The 24 best places to visit in the East Midlands
From Belvoir Castle to Haddon Hall and Holdenby House, here we list the most gorgeous historic houses and gardens in the East Midlands.
The East Midlands has a high concentration of historic houses and gardens, and if you’re planning a long weekend in the area, or simply a day trip, there are some wonderful places to visit in Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and other counties within the region. Here, we’re listing the best places to visit in the East Midlands, which you can see below, while you can also see a map of all these places on our dedicated web page here.
Eyam Hall, Hope Valley
Eyam Hall, built in 1672, just six years after the plague in Eyam, is a wonderfully unspoilt example of a small Jacobean Manor House.
Home of the Wright family for eleven generations, visitors can enjoy family portraits and furniture belonging to each generation. The craft centre in the Hall’s stable yard offers a vibrant hub from which to explore the wider village of Eyam and its captivating stories.
Haddon Hall, Bakewell
Home to Lord and Lady Edward Manners, Haddon Hall is one of the country’s most elegant stately homes.
Haddon invites visitors to immerse themselves in centuries of history, art and craftsmanship, and stroll around the Hall’s magnificent cascading gardens, enjoying uninterrupted views of the Peak District.
Melbourne Hall & Gardens, Melbourne
Although steeped in history, Melbourne Hall retains a family feel and makes it one of the most fascinating visitor attractions in the area.
Originally the house was a 12th-century rectory owned by the Bishops of Carlisle, who worshipped in the magnificent Norman Parish Church adjacent to the Hall. Sir John Coke was the first member of the family to make his home at Melbourne, restoring parts of the house around 1628.
Renishaw Hall & Gardens, Eckington
Home to the Sitwell family for nearly 400 years. The famous literary trio, Edith, Osbert, and Sacheverell Sitwell were all patrons of the arts and played a significant part in the artistic and literary world at the beginning of the 20th-century.
Renishaw is still very much a family home which adds to its unique atmosphere. Over 115 years ago Sir George Sitwell created what is today one of the most important classical Italianate gardens in Britain.
Tissington Hall, Ashbourne
Tissington Hall was built in 1609 by Francis FitzHerbert to replace the moated fortification that guarded the Norman Church of St Mary’s in the centre of the village.
For over 400 years the Hall has presided over this picturesque Estate Village which is five miles north of the delightful market town of Ashbourne at the southern tip of the Peak District.
Belvoir Castle, Belvoir
Crowning a hill in rural Leicestershire, Belvoir Castle has been the home to the Duke of Rutland’s family since 1067. With extraordinary views the castle remains as one of the most magnificent and beautiful Regency houses in England.
The current family take great pleasure welcoming visitors and sharing its grand historic beauty which can be seen in the popular Netflix series ‘The Crown’ as it doubles up as Windsor Castle, as well as films such as ‘The Young Victoria’ and ‘Victoria & Abdul’ starring Judi Dench.
Rockingham Castle, Market Harborough
Rockingham Castle has stood on this wonderful escarpment position for almost 950 years. There are very few homes that have been owned by just one family since being relinquished as a royal Castle.
Whether it is images of Knights in shining armour, a Tudor house, a Victorian home staffed with servants, or contemporary art, Rockingham has it all.
Stanford Hall, Lutterworth
Stanford Hall was built in the time of William and Mary. It is surrounded by ancient parkland rich in natural history and beauty and a further 900 acres. We are a grade 1 listed private stately home that has been in the same family for over 300 years.
In the Hall, itself, we have a magnificent ballroom with a beautifully restored fresco ceiling and portraits of the Stuart Kings of England. There is also a splendid Norman church a short walk away through the park.
Whatton House & Gardens, Loughborough
Whatton House and Gardens has a sense of serenity and charm that draws you in.
Visitors to our gardens and those who choose to celebrate their wedding day here never fail to be taken in by the welcoming and familiar feel of the gardens and the sense that Whatton is a much-cherished family home.
Seek out an event in the East Midlands
There are few better places to watch an outdoor cinema screening, attend a rock concert, peruse a flower market, or enjoy a play than in the house or grounds of a historic house or garden. The East Midlands, with their high concentration of such places, plays host to a huge variety of special and unique events that will live long in the memory. Take a look at our events page to see events in the East Midlands.
Burghley House, Stamford
Built and mostly designed by William Cecil, Lord High Treasurer to Queen Elizabeth I, between 1555 and 1587, the main part of the House has 35 major rooms on the ground and first floors.
There are more than 80 lesser rooms and numerous halls, corridors, bathrooms and service areas. The lead roof extends to three quarters of an acre, restoration and rebuilding of which began in 1983 and took nearly ten years to complete.
Doddington Hall, Doddington
Doddington is a much-loved family home, built between 1593 and 1600 by Robert Smythson for Thomas Tailor, who was a lawyer, the Recorder to the Bishop of Lincoln.
Visitors are able to explore not only the Hall and Gardens but also the Bike Shop, Café, Restaurant, Coffee Shop, Home Store, Farrow & Ball and Country Clothing Store.
Easton Walled Gardens, Grantham
Since 2001, Ursula and Fred Cholmeley have restored this ancient garden from an overgrown wilderness to the nationally important garden it once was.
The restoration continues year on year with innovative new planting schemes and currently includes herbaceous borders, roses, sweet peas, spring bulbs, cutflower and vegetable gardens set off by limestone buildings and surrounded by beautiful parkland.
Elsham Hall, Brigg
Elsham Hall Gardens and Country Park offers beautiful lakeside gardens, a contemporary walled garden, an adventure playground and a variety of animals and birds.
The Walled Garden is a magnificent 4 acre site which has been excitingly re-landscaped. Originally a private garden for cultivating flowers, fruit and vegetables for the ‘big’ house it is now a contemporary garden to be enjoyed by all.
Grimsthorpe Castle, Bourne
Grimsthorpe Castle sits amongst rolling Lincolnshire countryside surrounded by gardens, extensive historic woodland and a 50-acre lake.
Descendants of the deer that King Henry VIII hunted now roam the parkland, grazing under ancient oaks. Enjoy the chance to soak up the atmosphere and ‘Spirit of Place’ in a Castle that has been home to the same family since 1516 and is filled with fine furniture, paintings and tapestries.
Scawby Hall, Brigg
Scawby Hall is a Grade 1-listed, Jacobean manor house that was first begun by Richard Nelthorpe (1569-1640) in 1603 and has been lived in by members of the Nelthorpe family ever since.
The house has been expanded and remodelled by successive generations. In 1792, upon the sale of Baysgarth Hall in Barton-upon-Humber, Scawby Hall became the main residence in Lincolnshire of the Nelthorpe family.
Althorp is a Grade I listed stately home and estate in the civil parish of Althorp, in Daventry District, Northamptonshire, England of about 13,000 acres. By road it is about 6 miles northwest of the county town of Northampton and about 75 miles northwest of central London.
Boughton House, Kettering
Boughton is both a family home and one of Britain’s grandest and best-preserved stately homes. The house is renowned for its outstanding collections of fine art, furniture, tapestries, porcelain and carpets.
Visitors can view a magnificent range of paintings by great artists, including The Adoration of the Shepherds by El Greco, Gainsborough’s, more than forty grisailles and portraits by Van Dyck, and Breaking Cover by John Wootton to name but a few.
Cottesbrooke Hall, Cottesbrooke
Cottesbrooke Hall is a fine red brick and stone Queen Anne house, begun in 1702. It contains English and Continental furniture and porcelain, and a renowned picture collection – particularly of sporting and equestrian subjects.
In the tranquil Wild Garden, laid out around a stream, you can enjoy wild flowers, specimen acers, bamboos and gunneras. The more formal gardens surrounding the Hall are a series of individually planted ‘rooms’.
Deene Park, Corby
Deene Park has been the home of the Brudenell family for 500 years since 1514 and was the seat of the 7th Earl of Cardigan who led the Charge of the Light Brigade in 1854.
The house has grown in size as generations have made their own mark through the years, providing the visitor with an interesting yet complementary mixture of styles.
Visit the East Midlands without a car
While your first thought might be to jump in a car and drive over to the houses and gardens you see here, we’re really keen to encourage you to think about alternative means of transport to visit these wonderful places. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Good Journey to help you design more sustainable routes for your trip to historic houses and gardens. Take a look at their website for further information.
...also in Northamptonshire
Holdenby House, Northampton
Once the largest private house in England and subsequently the palace of James I and prison of Charles I, Holdenby has appeared in the BBC’s acclaimed adaptations of Great Expectations and The Woman in White.
Sitting on a hill overlooking 2,000 acres of rolling countryside, its suite of elegant state rooms open onto beautiful Grade I-listed gardens making it an enchanting and ever popular venue for weddings.
Kelmarsh Hall, Northampton
Built in 1732, successive owners and influences have left their imprint on this elegant Palladian style home.
From noted antiquarian William Hanbury to banker and horse-racing enthusiasts Richard Naylor, each resident’s stories can be found within the hall; but none more so than Nancy Lancaster, ‘doyenne of the Country House style’ or the servants working and living ‘below stairs’ and in the laundry.
Lamport Hall, Northampton
Nestled in the Northamptonshire countryside, and yet only a short drive from the motorway network, Lamport has a story worth hearing.
A Tudor founder, blind book collector, wayward 17th-century grand tourist, eccentric Victorian, Hollywood actor, commanding wives and dedicated daughters – Lamport is full of characters.
Sulgrave Manor, near Banbury
Sulgrave Manor was built in 1539 for Tudor wool merchant Lawrence Washington, a direct ancestor of George Washington, the future first President of the United States.
It remained in the ownership of the Washington family for only two generations, and was sold out of the family in 1659. Substantial alterations were made to the house in the 18th century and during the following century it was inhabited by a succession of tenant farmers.
Holme Pierrepont Hall, Nottingham
Holme Pierrepont Hall is the earliest brick building in Nottinghamshire, built by Sir William Pierrepont in 1500 and still lived in by his descendants.
The house is set in Parkland and Gardens, ten or so minutes from the middle of Nottingham, yet in a rural setting, as part of a hamlet that once was the centre of a large estate.
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