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NT – Christmas at Saltram House

At Christmas time the house & gardens are beautifully decorated to celebrate the festive season, making it a special time to visit this National Trust Property.

Saltram overlooks the River Plym and is set in a rolling landscape park that provides precious green space on the outskirts of Plymouth. Strolling along the riverside or through the woodland, you can almost forget that the city lies so close.

Saltram was home to the Parker family from 1743, when an earlier mansion was remodelled to reflect the family’s increasingly prominent position. It’s magnificently decorated, with original contents including Chinese wallpapers and an exceptional collection of paintings (several by Sir Joshua Reynolds). It also has a superb country house library and Robert Adam’s Neo-classical Saloon.

 

NT – Kingston Lacy, Wimborne

Kingston Lacy is a lavish family home built to resemble an Italian Palace.

There’s plenty to see, from grand, beautifully detailed carvings, to intimate family souvenirs and even strange curiosities such as an ‘I owe you’ note from a king.

An art lover’s dream, the rooms teeming with paintings by Rubens, Van Dyck, Titian and Brueghel. In the Egyptian Room you can discover the largest private collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts in the UK.

Have a wander around the Japanese Garden, complete with authentic tea house or take a sheltered walk through the surrounding woodland. You can even learn how to grow your own food in the ‘Community Growing Spaces’.

From Iron Age forts, to colourful heathland, water meadows and even a Roman road, there’s lots to see on the 8,500 acres of estate.

 

NT- Croome, Worcester

Expect the unexpected. Incredible innovation, devastating loss, remarkable survival and magnificent restoration. All in one place

There’s more than meets the eye at Croome. A secret wartime airbase, now a visitor centre, was once a hub of activity for thousands of people. Outside is the grandest of English landscapes, ‘Capability’ Brown’s masterful first commission, with commanding views over the Malverns. The parkland was nearly lost, but is now great for walks and adventures with a surprise around every corner. At the heart of the park lies Croome Court, once home to the Earls of Coventry with four floors to explore. The 6th Earl of Coventry was an 18th century trend-setter and today Croome follows his lead by using artists and craftspeople in the house to tell the story of its eclectic past in inventive ways, perfect for making new discoveries.

NT – Lundy Island

Unspoilt island, home to a fascinating array of wildlife amidst dramatic scenery

Undisturbed by cars, the island encompasses a small village with an inn, Victorian church and the 13th-century Marisco Castle.

There’s also a disused lighthouse to discover. Called the Old Light, it offers superb views over the northern part of the island.

For nature-lovers there are the variety of seabirds, wildlife, flora and fauna. Designated the first Marine Conservation Area, Lundy offers opportunities for diving and seal watching.

Please note this is a long day as we have to get up to Bideford Quay and then take the ferry across to Lundy.  Also the terrain on the island can be uneven so not suitable for those unsteady on their feet.

NT – Antony House, Torpoint

A home with a heartbeat, still lived in today by the Carew Pole family.

Discover the story of a family who became caught up in the extraordinary events of the English Civil War. Their history is bound up in this beautiful house, which is still the home of the Carew Pole family today.

A house of silver grey stone, Antony is a beguiling mixture of the formal and informal. It’s believed to be one of the finest surviving Queen Anne buildings in the West Country.

View the outstanding collection of portraits, including works by Sir Joshua Reynolds and a famous painting of Charles I during his trial. There are also fine examples of period furniture, textiles and tapestries.

Breathe in the sweeping views as you explore the landscape garden, which includes a formal garden with topiary, modern sculptures and the National Collection of Daylilies.

The Woodland Garden, owned and run by the Carew Pole Garden Trust, also has outstanding rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias and camellias.

The magic of Antony was captured by director Tim Burton, as a film location for his blockbuster, Alice in Wonderland.

NT – Lacock Abbey, Fox Talbot Museum & Village, Chippenham

Country house with monastic roots, once home to William Henry Fox Talbot
The Abbey, located at the heart of the village within its own woodland grounds, is a quirky country house of various architectural styles, built upon the foundations of a former nunnery. Visitors can experience the atmosphere of the medieval rooms and cloister court, giving a sense of the Abbey’s monastic past.

The museum celebrates the achievements of former Lacock resident, William Henry Fox Talbot, famous for his contributions to the invention of photography.