If you’ve looking to enjoy a cottage break with ample opportunities to visit fascinating country houses close by then we have some ideas for you. England has a wealth of fine historical homes including those within the collections of the National Trust, Historic Houses and English Heritage.
National Trust properties are renowned for their fabulous gardens and well run cafes, tours and shops. English Heritage properties are less well known but equally beloved by some. Historic Houses tend to be real gems where you can get a true sense of the family history surrounding the mansion or country house. If you don’t belong to any of these associations but plan to visit a large number of historical houses on your self-catering holiday then we recommend that you research which properties you plan to visit as taking out annual membership can sometimes save you money.
Top 3 Places in England for Visiting Fine English Country Houses, Castles and Mansions
1. Hampshire and the New Forest
Hampshire is home to a wealth of historical country homes which include a number of Castles and a total of 12 mansions and stately homes which are members of the Historic Houses Association. Sprawling mansions, extensive parklands and opulent interiors are the order of the day here.
After visiting these fascinating country homes why not head out to the woodlands and moorlands of the New Forest National Park and enjoy walking and cycling. You may even be lucky enough to see some wild ponies meandering past.
2. Kent & the Garden of England
For history buffs and for those with a fascination for evolution, Kent, also known as the Garden of England may be the place to visit. Down House, an English Heritage property near Orpington is where Charles Darwin wrote the Origin of the Species and is a fascinating place to visit for those with an interest in science.
Within Kent, the Historic Houses Association has a particularly good collection of absolutely stunning properties which include historical halls, a number of castles and mansion houses. Properties within their collection include Hever Castle which was home to Anne Boleyn and Leeds Castle which was one of Henry VIII’s castles.
Your only dilemma when visiting Kent may be deciding which of all these wonderful historical country houses to visit. Many of the stunning properties to be found in Kent feature extensive parklands or beautiful gardens.
Find a cottage in Kent from which to discover some of Kent’s finest country houses and mansions.
Hertfordshire is home to a large number of National Trust properties, many of which feature impressive gardens, lakes and parklands. Places to visit include Shaw’s Corner, which was home to George Bernard Shaw, the famous playwright. For those with a love for literature, this is a very interesting place to visit which is situated in a very small pretty village where lovely walks criss cross through the surrounding countryside. A very charming historical pub in the nearby village is the perfect spot for a refreshing drink.
Another wonderful National Trust property well worth a visit in Hertfordshire is West Wycombe Park with its lake, 45 acres of parklands and unique style. What makes this house particularly fascinating, is the Mausoleum built for the family which stands high on the nearby hill and the spooky Hellfire Caves which lie in the earth underneath the hill. The caves are said to be haunted and are thought to have been a haunt of the Hellfire Club, which was founded by Sir Francis Dashwood whose family owned and whose descendents still own West Wycombe Park.
Take a look at Cottages in Hertfordshire, we hope you find the perfect place from which to discover some of Hertfordshire’s fine country houses, gardens and mansions.
Please note that a number of the properties listed above are only open at set times of year, we recommend that you research opening times before booking your cottage holiday if there are particular country homes you wish to visit during your break.