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Britain, places to visit, attractions, heritageThis is the place to search for places and things of interest to visit in Britain, by name, location, type, keyword – or just have a browse.  It is a growing directory – 670+ entries as of June 2019. 

Stately homes and palaces

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DUNROBIN CASTLE

Dunrobin is the largest great house in the northern Highlands and has been home to the Earls and Dukes of Sutherland for more than 700 years. Though dating from the 13th century, the present house is largely Victorian, built in Scottish baronial style with a nod to a French chateau. It has been used as a hospital and school, but is still the Sutherland family and clan home. There are also extensive gardens and grounds.

Region:
Location/Address: Golspie
County: Sutherland
Post Code: KW10 6SF
Main Historic Period: Victorian
Useful Website Address: Dunrobin Castle website
Tip/Nearby: Dornoch Cathedral
Primary Management: Private - open to the public
HAMPTON COURT PALACE

The origins of Hampton court are medieval.  However, it is famously the palace created by Thomas Wolsey, cardinal, Lord Chancellor of England and friend of King Henry VIII.  The palace was 'acquired' by Henry and is often associated with him and Anne Boleyn.    It has been a royal palace ever since and was extensively remodelled by Sir Christopher Wren on behalf of William and Mary in the late 17th century.  Hampton Court is a highly popular visitor attraction which is also famous for its annual flower show.

Region:
Location/Address: Hampton Court Road, East Molesey
County: Surrey
Post Code: KT8 9AU
Main Historic Period: Tudor
Useful Website Address: Historic Royal Palaces website
Tip/Nearby: Richmond Park
Primary Management: Historic Royal Palaces
HIGHCLERE CASTLE

Home to the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, Highclere is a predominantly Victorian mansion set in extensive grounds in Hampshire - though, confusingly, the postal address is for neighbouring Berkshire. The house was redeveloped in Jacobean style by Sir Charles Barry, the architect responsible for the Houses of Parliament, from an earlier Georgian mansion which, itself, replaced a Tudor House. Before that, a medieval palace stood on the site, property of the Bishops of Winchester.  The property has earlier roots, however, and there is an Iron Age fort in the grounds.

The 5th Earl sponsored the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb by Howard Carter in 1922.

Highclere was used as the location for the TV series Jeeves and Wooster and, more recently, played the title role in the highly successful Downton Abbey.

NOTE: Highclere has limited opening - check details before making a special trip.

Region:
Location/Address: Highclere Park
Newbury
County: Berkshire
Post Code: RG20 9RN
Main Historic Period: Victorian
Useful Website Address: Highclere Castle's website
Tip/Nearby: About 5 miles south of Newbury
Primary Management: Private - open to the public
The Jewel Tower

The Jewel Tower is a small, but fascinating, remnant of the medieval Palace of Westminster. It was built in the 14th century and once housed Edward III's treasures. It was subsequently used to store records from the House of Lords - including notable Acts of Parliament - and went on to be the National Weights and Measures Office.

Region:
Location/Address: Abingdon Street
County: London
Post Code: SW1P 3JX
Main Historic Period: Medieval
Link to featured article: London's medieval Jewel Tower
Tip/Nearby: Opposite the Houses of Parliament, adjacent to Westminster Abbey.
Primary Management: English Heritage
KNOLE

One of the largest houses in England, Knole is allegedly a 'calendar house', with 365 rooms, 52 staircases, 12 entrances and 7 courtyards - though only a proportion of the house is open to the public. It was built as an archbishop's palace, but passed into the hands of the Sackville family during the reign of Elizabeth I, and it is still their home. Knole is also packed with precious artwork and furnishings.

In 2012, the National Trust launched an extensive six-year conservation programme.  This has also opened parts of the complex previously unavailable to be seen by the public.

Knole is situated in the middle of a medieval deer park, which is open to all and is wonderful to wander in at any time of year.

Region:
Location/Address: Sevenoaks
County: Kent
Post Code: TN15 0RP
Main Historic Period: Tudor
Tip/Nearby: Igtham Mote, Penshurst Place
Primary Management: National Trust
Lambeth Palace

Lambeth Palace has been the official London home of the Archbishop of Canterbury for 800 years. It is famous for its gardens, and its extensive ecclesiastical library, which holds records dating back before the Norman Conquest and the archives of the Archbishops of Canterbury. Architecturally, the Palace is famous for its Tudor gate, Morton's Tower, but also has a medieval chapel and Stuart Great Hall. It is not, generally, open top the public, but guided tours available - see the website.

Region:
Location/Address: Lambert Palace Road
Albert Embankment
County: London
Post Code: SE1 7JU
Main Historic Period: Tudor
Useful Website Address: Lambeth Palace website
Tip/Nearby: Garden Museum next door, Tate Britain and Houses of Parliament on the other side of the river
Primary Management: Church authorities
LINLITHGOW PALACE

Magnificent ruins of a late medieval/16th century royal palace, overlooking a loch. The 'pleasure palace' for several Scottish monarchs, it was also the birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots. It takes little imagination to picture it as it was, full of the nobility in their finery, with its wide stairs, elegant windows, rich furnishings and a fountain running with wine. Was this Scotland's Hampton Court?  It could have been.

Linlithgow has another claim to fame - it was the birthplace of Scottish Nationalist politician Alex Salmond, who also grew up in the town.

Region:
Location/Address: Kirkgate
Linlithgow
County: West Lothian
Post Code: EH49 7AL
Main Historic Period: Tudor
Link to featured article: Linlithgow - Scotland's Royal Pleasure Palace
Tip/Nearby: Between Edinburgh and Stirling. Adjacent parish church of St Michael's is also worth a visit and has an unusual tower.
Primary Management: Historic Scotland
NATIONAL MOTOR MUSEUM & BEAULIEU

Beaulieu is a stately home as well as home to the National Motor Museum. The estate has been in the hands of the Montagu family since the 16th century and is based around the ruins of the medieval Beaulieu Abbey. The National Motor Museum tells the story of motoring and the collection includes some 250 vehicles, old and not so old, cars, motor cycles and racing cars. As well as the museum and the abbey, a visit to Beaulieu can include the palace/house, the extensive gardens, at least two exhibitions - at the time of writing there are exhibitions of 'the World of Top Gear', featuring many original vehicles from the TV show, and an exhibition about SOE - the secret Special Operations Executive - who used Beaulieu for training during WW2. On top of that, there's a monorail and loads of things going on, like a vintage bus chugging about, offering rides.

Location/Address: Beaulieu
New Forest
County: Hampshire
Post Code: SO42 7ZN
Main Historic Period: Modern
Useful Website Address: Beaulieu's website
Tip/Nearby: Buckler's Hard
Primary Management: Private - open to the public
OSBORNE HOUSE

This was the holiday home of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert - and their nine children - a palatial pile designed by Albert in Italian Renaissance style. Victoria had loved the Isle of Wight since childhood and Albert said that the Solent reminded him of the Bay of Naples. The royal couple even bought a real Swiss Cottage from Switzerland for the children, where the youngsters could learn important life-skills like gardening and preparing afternoon tea. This can still be visited. Further highlights include the royal apartments, nursery and the family's private bathing beach. Even after Albert's death, Victoria loved visiting Osborne House; she died there in 1901.

Region:
Location/Address: York Avenue
East Cowes
County: Isle of Wight
Post Code: PO32 6JX
Main Historic Period: Victorian
Link to featured article: Queen Victoria's Osborne House
Primary Management: English Heritage
PALACE OF HOLYROODHOUSE

The Palace of Holyroodhouse was built around an abbey founded by King David I in the 12th century, which had royal chambers attached to it. James IV (1488-1513) decided to upgrade the chambers to a palace, and this work was added to by subsequent monarchs. The Palace is the British monarch's official residence in Scotland and Her Majesty Her Majesty The Queen visits during Holyrood week, at the end of June/beginning of July. When The Queen is in residence, the Scottish variant of the Royal Standard is flown.

Parts of the Palace are open to the public, though opening arrangements are subject to change, sometimes at short notice, and you should check before making a special journey. Highlights of a visit include the magnificent State Apartments and the fascinating Mary, Queen of Scots', chambers. You can also walk round the ruins of Holyrood Abbey and parts of the gardens.

Region:
Location/Address: Canongate
The Royal Mile
Edinburgh
County: Lothian
Post Code: EH8 8DX
Main Historic Period: Stuart
Tip/Nearby: Opposite the Scottish Parliament building. You may also want to pop into the Queen's Gallery.
Primary Management: Royal Collection Trust
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