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Greys Court, Oxfordshire
Greys Court, Oxfordshire

For those weeks when the grey sky seems to envelop everything and screens dominate our view, there's a need for an activity that nurtures both mind and body. Few things rival the comfort found in strolling through the halls of a house, particularly for us at Tat, where visiting a National Trust house ranks among our most cherished pastimes. So below are some suggestions for weekend getaways or daytime pursuits.


Escape the City: Top National Trust Houses to Visit Near London

Under Two Hours Travel

1 hr 18 minutes - Drive From London

Nearest Train Station: Henley-on-Thames

Originally a 16th-century residence, this house showcases the influence of the Brunners family through its exquisite gardens and architectural details. Dating back to 1086, the house has been home to various notable residents, including Evelyn Fleming, mother of Ian Fleming, the author of James Bond; the Lovell Family; Sir Francis Knollys; and the Stapletons. Today, it stands surrounded by 280 acres of woodlands and grounds. Visitors can explore the area by following a 3km walking trail that winds through the gardens.


1 hr 34 minutes - Drive

Nearest Train Station: Haywards Heath

This exquisite Regency-style home, constructed by George Harrington in 1839, later became a seasonal residence for the German Messel family. They initially used it as a spring and summer house before acquiring the 600-acre Nymans estate in 1890. Today, the house showcases a collection of treasures that Leonard and Maud Messel accumulated, including tapestries, paintings, and antique furniture.


1 hr 23 Minutes - Bus + Southeastern + Southern

Nearest Train Station: Rye

Constructed in 1723 by James Lamb, a wine merchant and politician, this beautiful red-brick Georgian home was once inhabited by authors E. F. Benson and Henry James. The property boasts an extraordinary walled garden covered in roses and a diverse array of plants and greenery, designed by Henry James's friend, Alfred. The home also served as a film location for the BBC series 'Mapp and Lucia,' based on one of E. F. Benson's novels. Notably, King George I was once a guest at the house


1 hr 27 Minutes - Drive

Nearest Train Station: Effingham Junction

At Polesden Lacey, you'll discover a 1,600-acre estate, the magnificent Gold Saloon, and an incredible collection of books and paintings by old masters. The Greville family purchased the house in the early 1900s and enlisted the architects of the Ritz Hotel, Mewès and Davis, to design the interiors.


1 hr 21 Minutes - Drive

Nearest Train Station: Bromley South

Charles Darwin bought this home in 1842 for his family, intending to renovate it. His wife, Emma, whose maiden name was Wedgewood, belonged to the family behind Wedgewood Pottery. After the couple passed away, the house was converted into a school for girls. Unfortunately, the school closed, but the house was later restored to its former condition, using photographs as references. It was then purchased by English Heritage, which recreated the rooms to transport visitors into Darwin's world. This is particularly true in his study, where he wrote 'On the Origin of Species.


1 Hour 38 Minutes - Drive

Nearest Train Station: Luton

Wrest Park offers a unique blend of 19th-century English architecture and 18th-century French chateau influences, set within an 18th-century styled landscape. Spanning over 90 acres, the estate features beautifully landscaped gardens and parkland. Visitors can explore the Dairy Sculpture Gallery, where restored statues from the estate are displayed. Additionally, Wrest Park offers wallpaper tours, where guests can admire the hand-painted paper walls in the Chinese and French rooms. The estate is also a known filming location for 'Belgravia' and 'Downton Abbey: A New Era.


1 Hour 21 Minutes - Drive

Nearest Station: Sevenoaks

The home is adorned with Stuart-style furniture, textiles, and impressive paintings by Van Dyck, Reynolds, and Gainsborough. Owned by the Sackville family, who still reside there, it has been open to the public since the 1600s. Historical records note that Elizabeth I visited, and Henry VIII favoured the estate for hunting and even considered it a potential residence for his daughter, Mary I. Visitors can explore approximately 1,000 acres of parkland and woodland.


57 Minutes - Drive

Nearest Train Station: Eltham

Eltham Palace, once a favoured medieval palace and later a Tudor royal residence, was transformed into a modern marvel by eccentric millionaires Stephen and Virginia Courtauld in the 1930s. Experience the lavish lifestyle of the Courtaulds as you explore their distinctive home, try on a variety of period costumes, follow the family trail, and marvel at the magnificent medieval great hall.

The gardens offer a delightful mix of medieval and modern elements. Enjoy the stunning herbaceous borders, stroll through the formal rose gardens, and unwind in the Rock Garden with its pools and cascades flowing down to the moat. Cross London's oldest working bridge and embark on an adventure in the playground, inspired by the Courtaulds’ passion for travel.


1 Hour 21 Minutes - Drive

Nearest Train Station: Mapleton Road

Purchased by former Prime Minister Winston Churchill and his wife, Clementine, the home has been preserved as if they still lived there, allowing visitors to step into their world. It was here, at the age of 41, that Churchill discovered his passion for painting, inspired by the surrounding beautiful scenes. Visitors can also meet Jock VII, fulfilling one of Churchill’s requests: ‘A marmalade cat named Jock, with a white bib and four white socks, to be in comfortable residence at Chartwell’.


55 Minutes - Drive

Nearest Train Station: St Margarets

Marble Hill House was built in the 1720s for Henrietta Howard, mistress of King George II, when he was Prince of Wales. Andrea Palladio, a 16th-century Italian architect, inspires the house's architectural style. Spanning over sixty acres, the estate includes woodlands, gardens, and more, offering ample space for exploration.


1 Hour 44 Minutes - Drive

Nearest Train Station: Audley End

Built in the early 17th century by the 1st Earl of Suffolk, Thomas Howard, this home was originally designed by his grandfather. When Sir John Griffin purchased it in the late 1760s, architect Robert Adam updated the house. Visitors can explore the surrounding landscape, designed by the renowned Capability Brown.


Over Two Hours Travel (Or Thereabouts)

1 Hour 31 Minutes - Drive

Nearest Train Station: Henley-on-Thames

Constructed in 1914 for John Bowring Wimble, the house was designed by Oswald Partridge and later purchased by William Morris of the Morris Motor Company. In a gracious gesture, Morris renamed the residence Nuffield Place after the previous owner, Lord Nuffield. Today, most of their belongings remain in the home, as if they had left them.

Places To Stay

The Cottage In Berrick Salome, Danesfield House Hotel, Clock Tower Barn In Henley-on-Thames
The Cottage In Berrick Salome, Danesfield House Hotel, Clock Tower Barn In Henley-on-Thames


3 Hour 21 Minutes - Drive

Nearest Train Station: Derby

Built between 1759 and 1765 by Sir Nathaniel Curzon, this 18th-century mansion was designed to rival Chatsworth House and features interiors by Robert Adam. Renowned as 'The Temple of the Arts,' the house was constructed not as a tranquil retreat but rather to display wealth and opulence. The surrounding parkland is among the last 18th-century examples that still exist today.

Places To Stay

Wildhive Callow Hall, Kedleston Park House, Rock Cottage In Matlock
Wildhive Callow Hall, Kedleston Park House, Rock Cottage In Matlock


4 Hour 28 Minutes - Drive

Nearest Train Station: Disley

The 1,400-acre estate of home and parkland of Lyme Park was once a tremendous sporting estate and is now a great place to explore and walk. You may recognise part of the gardens in the BBC's 'Pride and Prejudice' production. You can also visit the lower floor of Lyme House and be transported into what it would have been like in the early 20th Century.

Places To Stay

Lyme West Lodge, Georgian Cottage In Bollington, Lyme East Lodge
Lyme West Lodge, Georgian Cottage In Bollington, Lyme East Lodge


2 Hour 58 Minutes - Drive

Nearest Train Station: Nailsea & Backwell

A beautiful Georgian Home, formerly known as Tyntes Place, was bought and developed into a Victorian Gothic style by Willam Gibbs in 1843. The home has incredible character throughout, from Bath stone and stencilled wall panels to stained glass mosaics, and architect John Norton has redesigned many parts of the house.

Places To Stay

Chaplain's Lodge, Manor Farm House In Failand, Chaplain's House
Chaplain's Lodge, Manor Farm House In Failand, Chaplain's House


3 Hours 21 Minutes - Drive

Nearest Train Station: Chesterfield

Hardwick is known for having more glass than wall. Elizabeth Shrewsbury, better known as Bess of Hardwick, designed and built Hardwick Hall in the late 1500s and inserted her 'ES' initials on the house. The exquisite tapestries and portraits that fill the Hall show her great wealth at the time. If you require a place to stay, you can rent a cottage on the grounds of Hardwick and also at Hardwick Old Hall. Plus you can visit Bolsover Castle, Haddon Hall and Chatsworth House that are only a short drive away.

Hardwick Hall & Hardwick Old Hall, Derbyshire
Hardwick Hall & Hardwick Old Hall, Derbyshire

Places To Stay



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