Eltham Palace, London
Architecture Housing Listed places Parks and Gardens

9 Stunning Country Houses You Need to Visit

Here are nine of our favourite country houses and gardens from around the country.

Explore your local area and discover hidden gems near you.

Here are 9 of our favourite country houses and gardens from around the country.

1. Layer Marney Tower, Colchester, Essex

A photograph of an 8 story gate tower with smaller 3 story buildings on either side.
The Grade I listed Layer Marney Tower, Essex. Contributed to the Missing Pieces Project by Julie Potton. View the List entry.

The tallest Tudor gatehouse in the country, Layer Marney Tower was built in the 1520s by Lord Marney, friend to both Henry VII and Henry VIII. Layer Marney has been a family home for over 500 years and features an excellent tea room.

Book your tickets for Layer Marney Tower before visiting.

Live in the East of England? Make sure you also take a look around these amazing sites: Helmingham Hall (Suffolk) and Holkham Hall (Norfolk)

2. Burton Constable Hall, Hull, East Yorkshire

A photograph of a grand house with a statue on the front lawn.
The Grade I listed Burton Constable Hall East Riding of Yorkshire.  © Paul Harrop

Home to the Constable family for over 700 years, the hall has a long and complicated building history. The manor is mostly Elizabethan, although parts of the 15th century manor remain. Stephen’s tower is the oldest part of the house, built in the 12th century.

Don’t miss the park designed by Capability Brown, the cabinet of curiosities or the whale skeleton that features in Moby Dick.

Please check the Burton Constable website for the latest times and to book your ticket.

Live in Yorkshire? Don’t miss Ripley Castle (Ripley) and Kiplin Hall (Richmond)

3. Dorney Court, Windsor, Buckinghamshire

A photograph of a Tudor manor house.
The Grade I listed Dorney Court, Buckinghamshire. Contributed to the Missing Pieces Project by Richard Ley. View the List entry.

Dorney Court is one of England’s finest Tudor Manors and has been the setting of many TV and film locations, such as Miss Marple and Inspector Morse to name a few.

The house remains the family home of the Palmers who have lived at Dorney for nearly 500 years. The gardeners at Dorney Court are celebrated as the first to grow pineapples in England, a feat accomplished in 1722.

Find out more about visiting on Dorney Court’s website.

Live in the South East? You should also check out these hidden gems: Great Dixter (Northiam) and Houghton Lodge Gardens (Houghton)

4. Athelhampton House, Athelhampton, Dorset

A photograph of a grand house surrounded by trees and greenery.
The Grade I listed Athelhampton House, Dorset. Contributed to the Missing Pieces Project by Steve Trow. View the liste entry.

The Great Hall is a wonderful example of Tudor architecture, dating back to 1485. The beautiful award-winning gardens were designed by Inigo Thomas, including ponds, fountains and 12 world-famous topiary yew pyramids.

Visit their website for the latest updates.

Live in the South West? Check out these beautiful spots: Dyrham Park (Dyrham) and A la Ronde (Devon)

5. Eltham Palace, Greenwich, London

A photograph of a palace surrounded by trees.
The Grade II* listed Eltham Palace, London. © Historic England Archive. View image DP040506.

Eltham Palace was founded as a medieval royal palace by Edward IV in the 1470s and was converted into a private house for eccentric millionaires, the Courtaulds, in the 1930s.

Take in the mix of styles, art deco and historical features all in the same building and spot London’s oldest working bridge hidden in the rose garden.

Plan your visit before going.

Live in London? Don’t miss Forty Hall (Enfield) or Osterley Park (Hounslow)

6. Cragside, Rothbury, Northumberland

A photograph of a tall grand house surrounded by trees.
The Grade I listed Cragside, Northumberland. Contributed to the Missing Pieces Project by Robert Walton. View the list entry.

The home of Lord Armstrong, Cragside is well-known for being the first house to be lit by hydro-electricity.

The original building consisted of a small shooting lodge which Armstrong built between 1862 and 1864. In 1869, he employed the architect Richard Norman Shaw to transform the house into a northern Neuschwanstein.

Visit the website to plan your visit.

Live in the North East? Check out Seaton Delaval Hall (Seaton Delaval) and Chillingham Castle (Alnwick)

7. Witley Court, Great Whitley, Worcestershire

A photograph of a front view of parterre with south elevation of Witley Court.
The Grade II* listed Witley Court, Worcestershire. © Historic England Archive. PLB_N060803.

Witley Court is a ruined Italianate mansion with a rich and opulent history.

It was built in 1610-20 on the site of a former Norman manor and renovated by the architect John Nash in 1793 – 1833. Witley’s heyday was in the 1890s where the 2nd Earl of Dudley was known for regular lavish parties. The building is now a ruin due to a fire in 1937.

Visit their website for the latest information on opening dates and times.

Live in the West Midlands? Make sure to take a look at Croft Castle (Leominster) and Himley Hall (Dudley)

8. Levens Hall, Levens, Cumbria

A photograph of a tall house surrounded by a formal garden.
The Grade I listed Levens Hall, Westmorland and Furness. © Historic England Archive. View image DP066624.

Most of this beautiful house dates from the Elizabethan era and is the spookiest house on the list, reportedly haunted by a Grey Lady.

Don’t miss the beautiful gardens and deer park designed by Guillaume Beaumont. The topiary gardens are the oldest in the world!

Make sure you check opening times and book tickets before going.

Live in the North West? Check out these stunning house and gardens: Tatton Park (Cheshire) and Hutton-in-the-Forest (Cumbria)

9. Rockingham Castle, Corby, Northamptonshire

A photograph of a medieval castle and lodge
The Grade I listed Rockingham Castle, North Northamptonshire. Photograph courtesy of Wikicommons.

This former royal castle and hunting lodge was built on instruction from William the Conqueror, shortly after the Norman invasion of Britain, and has been occupied for nearly 1000 years.

The medieval fortress was transformed into a Tudor house when Henry VIII granted the castle to Edward Watson, whose descendants still live there today.

Check their website for the latest information.

Live in the East Midlands? You should also visit these lovely spots: Coton Manor Garden (Northampton) and Calke Abbey (Ticknall)

What have we missed? Let us know your favourite country houses and gardens in the comments below.

Further reading:

4 comments on “9 Stunning Country Houses You Need to Visit

  1. Love the idea of the present owner of Rockingham Castle sharing it with his ancestors ….. surely the most haunted house in England – or perhaps the word should have been descendant?

  2. Tina Metcalfe

    Love this list – sad I only got it at the end of the month. Please keep sending me updates

  3. Mr Kevin Cranston

    Has CHEQUERS Country-House in Buckinghamshire now been Elevated into the Most-Famous and Historically Significant House in England / the World, by virtue of a Revelation Immortalised on Page 431 of Former British Prime Minister: John Major’s Autobiography, that it was His Receipt of a Mysterious Phone-Message, Handed to Him in the CABINET-ROOM at CHEQUERS on a Dismal February Afternoon in 1993, Informing the British Government: Quote: “THE CONFLICT IN NORTHERN IRELAND IS OVER” ?

    In John Major’s Own Words it was the Crucial-Event which Un-Tied His hands, and allowed Him to set in motion a Series of events which culminated in the Present-Day peace in Northern Ireland, making CHEQUERS in Buckinghamshire the BIRTHPLACE of the Internationally Acclaimed Irish peace-process. . . . and Most Famous House in England / British Isles / the World?

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