Without the support of the National Trust many of the most historic and familiar houses across the country would have fallen into disrepair. Through careful preservation and restoration programmes, the National Trust is protecting a unique legacy for generations to come. With houses and gardens spread liberally across the country (many of which are open year round) you will never be too far from a National Trust location to visit on your next cottage holiday. Let’s look at a few of our favourites.
5. Lanhydrock – Cornwall
A Grade I listed building situated in the rolling Cornish countryside, just to the south of Bodmin and overlooking the River Fowey, Lanhydrock is one of Cornwall’s finest historic mansions. The majority of the building is Victorian – though parts of the house date back to the early 17th century – and it is set majestically within 450 acres of parkland. The gardens are a big attraction and have been restored in keeping with the main house, reflecting its Victorian heritage. With the river nearby, and surrounded by woodland, the local walks are a delight whether you are a taking in the bluebells in spring or the orange and ruby tones during the autumn. This is a special part of Cornwall at any time of the year. The tour around the house itself is one of the National Trust’s longest, taking in 50 rooms offering a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle afforded to the privileged few during the Victorian era. The stunning long room with its intricate plasterwork and biblical theme is a highlight, and this National Trust location offers enough to keep even the most inquisitive holidaymakers busy throughout the day.
4. Chartwell – Kent
The family home of Sir Winston Churchill, Chartwell sits proudly in the Kentish countryside 6 miles to west of Sevenoaks. Set in beautifully landscaped gardens, the fascinating house is largely is as it was in the time of Churchill providing a unique insight into the character of one of the nation’s greatest heroes. Perhaps this is most evident in the painting studio where Churchill spent many hours indulging his creative passion. Alongside his paintings Chartwell retains many of the family’s treasures, charting Churchill’s transatlantic heritage and family life in England. A collection including Churchill’s personal books, cigar boxes and family photographs and with onsite tours and exhibitions throughout the year, Chartwell is a fascinating year round attraction not to be missed on your next visit to Kent.
3. Lindisfarne – Northumberland
Holy Island is an iconic symbol of the history of Christianity in England’s beautiful North East. The rugged outline of Lindisfarne Castle set against backdrop of the uncompromising North Sea is a vivid image almost frozen in time. Haunting echoes of Britain’s ancient past (Vikings raided the area during the 8th Century) are all pervading around this 16th century castle! With stunning views in all directions, the castle sits on a rocky outcrop looking across an area of outstanding natural beauty rich in wildlife. Castles are of course magnets for children and with local excursions to visit the seals on the Farne Islands and many stunning beaches in the surrounding area there is plenty to captivate the whole family.
2. Tredegar House – South Wales
Tredegar House is one of the most impressive houses in Wales, if not Britain. This 500 year old mansion has been home to some of the most famous Welsh families, all of whom resided in luxurious splendour. Tredegar House is located in south east Wales to the west of Newport near Duffryn. This imposing residence was home to the Morgan family and the grandeur was refined enough to attract visits from royalty including Charles I. Today visitors can enjoy the delightful formal gardens, parkland and lake. Children will love the horse swings in the cedar garden, whilst tours of the main house will give visitors a vivid insight into the evolving character of this stylish house throughout the centuries.
1. Culzean Castle – Scotland
This stunning Ayrshire castle lies 12 miles to the south of Ayr and commands a cliff top view looking across rugged Scottish coastline. With delightful surrounding park and woodland it is hardly surprising that Culzean Castle is one of the most popular attractions in Scotland. The ancestral home to the historic Scottish Kennedy family, Culzean has been an opulent status symbol throughout the centuries, playing host to a diverse range of historic figures from the Scottish hero Robert the Bruce to even General Eisenhower, latterly, of course, the 34th President of the United States. The castle itself is a fascinating treasure trove, with an impressive collection of armoury and art, and provides an immersive visitor experience, affording a unique view into Scotland’s historic splendour. The adjacent parkland is a haven for wildlife and the castle is renowned as one of Scotland’s best locations for watching bats. The stunning scenery offers a range of tranquil walks with beautiful views towards Arran. It’s one of the most exquisite corners of Scotland.