The National Trust (NT) is a charity that looks after some of the loveliest landscapes and historic buildings and gardens in the UK. We have been members for a number of years. Individual properties can be quite expensive to visit, so if you are a fan of interesting homes and gorgeous gardens, it might be worth considering becoming a member.
Chastleton House and garden, Gloucestershire
This property is near Moreton-in-Marsh in the Cotswolds. The house is over 400 years old and was in the ownership of one family from the outset until 1991. The garden is lovely to stroll through and, during the Spring to Autumn, you can have a game of croquet. Unusually for a NT property, there is no cafe or restaurant. We had a very nice lunch in Lucy’s Tearoom in Stow-on-the-Wold.
Montacute House, Somerset
Home to the Phelips family and completed in 1601, Montacute House is an Elizabethan Renaissance design. Like many grand buildings, it was designed to show off the wealth and sophistication of its owner. It has a very impressive Long Gallery, the longest of its kind in England. The gardens are impressive too. There is an orchard area to stroll through and parkland beyond the garden. Perhaps most interesting are the remarkable yew hedges on the Cedar Lawn which are very uneven and almost knobbly in appearance. Further out around the estate, you may be lucky enough to see Spring lambs!
The Courts Garden, Wiltshire
An arboretum, water gardens and abundantly planted herbaceous borders all feature in this beautiful place. There is a series of differently styled garden ‘rooms’, each with its own character. It is well worth a visit.
Newark Park, Gloucestershire
Newark Park was originally built as a Tudor hunting lodge in 1550. It has had an interesting history and, during the 1970s and 1980s was cared for by a Texan architect. The gardens and estate are as enjoyable as the property, with many lovely views over the Cotswolds, woodland walks, and close up encounters with lambs.
Lacock Abbey, Fox Talbot Museum and village, Wiltshire
Lacock Abbey is built on the foundations of a former nunnery. On most days of the year, you can imagine how cold and dark the building must have been, even more so when it was a nunnery. The cloistered court is a welcome peek onto the outside world. Lacock village is a quaint, unspoilt place, with good shopping opportunities and plenty of places to eat. Anyone with an interest in photography will want to visit the Fox Talbot Museum. William Henry Fox Talbot lived in Lacock and the museum recognises his contributions to the birth of photography.
Snowshill Manor and Garden, Gloucestershire
Snowshill Manor contains an astonishing exhibition of artefacts owned by Charles Wade, an avid collector. The manor contains so many items that it’s easy to think he lived in the very simple Priest’s House to give pride of place to his lifetime’s collection. The garden is beautiful and a really lovely place to wander around. There is a tearoom which has lovely views over the countryside.