Which Historic Houses can I visit this Autumn?
Autumn is the perfect time of year to go out and explore Historic Houses and Gardens across the United Kingdom. Although some of our houses are closed during the late Autumn and Winter months for essential restoration works and to prepare for next year, Historic Houses members are still able to visit a great many places across the nation and avoid the varying entry prices. Just make sure to bring your membership card!
Here we list some suggested ideas for places you can visit this Autumn.
If you’re looking for a day out that all the family can enjoy then a visit to Muncaster Castle must be towards the top of your to-do list. Home to the Pennington family since 1208 AD, the Castle, located among the Western Lake District fells, is famous as a haunted house, staging terrific Halloween-based events every year, while also offering a Hawk & Owl Centre. The gardens are also worth a visit, with gorgeous rhododendrons and a range of exotic plants.
Muncaster Castle is open Sundays to Fridays 12pm to 4pm until 2 November. The gardens are open daily.
Over 900 years old, Hedingham Castle is one of the UK’s most impressive and ancient castles, with a beautiful Norman keep, woodlands, lakes and gardens surrounding a Georgian Mansion House making it a very popular visit for locals and tourists alike. You’ll have to hurry though, the castle is open Wednesdays and Sundays until the end of October, 11am to 4pm.
If you had to choose one place to see the Autumn colours in all their glory this year it would have to be Haddon Hall, in Bakewell. Home to Lord and Lady Edward Manners, Haddon Hall is one of the country’s most elegant stately homes. With magnificent views across the Peak District, the gardens really do come into their element at this time of year. And when you’re done with the views, the Hall itself boasts an extraordinary collection of art and craftsmanship from down the centuries.
Haddon Hall is open daily until 31st October, 10:30am to 4pm.
Heart of England
Painswick Rococo Garden
The UK’s sole surviving rococo garden, a visit to Painswick this autumn will take you back to the elegance and sophistication of the early 1700s. This was a time when gardens were fashionable theatrical sets, providing a stunning backdrop to decadent garden parties. With leafy, lofty woodland and an unusual maze to lose yourself in, a day out at Painswick is fun for all the family.
Painswick Rococo Garden is open daily until 30 November, 10:30am to 5pm.
Cholmondeley Castle Gardens
Home to the Cholmondeley family since Norman times, the gardens were originally laid out in the early 19th Century using architectural elements from the formal gardens of the Old Hall. Historic Houses members can enjoy a gorgeous woodland with many wild flowers and bulbs, as well as a Deer Park with magnificent views of Cholmondeley Castle.
Cholmondeley Castle Gardens are open every Sunday throughout October.
The Walled Garden at Glenarm Castle is a beautiful and ancient gem on Northern Ireland’s east coast. It was originally created to supply the castle with fruit and vegetables but is now filled with an array of exciting flowers and specimen plants to interest anyone who loves gardening. Historic Houses members can also enjoy beautiful scenery and enchanted walks in the woods on their Castle Trail.
Glenarm Castle’s Walled Garden in open daily until 31st October, 10am to 5pm.
An icon of beauty and majesty in the Darlington countryside, Raby Castle is an impressive 14th Century fortress with nine towers, set in 200 acres of landscaped deer park and a picturesque walled garden. Although the magnificent interior is now closed for the season, Historic Houses members are welcome to explore the Walled Garden and Deer Park, making for a wonderful and relaxing day out for all the family to enjoy.
Raby Castle’s Garden and Park is open daily from 10am.
The most northerly of Scotland’s great houses, Dunrobin Castle, north of Inverness, appears like a beacon looking out over the landscape, architecturally very similar to a French chateau, with its towering canonical spires. Historic Houses members will be struck by the extraordinary number of rooms (189 in total!), the gorgeous gardens and the café, serving delicious and warm local foods, perfect for these cooler Autumn evenings.
Dunrobin Castle is open daily throughout October, 10:30am to 4:30pm.
Arundel Castle Gardens
The gardens and grounds of this magnificent estate are free to visit for Historic Houses members, and it’s certainly worth the visit, with magnificent views across the South Downs National Park and the River Arun. With a backdrop of the 11th Century castle, the garden designs are quirky and highly original, including stumpery and sub-tropical borders.
Arundel Castle’s grounds and gardens are open until 3rd November, 10am to 5pm.
Thames & Chiltern
Syon House and Gardens
Syon House, in Middlesex, is the London home of the Duke of Northumberland, Lord Percy, and has a 30-acre garden within a 200-acre park transformed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. The house itself is iconic for its stunning domed conservatory designed by Charles Fowler in the 1820’s. Both the house and gardens will close on 27th October to prepare for the new season in March.
Syon House is open until 27th October, 10:30am to 5pm.
Gregynog Hall Gardens
The gardens at Gregynog are informal and diverse, sitting in the middle of 750 acres of land and with several waymarked walks. The autumnal colours are certainly worth visiting for, with a magnificent collection of rhododendrons and azaleas, while there’s also a lovely view of their iconic golden yew hedge to be seen from the bridge at the front of the hall.
Gregynog Hall’s gardens are open every day throughout the year from 9am to 4:30pm.
A very worthy nominee for the Historic Houses Garden of the Year Award 2019, Forde Abbey, in Somerset, is a former Cistercian monastery dating back to the early 12th Century. The abbey itself is open until the end of October, but Historic Houses members can visit the beautiful gardens around the house from 10am to 4:30pm throughout the year, and they’re certainly worth seeing this Autumn, featuring breath-taking views of the local landscape, and including their Herbaceous Borders, Woodland Garden and Arboretum.
Ripley Castle & Gardens
Situated only three miles from Harrogate, the castle gardens and parkland are open to the public all year round. The castle has a fascinating history, featuring heritage from numerous political, military, religious and social skirmishes down the years. The Deer Park, with its fallow deer, mallards, rabbits and Canada Geese, is particular popular with visitors and Historic Houses members, while members can also see the numerous oak trees on the site, many over a thousand years old!
Ripley Castle & Gardens are open throughout the year, in October 9:30am to 5pm, and from November to March 10am to 4pm. The castle can be seen by guided tours.
Have we inspired you to go out and explore amazing Historic Houses places this autumn? Do remember that if you’re a Historic Houses member you can avoid the entry prices at any of the above places to visit by bringing along your membership card.
If you’re thinking about joining Historic Houses this autumn, you can do so quickly and easily through our Join page online here. Historic Houses membership helps you avoid the entry prices at hundreds of lived-in historic houses and gardens across the UK, while also offering four fascinating magazines, a helpful handbook and exclusive behind-the-scenes tours of Britain’s amazing historic places.