They are no longer the preserve of royalty and the landed gentry, stately homes make for a fantastic summer day out – each with a unique mix of history, architecture and amazing gardens.
With blazing sunshine and roasting temperatures forecast for the week ahead, these palatial pads make a great alternative to the British coastline if you’re looking for a weekend activity that mixes sunshine with culture. Whether you’re a fan of botanical gardens, scouting for interiors inspiration or you simply want to look at some old-world glamour, there’s a stately home for everyone.
Tredegar House is one of the architectural wonders of Wales and one of the most significant late 17th-century houses in the whole of the British Isles. Situated within 90 acres of amazing gardens and parkland, this red brick house provides an ideal setting for a fantastic day out. For more than 500 years the house was home to one of the greatest Welsh families, the Morgans, later Lords Tredegar. The Morgan family owned more than 40,000 acres in Monmouthshire, Breconshire and Glamorgan at the end of the 18th century.
Events at Tredegar House
Gardener High Tea : Thursday 19 Jul 2018 – 16:30-20:00
Make the most of the late summer evenings with a tour of the walled gardens with Head Gardener Steve Morgan followed by a Lavender High Tea in the Orangery.
Kayakingon the Lake : Saturday 25 Aug 2018 – 10:00-17:00
Head out onto the beautiful lake for a kayaking session this Bank Holiday weekend.
For more information and events see www.nationaltrust.org.uk/tredegar-house
Dyffryn Gardens are an exceptional example of Edwardian garden design. Covering more than 55 acres they feature a stunning collection of intimate garden rooms including a rose garden, Pompeian garden and several ponds. Designed by landscape architect Thomas Mawson in 1906, the gardens are the early 20th-century vision of coal magnate John Cory and his son Reginald. Within the gardens, Dyffryn House, a grand Victorian mansion overlooks the key aspects of the gardens. Parts of the ground and first floors have been restored and are unfurnished.
Events at Dyffryn Gardens
BigButterfly Count ; Friday 20 Jul 2018 – 11:00-16:00
Find your favourite spot in the gardens to sit whilst you count the different butterflies and moths that flutter past.
Botanical Art Course : Saturday 21 Jul 2018 – 10:30-16:00
Join artist, Debbie Devauden, on a one day botanical art course and learn how to draw subjects from the beautiful gardens.
For more information and events see www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dyffryn-garde.
Croft Castle & Parkland
Croft Castle is set deep in the heart of Herefordshire countryside surrounded by 1500 acres of historic woodland, farm and parkland. This intimate house became the Croft family home before the Domesday Book. In the castle you can live life as Sir James Croft and find out how the family bought back their home in 1923. Explore the family photographs or sit and read through the auction catalogues. Look out for the 1950s photographs and memorabilia which detail how Croft was at risk of demolition before 1957 and what it was like here then. Big kids and little kids can enjoy 1950s games and toys in the family room, complete with costumes for dressing up.
Events at Croft Castle & Parkland
Peter Pan Trail : Saturday 21 July – 10:00-16:00
Fly away to the Neverland of Croft and join Peter and Wendy on this classic adventure around the gardens.
First World War Horses & Heroes: Sunday 12 August – 10:00-16:00
Discover about the lives of horses during the First World War with live displays and demonstrations on the front lawn.
For more information and events see www.nationaltrust.org.uk/croft-castle-and-parkland.
Standing proud and strong, this fine Georgian mansion sits within ‘Capability’ Brown’s final garden and landscape. In the parkland, you can explore Brown’s work with Red Earth’s ‘Genius Loci’ exhibition. In the house, discover jewel-like interiors, designed by Henry Holland and home to the Harley, Rodney and Cawley families. Experience some of the extremes of the 18th century in the wig and bum shop and discover the hidden ‘below stairs’. Created as the perfect house in the perfect setting, Berrington Hall has many secrets for visitors to uncover. In this, one of Henry Holland’s first houses, you can also explore the family rooms and see how the servants moved around the house unseen by the family and guests.
Events at Berrington Hall
Robinson Crusoe Trail: Saturday 21 Jul – 10:00-16:00
Are you brave enough to embark on a daring adventure around the grounds of Berrington this holiday?
For more information and events see www.nationaltrust.org.uk/berrington-hall.
Tyntesfield, just a stone’s throw away from Bristol, was not built as a bold and extravagant statement of wealth, power or politics. Its purpose was simple; to serve as a family home. Once hidden and inaccessible, the ordinary and extraordinary lives and possessions of four generations of the Gibbs family are ready for discovery. The garden and estate balance faded beauty and function with an abundance of nature; celebrated in ornate Gothic carvings that decorate the house. Flower filled terraces, an empty lake, woodland, champion trees and productive kitchen garden give further opportunities for exploration.
Events at Tyntesfield Hall
Tyntesfield nature at night walk: Friday 27 July – 20:30
Tyntesfield is home to a whole range of different types of wildlife. On this evening walk to launch the ranger weekend, Area Ranger, Darren, will introduce you to some of the species that live on site.
Butterfly survey with a ranger: Saturday 28 July – 11:15 & Sunday 29 July – 14.00
Tyntesfield is home to hundreds of butterflies: see how many you can spot and learn about the different types with one of the National Trust’s rangers.
For more information and events see www.nationaltrust.org.uk/tyntesfield.