Dating from the 1550's, Charlecote is a Tudor house of immense character set in a 180 acre park, and home to the Lucy family for over 700 years. The house sits on the banks of the River Avon and enjoys views across a landscape massaged by Capability Brown during the mid 1700's.
Although Elizabethan in appearance and dating from the period, much of the external fabric of Charlecote is actually Victorian. When George Lucy inherited Charlecote in 1823, he set about removing the modifications made by successive generations of Lucy's, to restore the house to the Elizabethan style. He also extended the house and added outbuildings. The gatehouse is the only original Elizabethan building at Charlecote Park.
Queen Elizabeth stayed at Charlecote Park for two nights in 1572, staying in what is now the drawing room. The Queen's arms are carved on the entrance porch celebrating her visit.
It is claimed that William Shakespeare also had an association with Charlecote, in-so-much that he was caught poaching by the first owner of the house, Sir Thomas Lucy.
The early Victorian interior of Charlecote has many paintings, sculptures and fine furniture, along with some very ornate ceilings. The great hall, originally used for banqueting - but now displaying family portraits, has a barrel vaulted ceiling.
You can also visit the Victorian kitchen, brew house, tack room and laundry at Charlecote, as well as seeing a collection of period horse drawn carriages.
A formal parterre garden terrace enclosed by beautifully carved balustrades, lies to the west elevation of the house, overlooking the River Avon and the flood plain beyond. To the north of the house is a well manicured croquet lawn with full and colourful borders. North east of the house is the woodland garden where you'll also find the orangery, now the National Trust restaurant. Adjacent to the coach house is a small sensory garden. Just south of the house, the River Dene runs into the Avon across an attractive, stepped waterfall.
Beyond the boundaries of the house and garden, the park is extensive, with miles of footpaths, stunning views along the river and across the estate, where you'll see deer and rare breeds sheep. The park is ideal for picnics and benches are scattered around the park.
The gatehouse is the only building at Charlecote Park that retains its complete Elizabethan structure. The gateway entices you down the 300 yard, tree lined avenue from the entrance gates, obscuring your view of Charlecote house beyond. This photograph was taken on one of those wonderful summer days this year (2009)! I actually lightened the sky in this photo!
Looking like something out of the Hammer House of Horrors, even though this shot of Charlecote was taken on a summers day, although I do admit that I darkened the sky a little. The house follows much of the original Elizabethan footprint, was remodelled by several generations of the Lucy family, and then had a Victorian restoration back to the Elizabethan style by George Lucy from around 1823.
Looking back past the Tudor gate house along the tree lined drive. The gate house is in a lovely red brick and mellow sandstone. Judging by the use of plywood sheets around the top of the gate house, I would say that some of the hand carved balustrade panels are a little fragile.
The carved balustrades around the gardens at Charlecote are a work of art, here framing the croquet lawn backed by herbaceous borders.
A rose and lavender border running along stone balustrading around the parterre garden. Just the other side of the balustrade gently flows the River Avon, widened here by Capability Brown to enhance the view, which extends for miles.
Parterre on the balustraded terrace overlooking the River Avon at Charlecote Park.
Behind the orangery lies an enclosed woodland garden. The orangery is a National Trust restaurant.
I'm afraid I don't have any historic information on this tiny thatched cottage, but it certainly is a peculiar building. Despite its compact size it has at least two rooms inside, one of which has a fireplace and a strange window which opens up into, what appear to be, aviaries on the outside of the cottage. At least one of the rooms had oak panelling, as I recall.
This is the south wing of Charlecote Park house, which I believe was part of the Victorian additions by George Lucy from 1923. The Victorian kitchen is located in this wing.