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Historic Houses & Castles
Here’s a list of our recommended places to visit, making great days out for the family:
A beautiful historic house set in a glorious landscape of gardens and parkland within the heart of Nottinghamshire. Experience the romance and mystery of Newstead Abbey, which from 1808 – 1814 was the home to the notorious poet, Lord Byron. Inside the Abbey there is much to explore including Victorian room settings, and the poets private apartments.
Wollaton Hall is a spectacular Elizabethan mansion in the heart of Nottingham. It is a prominent Grade One Listed building and following its major programme of restoration, visitors of all ages are welcome to visit the hall and park.
Discover the family home of a well-to-do tradesman in the 1920s. This semi-detached house, National Trust property offers a glimpse into the past: nothing has been thrown away for more than 60 years! Family letters, photos, clothing, Victorian furniture and household objects can all be seen in their rightful places, where their owners left them.
Rufford Abbey Country Park is set in 150 acres of historic parkland, woodland and gardens in the North Nottinghamshire "Dukeries". This peaceful and beautiful site features the ruins of a medieval monastery, a contemporary craft centre, gardens, woodland walks, children's play village, sculpture trail, and a lake.
Follow the path trodden by hundreds of paupers in the 19th century at The Workhouse (National Trust property). Explore the segregated work yards, dayrooms, dormitories, master's quarters and cellars using the audio guide, based on archive records, to bring the 19th century inhabitants back to life in the empty rooms.
See the first home of D. H. Lawrence where he was born on 11th September 1885. Today the museum is an astounding re-creation of a Victorian family home, which is brought to life through informative friendly guides. The museum lets you explore the very heart of working class Victorian life through the home of the Lawrence family.
Situated on a high rock, Nottingham Castle commands spectacular views over the city. The castle was built by William the Conqueror’s son after the Norman invasion, the first incarnation of the Castle being built in 1068. The history of Nottingham Castle is chequered with sieges, murders and intrigue – it was known as the Legendary home to the Sheriff of Nottingham, Robin Hood’s mortal enemy. When the castle was destroyed after the Civil War, it was replaced by a magnificent ducal mansion in 1674. Then in 1875 it was converted into the first municipal museum and art gallery outside London. Award-winning cave tours tell all the history and take you down into the passageways and tunnels beneath the building.
Newark Castle has stood proudly on the banks of the River Trent for nearly 900 years – with now only one and a half sides of the castle remaining which includes the oldest part of the castle, a large gatehouse. The castle was built in 1133 by Alexander, Bishop of Lincoln, and it remained a seat of the Bishops of Lincoln until 1547 when King Henry VIII took it for the Crown.
Kelham Hall & Country Park is a magnificent Victorian house, built in 1863, set within 44 acres of gardens and parklands and located in the heart of Nottinghamshire.
It has a rich history as the ancestral home of the Manners-Sutton family, along with its use as a theological college for an Anglican Order of Monks. The distinct design features of renowned architect Sir George Gilbert Scott make it a fascinating place to visit.
The hilltop setting commands stunning views over the Vale of Belvoir, with glorious gardens and of course the fascinating magical castle to explore - there’s something for everyone of all ages. Inside the castle you will find many notable collections, from the military treasures in the guardroom to the stunning staterooms with their impressive period art, tapestries, furniture and sculpture. In contrast to the grandeur of the State Rooms, the Old Kitchen and Bakery will fuel your imagination of ‘below the stairs’ life in 1825. Belvoir Castle has limited opening times - therefore it is best to check their opening times/dates before visiting.
This fascinating Tudor House, nestled in tranquil country settings, was built in 1500 by William Pierrepont and is the oldest brick building in Nottinghamshire. Still occupied by descendants of William Pierrepont, the manor house today houses a vast array of portraits and valuable furniture which has been passed down through the centuries. As well as the historic building itself, the gardens surrounding the property command attention and are well worth exploring during a visit. Tours of the house and gardens are available throughout the year.
Dating back to the 16th century, Thrumpton Hall shares close ties with legendary local writer and romantic poet Lord Byron as it was once his ancestral home and frequently visited by his daughter Ada Lovelace. Many of Byron's posessions ended up in the home and are still there today as a result of his marriage to the 16 year old niece of former owner Mr Emerton; who had been lawyer to former owners, the Pigotts. Today, visitors can visit the historic hall and its pristine two acres of landscaped gardens. Tours of the hall can be arranged in advance.
History lives within every inch of Bolsover Castle and it's hard not to be captured by the tales woven into its past. Dating as far back as the 11th century, the castle owes its origins to William Peveril, a knight under William the Conqueror. It suffered years of neglect until Sir Charles Cavendish built the 'Little Castle' - housing grand interiors and still a magnificent building today offering a great insight into a 17th century aristocratic retreat. It changed hands many times over the years and is now property of English Heritage, who ensure its up-keep and restoration. The Castle is perched upon a high ridge, offering stunning views of the Vale of Scarsdale.
Created by Bess of Hardwick, designed by Robert Smythson and home to the tragic tales of Lady Arbella Stuart, the lady that history forgot, Hardwick Hall packs a historical punch when you're visiting the counties historic houses and castles. It sits on the border with Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, with half the land in each county. Hardwick Hall boasts a gothic exterior with daunting grand windows, beautiful grounds and a restaurant packed with delicious meals and snacks all year round for visitors. The hall was featured as Malfoy Manor in the Harry Potter films and is owned by the National Trust.