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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 – over 750 entries as of February 2020.  Most entries have links for further information.


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Hundreds of open garden events take place in Britain every year, mainly during the summer and mostly, though not exclusively, in rural villages. The gardens belong to private homes and are often quite modest. The open garden event normally involves 10 gardens or so, sometimes more, sometimes less, and can either be a local event in its own right, or part of a larger village show of some kind. If you enjoy looking at gardens, a local open gardens can be an enjoyable way of spending an hour or three. Entry fees are usually just a few pounds. Check the UK National Directory for events near you.

Location/Address: Nationwide
Link to featured article: Village Open Gardens
Primary Management: Private - open to the public

Balmoral is a 50,000 acre estate and the private Scottish home of the British Royal Family. It was purchased by Prince Albert for Queen Victoria in 1852, close to the Highlands they both loved. The current castle is new - Victoria and Albert had it constructed between 1853 and 1856; the old castle was then demolished. There is limited public access to the grounds, gardens and exhibitions (including access to the castle ballroom only) between spring and early summer, when the Royal Family is not in residence. Apart from the ballroom, the castle is not open to the public. Cottages in the grounds can also be hired.

Location/Address: Crathie
Nr Ballater
County: Aberdeenshire
Post Code: AB35 5TB
Main Historic Period: Victorian
Useful Website Address: Balmoral Castle's website
Primary Management: Private - open to the public

Drum Castle was seat of the Clan Irvine and in the Irvine family for 650 years, from 1325, when it was granted to William de Irvine by Robert the Bruce, until 1975. It has a rich history, 17th and 19th century additions and alterations, and is surrounded by gardens and an arboretum.

Location/Address: By Banchory
County: Aberdeenshire
Post Code: AB31 5EY
Main Historic Period: Medieval
Primary Management: National Trust for Scotland
Burns Monument

Enormous, 70' high, Grecian-style memorial to the poet Robert Burns, erected by subscription in 1823 and surrounded by attractive gardens. Nearby is the Brig o' Doon, Alloway Auld Kirk, Burns' Birthplace Museum and Cottage.

Photo: tormentor4555 via Wikipedia.

Location/Address: Burns Memorial Gardens
County: Ayrshire
Post Code: KA7 4PQ
Main Historic Period: Georgian
Useful Website Address: Burns Museum website (NTS)
Tip/Nearby: Brig o' Doon, Alloway Auld Kirk, Burns' cottage and museum all within walking dostance. Park at museum.
Primary Management: National Trust for Scotland

Woburn Abbey is one of the great treasure houses of Britain. It began life as a Cistercian abbey. The estate was given to John Russell, later Earl of Bedford, by Edward VI in 1547 and his ancestors became the Dukes of Bedford. Woburn Abbey is still the home of the Duke and Duchess of Bedford, but has been open to the public since 1955. The Palladian mansion contains a world-famous art collection, including works by Canaletto, Reynolds, Gainsborough, Hogarth, Lely, Rembrandt, Tintoretto and Van Dyck, as well as collections of porcelain and silver. The estate also includes gardens, a deer park and the Woburn Safari Park.

Location/Address: Woburn
County: Bedfordshire
Main Historic Period: Georgian
Useful Website Address: Woburn Abbey's website
Tip/Nearby: Woburn Safari Park, Bletchley Park
Primary Management: Private - open to the public

A grand Georgian house set in acres of parkland with formal gardens and an interior that includes works by Van Dyck and Gainsborough. George Baillie, an officer in William of Orange's army, commissioned William Adams to build the house in 1725. Only two wings were finished. The work was completed in 1778 by William's son, Robert, who linked the two wings and finished everything off in a sort of castle style. Mellerstain is said to be one of Scotland's finest stately homes.

Location/Address: Mellerstain
County: Berwickshire
Post Code: TD3 6LG
Main Historic Period: Georgian
Useful Website Address: Mellerstain House website
Tip/Nearby: About 8 miles north of Kelso
Primary Management: Private - open to the public

Home of the famous giant Lovell Radio Telescope, this is the place to learn all about life, the universe and everything - well, the universe, anyway. Uncover the enigma of space! In addition, there are 35 acres of gardens which include an arboretum and a playground.


Location/Address: Discovery Centre
University of Manchester
County: Cheshire
Post Code: SK11 9DW
Main Historic Period: Modern
Useful Website Address: Jodrell Bank website
Tip/Nearby: Little Moreton Hall
Primary Management: Educational establisment

Lyme is a large estate that was owned by the Legh family from 1388 - 1946. The house dates from the late 16th century, but is mainly 17th and 18th century in style. The library displays the Lyme Caxton Missal - an early printed book published by William Caxton in 1487. Outside are huge formal gardens, surrounded by an enormous deer park. Plenty to see, plenty of places to walk. Lyme featured as 'Pemberley' in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice in which Colin Firth emerges from the lake.

Location/Address: Disley
County: Cheshire
Post Code: SK12 2NR
Main Historic Period: Stuart
Useful Website Address: Entry on the National Trust website
Tip/Nearby: Dunham Massey, Tatton Park
Primary Management: National Trust

Tatton Park is the former estate and home of the Egerton family. Set in 1,000 acres of deer park are 50 acres of gardens, including a Japanese garden, the Tudor Old Hall, kids' playground and the 18th century mansion. There are extensive facilities, making it a popular place, and events are held regularly - including concerts featuring leading stars and the annual Royal Horticultural Show in NW England.

The estate was bequeathed to the National Trust in 1958 and is managed and financed by Cheshire East Council.

Location/Address: Knutsford
County: Cheshire
Post Code: WA16 6QN
Main Historic Period: Georgian
Useful Website Address: Tatton Park's website
Tip/Nearby: Quarry Bank Mill, Dunham Massey, Jodrell Bank
Primary Management: Local Authority

Mighty medieval fortress of the powerful Neville family, acquired and modernised by the Vanes in the 17th century , picturesque Raby Castle is still the home of Lord Barnard. It is open on a seasonal basis and, as well as the vivid history of its owners, offers opulent interiors and artwork, a collection of horse-drawn carriages, deer park, walled garden, tearooms and woodland play area.

"One of England's finest medieval castles".

Location/Address: Staindrop
County: Co Durham
Post Code: DL2 3AH
Main Historic Period: Medieval
Useful Website Address: Raby Castle website
Tip/Nearby: Near Barnard Castle
Primary Management: Private - open to the public
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