Britain is renowned for its magnificent stately homes, which are as varied as they are impressive. With stunning architecture, beautiful gardens and grounds, there’s plenty to admire and explore on a visit. Many of these buildings and estates have been around for hundreds of years, so they’re full of fascinating history.
Here at Parkdean Resorts, we’ve uncovered some of Britain’s best stately homes. From the stories behind them to the things to do while you’re there, you’ll soon see why they could make the perfect day out for all the family on your next holiday with us.
Castle Howard, North Yorkshire
Castle Howard is one of Britain’s finest stately homes, set in magnificent gardens complete with extensive woodland, lakes, fountains and temples. The house is still lived in today and great efforts are made to ensure the house continues to be an enjoyable day out for visitors.
Just 45 minutes away from Cayton Bay Holiday Park, Castle Howard is located in the Howardian Hills in North Yorkshire - a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Third Earl of Carlisle commissioned his friend Sir John Vanbrugh to design the house and building work began in 1699. It took over 100 years to complete, spanning the lifetimes of three Earls. The Howards have continued to live in the house ever since, apart from a short period during World War II when it became a girls’ school.
Castle Howard is renowned for its incredible architecture, interiors and artwork - and most of the 145 rooms are open for visitors to explore. There are plenty of guides and information boards which will tell you essential information about the items and collections on display, along with stories surrounding the history of the house.
With 1000 acres of parkland to explore, the grounds of Castle Howard are a spectacle within themselves. They’re perfect if you’re looking for a walk in the beautiful Yorkshire countryside, and if you’re a fan of flowers, then you’ll love the 18th century walled garden. Children can run wild in the lakeside adventure playground, and the children’s trail means they can enjoy the gardens, too.
Video sourced from Sky Eye Britain
Osborne House, Isle of Wight
If you’re looking for a day out at a stately home with a royal past, then look no further than Osborne House. This stunning scenic estate was bought by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1845, after it was recommended to them by the Prime Minister, Sir Robert Peel. Located on the picturesque Isle of Wight, they used it as their private holiday home for over 50 years. Today, it’s one of the island’s most popular attractions.
Victoria and Albert initially leased the Osborne estate, as it was then owned by Lady Isabella Blatchford. After they bought the estate in May 1845, it was established that the existing house was too small, and rather than adding on an extension, they were advised by developer Thomas Cubitt to build a new one. Albert was heavily involved with the new design of the house, and it was built in an Italian “palazzo” style to remind him of the Bay of Naples.
After Queen Victoria died in 1901, Osborne House was donated to the state and set up as a Navy training college during World War II. Osborne Bay was used to train soldiers ahead of D-Day landings, and the college ran successfully for 20 years. During this time, a recovery home for officers was also set up at the house, where the famous authors Robert Graves and AA Milne were treated.
In 1954, Queen Elizabeth II granted permission for Osborne House to be opened to the public - and after English Heritage took over, it officially reopened in 1989. Just 30 minutes away from Nodes Point Holiday Park, it’s well worth a visit if you’re on holiday on the Isle of Wight. Explore the beautiful gardens and stroll down the Rhododendron Walk to the beach - where Victoria and Albert’s children once learned to swim.
Video sourced from English Heritage
Montacute House, Somerset
Montacute House is an iconic Elizabethan Renaissance style stately home that is thought to have been built in 1598. Located in Somerset, it was lived in by the Phelips family until 1911, before being acquired by the National Trust in 1931. One of the most unique factors about Montacute House is that it’s remained virtually unchanged since Elizabethan times, so the people who visit today can truly feel like they’ve stepped back in time.
The house was originally built for Sir Edward Phelips - who made his fortune as a lawyer, before embarking on a successful political career. Famous for making the opening statement in the prosecution against the notorious Guy Fawkes and his fellow gunpowder plotters, Montecute House was designed to reflect Phelips’s power and wealth. Built from locally quarried Ham Hill stone, the architecture is a mix of Gothic and Renaissance - complete with turrets, pavilions, walls of glass and statues of key historical figures such as King Arthur and Julius Caesar.
Under an hour from Warmwell Holiday Park, Montecute House is a great day out for all the family. As well as the house itself, there are incredible gardens to explore that are beautiful all year round. We also recommend joining in on one of the Elizabethan tours, where you can learn more about the history of the house.
Video sourced from BlueBoxPhoto
Blickling Hall, Norfolk
Blickling Hall is a stately home that is part of the Blickling Estate, in the beautiful Norfolk countryside. The estate has been home to many influential people over the centuries, including Henry VIII’s ill-fated wife, Anne Boleyn - and most recently to Lord Lothian, who donated Blickling to the National Trust following his death in 1940.
The original manor of Blickling was recorded in the Domesday Book, a manuscript record of the “Great Survey” of most of England and parts of Wales, completed in 1086. The red brick mansion that stands today was built by Robert Lyminge from 1616 to 1624, for Sir Henry Hobart, 1st Baronet and Lord Chief Justice to James I.
The hall, surrounding buildings and land were requisitioned during World War II, becoming billets for aircrew from nearby RAF Oulton. Today, there’s an RAF Oulton Museum on-site, which was built to commemorate the pilots and ground crew who served in the War. Visitors can discover an ever-growing collection of objects, documents and oral history accounts, and also explore the mock crew room - where crews would have spent time before and after each flight.
Just 50 minutes from Summerfield Holiday Park, Blickling Hall is the perfect day out - especially if you’re interested in history and love exploring the past. The gardens are also magnificent, and are ideal for a stroll in the sunshine whilst admiring the scenery of the estate.
Video sourced from Sky Eye Britain
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