or take a curated tour of some of the more unusual buildings on the estate there’s enough to keep you busy for the day. The estate is open all year round with the exception of the house during the winter months.
Whilst in the area be sure to also visit the neighboring medieval city of York.
Originally built for Queen Elizabeth I’s chief advisor William Cecil, Burghley house is said to be one of the largest and grandest of the Elizabethan age. There are over 100 rooms and a quarter of a mile of staterooms alone for you to discover. Whilst inside, don’t miss the “Staterooms Tour” where you can see the stunning ‘Hell Staircase’ on your way to ‘The Heaven Room’ – acclaimed to be the masterpiece of an Italian-born Baroque artist, Antonio Verrio.
Did you know? Recently the house has been the setting for many interior scenes of the 2006 film “The Da Vinci Code” with Tom Hanks and Sir Ian McKellen.
There’s also over 2,000 acres of gardens to get lost in, but most noticeable are the ‘Garden of Surprise’ and the ‘Sculpture Garden’ open March through October. There’s lots to see and do, so avoid a rush visit and stay at our hotel in nearby Leicester.
Chatsworth House is a short drive, bus or train ride from Nottingham and Sheffield and is one of the most popular stately homes in Britain. This lavish building was completed in 1707, spanning three floors and more than 30 rooms, there’s plenty of art, furniture and sculptures to uncover.
Outside is just as impressive. With 105 acres of gardens and over 1000 acres of parks there are plenty of walks to lose track of time on.
Did you know? The house also has a link to Presidency, where in 1944 William Cavendish, elder son and heir of Chatsworth house married Kathleen Kennedy, the sister of later President John F. Kennedy.