The Best of British holiday parks are all part of an elite group, they are all family/independently owned. We love to promote British tourism and holidays at home (or staycations if you prefer!). So, it's natural that we want to give a mention to some like minded organisations.
Historic Houses is a favourite in the Best of British office, as we have some members among us! A cooperative association of independent historic houses, castles and gardens, they help to ensure owners can keep their properties alive and accessible for generations to come. There are hidden gem stately homes spread throughout the country and many you may not have heard of.
So, let's introduce you to our selection of Historic Houses to visit across England, Scotland and Wales when you're next on holiday! Do note though, the houses and gardens all operate their own opening times, so do check the links we've provided for opening dates and times.
1. Blair Castle, Scotland
Let's start with a location which plays host to one of the Scotland's Best of British holiday parks! Blair Castle itself is the ancient seat of the Dukes and Earls of Atholl and home to Europe's last remaining private army, the Atholl Highlanders. 30 rooms are on display, full of Scottish history, culture, art and architecture. Set in a stunning landscape, the castle grounds also feature a large walled garden, restored to its original Georgian design. It also features a Chinese bridge, a gothic folly and a trail of sculptures. The grounds are extensive and play host to an array of events and activities throughout the year.
Nearest Best of British park: Blair Castle Caravan Park, Blair Atholl, Perthshire
2. Gregynog Hall, Powys, Wales
Gregynog Hall is a historic house with beautiful gardens set in the heart of rural Montgomeryshire. The former home of art collectors and public benefactors, Gwendoline and Margaret Davies, it offers the opportunity for visitors to be inspired by the arts and natural environment.
The garden sits among 750 acres of land which is home to a magnificent collection of rhododendrons and azaleas and is a fantastic treat during autumn when the trees change colour. Situated centrally, Gregynog Hall is easy to reach even from our Shropshire based parks.
Nearest Best of British park: Daisy Bank Touring Caravan Park, Powys
3. Easton Walled Gardens, Lincolnshire
A hidden gem just off the A1 south of Grantham, Easton Walled Gardens is perfect if you love horticulture. Open from February to September, you can start your gardening year by visiting the snowdrops at the start of the season. The 400 year old garden is nestled in the Lincolnshire and Rutland countryside. Owned and managed by the Cholmeley family since 1561, through two recent world wars the natural environment had taken over hiding the gardens from view. Through considerable hard work, the gardens are now accessible, beautiful and somewhere well worth visiting.
4. Goodwood House, West Sussex
Home to the Dukes of Richmond for over 300 years, the estate is famous for the Goodwood Festival of Speed. However, among the high octane history of late, Goodwood House dates back to 1600 and is grade 1 listed. The same can be said for the woodlands and landscaped park, which are on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens. Goodwood houses some major art history, included paintings by horse artist George Stubbs and Canaletto's stunning views of London. Portraits of Kings and Queens, dukes and courtiers adorn the walls. So, if you love art, Goodwood is well worth visiting while you're on holiday in East Sussex, West Sussex or Hampshire.
Nearest Best of British park: Concierge Camping, Chichester
5. Godinton House and Gardens, Kent
A favourite in the Best of British office, Godinton is truly a hidden gem and well known by locals for the peace and tranquility it provides. Situated in the heart of Kent, the estate dates back to the 14th century. The house is more informal and comfortable than other properties and still reflects the tastes of the last owner, Alan Wyndham Green. It is designed to show what life was like during this period. Tours of the house are led by expert guides who unravel 600 years of history.
The grounds are stunning, with a famous yew hedge surrounding the formal gardens, with the wild, Italian and walled gardens beyond, full of colour and interest through the seasons and maintained close to Blomfield's original designs. The gardens are relatively flat, so can be enjoyed by all.
Nearest Best of British parks: Broadhembury Holiday Park, Ashford and Tanner Farm Touring Caravan and Camping Park, Marden.
6. Forde Abbey, Somerset
Forde Abbey in Chard is a former Cistercian monastery dating back to the early 12th century. In the 17th century, it was converted into a unique family home which now houses a collection of tapestries woven from cartoons drawn by Raphael for the Sistine Chapel. You can walk in the footsteps of the monks when you visit, and explore the exquisite interior featured in the latest Hollywood adaptation of 'Far From The Madding Crowd'.
Nominated for Historic Houses 'Garden of the Year' award in 2019, the garden continues to evolve. An Asian woodland and prairie garden are just a few of the new designs turning the page on the next chapter of the garden. The gardens are famous in the horticultural world and are often photographed for feature articles.
7. Trereife House, Penzance, Cornwall
The current owner of the house, and descendant of the original owners, Tim le Grice, is the tour guide at Trereife House (pronounced Treave). He gives a fascinating insight into the history of the house and grounds, including an explanation of why the house now faces in a different direction to when it was built! Situated near Penzance, visitors to Cornwall will know that there are many beautiful stately houses to visit in the area. However, this hidden gem is well worth a visit, you'll find it a much more personal experience and you'll be supporting the owners to maintain the house and gardens, ready for the next generation.
We hope you've enjoyed this selection of hidden gem stately homes to visit in England, Scotland and Wales. Do check the Historic Houses website for the opening times of each!