JUL 05,2016 - JUL 05,2016 (1 DAYS)
Introduction: It is a very peaceful place. It is rural Warwickshire. The estate has many facets - each worth a one-day visit: the house itself steeped in history is comprised of several beautiful buildings: the main lawn overlooking the river is magnificent, the gardens are superb and walking into the extensive deer park is unforgettable, delicious food in the Orangery cafe' serving a range of hot meals and light snacks as well(mainly: bacon sandwiches, quiche, potatoes and salad and cakes). If you use public transportation - you'll need, at least, 3/4 day. The grounds are extensive and your walks will consume, each between half an hour and an hour and an half. It is a bit of a walk from the bus station ( and the car park) to the estate's house itself.
Location and transportation: Charlecote is a delight to visit Charlecote Park is 10 km. south of Warwick and 6 km) east of Stratford-upon-Avon, on the banks of the River Avon near the (large) village of Wellesbourne. It is maintained and administered by the National Trust (NT). NT members have free entrance. Public transportation is with bus only: the Stagecoach X18 bus from Stratford-upon-Avo to Royal Leamington Spa. Some services even go as far as Coventry. The bus stops near Charlecote Pheasant Hotel, There is NO shelter with the bus stops. In case of rain - wait in the hotel's facilities. Times of departure from Stratford (weekdays): 08.23, 09.05, 10.07, 10.38, 10.51. SAT: 09.08, 09.51 (X17), 10.38. SUN: 10.33, 11.33, 12.33, 13.33.
History: The Lucy family owned the land for 800 years, since 1247. Charlecote Park was built in 1550 by Sir Thomas Lucy (1532-1600), a magistrate under Elizabeth I, on the foundations of an even earlier medieval house. The house has Tudor appearance with iconic gatehouse and romantic turrets. Queen Elizabeth I stayed in the room that is now the drawing room. Young William Shakespeare (a legend) had been brought into court, to be tried by Sir Thomas Lucy I for poaching his deer. It is unclear whether there were any deer in the park at that time. The story goes that Shakespeare was forced to flee the area to avoid prosecution by Sir Thomas. The young playwright escaped to London, and the rest, as they say, is history. Although the general outline of the Tudor/Elizabethan house remains, nowadays it is in fact mostly Victorian. Successive generations of the Lucy family had modified Charlecote Park over the centuries. In 1823, George Hammond Lucy (High Sheriff of Warwickshire in 1831) inherited the house. The lands around the house were landscaped by Capability Brown in about 1760. This resulted in Charlecote becoming a popular destination for notable tourists to Stratford-upon-Avon from the late 17th to mid-18th century. Brown created a raised lawn and planted it with the cedars of Lebanon which you see today:
Opening hours: House - 11.00 - 16.00, Garden - 11.00 -18.00, Deer Park and Outbuildings - 10.00 - 18.00. On Wednesdays during Warwickshire school holidays the house is open for afternoons only, 12.00 until 15.00 with last entry at 14.30. Prices (House, Gardens, Park & Outbuildings): adult - £12.00, child - £6.00, family - £30.00.
Lucy family, the owners built a special gatehouse for queen Elizabeth I, who visited their estate, which still stands today ! The original two-storey Elizabethan gatehouse that guards the approach to the house remains unaltered. You can climb to the top of the gatehouse for a great view of the house:
There are eighteenth-century lead statues to west side of the steps to the Cedar Lawn.These are almost life-size figures of a shepherds:
House Interiors: The Charlecote House tells, mainly, the Lucy Family story: their portraits as well as through the objects they collected from around the world. You, easily, observe the design influence they had on the house and parkland. You see how Mary Elizabeth Lucy spared no expense furnishing it in Victorian times.
The Great Hall has a barrel-vaulted ceiling made of plaster painted to look like timber and is a fine setting for the splendid collection of family portraits. Other rooms have richly coloured wallpaper, decorated plaster ceilings and wood paneling. There are magnificent pieces of furniture and fine works of art, including a contemporary painting of Queen Elizabeth I. Inside there are the official rooms like the dining room, library and entrance hall:
Sir Thomas Lucy & Family - picture on the western wall of the Great Hall:
the Great Hall the southern wall - Casandra (was in love with Appolo) and fall of Troy:
The Great Hall leads to the Billiard Room:
Queen Elizabeth I stayed in the room that is now the drawing room with the harp:
Ebony Bedroom. So called after the grand ebony-wood bed which dominates the room:
Ebony Dressing Room:
Marvellous Teak Cabinet:
The Library. All are original books including copies of Shakespeare plays. The large library has a beautiful view out into the garden and down to the river:
The dining room is set out ready for an important visitor:
Even the traditional kitchens are open with cooks making period cakes.
No “upstairs downstairs” here – servants at Charlecote used to live in outbuildings next to the house and the laundry, brew-house and tackroom provide a real sense of the physical hard work undertaken employees in years gone by:
Behind the house there is not-so-big area of formal gardens and terraces. The gardens include a formal parterre and colourful herbaceous plantings:
The Parterre. Mary Elizabeth’s presence still influences the gardens. Her formal riverside Parterre was carefully reinstated twenty years ago and twice a year the estate's gardeners co-ordinate a new design and organise the back-breaking planting of thousands of new bulbs and bedding plants. The summer scheme is planted in mid-June and is in full colour by early July:
In the south-west side of the estate flows the river Avon:
The south-west side of Charlecote estate:
Deer in front of the south-west side of the estate:
Beyond the gardens and the house there is a large deer park designed by Capability Brown, where a herd of deer still roam. The woodland walk and the wider parkland (inspired by ‘Capability’ Brown), offer miles of walks and views across the River Avon. A herd of fallow deer has been in the park since Tudor times. The deer walks, surprisingly, are very close to human walkers. A rare opportunity to catch splendid photos with these noble animals:
Opposite the Charlcete Park there is family-run Charlecote Plant and Shrub Centre:
Finally, there is an extensive West Park. It is closed, every year during October-November weeks to allow for the deer not to be disturbed during the rut. But the West Park is mainly inhabited by Sheep, rams and breeding ewes. The lambing period starts in early April. The ewes girls are painted in red, green or blue. If there is no warning or restriction of public entry - OPEN THE GATE YOURSELF !
The West park is far more extensive than the Deer Park. If not closed or restricted - you'll spend more than one hour exploring its splendid landscape and animals:
Do not miss the Lime Avenue. These ancient lime trees – two distinct varieties, totalling 133 trees in all - are badly in need of arborial restoration and conservation work. Funds had been raised for continuing their existence:
Charlecote House from West Park: