The shackles of the lockdown are slowly closing and domestic tourism resumed from 12 April. Even international travel has begun to stir from his cowardly sleep. What better place to live in a luxury estate than a drive-through safari, or Winston Churchill’s birthplace?
The House of Oaks has reviewed the UK’s top beautiful homes and flipped them down to reveal a hotlist of the largest and most luxurious homes to visit, all filled with one immersed history.
The estates listed below make the perfect day trip for a royal experience.
1 – Longlit House, Somerset, £ 25.45 entry
Longlit is home to a safari park that opened in 1966, the first drive-through safari outside of Africa. There are tigers, rhinos, giraffes and more!
Steep in the history of Longlit House, there is a collection of more than 40,000 books. There are seven beautiful libraries to explore, some of which are older than home books. The house was completed in 1580, apparently “to impress Elizabeth I”, and was the home of the 7th Marquis of Bath. The estate has the largest hedge maj in the UK, which can take anywhere from 20 minutes to 0 minutes depending on how skilled you are! There are tigers, rhinos, giraffes and more!
2 – Blenheim Palace, Oxford, £ 28 entry
A World Heritage Site, the roots of Blenheim Palace date back to the 16th century when William the Orange invaded. With the famous Capability Brown and a luxurious 18th-century interior garden, this English Baroque palace features 18-carat gold toilets!
Luxurious property in recent history was the birthplace of Winston Churchill, and was also set in the film Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade.
3 – Chatsworth, Derbyshire, 23
Set in the beautiful scenery of the Derbyshire countryside, Chatsworth is a stunning English baroque lovely home. Favorite for its exciting painted halls and strange sculptural gardens, this country house welcomes more than half a million people every year.
Built in 1708, Chatsworth still belonged to the Duke of Devonshire – it was also occupied by Mary Quinn and Charles Dickens of Scots. Kabarik’s Barry Lyndon and the 2005 adaptation of the film Pride and Prejudice appeared at the Royal House.
4 – Osborne House, Isle of Wight, Free
Famous for being the holiday home of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Osborne House is a treat for Victorian-era fans.
The beautiful Italian house was designed by Albert himself and is one of the most popular attractions in the Isle of Wight. Properly built, named Thomas Cubitt, Osborne showcases a variety of furniture and objects belonging to the royal couple.
Homes and fields are now owned by English Heritage, and a short walk from Victoria’s own private beach. Osborne House has appeared in several films, including 1997’s Mrs. Brown.
5 – Castle Howard, York, 23
Known to film lovers as ‘Brideshead’, Castle Howard is much more than just a famous film location. An English baroque masterpiece, this stylish home is easily recognized by its distinctive dome.
Look for the Atlas Fountain in the field – an excellent water feature built in 1853
The size and splendor of Castle Howard is a must-see for visitors to Yorkshire; It was even served by its own railway station. One of its former residents was dubbed “the woman who married in a house.”
6 – Chartwell House, London, £ 10
Chartwell has been famous for being the home of Sir Winston Churchill for over 40 years. The orderly home is now owned by the National Trust, and contains the remaining 150 copies of Elizabeth II’s Coronation Order of Service book.
The estate dates back to the 14th century, and its “most beautiful and captivating” view from the garden persuaded Churchill to buy it in 1922 for just 5,000. Chartwell’s 15 rooms are open to the public, and many famous visitors, including Charlie, are welcomed, not to mention the actors in the roles of Chaplin and Queen Mother Churchill.
7 – Blickling Hall, Norfolk, £ 10
Blickling is a Jacobian home in Norfolk, the unfortunate second wife of Henry VIII, famous for being the possible birthplace of Anne Boleyn. The original building was completed in 1616 and now belongs to the National Trust, covering 4,000 acres, including a formal garden and an estate in Parkland.
Inside, Blickling is one of the most important libraries in England – a collection of 13,000 books and manuscripts spanning 1,000,000 linear feet. Blickling’s spectacular 17th-century plasterwork is still intact, and the home features a 123-foot-long gallery. Also look for a fine collection of tapestry.
8 – Knoll, Kent, £ 10
Originally an archbishop’s palace, the tube has a history of more than 500 years of exploration. Known for its rare collection of stuart patterns and the 1,000-acre deer park in its vicinity, the house was built in the 15th century.
It is also famous for being the home of Vita Sacville-West, the lover of author Virginia Woolf, and the house of music on which Woolf’s novel is based. Knol has inspired visitors for hundreds of years, and it is an amazing collection of portraits, furniture and textiles. Its strikingly carved interior has appeared in a number of Hollywood films, including 2008’s The Ginger Bowlin Girl.
9 – Kenwood House, London, Free
One of the hidden gems of London, Kenwood House is a beautiful stylish house built in the Georgian style. With neoclassical elements of Greek-inspired columns and pale painted walls, this country house is ideal for a trip in mid-summer.
Kenwood House was once owned by Lord Iva – a member of the Guinness family and “the richest man in Ireland”. The country house is surrounded by more than 100 acres of land, including sculptures by Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore. Inside, you’ll find paintings by Vermeer and Rembrandt with a tastefully restored interior.
10 – Burgley House, Northamptonshire, £ 17
Built in the 16th century, Bergley Hall is an impressive Elizabeth ‘Prodigy House’ with affordable brown gardens. Made for Sir William Cecil, Elizabeth I Lord High Treasurer, the house is owned by the Cecil family.
Like many houses of the era, it is built in the shape of a letter, and has appeared in the Elizabeth: Golden Age. Bergley is famous for his extensive art collection of hundreds of paintings, as well as his painted rooms, including “Hell Stairs” and “The Heaven Room”. Its park has a man-made lake, an ice house and a garden full of contemporary sculptures.
To see more Grand British Estates and their amazing history and information, see the full interactive map here
And you can see most of these wonderful homes as part of a planned road trip with my Great British Road Trips ebook. Learn more at https://greatbritishroadtrips.co.uk/