Wellesbourne Warwickshire CV34 4QU
Just four miles' east of Stratford and well worth the trip out of the town, this twelfth-century stately home and deer park, home to generations of the Lucy family, are now owned by the National Trust.
Whilst the exterior of this impressive property has probably changed little since the 1550’s the interior saw major changes in the 1800’s. As you travel through the house you’ll see the result of the Elizabethan Revival makeover it underwent under the direction of designer and heraldic expert Thomas Willement.
Watch food being prepared (lend a hand if you fancy it) by costumed volunteers in this Victorian kitchen. If you’re lucky the bread oven may be in action and there are often opportunities for food tasters so get your hand up quick! Guides are around to tell you about the many kitchen utensils and gadgets on show – you’ll be surprised at how many you remember yourself.
Children can try on maids' costumes and see if they can name the herbs and spices on show during a smell test..
No “upstairs downstairs” here – servants at Charlecote used to live in outbuildings next to the house and the laundry, brew-house and tackroom provide a real sense of the physical hard work undertaken employees in years gone by.
The colourful gardens, inspired though not designed by Capability Brown, include a formal parterre, woodland walk and a stretch of wider parkland which offers miles of walks and views across the River Avon, and a large herd of fallow deer roam the grounds. From May onwards grab yourself a mallet and try your hand at croquet - it doesn't get more British that that. For little one's needing to work off excess energy, there's masses of space to let off steam.