Cotswolds Historic Houses & Gardens

Cotswold Historic Houses & Gardens

North Cotswolds

Snowshill Manor and Garden

A National Trust property not far from Broadway.  It. Is a sixteenth century country house, best known for its twentieth century owner, Charles Paget Wade, an eccentric who amassed an enormous collection of thousands of objects that interested him over a period of 50 years.   He gave the property to the the National Trust in 1951, and his collection is still housed there. His motto was “Let nothing perish.” Wade was an architect, artist-craftsman, collector, poet and heir to the family fortune. He restored the property, living in a small cottage in the garden and using the Manor House as a home for his collection. The garden has an elaborate layout resembling a series of outside rooms, seen as an extension to the house. Features include terraces and ponds and Wade’s fascination with colours and scents is reflected in the garden.

What you can look forward to on your visit:

  • The collection includes toys, Samurai armour, musical instruments and clocks.
  • Exploration of the house feels like an adventure of discovery.
  • Outside you will find an ancient dovecote, model village, kitchen garden, orchards and small fields with sheep.
  • Glorious views across the Cotswold landscape.
  • The “haunted” Priest’s House where Wade made his eccentric home.
  • A cafe with outdoor seating, a gift shop and a second hand book shop.


Sezincote House and Gardens

‘India in the Cotswolds’ – Sezincote is unique. Set on the hill above Moreton-in-Marsh stands a 200 year old Mogul Indian palace set in a romantic landscape of temples, grottoes, waterfalls and canals reminiscent of the Taj Mahal. The house is privately owned and stands at the centre of a thriving agricultural estate which provides resources to maintain the house. The architecture is a unique blend of Hindu and Muslim styles and is credited with influencing the design of the Brighton Pavilion after a visit by the Prince Regent in 1807. The interior of the house is purely classical – Greek Revival – and no attempt was ever made to Indianise it.

What you can look forward to on your visit:

  • After winding through mighty oak trees that line the long drive you will see a weathered-copper onion dome straight out of India.
  • On the south front is a curving orangery unfurls above the landscape.
  • A series of spring-fed pools connected by gurgling water eventually feed into the River Evenlode below.


Chastleton House and Gardens

A Jacobean country house situated between Moreton-in- Marsh and Chipping Norton.  Owned by the same increasingly impoverished family until 1991, Chastleton remained essentially a time capsule and a hidden treasure trove for barely 400 years as the interiors and collection gradually yielded to the ravages of time. Chastleton House was built between 1607 and 1612 and, with its beautiful gardens, is a fantastic example and survivor of a bygone age. The house was eventually passed to the National Trust in 1991 by the last owner, Barbara Clutton Brock.

What you can look forward to on your visit:

  • The beautiful and intriguing Jacobean garden with a 400 year old tree.
  • Count the topiary in the Best Garden.
  • Find out about Walter Whitmore Jones, the man behind the rules of croquet.


Upton House and Gardens

Lord and Lady Bearsted’s 1930s country retreat situated at Edge Hill near Banbury. The house, gardens and art collection were gifted to the National Trust in 1948. Members of the family continued to live there until 1988, when all the furniture, porcelain snd other items on view were offered to the nation. A main attraction of Upton is the garden and the collection of fine art paintings. Explore the beautiful Warwickshire countryside around Upton House, with inspiring views and the chance to survey the site of a historic battle not too far away.

What you can look forward to on your visit:

  • The plunging walk down through the woods to the mysterious black pool.
  • The wonderful art collection in the house.
  • The Pavilion Cafe for drinks and light snacks.


Hidcote House and Gardens

This is the home of the famous Arts and Crafts-inspired garden with intricately designed outdoor spaces in the rolling Cotswpld hills near Chipping Campden. This was the first garden of national importance taken on by the National Trust in 1948. The manor house was built in the 17th century as a farm house. It was purchased by Lawrence Johnson and his mother in 1907. The creation of intimate garden rooms around the house was succeeded after WWI by extending the boundaries and the creation of the Long Walk and the Wilderness.

What you can look forward to on your visit:

  • The lovely ‘outdoor rooms’ each with its own character.
  • The Pillar Garden dominated by 22 vast architectural yew pillars that create the effect of walking through classical ruins.
  • The Bathing Pool Garden surrounded by tall box hedges with sculpted topiary birds that frame the steps down to the bathing pool.
  • The Red Borders and Gazebos that peek through the plantings to surprise the visitor.


Kiftsgate Court Gardens

Famed for its roses, Kiftsgate is the creation of three generations of women gardeners. It was started in the 1920s and is situated a hundred yards from Hidcote Manor. The gardens are well known for the famous Kiftsgate Rose, a scented climbing rose which is claimed to be the largest rose in Britain. It is said that it is in danger of compromising the integrity of the beech tree which it has colonized owing to the weight of its foliage.

What you can look forward to on your visit:

  • The White Sunk Garden where all the principal shrubs have white flowers.
  • The Four Squares and Terrace with a mixture of rare shrubs and perennials.
  • The Water Garden created from an old tennis court with a restrained design in black, white and green.
  • Drive and Bluebell Wood – a spectacular sight in early May.
  • The Tearoom with food handmade daily from fresh local ingredients.s


Farnborough Hall

A National Trust Grade I listed building, this beautiful country house sits just inside the Warwickshire border near Banbury. It is made of honey-coloured stone with exquisite plasterwork and has a fine landscaped garden. Farnborough is an outstanding example of the work of Sanderson Miller. He introduced water features, walkways, hedge and tree planting that were in contrast to the open and, at that time, unenclosed agricultural land of the Midlands.

What you can look forward to on your visit:

  • A welcoming family home containing family items and photographs and many treasures.
  • A natural style of landscaping on a smaller scale than those of Miller’s contemporary Capability Brown’s grander landscapes.
  • The centrepiece of the parkland is the Terrace Walk built on an existing slope with 26 spectacular viewing points.
  • Water features including the manmade Serpentine lake and other informal lakes around three sides of the Hall.
  • A quiz and trail for children.


Cornwell Manor

Cornwell is a 2.000 ace estate between Chipping Norton and Stow-on-the-Wold. The original Jacobean manor house was built on the proceeds of the lucrative Cotswold wool trade. It is never open to the public but it is available for exclusive private hire, weddings and events during a few months of the year.

What you can look forward to on your visit:

  • To stay here offers a glimpse into a rare and privileged, very British way of life.
  • To be married here is a fantasy fulfilled.
  • The house becomes your home until you leave.


Stanway House & Fountain

A Jacobean manor house and water gardens in the heart of the Cotswolds. It is famous for its 300 feet single jet fountain, the highest in Britain and the highest gravity fountain in the world. The house, its fascinating furniture, the jewel-like Gatehouse, the church and 14th-century Tithe Barn, the 18th-century water garden, the specimen trees and avenues, the surrounding villages, farms, parkland and woodland all subtly combine to create a harmonious enclave.

What you can look forward to on your visit:

  • 20 acres of planted landscape in early 18th century formal setting.
  • The restored canal, upper pond and fountain have re-created one of the most interesting Baroque water gardens in Britain.
  • The garden rises in a series of dramatic terraced lawns to a 36 metre high pyramid.


Brockworth Court

A Tudor house in the village of Brockworth near Tewkesbury. Originally attached to a priory in the 12th century and remained as a Priors’ residence until the dissolution of the monasteries in 1540 when it was inhabited by John Guise, Lord of the Manor. Brockworth Court Tithe Barn was built in the 13th century and almost completely destroyed by fire in 1996. It was rebuilt using traditional materials and methods. The Tithe Barn hosts a number of wedding celebrations and the gardens are part of the National Gardens Scheme and are open to the public on certain days during May, June and September.

What you can look forward to on your visit:

  • Seeing the fine restoration of the Tithe Barn
  • Art and craft events.


Ilmington Manor

Situated at the northern end of the Cotswolds in Warwickshire it was built in the 1560s. It has passed through many families through complicated inheritances and sales until the present owner’s grandfather took it in hand and began a program of restoration to this day. The garden is notable for its extensive yew topiary, shrubs, ornamental trees and herbaceous borders surrounding this Elizabethan Cotswold stone manor house.

What you can look forward to on your visit:

  • The lovely garden.
  • The village of Ilmington is worth a walk round. It is very pretty.


Upton Wold

Set in a beautiful Cotswold landscape near Moreton -in- Marsh, this hidden private garden has taken forty years to create. There is an exceptional collection of trees, shrubs and plants. The garden has evolved and changed over time and a vegetable and fruit garden was added as was, in 2010, a gravel garden.

What you can look forward to on your visit:

  • The Pond Garden lies hidden beyond a wildflower meadow, approached through a wrought iron gate.
  • From the Hidden Garden a path leads through an old orchard.
  • Beyond the Woodland Garden is the arboretum of mainly walnut trees.


Whittington Court

Whittington Court is a small Tudor manor house near Cheltenham. Queen Elizabeth I dined there in 1592 on her progress through Gloucestershire. Visitors today are able to see most of the main rooms including the dining hall which is the most complete part of the main house.The gardens are there to enjoy as well as the Tithe Barn built in 1614.

What you can look forward to on your visit:

  • The massive oak staircase with its rare early dog-gate.
  • An attic bedroom which was the design and block printing studio of the owner of the house.
  • Collections of glass, ceramics, textiles, minerals, fossils and Egyptian artefacts.


Hardwicke Court

A late 18th-century house designed by famous Georgian architect

Robert Smirke is a privately owned mansion six miles south of Gloucester.  The interiors feature a suite of attractive Georgian chambers, including a dining room, drawing room, library and entrance hall. Outside the house is a canal from an 18th-century water garden. The early house, 16th century, was built to a U shape, rather than the common E-shape so popular in Tudor times. The house was accessed by a bridge over the moat, guarded by a gatehouse.

What you can look forward to on your visit:

  • The welcoming feel of a family home.
  • The library is dark wood with paintings and portraits on display.
  • The Round Lawn lined with colorful borders.
  • The Canal, a long narrow stretch of water overlooked by a row of carefully arranged trees.
  • A ha-ha beyond which cattle graze peacefully.


Kelmscote Manor

The inspirational Cotswold retreat of William Morris, Victorian textile designer, poet, novelist and Father of the Arts and Crafts movement. It is on the eastern edge of the Cotswolds, not far from Lechlade. On display is an outstanding collection of possessions and works of Morris. Visitors can experience the beauty and seclusion that inspired many of William Morris’s most important designs and writings as well as influencing his ideas on conservation for both the built and natural environments. It became Morris’s  summer retreat from the pressures and smog of London.

What you can look forward to on your visit:

  • Gardens enclosed by high walls and divided by hedges.
  • An important group of historic barns, dovecot and former stabling.
  • The tearoom for delicious food and drink.


Frampton Court

Situated in Frampton-on-Severn beside the longest village green in England and within beautiful parkland, Grade I listed Frampton Court is a magnificent mixture of Baroque and Palladian architecture. The furniture is largely contemporary 18th century and fireplaces have exotic Bristol Delft tiles. At the end of the 17th century  ornamental Dutch canal sits the fantastic “Strawberry Hill” orangery, now a romantic holiday retreat.

What you can look forward to on your visit:

  • The Wool Barn built in the 1560s, it has been restored to its former glory.
  • House and garden tours.
  • Events such as traditional country fairs.

South Cotswolds


Woodchester Park

Nestled in a wooded valley with parkland, lakes and pastures, Woodchester Park surrounds an unfinished Victorian mansion. The parkland was where wealthy landowners, the Ducie family, and their guests could hunt, ride and enjoy elegant carriage drives. The family lived in the original Georgian house on the estate. This was demolished in 1845 by the new owner, William Leigh, a wealthy shipowner, in order to build a new mansion. He ran out of money during this process and left the Victorian Gothic mansion unfinished.

What you can look forward to on your visit:

  • The boathouse walk.
  • Looking out for the variety of birds that have made the woods and lakes their home.
  • The Greater Horseshoe bat, one of the rarest bats in Britain can bee seen flying over the woods at dusk.


Dyrham Park

This 17th-century house, ancient parkland and garden, owned by the National Trust is an early example of how a fortune made from empire was invested in a landed estate, transforming Dyrham into one of the most notable stately homes of its age. It is situated not far from the city of Bath in the southern tip of the Cotswolds. The impressive Baroque mansion house  contains a  collection of fine art and Dutch Deltware.

What you can look forward to on your visit:

  • The sumptuously decorated interior, with an Italianate double staircase and Delft tile-ware, reflecting the royal connections and Dutch influence of William Blathwayt, secretary of war to William of Orange.
  • 270 acres of ancient parkland full of magnificent trees and breathtaking views.
  • Plenty of space for young explorers to run free, be in nature and tick off challenges on their ’50 things’ list.
  • Gift shop and tea-room to relax in.


Newark Park

Newark Park stands on top of the Cotswold escarpment, looking down into the Ozleworth valley and to the Mendips beyond. This is an unspoilt corner of Gloucestershire, with barely a sign of modern life visible in any direction. It was built in 1550 by Nicholas Poyntz, an influential courtier to Henry VIII. The whole estate grew and then declined over the next 350 years until it was restored by a Texan architect in the 1970s and 80s. The intriguing history of Newark Park is reflected in the quirky collection of furnishings bringing it a homely feel. The garden and estate are full of seasonal specials in the beautiful setting of the Cotswold countryside.

What you can look forward to on your visit:

  • The architectural intrigue, quaint gardens and sprawling parkland.
  • The Tudor hunting lodge.
  • Estate walks in 700 acres of parkland.
  • The garden laid out over three levels is a perfect backdrop for Newark House.
  • Family fun in the wooded play area.
  • The Tea Pavilion for drinks and snacks.


Rodmarton Manor

Privately owned, Rodmarton Manor is a supreme example of a house built, and all its furniture made, according to Arts and Crafts ideals in the early years of the 20th century. It is one of the last country houses to be built and furnished in the old traditional style when everything was done by hand with local stone, local timber and local craftsmen. The 8 acre Cotswold garden in glorious Gloucestershire is interesting any month of the year but really beautiful in the summer months. It was designed originally as a series of outdoor rooms and is still the same today.

What you can look forward to on your visit:

  • The use of traditional Cotswold crafts which had been in danger of dying out.
  • Rare Plant Fair held in June with the opportunity to buy specialist or interesting plants from genuine growers and nurseries.
  • Opera Brava in the garden in July.
  • Crafts Alive exhibition of the Gloucestershire Guild of Craftsmen in September.


Chavenage House

Th origins of Chavenage lie way back in mediaeval times with its first owner being Princess Goda, the sister of Edward the Confessor. For about 300 years ir housed a community of Augustinian monks from Tours in France. After the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII it was granted to Thomas Seymour who married Henry’s widow Katherine Parr. He was later executed for treason and the property reverted to the Crown. Edward Stephens purchased it  in 1564 and embarked on a major reconstruction of the site, culminating in a classic Elizabethan manor house. He recycled ecclesiastical windows from redundant churches and monasteries in the area, and timbers from old galleons broken up on the nearby River Severn.

What you can look forward to on your visit:

  • Immersing yourself in the fascinating history of the place.
  • Feeling that you are in the relaxed atmosphere of a family house.
  • Escaping into the peaceful surroundings of a Cotswold manor, virtually unchanged for 400 years.
  • Seeing where the BBC remake of Poldark was filmed. The house played the part of Trenwith, the Poldark family pile.


Dr Jenner’s House, Museum and Garden

The birthplace of vaccination and the home of the country doctor who changed the world. Born in 1749 Edward Jenner grew up in the Gloucestershire town of Berkeley. He trained as a surgeon in London and returned to his home in the Cotswolds where he conducted various experiments in medicine, horticulture and the natural world. Then in 1796 he carried out the world’s first controlled vaccination against smallpox. Soon after he established a free vaccination clinic in his peaceful garden.

What you can look forward to on your visit:

  • The Temple of Vaccinia, the rustic hut he turned into the vaccination clinic.
  • Finding out about how Jenner devoted the rest of his life to promoting the benefits of vaccination.
  • The legacy of eradication of smallpox in 1979.


Painswick Rococo Garden

Painswick Rococo Garden is quirky and pretty unique. Designed in the 1740s as a fanciful pleasure garden for the owner of Painswick House and his guests, today it’s a place to roam free, to get up close and personal with nature, or to feel the warmth of the sun on your face as you take in the spectacular views of the Cotswold countryside and magical follies. Paths within the Garden are steep and uneven and only about 20% of the Garden is accessible to wheelchairs. The garden is known as one of the best places to see carpets of snowdrops during early spring, but it is a fascinating place to visit all year round.

What you can look forward to on your visit:

  • Guided tours are available for groups.
  • Children can enjoy fresh air, adventure and fun in the rustic play area, quirky follies and the amazing maze.
  • Look out for unexpected pieces of art dotted around the Garden.
  • Picnic tables are beside the car park and on the Bowling Green in the heart of the garden.
  • The Cafe offers delicious homemade food and drinks.


The Garden at Miserden

Situated between Cheltenham and Stroud, Miserden is a picturesque estate with environmental and community values at its heart.  A family-run rural estate overlooking the Golden Valley, an area of outstanding natural beauty in the Cotswolds. The estate encompasses 850 acres 0f woodland, farmland and gardens providing a sanctuary for wildlife and a tranquil escape to allow you to spend time with your family and friends.

What you can look forward to on your visit:

  • Beautiful flowering beds, shrubs and fine topiary, some of which were designed by Edward Lutyens.
  • Wander through the woods, around farmland, and beside the lake.
  • See the stunning views of the Golden Valley.
  • The Nursery – a beautifully ornate cafe set inside an old Edwardian greenhouse.


Westonbirt House and Gardens

The finest example of Victorian architecture, landscapes and gardens in the Cotswolds and home to the famous Westonbirt Arboretum. In the 19th century Robert Stayner Holford invested the family wealth into the Westonbirt estate and his collection of fine art and books. He founded and stocked the Westonbirt Arboretum and his private garden with exotic species of trees. The Holford Trust, which looks after the historical site of Westonbirt House (now a boarding school) and grounds, regularly hosts Open House and Garden days from April to October. It is situated about 3 miles South-west of Tetbury.

What you can look forward to on your visit:

  • Italian gardens for a leisurely stroll.
  • Camellia House
  • Chapel
  • Beautiful grounds.


Highgrove House and Gardens

Highgrove House near Tetbury is the family home of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall.  The garden at Highgrove embodies The Duke’s environmental philosophy that it is better to work with nature than against it – and is run on an entirely organic basis. A specially built reed bed sewage system, much loved by dragonflies at its treatment end, is used for all Highgrove waste. Rare trees and plants are grown for future generations to enjoy, and heritage seeds are planted  to ensure these varieties continue to flourish. Today, after considerable time and effort, the Highgrove gardens and Duchy Home Farm are flagship examples of the organic movement, both in terms of environmental sustainability and their natural beauty. The Duke is particularly proud of his garden and regularly invites various groups, schools and charities to enjoy a tour. Approximately 250 groups visit each year.

What you can look forward to on your visit:

  • .An expert guide takes you on a tour to discover the history, inspiration and unique organic management behind the incredible series of gardens.
  • Champagne Tea Tour, exploring the garden in small groups followed by a delicious Champagne afternoon tea.
  • Private Tour, for a private party of up to 8 guests.
  • The Orchard Tea Room.
  • Estate shop selling artisan products, country attire, jewellery and even HRH The Prince of Wales’s own artwork.