Houses to visit in Britain, from modest dwellings to grand mansions.  Houses that have limited, or no, public access may be occasionally included if they are judged historically or architecturally significant.

Oliver Cromwell’s House

Oliver Cromwell's House in Ely

Oliver Cromwell is one of the most controversial figures in British history, reviled by some, admired by others.  For a short time, he was the most powerful man in the land.  He ruled Britain as Lord Protector for almost five years from 1653–1658, during the interregnum (1649-1660) when the English Parliament had disposed of its …

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Althorp, Northamptonshire

Althorp (sometimes pronounced ‘Awltrup’) is the Spencer family pile in Northamptonshire.  Who amongst us lesser mortals had heard of either the estate or the family before Lady Diana Spencer shot into public awareness like a blazing comet?  Perhaps, some may have vaguely thought, the family was something to do with that other lot, the Marks.  …

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Sudbury Hall and the Museum of Childhood

Sudbury Museum of Childhood - the bedroom ceiling

We all like a bit of nostalgia (well, I used to, but it’s not the same now) and I had long looked forward to a visit to this, the National Trust Museum of Childhood.  Friends had waxed lyrical about it and the sign always flashed by provocatively whenever driving along the A50.  So the anticipation …

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A visit to Scotney Castle

There’s a ruined castle in the valley bottom, beyond the grand, Victorian, house.  A round, machiolated, tower peeks through multi-coloured shrubs and trees.  It draws the eye through the garden, overwhelming the desire to linger amongst the flowers.  Closer in, down the hill, and the heady scent from rhododendrons and azaleas is almost overpowering.  The …

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Weald and Downland

Weald & Downland Museum, West Sussex, UK

Builders in the past were very selfish people.  They put their buildings up without considering for one moment that, one day, their structures might inconveniently stand in the way of a new road, town centre development or shopping centre. Fast forward to an intriguing museum on the South Downs in West Sussex, near the village …

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Why 467 pubs are called the Royal Oak

Boscobel House, Shropshire

What might be called ‘the Royal Oak Incident’ took place when the future King Charles II hid in an oak tree after the Battle of Worcester in 1651.  This was a real event, which might have had a very different outcome, and is a fascinating story.  You can visit the spot where it happened, Boscobel …

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Kipling’s House

Bateman's, Rudyard Kipling's House in Sussex, England

We travelled to Bateman’s, Rudyard Kipling’s Sussex home for 34 years, through the impossibly pretty village of Burwash, all whitewash and weatherboard.  You reach the house down what Kipling described as “an enlarged rabbit-hole of a lane” to arrive in what is now a car park.  I wondered how it had all looked when the …

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