Historic British properties run by the National Trust and with openings through the winter season.
Most National Trust properties are “put to bed” for the winter and closed to the public during the dark months. The NT is working, however, to make many historic homes more accessible in the off-season. Here are 10 impressive National Trust sites that have open days through this winter. Information on what’s available to see and opening dates for each of these great visits can be found here.
1. GREENWAY, DEVON
Agatha Christie called Greenway “the loveliest place in the world. On the “English Riviera” of Torbay (where she was born), the summer and holiday home of the world’s most famous mystery novelist is filled with books, mementos and equipage of family life and her extensive travels.
2. MONTACUTE HOUSE, SOMERSET
The colorful stonework, towering walls of glass, and the evergreen topiary in the gardens surrounding the Tudor house at Montacute an atmospheric visit in any season. Its mammoth Long Gallery houses a significant collection of Tudor and Elizabethan portraits on loan from the National Portrait Gallery.
3. WADDESDON MANOR, BUCKINGHAMSHIRE
The NT describes it perfectly, “Waddesdon Manor looks like a palace that’s leaped straight from the pages of a fairy-tale and landed in the hills of Buckinghamshire.” The Rothschild family home displays an opulence in furnishings, architecture, and art that are rare even among Britain’s most famous stately homes.
4. POLESDEN LACEY, SURREY
Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother honeymooned at Polesden Lacey, an elegant Edwardian mansion overlooking the Surrey countryside. Marvel at the glittering Gold Room. The extensive art collection includes Dutch old masters and sparkling Fabergé ceramics.
5. ERDDIG, NORTH WALES
Widely acclaimed as one of Britain’s finest historic houses, Erddig is a fascinating 18-century country house reflecting the upstairs-downstairs life of a gentry family over 250 years. Head downstairs to see Erddig’s unique collection of servants’ portraits. Upstairs rooms are a trove of fine furniture, textiles, and wallpapers.
6. BODIAM CASTLE, EAST SUSSEX
This 14th-century moated castle offered state-of-the-art medieval splendor, but its time was passed — and it was the last such medieval fortress-home completed before gunpowder made the castle obsolete. Explore the picturesque of spiral staircases, towers, and battlements.
7. BADDESLEY CLINTON, WARWICKSHIRE
A moated manor house sitting in isolated splendor, Baddesley Clinton was the home of the Ferrers family for 500 years. Gaze out at frosty gardens through beautiful stained glass windows and discover the priest hole, a relic from Baddesley Clinton’s Tudor past.
8. BASILDON PARK, BERKSHIRE
Nestled in the Thames Valley, the Georgian mansion doesn’t feel its age at all. Through the 1950s Lord and Lady Iliffe filled the “lived-in” home with fine paintings, fabrics, and furniture that remain today. Down in the 1950s kitchen, retro packages, crockery, and occasional baking demonstrations seem out of time indeed.
9. QUARRY BANK MILL, CHESHIRE
Quarry Bank embodies the life of the Industrial Revolution. Visit the humming cotton mill, built-in 1784, and powered by Europe’s most powerful working waterwheel. Visit, too, the Apprentice House, where child workers lived and were schooled. A great visit, anytime.
10. BATEMAN’S, EAST SUSSEX
This 17th-century house on the Sussex Weald, with its mullioned windows and oak beams, was home to writer Rudyard Kipling. It’s cozy, personalized interiors display Kipling’s exotic curiosities collected around the world. In winter, the yew hedges accent frosty lawns and the small river at the end of the garden.
* Originally published in July 2015.