Quirky stately homes for your next group trip
Snowshill Manor and Garden
The National Trust’s Snowshill Manor and Garden in Gloucestershire is the former home of another eclectic collector, architect Charles Wade, who bought the property in 1919.
Full of hundreds of objects, from model boats and Samurais to an attic filled with bicycles and prams, Wade gave each room a name, a theme and a certain purpose, but with no labels, as he did not want it to represent a traditional museum. He was fascinated by anything hand-crafted and made with skill, and the house is still presented just as he arranged it.
Groups of 15 or more are offered discounted entry.
Chiddingstone Castle in Kent is the former home of the collector Denys Eyre Bower, who bought the property in 1955 to house his extensive art and antiquities collections.
Alongside impressive displays of Japanese lacquer, armour and swords there are Ancient Egyptian artefacts, Stuart and Jacobite papers and portraits, Buddhist objects and a library housing his vast book collection.
A highlight is learning the story of Denys Eyre Bower himself and the strange events that led him to be imprisoned for a time for attempted murder.
Bespoke visits can be arranged for groups.
Middleton Hall & Gardens
Middleton Hall & Gardens is on the North Warwickshire border. The estate covers 42 acres that encompass an historic manor house, an 18th-century Walled Garden and the oldest man-made lake in the county.
Featured in the Doomsday Book of 1086, the hall has been home to many interesting characters including a commander of the Battle of Hastings, a Tudor explorer and two extraordinary naturalists.
A lived-in family home up until 1966, it was left derelict for 10 years until a group of ramblers came across it during a walk. They were so dismayed by its sorry state that they founded Middleton Hall Trust and a team of dedicated volunteers still runs the attraction today.
Tours of the hall and gardens allow you to explore the site’s 900-year history including the Tudor Jettied Building and Great Hall, and grand Georgian west wing.
Wentworth Woodhouse near Rotherham Yorkshire is unusual in that it comprises a combination of two back-to-back houses, which began with the West Front from 1724–28, followed by the East Front from 1731–50; the West Front is built of brick in the English Baroque style, whilst the East is in sandstone in the classical Palladian style.It has the longest façade of any country house in England and was purchased in 2017 by Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust, on behalf of the nation.
Groups of 10 or more people are welcomed with private house and garden tours.
A ‘Wentworth Tour’ explores the formal rooms, encompassing the rise and fall of the site, from its beginnings in the 1600s, right through to the present day.
The ‘Clifford Tour’ looks at the private family rooms to learn more about the former residents who called Wentworth Woodhouse home whilst, from February, a new ‘Wentworth Woodhouse Afternoon Tea’ can be pre-booked with your tour.