Monday 9 December 2019

12 of Gloucestershire's most impressive stately homes

Play lord and lady of the manor for the day with a day trip to one of Gloucestershire's most impressive stately homes, with SoGlos selecting 12 of the best to visit.

Gloucestershire boasts a splendid array of stately homes that offer culture-rich days out for visitors of all ages, with the chance to learn about local history, period architecture and imagine what life was like in days gone by.

SoGlos has selected 12 of the county’s most impressive places to visit, with everything from castles and Tudor manor houses to film locations and Indian-style palaces just waiting to be explored.

1. Sudeley Castle and Gardens

With a rich history dating back to the 15th century and impressive royal connections, Sudelely Castle offers plenty to entertain visitors of all ages, with award-winning gardens, fascinating treasures from Roman times to present day, and of course a beautiful castle to explore.

Set on a stunning 1,200-acre estate near Winchcombe, the castle remains the family home of Lady Ashcombe, her son, daughter and their families, who are committed to the preservation of the Cotswold visitor attraction, which is open from March till the end of October.

2. Sezincote

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Transport yourself to the majestic surroundings of Sezincote where you’ll discover a striking 200-year-old Mogul Indian palace that combines Hindu and Muslim architecture.

Set on 4,500 acres of Cotswold countryside near Moreton-in-Marsh, the family-run house and gardens offer the chance to soak up temples, grottoes, waterfalls and canals reminiscent of the Taj Mahal, with visitors welcome to explore the house from May to September, and the gardens from January to November.

3. Owlpen Manor

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Located in a secluded setting near the Cotswold village of Uley, Owlpen Manor is an award-winning family-run Tudor house that’s set in a formal garden of splendid yew trees and surrounded by beautiful countryside.

During the summer months, the manor house is open to group tours by prior arrangement, while the gardens are open every day. Owlpen Manor also has nine holiday cottages for rent, offering a delightful base for exploring the Cotswolds.

4. Berkeley Castle

Enjoy the chance to soak up a traditional rural estate with a visit to Berkeley Castle, a historic castle dating back to the 11th century which has been in the Berkeley family for eight-and-a-half centuries.

The Norman fortress is a fantastic day out for all ages, with the visitor attraction offering an insight into the castle’s history throughout its beautifully restored medieval rooms, complete with period furniture and artwork. And don’t miss a stroll through the castle’s stunning garden and Butterfly House.

5. Stanway House and Garden

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Formerly owned by Tewkesbury Abbey, Stanway House is a Jacobean manor house that has been in the Tracy family and their descendents, the Earls of Wemyss, for 500 years.

The stately home is open during the summer months, offering the chance to learn about the property’s rich history, with fascinating furniture on display in the house, while the stunning water garden and 300-foot high fountain are a highlight of any visit.

6. Kelmscott Manor

The Cotswold retreat of English textile designer William Morris, Kelmscott Manor is a 17th century grade I-listed manor house located near the Cotswold town of Lechlade-on-Thames.

Visitors are able to visit every Wednesday and Saturday between April and October to discover the peaceful surroundings and beautiful gardens that provided constant inspiration for Morris until his death in 1896.

7. Rodmarton Manor

Located near Cirencester, Rodmarton Manor offers a fine example of a house and all its furniture that’s been built to the ideals of the Arts and Crafts style, one of the most influential design movements that developed during the 19th century.

The property took 20 years to build, with everything done by hand by local craftsmen, using local timber and stone, and is open to visitors from the beginning of May to the end of September, with group bookings available at other times.

8. Chavenage House

Having shot to fame as a filming location for BBC One’s remake of Poldark, Chavenage House near Tetbury is an Elizabethan manor house with a wealth of history just waiting to be discovered.

Visitors can see the tapestry-lined rooms that Oliver Cromwell and his second-in-command, General Ireton, stayed in during the Civil War, with current owner of Chavenage, David Lowsley-Williams hosting informative guided tours from May to the end of September.

9. Woodchester Mansion and Park

Hidden in a secluded valley near Nympsfield lies Woodchester Mansion, a 19th-century Gothic masterpiece that was mysteriously abandoned mid-construction in 1873.

From March to October visitors can discover the medieval architecture of the grade I-listed building that has been saved from dereliction, including carvings from masons that are said to be among the finest of their kind in the world.

10. Newark Park

Perched on a 40-foot escarpment and benefitting from views of Ozleworth Valley and the Mendips lies Newark Park, a Tudor hunting lodge established in 1550. It was restored in the 1970s by Robert Parsons who breathed new life into the National Trust property to transform it into a welcoming home.

Open from spring till autumn, visitors can stroll around the house, the walled garden and explore the estate, with the chance to play garden games on the croquet lawn in the front of the house.

11. Snowshill Manor

Discover fascinating treasures collected during the lifetime of English architect and craftsman, Charles Wade, on display at Snowshill Manor, an impressive National Trust property near Broadway that’s open to visitors from spring to autumn.

Inside the Cotswold manor house, visitors can see his eclectic collections that span miniature toys, musical instruments, clock, Samurai armour and more, with stunning gardens and the Priest’s House, Wade’s former residence, also worth exploring.

12. Frampton Court

Set on 1,500-acres of sprawling grounds, Frampton Court has been in the Clifford family for nearly a thousand years, with the estate comprising a grade I-listed 18th century house, an exquisite orangery, a timber-framed manor, a magnificent wool barn and beautiful gardens and parkland.

Pre-booked group tours are available for parties of 10 of more, with a range of options on offer, giving visitors the chance to see the house and garden, while there’s also the option to include teas and light lunches.

By Anna McKittrick

© SoGlos
Wednesday 19 July 2017

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