Newstead AbbeyView map
The original bohemian bad boy's country pile
orget Pete Doherty or Sid Vicious – the original bohemian bad boy was Lord Byron and, at his country pile, Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire, you can find out what made the playboy poet tick.
With a hefty clue in its name, Byron’s family home was originally an Augustinian Priory that was handed over to his ancestors by Henry VIII. They preserved much of the monastic structure of the building and subsequent owners did their best to retain the medieval style, too.
As a result, 300 acres of parkland surrounds the Abbey and if you explore the Great Garden, you’ll eventually find the Eagle Pond and next to it, Byron’s monument to his favourite dog – Boatswain – who died of rabies in 1808.
A guided tour will dish the dirt on the ‘mad, bad and dangerous to know’ man himself, who famously kept a pet bear and indulged in many minor indiscretions that would make today’s rockstars blush.
Of course there’s much more to Byron than his racy reputation and a visit to his home reveals the man behind the headlines and his huge influence on British culture.
Hardcore romantics can also make a pilgrimage to the nearby town of Hucknall, just south of Newstead Abbey, where in the churchyard of St Mary Magdalene, you’ll find the great man’s grave.