Houses and Gardens
Basildon Park (Near Reading, 25 mins from Chieveley)
Famous in recent times as the setting for the film Pride and Prejudice Basildon Park is a magnificent Georgian mansion. Period paintings and furniture fill its rooms which include the unusual Shell room and a recreated 1950s kitchen. The grounds are large and are great for family walks and picnics.
West Green House Garden (Hartley Witney, 35mins)
Voted one of Britain's top 50 gardens West Green House Garden is an enchanting series of nine walled gardens, each with its own unique and intriguing theme. Tea rooms open all day serving refreshments and lunch. Programme of summer operatic events.
The Vyne (Basingstoke, 40 mins)
Visited several times by Henry VIII, The Vyne is a house of historical significance but perhaps now best enjoyed because of its eclectic mix of fixtures and fittings documenting 500 years of changing styles. The gardens are attractive and include a walled garden, an ornamental lake, a 600 year-old Oak tree and wetlands with bird-watching hide. Great for picnics with plenty of space for children to run about.
Grey's Court (Henley, 45 mins)
Grey's Court is an attractive Tudor-style house set within a beautiful courtyard. Its walled gardens are full of traditional roses and wisteria. Round off the day with lunch or tea in Henley and a stroll along the Thames.
Cliveden (Maidenhead, 45 mins)
Infamous as the setting for society and political gatherings in the 50s and 60s, Cliveden was the epicentre of the Profumo Affair. The house is now a hotel, which in recent years held the official record for the world's most expensive sandwich at a tasty £100. We recommend you eat elsewhere! However the grounds are lovely and the setting besides the Thames is spectacular. The Beatles filmed Help! at Cliveden and it was the setting of Lady Penelope's house in the recent Thunderbirds film.
Montisfont Abbey (Romsey, 50 minutes)
Montisfont Abbey, a striking 12th-century priory, now houses an interesting collection of modern art. Lovely gardens including the National Collection of Old-fashioned Roses and walking trails around the River Test. Go in June when the roses are at their best.
Hinton Ampner (Near Winchester, 50 min)
Described as a ‘masterpiece' and one of the great gardens of the 20th century with its mixture of formal and informal layouts. Hinton Ampner's house contains a fine collection of English furniture and Italian paintings
Buscot Park (Faringdon Oxon, 50 min)
The house at Buscot Park is definitely one for art lovers with its fine paintings, from the Renaissance to Pre-Raphaelite eras. Lovely grounds include a vast four seasons walled garden, Italianate water garden and plenty of walking trails.
Waddesdon Manor (Aylesbury, 55 mins)
The maps for the World War II Dam Busters raid were drawn up in this extravagant French Renaissance-style château. Waddesdon Manor has also starred as a backdrop in Carry On films in its time! It claims ‘magnificent interiors' with a world-renowned collection of French furniture, paintings and decorative arts. Large gardens with an aviary full of exotic birds.
Hughenden Manor (High Wycombe, 55 mins)
Hughenden Manor was Victorian Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli's home for many years and is still full of his personal belongings. There are beautiful walks through the surrounding garden, park and woodland.
Stowe (Buckingham, 60 mins)
Of all the National Trust gardens Stowe is the one to visit. Not because it was designed by Capability Brown, not because it claims Indiana Jones, James Bond and Morse among its film and TV credits and not because it is one of the most important gardens in Europe. The reason you have to visit is because it has over 40 intriguing monuments, temples and secret places hidden in the grounds, just waiting to be discovered, making a fantastic treasure trail for all ages to enjoy. The tearooms are great and there is a lovely pub in the grounds for lunch.