Beautiful UK stately homes with accommodation you can book for holidays

Long gone are the days when you’d need to be a Lord or Lady in order to bed down at a stately home.

Nowadays there are some grandiose properties which not only open their doors to the public for a day out, but boast plenty of accommodation on their grounds.

Think everything from picturesque cottages steeped in history to apartments nestled in one of the wings, all of which make for a seriously luxurious post-lockdown staycation.

Then there are the homes themselves that boast beautiful and lavish interiors, landscaped gardens and acres of beautiful parklands just waiting to be explored.

Check out our top pick of the best stately home stays below…

1. Chatsworth House, Derbyshire

A view of Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, and its waterfront views and emperor fountain
Chatsworth House, Derbyshire

Set in the heart of the Peak District National Park, Chatsworth House is one of England’s finest stately homes and since 1549 has been passed down through 16 generations of the Cavendish family.

It was the 4th Duke of Devonshire who commissioned landscape gardener Capability Brown in the 1760s to design the 1,000 acres of glorious parkland on the banks of the River Derwent.

A view inside the Russian Cottage at Chatsworth
The Russian Cottage at Chatsworth

For stunning views across Calton Lees Valley stay at Russian Cottage, a 25-minute walk from the House.

Designed by the Duchess herself, the two-bedroom property has a well-equipped kitchen, log-burning stove and its own garden.

The inspiration to build the cottage came from a gift of a model Russian farmhouse from Tsar Nicholas which was sent to the 6th Duke of Devonshire after the Tsar had to cancel his visit to the Duke in 1844.

Find out more at devonshirehotels.co.uk.

2. Longleat House, Wiltshire

A view of Longleat House and its surrounding countryside
Longleat House

Lauded as one of the finest examples of Elizabethan architecture, Longleat has been home to 16 generations of the Thynne family, starting in 1541 when Sir John Thynne, steward to Henry VIII’s brother-in-law, Edward Seymour, paid £53 for the ruins of a priory to build a house that was fitting to his wealth and status.

The country house has attracted more than a few royal visitors over the centuries including Queen Elizabeth I in 1573, and the present Queen with the Duke of Edinburgh in 1980.

Longleat can also claim a couple of history-making firsts, as the first stately home to open to the public in 1949 and then in 1966 launching the first drive- through safari park outside Africa.

Inside the East Lodge at Longleat House
Inside the East Lodge at Longleat House

Stay in the East Lodge, one of six cottages on the estate launching this month.

The former gatehouse (sleeps four) offers views of the House’s imposing facade from the top of the driveway.

A guided tour of the grounds and gardens is included in the price of an overnight stay.

Find out more at longleat.co.uk/accommodation.

3. Highclere Castle, Hampshire

Highclere Castle
Highclere Castle

Since Downton Abbey hit the small screen in 2010, fans of the aristocratic Crawley family have been flocking to visit the stunning home of the Carnarvon family near Newbury, the grandiose star of the ITV series, to relive scenes filmed in the impressive drawing and state dining rooms, the sumptuous saloon and that grand oak staircase.

Dating back to the 8th century when a palace for the Bishop of Winchester was built on the site, 1679 saw the start of the rebuilding of the palace as a Jacobethan-style mansion.

Inside The Grotto Lodge at Highclere Castle
The Grotto Lodge

For a treat you can lord it up in one of the two self-catering properties in the 1,000-acre parkland. At the top of the mile-long driveway to the Castle, the London Lodge (sleeps two) has two wings, one on either side of the imposing archway entrance. Set on Wayfarers Way, the circular Grotto Lodge (sleeps four) has been restored by Lady Carnarvon with many original features retained.

Find out more at highclerecastle.co.uk/where-stay.

4. Audley End, Essex

An aerial view of Audley End House and its landscaped gardens
Audley End House

Transformed from an abbey into a mansion in the 16th century by Henry VIII’s Lord Chancellor, Sir Thomas Audley, his grandson, the first Earl of Suffolk and Lord Treasurer to James I, then lavished huge sums rebuilding the house to the scale of a royal palace.

Charles II was an owner and it was one of the most opulent houses in Jacobean England.

Capability Brown widened the River Cam running through the estate while creating a landscape garden.

A view inside the Cambridge Lodge Cottage at Audley End House
Cambridge Lodge Cottage

Since taking the reins in 1984, English Heritage has painstakingly restored it to how it was in the 1880s, recently focusing on the kitchen wing and historic stables.

Surrounded by gardens, red-brick Cambridge Lodge is the estate’s principal gatehouse. The two-bedroom cottage sleeps up to four and from the cosy living room and dining room there are splendid views to the river over the lawns.

Guests can explore the parkland and walled Victorian garden until dusk.

Find out more at english-heritage.org.uk/visit.

5. Thirlestane Castle, Scotland

Thirlestane Castle
Thirlestane Castle

In the Scottish Borders market town of Lauder, perched on a hilltop and surrounded by meadows, is one of the country’s oldest inhabited castles. Named as one of the seven ‘Great Houses in Scotland’ the fairytale 16th century castle is still home to the Maitland family. After his victory at the Battle of Prestonpans in 1745, Bonnie Prince Charlie spent a night here.

A view of one of the double beds in one of the Thirlestane Castle apartments
Thirlestane Castle apartments

You can have a right royal break in one of five apartments in the South Wing, ranging from one-bedroom Glenburnie named after the moor at the castle, to the three-bedroom Earl & Countess apartment which was the quarters of the 14th Earl and Countess of Lauderdale.

Find out more at thirlestanecastle.co.uk.

6. Picton Castle, West Wales

A view of Picton Castle with trees visible and blue skies
Picton Castle

Near Haverfordwest, this enchanting medieval castle, transformed into Pembrokeshire’s finest stately home in the 18th century, was for 500 years the imposing pad of the Philipps family, who throughout the 17th and 18th centuries were the most powerful family in the Welsh county.

Surrounding the house is the RHS Partner Garden, 40 acres of spectacular woodland, a jungle garden of leafy exotics, lake walks and a 19th century walled garden.

Picton Castle's West Lodge
Picton Castle’s West Lodge is available for stays

And if you book a self-catering stay in one of the two Grade II listed castellated gatehouse lodges you can enjoy free access to the award-winning gardens along with a complimentary castle tour.

Both the two-bed West Lodge and the one-bed East Lodge (with sofabed) can sleep four. And if you don’t fancy cooking, grab a takeaway from Maria’s, the castle’s courtyard cafe.

Find out more at pictoncastle.co.uk/holiday-cottages.

7. Blickling Estate, Norfolk

The Parterre Garden at Blickling Estate, Norfolk. Blickling is a turreted red-brick Jacobean mansion, sitting within beautiful gardens and parkland.
The Parterre Garden at Blickling Estate

Dating back to the 11th century when King Harold held the land, this Norfolk estate lying north of Aylsham has a rich history. In the Domesday Book it was recorded as Blickling Manor when William the Conqueror gave the estate to his chaplain. Anne Boleyn is believed to have been born in the Tudor house that once stood here, and with two other ghosts is said to roam round the present Jacobean red-brick mansion and its gardens.

It was once voted the National Trust’s most haunted property.

The Tower on the Blickling Estate, Norfolk
The Tower on the Blickling Estate, Norfolk

It’s hard to miss The Tower. Built in 1770 as a race stand for the Earl of Buckinghamshire, it has been transformed into a luxurious retreat (two bedrooms sleeping four) with a roof terrace and your very own Rapunzel tower.

Find out more at nationaltrust.org.uk/holidays.

8. Polesden Lacey, Surrey

Polesden Lacey
Polesden Lacey

On the North Downs, four miles from Dorking, the Queen Mother described the Edwardian weekend retreat of London socialite Dame Margaret Greville as a ‘delicious house’ after spending part of her honeymoon there with the future King George VI.

Mrs Greville was renowned for the lavish parties she held for celebrities, politicians and royalty at the mansion, before bequeathing the estate to the National Trust in 1942.

Garden Cottage at Polesden Lacey, Surrey. Garden Cottage can be rented from National Trust Holiday Cottages.
Garden Cottage at Polesden Lacey

You’re right in the heart of the 1,400-acre estate when you stay at Garden Cottage, next to the famous Edwardian rose garden and just a two-minute stroll from the main house. The ivy-clad Victorian three-bedroom cottage (sleeping six) with an open fire, is decorated in modern farmhouse style.

Soak up views of the rolling Surrey Hills and take a tour of the house – entry is free for cottage guests who also have free use of the croquet courts and access to the gardens.

Find out more at nationaltrust.org.uk/holidays.

Which one’s going top of your list? Let us know in the comments below.

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