10 UK NATIONAL TRUST PROPERTIES TO VISIT
A few years ago, Dr C’s mum gifted us a lifetime membership to the National Trust because of the conservation and preservation work the Trust performs on the UK mainland and coastline.
10 UK NATIONAL TRUST PROPERTIES TO VISIT
The National Trust are the biggest conservation charity in Europe caring for the nation’s coastline, historic sites, countryside and green spaces with a team of staff, members, volunteers and supporters.
This year, 2020, The National Trust celebrates its 125th anniversary and aims to carry out what their founders intended when they started the trust back in January 1895. They have provided the country with amazing spaces and stately residences for such a long time and are helping to preserve our heritage for generations to come.
There are a variety of National Trust memberships including, joint, family, individual or lifetime and give you access to a handbook of information for all their places, a magazine three times a year, free entry to over 500 special places and free parking at most National Trust car parks. You can find out more here
It therefore seems quite fitting that as travel in the UK could become our norm for at least the rest of the year, I share with you some of my favourite National Trust properties, which I hope will inspire you to take many days out in the UK and support our heritage at home.
1 FLATFORD MILL
Flatford. East Bergholt. Suffolk. C07 6UL. Tel. 01206 298260 Website
Situated in Dedham vale, this pretty hamlet was the inspiration for many paintings by John Constable and some of his most famous artwork such as Hay Wale and Boat building near Flatford Mill. In fact after I’d seen some of his masterpieces, walking through Flatform was a bit like strolling through a scene in them.
There are some fantastic easy walking trails here and dogs are also welcome. The River Stour provides a lovely opportunity to hire a rowing boat and take in the beauty and serenity of this famous painting scene, through the eyes of Constable.
2 ANGLESEY ABBEY, GARDENS & LODE MILL
Quy Road Cambridge Cambridgeshire. CB2 9EJ Tel. 01223 810080. Website
Anglesey Abbey is a Jacobean-styled house equipped with gardens and a working watermill. Aged 30, the future Lord Fairhaven began to create his first home through a passion for tradition and to impress his guests.
Visitors would be surprised by the spectacular garden of 114 acres, which surrounds a cosy house, which was built for luxury entertaining with fine furnishings, books, paintings, silver and a collection of rare clocks.
3 WADDESDON MANOR
Waddesdon near Aylesbury Buckinghamshire HP18 0JH Tel. 01296 820414. Website
Probably one of my favourite National Trust Properties to date, this French Renaissance-style château was built by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild in 1874 to house his fine art and entertain the fashionable world.
The château now hosts many events celebrating food and wine and has beautiful Victorian gardens with ornate fountains, an Avery with exotic birds, in rococo style and an adventure woodland playground.
Waddesdon Manor is managed by the Rothschild Foundation (charitable trust) on behalf of the National Trust.
Waddesdon Manor is also home to the National Trust’s largest art collection to date.
You can read about my visit to Waddesdon Manor in detail below:
4 ICKWORTH HOUSE
The Rotunda. Horringer. Bury St Edmonds. Suffolk. IP29 5QE Tel. 01284 735270 Website
Ickworth House has been referred to as ‘an Italianate palace in the heart of suffolk’ and it’s easy to see why. It’s located in the heart of the ancient deer park with formal Italianate gardens, mirroring the house as well as woodlands long walking trails and picnic spaces
The impressive Rotunda, commissioned by the 4th Earl of Bristol, houses one of the finest silver collections in Europe, family portraits by Gainsborough and Reynolds and Neoclassical sculpture.
The 1930s servants quarters have been restored to recreate the memories of the domestic service that lived here.
Ickworth is home to many activities such as outdoor cinema weekends, Wood & Craft Fair in October, Country Estate fayre in June and Living History days celebrating the stories of those who lived and worked at Ickworth.
For more on Ickworth House, have a read of my feature below:
Near Mere. Wiltshire. BA12 6QD. Tel. 01747 841152 Website
Stourhead first opened in the 1740’s and was described as ‘a living work of art’. The world renowned landscaped garden is centre-pieced by a stunning lake reflecting classical temples, grottoes, rare and exotic trees.
This Palladian house is set amid perfect lawns and extensive parkland, making it perfect to enjoy a picnic. 2,650 hectares make up the chalk downs, ancient woods and farmlands, which make wildlife a priority in the area.
Ingest the history of Stourhead house with an Italian ‘Grand Tour’ adventure and peruse the unique Regency library, Chippendale furniture and unique artwork in the form of paintings.
6 OXBURGH HALL
Oxburgh. near Swaffham. Norfolk. PE33 9PS. Tel. 01366 328258. Website
Built by and home to the Bedingfeld family in 1482 for 500 years, Oxburgh Hall presents as a manor house surrounded by a moat.
The interiors are gothic, which marry well with Oxburgh’s medieval past. The house seems as though it’s filled with many past secrets and there’s even a needlework created by Mary Queen of Scots in the priest’s hole.
The gardens outside are a mix of unformal and wilder designs. There’s a walled garden and French parterre, which brings a little seasonal colour. The estate even has a woodland walk taking you out onto the River Gadder, where you may even spot the local residents, otters.
7 CALKE ABBEY
Ticknall. Derby. Derbyshire. DE734 7JF. Tel. 01332 863822. Website
Often referred to as an ‘un-stately home and country estate’ Calke Abbey is a representation of a house portraying a period in the 20th century when a number of country houses couldn’t be looked after due to financial dire.
The family who lived here collected many treasures including a silk bed. Take a stroll to the faded walled gardens, the orangery, auricular theatre and the gardens of the kitchen. The abbey’s surrounding parkland is a National Nature Reserve and be sure to look out for the ‘Old Man of Calke’, a 1200 year old Oak tree, the red and yellow fallow deer in their restored deer enclosure and peruse the Human kind exhibition about stories of isolation and kindness in the house and grounds.
8 KEDLESTON HALL
Near Quarndon. Derby. Derbyshire. DE22 5JH Tel 01332 842191. Website
Dating back to the 1760s by architect Robert Adam, this neo-classical mansion was designed for lavish entertaining featuring a collection of paintings, sculptures and original elegant furnishings.
The Curzon family have lived at Kedleston Hall since the 12th Century and be sure to visit Lord Curzon’s Eastern Museum, which contains many fascinating artefacts collected from his travels, whilst he was the Viceroy of India.
The film, The Duchess, starring Keira Knightly was also filmed at Kedleston Hall. To get the best views of the hall, take the long and short walking trails through the woods with panoramic views of the stunning surrounding countryside.
9 BELTON HOUSE
Grantham. Lincolnshire. NG32 2LS. Tel 01476 566116. Website
Belton House is a perfect example of a stunning English country house, set in formal gardens and an ancient deer park. It houses a fine collection of porcelain and silver, a world known library, reflecting the social standing and cultured tastes of their formal owners, the Brownlow family.
The grounds of Belton House, houses the National Trust’s largest outdoor adventure playground.
This year, Belton House is telling the stories of four creative women and their legacies that still live on in the spirit of Belton. You can get a snapshot into the lives of Sophia, Marion, Florence and Nina on a self-led trail, which spans throughout the house and gardens.
10 CORFE CASTLE
The Square. Corfe Castle. Wareham. Dorset. BH20 5EZ. Tel. 01929 481294 Website
Corfe is a thousand year old royal castle, which is one of Britain’s survivor’s of the English Civil War. It truly is quite a romantic castle ruins with panoramic and breathtaking vistas across Purbeck.
Look out for the fallen walls of the fortress and secret places where tales of treachery and treason are encountered! Discover the ‘murder holes’ as you walk around as well as the wildlife, which has become resident in the castle ruins.
Tell me, have you visited any National Trust Properties? Which have been your favourite? Do you think you may be taking more trips in the UK and visiting more of British heritage and culture?