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The principle seat of the Dukes of Newcastle, the surrounding estate is now a National Trust owned Clumber Park open to the public. In part designed by the famous landscape gardener Capability Brown, the park is home to the longest avenue of Lime Trees in Europe, a superb 87 acre serpentine lake and an outstanding gothic revival chapel.
The original mansion was demolished in 1938 but the pleasure grounds and walled kitchen garden give you clues to its grand past. And if all of this splendour isn’t enough, you’ll find an exhibition that gives more on the history of the estate, including an intriguing role during World War II.
Home to the Dukes of Kingston and later the Earls of Manvers, this impressive hall has been rebuilt twice since the original was destroyed by fire in 1745. Now the hall is an adults only country house hotel with spa owned by the Warner Group.
Thoresby Courtyard is free for the public to access and you can wander through the extensive wood and parkland surrounding the estate via a series of way marked walks. Take time out to enjoy a coffee in the Courtyard which also has working arts studios and hosts cultural activities and events throughout the year.
Although it's no longer standing the original building, probably designed by Robert Smythson, was once the seat of George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury. During the reign of Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots was kept prisoner here as the devout Roman Catholic had claims to the English throne.
George Talbot was the fourth husband to Bess of Hardwick who was also responsible for Derbyshire's Chatsworth and Hardwick Halls. The manor was descended by marriage to the Duke of Norfolk and it remained in the family until 1840 when it was sold to the Duke of Newcastle of nearby Clumber Park.
The new owner pulled down the fire damaged mansion as he was only interested in adding the land to his own estate and all that remains today is the servant’s wing.
The estate for Welbeck Abbey was first mentioned in the Domesday Book and eventually came into the hands of the first Duke of Newcastle. In the 18th century, it passed through an heiress into the Bentinck family and became the main seat of the Earls and Dukes of Portland. The reclusive 5th Duke of Portland undertook substantial building works at the Abbey including a network of tunnels between the house and riding school and, it's claimed, towards Worksop.
The descendents of the Cavendish Bentinck family still live on the estate and until recently, the Abbey was leased to the Ministry of Defence as an army training college. Visitors can acces parts of the estate including the Harley Gallery near the Welbeck Farm Shop. You can also learn about local produce and food at the School of Artisan Food.
Visit our country parks section to get ideas on where to visit during your holiday.
Stay overnight with the Mercure Hotel and receive a discounted package that's unique to your needs. Whether it's a grab and go breakfast or home and office comforts for the business traveller, there's something for you.
From: Tuesday, 18th June 2013
To: Tuesday, 31st December 2013