13 Impressive Stately Homes in England for a Great Day Out | Day Out in England (2024)

There are hundreds of stately homes in England for you to discover. If you’re a history and architecture lover looking for a day out at the mansions of England, here’s where you need to be.

13 Impressive Stately Homes in England for a Great Day Out | Day Out in England (1)

The impressive stately homes in England have been around for years, and the biggest and best will have whole teams to ensure they stay this way forever.

If you’re a fan of visiting ancient and historic buildings then this article is just for you. Here are the best country houses in England for you.

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Table Of Contents

  1. What is a 'stately home'?
  2. 1. Chatsworth House, Derbyshire
  3. 3. Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire
  4. 4. Highclere Castle, Hampshire
  5. 5. Osborne House, Isle of Wight
  6. 6. Alnwick Castle, Northumberland
  7. 7. LutonHoo House, Bedfordshire
  8. 8. Newstead Abbey, Nottinghamshire
  9. 9. Knole House, Kent
  10. 10. Attingham Park, Shropshire
  11. 11. Cliveden House, Berkshire
  12. 13. Hughenden Manor, High Wycombe
  13. Stately homes in England

What is a ‘stately home’?

Stately homes are huge mansions that are not only beautiful but are also an epitome of perfect architecture. Since some of these stately homes are situated in the countryside, they are also known as ‘country homes of England’.

Generally though, they’re more often referred to as stately homes, rather than mansions of England.

Here’s a list of the best stately homes in England that you can visit for a day out to learn about these amazing historic buildings.

Just to note, you can save a LOT of money on visiting England’s stately homes by joining the National Trust. Check out our National Trust review for more information here.

1. Chatsworth House, Derbyshire

Located in Derbyshire, Chatsworth House has been home to the Cavendish family since the 1500s.

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The family still lives there however; it is open for the public too. The rooms are huge and filled with artistic paintings and murals.

The huge building also has a wonderful bright green garden covering 105 acres.

There’s also the option for fine dining at Chatsworth House. Just to note as well, it’s one of the best days out in the Midlands at Christmas. Check out our review of Chatsworth at Christmas here.

Address: Bakewell DE45 1PP

2. Petworth House & Park, West Sussex

Managed and maintained by the National Trust of England, Petworth House & Park is located in the South Downs, in West Sussex. Petworth has arguably one of the best art exhibitions – the interiors of this stately home are gorgeous.

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Some of the best artists like Reynolds, Titians, and Van Dyck have their masterpieces hanging in the Petworth.

Along with the building, Petworth is also known for its heavenly Deer Park over 700 acres of land.

Address: Church St, Petworth GU28 0AE

3. Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire

Blenheim Palace is the largest stately home in England and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Oxfordshire.

The palace has a rich history; it is the only non-royal country house that has the word ‘palace’ along with it. Blenheim Palace was the reward to John Churchill for his military expertise against the battles with French.

Visit and enjoy the ancient English baroque architecture. The building is also filled with marvellous paintings and sculptures. It is also surrounded by the garden that adds to the beauty of this palace.

Blenheim Palace is one of the most well known stately homes in England, and one of the most beautiful England palaces too.

Address: Woodstock OX20 1PP

4. Highclere Castle, Hampshire

Housed within a 2,000 acre estate, Highclere Castle will need no introductions for fans of ITV’s most famous period drama. It was the setting for Downton Abbey, instantly recognisable for its beautiful Jacobethan architecture. The house was constructed later than you may think, in the 1800s. This is one of the most famous mansions in England thanks to it featuring on this worldwide hit TV programme.

The gothic designs of the exterior of Highclere Castle in Newbury, Hampshire, as well as the interiors, are stunning. Expect to see stunning big paintings by the likes of Sir Joshua Reynolds.

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During tours of the house, you can see inside some of the grand rooms which featured in the TV show. There are also lovingly tended gardens, including a herb garden and Wild Flower Meadow, helping to boost the numbers of wild pollinators in the area. Visitors are also welcomed to delve into some of the surrounding countryside, with miles of marked walking trails to keep ramblers happy.

Highclere Castle is known as one of the best stately homes in England thanks to the amazing gardens.

Address: Highclere Park, Highclere, Newbury RG20 9RN

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5. Osborne House, Isle of Wight

Osborne House on the Isle of Wight is known as Queen Victoria’s holiday home. The inside of the main building is amazing – you should definitely watch the film Victoria and Abdul to get you excited about visiting as some of it was shot there.

The beautiful huge halls, stairways and stunning carpets will capture your heart right away.

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Queen Victoria and Prince Albert bought their children here to play at Swiss Cottage at the bottom of the garden, and to enjoy the beach front coastline looking out to Portsmouth.

Osborne House is my favourite stately home in England, and is perfect for a day out for all ages. The best thing to do in this stately home on the Isle of Wight is to head on down to the beach and get an ice cream to enjoy in the deck chairs. There’s also a wonderful shop, and a cafe to eat in too. It’s definitely one of the most impressive country houses in England.

Address: York Ave, East Cowes PO32 6JX

HOW HIGH CAN YOUR SCORE ON THIS ISLE OF WIGHT QUIZ?

Stately Homes make for excellent days out for Grandparents – see more here!

6. Alnwick Castle, Northumberland

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THIS IS A HARRY POTTER FILMING LOCATION!

If as a child, you desperately wanted Hogwarts from the movie Harry Potter then Alnwick Castle must your number one stately home in England.

Alnwick is situated in Northumberland and apart from its ancient structure that gives the middle ages vibes, it is also surrounded by a huge garden that is worth a visit too.

Visit the Treehouse Restaurant nearby to really make a day of it.

Address: Alnwick NE66 1NQ

7. LutonHoo House, Bedfordshire

Almost spread over 1065 acres of land in Bedfordshire, LutonHoo House is a neoclassical home that’s a pleasure to visit.

Along with the magnificent building it also has an amazing garden with golf and a lake for fishing too.

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LutonHoo was recently turned into a five-star hotel with a full-service spa. The rooms in the LutonHoo House are huge and very comfortable. And, I just love saying ‘LutonHoo’.

Address: The Mansion House, Luton LU1 3TQ

8. Newstead Abbey, Nottinghamshire

Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire was once owned by the famous romantic British poet, Lord Byron. The building has a rich and eclectic history, featuring ghosts, sunken treasure, the touching tomb of a faithful dog, a waterfall you can go behind, and a mini fortress – of course you can learn more by visiting this fascinating Stately Home.

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The beautiful historic house is set in a glorious landscape of 300 acres of gardens and parkland. Inside Newstead Abbey you can explore the Victorian room settings, and the poet’s private apartments too.

Like many of England’s stately homes, people visit to see the impressive flowers changing throughout the year. If you’ve been once, you can go again and have a different view through the rhododendrons.

Address: Newstead Abbey,Newstead Village, NG15 8NA

9. Knole House, Kent

Like many stately homes in England, Knole House is under the custody of the National Trust who preserve its originality.

You’ll find this stunning country house in Kent.

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Knole House was once considered the archbishop palace but with time, the mansion was transformed into a stately home. The interiors of the Knole are based on a Jacobean style, with medieval furniture.

The house is five centuries old and was once owned by Henry VIII, who used to hunt here. Past owner John Frederick Sackville (the 3rdDuke of Dorset) curated much of the impressive art collection here –with works by Sir Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough too.

In 1946 Knole was gifted to the National Trust to be opened to the public. Nowadays you can go on a tour around the impressive building, and the gardens too. Knole House has just been through a period of restoration, making it one of the best kept stately homes in England to visit.

Address: Knole House, Sevenoaks TN15 0RP

10. Attingham Park, Shropshire

Attingham Park Stately Home is very popular among travellers thanks to its unique interiors. This is another stately home looked after by the National Trust.

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Attingham Park was initially built in the 18th century, by George Steuart for Noel Hill, 1st Lord Berwick.

Along with its impressive architecture, the place also has a fascinating garden. It’s inspired by French architecture, and boasts a vast collection of Regency furniture, silver, paintings, porcelain and textiles.

An impressive 98% of the collection is indigenous to the house and reflects the lives of those who cherished or neglected Attingham’s contents.

Visit today and you can admire the contents, the gardens and the looming building too. It’s one of the most impressive days out in Shropshire for sure.

Address: Atcham, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY4 4TP

11. Cliveden House, Berkshire

Cliveden House is one of the most popular attractions in the entire portfolio of the National Trust, attracting more than 500,000 visitors each year.

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Housing a Prince of Wales, two dukes, an earl and the Viscounts Astor over its long history, Cliveden was also a key setting during the Profumo Affair of the 1960s, which severally undermined the Conservative government of Harold Macmillan. The Victorian mansion itself is ornately decorated with grand furniture and artwork, whilst the gardens and woodland of the estate are a wonderful place to make the most of a nice day out in Berkshire.

Address: Cliveden Rd, Taplow, Maidenhead SL6 0JF

12. Explore stunning Kelmarsh Hall & Gardens

Ready for a stunning day out in Northamptonshire at one of the best country houses in England?

Kelmarsh Hall was commissioned as a James Gibbs design in the 1700s, featuring elegant plasterwork and 20th century décor. Within the warm brick exterior are classy tiled flooring, arched floor-to-ceiling windows, simple but elegant furnishings. The ‘below stairs’ project leads you through the daily life of servants in a country house. Explore the hidden tunnel, laundry rooms and the basem*nt space they operated in.

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Of course, make sure to visit the gardens too!

If you fancy topiary gardens, Kelmarsh is the owner of a very fine example. The glasshouse, woodlands and lake are particularly stunning as well, hemmed with herbaceous florals and wild riots of colour.

Address: Main Rd, Kelmarsh, Northampton NN6 9LY

13. Hughenden Manor, High Wycombe

Hughenden Manor is one of the best days out in Buckinghamshire. Managed by the National Trust, it’s the former home of one of Great Britain’s most famous Prime Ministers – Benjamin Disraeli.

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He lived at Hughendenstately homefrom 1848 until his death in 1881 and the house displays a staggering array of his personal belongings. There’s also an exhibit on the Second World War and extensive gardens that have been styled to look like they did under the Disraelis, with several woodland walks for visitors to enjoy.

The former Prime Minister and his wife are buried at the nearby St Michael and All Angels Church.

Stately homes in England

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These are just some of the many amazing stately homes in England. Visiting a stately home for the day is the perfect way to spend quality time with family and friends, learn a bit of history, and get to look at how the other half have lived through the centuries.

I’m also partial to a coffee at the on site cafes, a wander in the garden, and the opportunity to be transported to a dream world where I to, am Lord of the Manor.

Quicklist for the best stately homes in England

  • 1. Chatsworth House, Derbyshire
  • 2. Petworth House & Park, West Sussex
  • 3. Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire
  • 4. Highclere Castle, Hampshire
  • 5. Osborne House, Isle of Wight
  • 6. Alnwick Castle, Northumberland
  • 7. LutonHoo House, Bedfordshire
  • 8. Newstead Abbey, Nottinghamshire
  • 9. Knole House, Kent
  • 10. Attingham Park, Shropshire
  • 11. Cliveden House, Berkshire
  • 12. Explore stunning Kelmarsh Hall & Gardens
  • 13. Hughenden Manor, High Wycombe

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Vicky is the founder of DayOutinEngland.com. She's better known online as VickyFlipFlop, and has been blogging for over 15 years. She's written for Lonely Planet, Rough Guides and many more online publications. She's lived all over England, but is currently in Hampshire.

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