5 of the best grand country estates for a bank holiday outing
One of the biggest mood boosters is a jaunt through the countryside. Especially if there’s a stately home involved for a bit of stunning architecture and a chance to plant yourself in a picturesque garden with a picnic.
Here’s where to breathe in the fresh air, soak up some heritage and enjoy a generous dose of grandeur (just make sure to book online before turning up)…
1. Chatsworth House, Peak District, Derbyshire
You may not be able to rub shoulders with the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, but you can certainly enjoy strolling through their magnificent grounds. With miles of parkland to explore and beautifully manicured lawns to unfurl a picnic blanket on, there’s also a Farmyard Café stocked with delicious, freshly made goodies in case your hamper runs short. Not to mention a working farmyard and playground to keep the kids entertained.
2. Tatton Park, Knutsford, Cheshire
Tip-top Tatton Park Mansion, in the neo-classical style, offers the most beautiful backdrop to immerse yourself in. Think birdsong, clouds of pink blossom, herds of wild deer, spring lambs, woodland walks, cycle trails, 1,000 acres of parkland and a plethora of picnic spots to claim as your own – four legged friends will be in their element running along the river bank too.
3. Castletown House, County Kildare, Ireland
One of Ireland’s most splendid Palladian country houses, the elaborate interiors extend to its twin pavilions, which bookend the colonnades and magnificent 18th-century mansion. Beyond the house, the parkland is a nature lover’s paradise with waterways, woodlands and ponds, criss-crossed with walking trails, making it easy to find the classical temple and gothic lodge for an Instaworthy moment, to mark the long weekend.
4. Kenwood House, Hampstead Heath, London
Hailed as one of London’s hidden gems, this neoclassical villa, designed by Scottish architect Robert Adams, boasts a world-class art collection among its regal Adam’s interiors. Today, you can picnic in its grounds, or enjoy takeaway from its Brew House Café before roaming through the parkland. A short walk from the house is The Dairy, or tea room, where the earl’s wife entertained her friends, as was the fashion, back in the day.
5. Plas Newydd House and Garden, Anglesey, Wales
A former Victorian ‘party house,’ discover rare red squirrels and meander through its impressive grounds, which feature a formal Italian garden brought back to life by the present Marquess of Anglesey. Continue past the terraced garden and you’ll come across cannons overlooking the Menai Strait, with breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside and Snowdonia.