With exceptions such as Buckingham Palace, Stately homes are arguably the most impressive buildings of residence in the country. They were typically built by those in a degree of power and wealth from the Tudor period onwards when fortified castles became unnecessary. Once used as rural retreats for the landed gentry they have now become some of the most popular days out for those in the mood for some old English culture. Here are our top ten stately homes.
Located in the Derbyshire Dales, Chatsworth is home to the Cavendish family and has been since 1549. Set within extensive parkland and woodland, Chatsworth has been voted as the UKs favourite country home multiple times.
Built in the 16th century, Burghley is a virtually unaltered Elizabethan house complete with Sculpture Park and is open to the public over the summer period.
Situated in Woodstock, Oxfordshire Blenheim Palace is one of the largest houses in the country and is now recognised as a World Heritage Site. The palace is notably famous for being the birth place of Sir Winston Churchill.
Sandringham house is a grade II listed country house in Norfolk built in 1771 with 20,000 acres of land. It is privately owned by Queen Elizabeth II.
Lyme Park House is the largest house in Cheshire and is currently managed by the National Trust. With surroundings such as formal gardens and being located in a deer park in the Park District National Park it is one of the most picturesque locations in the country.
Housing an important collection of paintings and sculptures Petworth House is a late 17th century mansion. Although it is the current residence of the Wyndham family, they reside in the south wing allowing the rest of the home to be open to the public.
Today Longleat is more famously known for its safari park but it also situates one of Englands finest stately homes. It is noted for its landscaped gardens and famous mazes. It was the first country home of England to be open to the public and also claims the world’s first safari park outside of Africa.
Also home to a safari park Woburn Abbey is a country house open to the public on selected days of the year. Built in 1145 it is the oldest stately home on this list and arguably the most diverse. The site includes a safari park, a miniature railway, a garden and visitor centre and a new Centreparks Village.
Built in the mid-1700s Harewood is a country house near Leeds in west Yorkshire. The house is a Grade I listed building with many features on the grounds being grade II and III and is a member of the Treasure Houses of England making it open to the public.
Arguably Hertfordshire’s most impressive property, Knebworth House is set in 28 acres of formal gardens which include a Dinosaur trail. The 72 life-sized dinosaurs and prehistoric creatures can be found grazing amongst the shrubbery as you wander through the gardens.