Castles and historic properties

Peacocks strut across manicured lawns, children shriek with delight as they try to find their way out of fiendishly difficult mazes, and well-kept gardens dazzle year-round at England’s many historic houses and well-preserved castles. Once inside, enthusiastic curators bring history to life with their expert knowledge and often funny insights into the lives, loves, and artefacts of generations of inhabitants. Castle breaks give you more chances of bumping into the present owners of an English castle, many of whom still live in wings of the properties. Just don’t forget to retrieve your children from that maze before you head home.

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Step into the magical world of JRR Tolkien

Step into the magical world of JRR Tolkien

Celebrate this great literary mind by exploring his childhood haunts, the inspiration for literary classics Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

Location: Birmingham, West Midlands

 
Expect the unexpected with a visit to Croome

Expect the unexpected with a visit to Croome

Escape to Croome and explore its Palladian Bath stone mansion house set in extensive parkland designed by ‘Capability’ Brown.

Location: Upton upon Severn, Worcestershire

 
Discover a castle fit for a prince

Discover a castle fit for a prince

Explore artistic treasures in Auckland Castle, home of the Prince Bishops of Durham for 900 years, and set to host a spectacular new show from 2016.

Location: Vale of Durham, Durham

 
Be King or Queen of the Castle at Hylands Park

Be King or Queen of the Castle at Hylands Park

Whether it’s a short stroll or a long walk there are many routes to choose from at 574-acre Hylands Park.

Location: Chelmsford, Essex

 
Follow the trail of the Brontë sisters in Birstall

Follow the trail of the Brontë sisters in Birstall

Visit Red House and Oakwell Hall in Birstall, both frequented by the Brontë sisters and which featured in Charlotte Brontë’s famous novel Shirley.

Location: Birstall, West Yorkshire

 
Walk in the footsteps of Romans at Chedworth Roman Villa

Walk in the footsteps of Romans at Chedworth Roman Villa

Discover 4th-century Roman England at Chedworth.

Location: Fossebridge, Gloucestershire

 
Majestic views at a Corfe Castle picnic

Majestic views at a Corfe Castle picnic

Enjoy breathtaking views at the majestic ruins of Corfe Castle in the perfect idyllic picnic spot.

Location: Corfe, Dorset

 
Discover the real Downton Abbey

Discover the real Downton Abbey

Re-enact your favourite scenes from the much-loved period drama at Highclere Castle before retiring to London Lodge, a Georgian Grade II-listed gatehouse on-site.

Location: Highclere, Hampshire

 
Explore the home of William Wilberforce

Explore the home of William Wilberforce

Nestled in Hull’s Historic High Street is the family home of William Wilberforce waiting to be explored.

Location: Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire

 
Head to Lanhydrock for a splendid woodland picnic

Head to Lanhydrock for a splendid woodland picnic

Head to finest house in Cornwall for a relaxing picnic with magnificent panoramic views and 900 acres of parkland and woodland.

Location: Bodmin, Cornwall

 
Go back in time at Lancashire's halls and houses

Go back in time at Lancashire's halls and houses

Wander through Lancashire’s stunning historic houses and imagine the many extraordinary episodes and events that have played out within their walls.

Location: Lancashire wide

 
Be at one with nature at Dyrham Park

Be at one with nature at Dyrham Park

Spend the day navigating nature trails, indulging in a cream tea and exploring 17th century stately home, Dyrham Park.

Location: Bath, Somerset

 
Go camping in the grounds of one of England’s finest stately homes

Go camping in the grounds of one of England’s finest stately homes

Take the kids camping on a child friendly holiday at Castle Howard, near York, where a thousand breath-taking acres await for you to explore.

Location: Malton, North Yorkshire

 
16 days out in England

16 days out in England

Pack up a picnic, hop in the car and swap the city for some of these beautiful English sights - all an hour or less from a major city.

 
Spend the day playing at Lyme Park, House and Garden

Spend the day playing at Lyme Park, House and Garden

Get transported back to Edwardian times, at the mansion and extensive grounds of Lyme Park.

Location: Disley, Cheshire

 
Discover the walled gardens at medieval Raby Castle

Discover the walled gardens at medieval Raby Castle

Visit one of England’s finest medieval castles, and explore the medieval walled gardens and 200 acre deer park.

Location: Durham Dales, Durham

 
Castles, keeps and country retreats

Castles, keeps and country retreats

Explore the keep and ramparts of a 12th century castle, and the ornate interiors and gardens of Houghton Hall and Sandringham House.

Location: King's Lynn, Norfolk

 
Enjoy strolls on the grounds of Sandringham Estate

Enjoy strolls on the grounds of Sandringham Estate

Follow in the footsteps of the Royal Family and explore the Queen's official Norfolk residence.

Location: Sandringham, Norfolk

 
Step into a Jane Austen novel at Hartland Abbey

Step into a Jane Austen novel at Hartland Abbey

Visit the historic house and filming locations of classic TV adaptations of Jane Austen and Rosamunde Pilcher novels, and step into the romance.

Location: Hartland, North Devon

 
Travel back through the centuries on a coastal break in Dorset

Travel back through the centuries on a coastal break in Dorset

Explore Dorset’s eclectic range of castles, country houses and forts and journey back in time on a steam train.

Location: Dorset

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