Holiday ideas in Britain: Heritage Open Day

Posted on: 08 September 2010 by Mark O'haire

Those looking for holiday ideas in Britain can experience the drama of the past for free this weekend with the National Trust's Heritage Open Day. 180 country houses, gardens and more unusual historic properties such as working watermills and candy striped lighthouses, will all be open for free on Saturday September 11th (with selected properties open on Sunday).

Across England, Wales and Northern Ireland explore some of the special places in the National Trust's care. From captivating castles full of treasures and tales from past times to beautiful gardens bursting with colour and scent there's hundreds of great days out just waiting to be discovered.

Here's a selection of the events on offer around Britain this Heritage Open Day:

Arlington Court, Devon 11am - 3pm

After exploring the eccentric Victorian interiors of the house, visit the stables and you'll discover the National Trust's internationally important collection of more than 50 horse-drawn carriages. Outside enjoy scenic pleasure grounds, including a formal Victorian garden, to explore, picnic or play in. Visitors can also meet a cast of characters from 1883, who lived and worked on the Arlington Estate. From gamekeeper to coachman they all have an interesting tale to tell. For more information please call 01271 850296.

Attingham Park, Shropshire 9am - 6pm

Discover Attingham's story of love and neglect as you explore the beautiful rooms of this huge country house. Enjoy the glamour of Lady Berwick's circular boudoir; it's decorated exquisitely with gold gilded panels and mirrors. Or imagine just how dinner might have gone down in the Regency dinning room. Outside explore the orangery, take a walk by the Tern River or enjoy the sculpture trail. The deer park is pretty impressive too, it's home to 180 fallow deer. For more information please call 01743 708162.

Belton House, Lincolnshire 10.30am - 5.30pm

Uncover the glitz, glamour and wealth of the 17 century at Belton House in Lincolnshire one of the finest country houses in England. Keen to showcase their wealth and taste, Belton's owners Sir John and Lady Alice Brownlow furnished the house with fine furnishings, paintings and wood-carvings. Outside make it a great big family adventure as you explore the National Trust's largest playground or enjoy a lakeside walk. For more information please call 01476 566116.

Bookham Commons, Surrey 10am - 4pm

Come along and join the National Trust for this one-off event. Discover charcoal making, heavy horses working to extract timber, wood turning and hurdle making. Have a go at willow weaving and make a besom broom. Watch timber being converted from oak tree to workable oak planking. Enjoy a guided tour of the woods by National Trust wardens. For more information please call 01306 887485.

Calke Abbey, Derbyshire 11am - 5pm

Head to Derbyshire and explore an extraordinary house that tells the tale of an eccentric family, their passions, collections and way of life. Largely unchanged since the 1880s, room after room in Calke Abbey yields up the possessions of the Harpur Crewes, including cannonballs, shells, stones, and even an alligator skull, while the garden is great for budding explorers who can find mini-beasts or enjoy a chilling experience in the ice house. There are also roaming deer in the park and a tree that's one thousand years old years old. For more information please call 01332 863822.

Chartwell, Kent 11am - 5pm

Bought by Sir Winston Churchill for its magnificent views over the Weald of Kent to Sussex, Chartwell was his home from 1924 until his death. The estate of some 82 acres feels at the very heart of the countryside but is actually only 25 miles from central London and less than five miles from the busy M25 motorway. Spend time discovering the Water Garden, with its chain of pools, waterfalls and the nearby Goldfish Pond where Churchill spent his old age sitting, painting and feeding the golden orfe. For more information please call 01732 868381.

Cliveden, Buckinghamshire 11am - 5.30pm

With magnificent views across the River Thames, Cliveden was the glittering hub of society as the home of Waldorf and Nancy Astor in the early part of the 20th century, and later infamously associated with the 'Profumo Affair'. Discover the five acre, Grade 1 listed parterre that was inspired by Louis XIV's great garden at Versailles. Featuring spectacular arrangements of beds, box hedges filled with fragrant lavender and yew obelisks it's not to be missed. For more information please call 01628 605069.

Cotehele, Cornwall 11am - 4pm

A Tudor house with many stories and legends, take a look behind-the-scenes to see how the house is run. Offices and workshops are also open. Come and meet the staff and volunteers who help look after this wonderful place. Outside explore the Valley Garden, medieval stewpond and orchard. For more information please call 01579 351346.

Crom, Fermanagh 11am - 5pm

Join the conservation warden on an informative wildlife walk on this beautiful 2000 acre demesne. The walk will include a visit to the walled garden on Inisherk island to see the allotments project. Strong footwear and wet weather clothing is recommended. Walk leaves the visitor centre at 2.00pm and takes approx 1½ hours. Booking is not required for this event. For more information please call 028 6773 8118.

Dinefwr Park and Castle, Carmarthenshire 11am - 5pm

Re-live Edwardian life below stairs in Newton House; climb to the romantic ruins of Dinefwr Castle, once home to the princes of Deheubarth; explore the sweeping parkland, restored to its 18th century glory and walk amongst Dinefwr's ancient giants - towering trees that have survived for centuries. For more information please call 01558 824512 or 823902.

Dunster Castle, Somerset 11am - 4pm

Dramatically sited on a wooded hill is a castle that has been here since roman times. Relax on the sheltered terrace, home to a variety of subtropical plans and the national collection of strawberry trees. For more information please call 01643 821314.

Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire 11am - 5pm

See Hardwick and Stainsby Mill throw open their doors to welcome visitors for free. Have a taster day at Hardwick and see the beautiful, colourful borders in the garden, have a go at the family activities in the hall and outdoor trails and visit Stainsby Mill. For more information please call 01246 858400.

Hidcote Manor Garden, Gloucestershire 10am - 6pm

After following the twisting lanes of the beautiful Cotswold countryside experience one of the most inventive and influential gardens of the 20 century. Designed in the iconic arts and craft style, spend time exploring its series of outdoor 'rooms'. Offering surprises and discoveries at every turn enjoy the perfusions of colour and perfume in the small, intimate, and 'cottagey' style spaces, or find inspiration in the grand and severely architectural gardens. For more information please call 01386 438333.

Houghton Mill, Cambridgeshire 11am - 4.30pm

Come and meet some of the people who would have worked at Houghton Mill in Victorian times. The Mill will also be working from 1pm until 4.30pm using water power to produce stone ground flour (river levels permitting). For more information please call 01480 301494.

Lanhydrock, Cornwall 10am - 5.30pm

Set in 900 acres, Lanhydrock is one of the most fascinating and complete late 19th century houses in England. The north wing of the house which has an impressive 32yard-long gallery with plaster ceiling, survives intact from the 18th century. Below stairs visit the extensive kitchens, including the dairy scullery, complete with clotted cream scalding pans, and the well stocked larders. Outside, discover the Victorian gardens ablaze with colour or enjoy the adventure playground- complete with wobbly bridge, scramble nets and animal sculptures. For more information please call 01208 265950.

Mottisfont Abbey Garden, House & Estate, Hampshire 11am - 5pm

At the heart of this tranquil rural estate is Mottisfont Abbey, set in glorious grounds alongside the fast-flowing River Test. There are many layers of history to explore, including the Gothic remains of the original 13 century Augustinian priory and a walled garden that contains the National Collection of old-fashioned roses. For more information please call 01794 340757.

Nymans Garden, West Sussex 11am - 2pm

Theatrically laid out with plants from around the world, Nymans has gained international status for its beauty and variety. Colourful herbaceous borders set alight the walled garden, while rose adorned arches and a delicate water fountain create a romantic spot in the Rose Garden. Visit this Heritage Open Day and enjoy a rare opportunity to look behind-the-scenes in the Nymans ruins. Learn about the rooms that were lost to the fire in 1947 and see the areas normally closed to the public. Booking advisable, please call 01444 405250.

Petworth House & Park, West Sussex 11am - 5pm

Enjoy yourself in parkland that inspired Turner. With more than 700 acres, Petworth's grounds were landscaped over a period of 14 years by 'Capability' Brown in the mid 18 century. Indoors, discover a late 17 century mansion that's home to the National Trust's largest painting and sculpture collection. There's also enjoy the opportunity to view parts of the property not normally open to the public. For more information please call 01794 340757.

Sizergh Castle and Garden, Cumbria 11am - 5pm

Enjoy free admission to the house and garden and a special opportunity to visit the Tudor kitchen, with its spectacular fireplace, fascinating history and collection of historic kitchenware. For more information please call 015395 60951.

Souter Lighthouse and The Leas, Tyne & Wear 11am - 5pm

Celebrate England's fantastic architecture and culture with a free visit to the candy stripped lighthouse. Climb the 76 steps to the top for spectacular views and marvel at this technological masterpiece that was the first lighthouse built to use electricity in 1871. For more information please call 0191 529 3161.

Stourhead, Wiltshire 9am - 6pm

A haven of tranquillity, hidden away in a secluded valley the 18th-century landscape garden is the perfect location for a day out. With over a 100 acres set around a huge lake, scattered with classical and gothic buildings, visitors might have trouble deciding just where to start. But whether visitors are seeking to explore the circular temple dedicated to Apollo or discovering the cool retreat of the enchanting grotto, time spent at Stourhead is time well spent. Especially as after absorbing the stunning vistas in the garden there's still the Palladian mansion to explore and if that wasn't enough the restaurant provides great seasonal food that's always locally sourced. For more information please call 01747 841152.

For more information on the 2010 Heritage Open Day see the National Trust website

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