Beauty is to be enjoyed by all

Independently owned historic houses and gardens - often still lived in by families who have cared for and added to them for centuries - are special places that can be enjoyed by us all

Stubton Hall CHS Evening

History is about so much more than rooms, roofs, and relics. Independent heritage is alive in a way that no museum can be. In our houses, children are born and raised, dogs run about, the floors get muddy, and the sofas are used for sitting on.

And everyone is welcome to explore these fascinating places, in a score of ways: to visit, eat, shop, stay, get married, hold an event, or make a movie. Why would you do those things anywhere else, when some of the most ancient, exquisite, and extraordinary spaces, dripping with history and craftsmanship and the achievements of the finest minds in art architecture, are available instead.

It’s this that makes our places so special. They’re amongst humanity’s most significant aesthetic achievements – they easily give rise records, epitomes, and superlatives, from UNESCO World Heritage Sites to places with an almost mystical air of meaning and significance. But they’re also alive and evolving and working places, being used, as they were intended to be, for fun and inspiration. Historic houses aren’t just the works of past masters – they might be the places where the next Robert Adam, Capability Brown, or Hans Holbein will find their spark to create the twenty-first century’s masterpieces.

Become a Historic Houses member

Explore the nation’s heritage from just £68 per year.

Hundreds of the most beautiful historic houses, castles, and gardens across Britain offer our members free entry.

Also: receive a quarterly magazine, enjoy monthly online lectures, get exclusive invitations to buy tickets for behind-the-scenes tours, and take up a range of special offers on holidays, books, and other products you might like.

Join now
Forde Abbey in Somerset