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Belton House

Belton House Summary

  • Address: Grantham, NG32 2LS (Map)
  • Tel: +44 (0)1476 566116
  • Fax: +44 (0)1476 542980
  • Owner: The National Trust
  • Administrator: The National Trust
  • E-mail: Click here to contact
 

Belton House Description

One of the finest 17th century country houses in Britain, Belton House epitomises the confidence and optimism of Restoration England. Elaborate plasterwork, intricate wood-carvings and glittering wall mirrors jostle with the stunning collection of paintings in the state rooms. Fine furniture, tapestries and silverware are also on show.

In the 19th century Belton enjoyed a second golden age under the charismatic 3rd Earl Brownlow, who had both house and garden restored to their Charles II splendour. Explore magnificent rooms displayed in 17th century, Regency, Victorian and 1930s style for an unforgettable experience of the past.

The peace and serenity of Belton has attracted many royal visitors over the years. King George III was entertained here and Edward VIII was often stayed here before his abdication. Visitors can share the tranquillity they enjoyed, with delightful walks in the formal gardens, lush foliage, rich fragrance and exotic blooms in the Orangery, and a magnificent landscaped park to explore.

In 1984, the present Lord Brownlow gave the house, some of its contents and the garden to the National Trust. The park and more of the house contents were purchased with a generous grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund. Other items were acquired with the aid of further benefactions and grants.

Some of the more important rooms in the house include:

The Marble Hall - This grand entrance hall with its black and white marble floor is the first of the formal sequence of rooms, designed to impress visitors with the importance of the house and the status of its owners. The Reynolds portrait on the right-hand wall is of Sir John Cust, Speaker of the House of Commons between 1761 and 1770. He died at 52, worn out by the political strife of the period. Over the fireplaces are ‘Old’ Sir John Brownlow, great-uncle fo the builder of the house, and his wife. Both portraits are framed by intricate limewood carvings. The one on the left with its fluid depictions of mallard and pheasant is attributed to Grinling Gibbons.

The Saloon - This magnificent room - together with the Marble Hall - forms the social and physical heart of the house around which the family lived and entertained. Ornate wood-carvings and rich giltwood mirrors contribute to the opulent atmosphere. If you stand with your back to the windows, full length portraits of Belton’s builder, ‘Young’ Sir John, and his wife, are to the right of the door from the Hall. Paintings of two of their five daughters hang over the fireplaces. The charming girl holding a basket of flowers is their youngest daughter, Margaret Brownlow, who died of smallpox on the eve of her wedding. Jane Brownlow, later Duchesss of Ancaster, faces her sister.

The Tapestry Room - the set of early 18th century English tapestries were made at the Mortlake factory and incorporate Lord Tyrconnel’s arms. They show scenes from the life of Diogenes, the Greek philosopher who renounced worldly possessions and chose to live in a barrel. (He sits in the shade of his tub, receiving a visit from the Emperor Alexander.) The whole room, including the pastiche 17th century plaster ceiling, was remodelled around 1890 to provide a suitable setting for the tapestries.

The Chinese Room - this delightful room is hung with glorious 18th century Chinese wallpaper. Birds and butterflies dart through spiky bamboo above the heads of the frieze of Chinese characters. To accord with European prejudices, the figures are all portrayed as caricatures, with topknots. The cornice, dado and other joinery are all painted to imitate bamboo. This is the room in which Edward VIII liked to stay when he visited Belton, sleeping in the mid 19th century bed with its glazed chintz hangings.

The Park and Garden:

Belton’s front entrance, with its great flight of steps leading up to the Marble Hall, looks out over the magnificent park. Form here, the main drive extends one mile in a straight line to the Londonthorpe or Lion Gates. The gardens are on the north side of the house and are largely the creation of the 1st and 3rd Earls in the early and late 19th century.

The sunken Italian Garden is presided over by Jeffry Wyatville’s Orangery, completed in 1820, and which lies approximately on the site of the old manor house with the remains of the original brick garden wall behind it. The path through the Dutch Garden immediately below the north terrace steps leads to Lord Tyrconnel’s sundial with its figure of Time by Caius Gabriel Cibber. (This sundial inspired Helen Cresswell’s book ‘The Moondial, and the film of the same name.) The vast urn near the northern border of the garden is a sentimental memorial to two of Adelaide, Countess fo Brownlow’s favourite dogs, Tip and Tina.

Bellmount Tower one of the most striking features of the park, stands at the summit of the Eastern Avenue. Built by Lord Tyrconnel in 1751, it was designed as a dramatic feature on the skyline and a vantage point from which to enjoy the view over the park.

Opening Times - 2012

House:

  • 3rd - 11th March: Saturday & Sunday, 12.30 - 4 pm
  • 14th March - 4th November: Wednesday - Sunday, 12.30 am - 5 pm

Basement:

  • 3rd March - 4th November: daily, 11 am - 3.00 pm
  • 5th November - 31st December: daily, 11 am - 2 pm

Garden / Park / Shop / Restaurant:

  • 4th - 26th February: Saturday & Sunday, 10.30 am - 4 pm
  • 3rd March - 4th November: daily, 10.30 am - 5.30 pm
  • 5th November - 31st December: daily, 10.30 am - 4 pm

Adventure Playground:

  • 3rd March - 4th November: daily, 10.30 am - 5.30 pm

Open Bank Holiday Mondays

Last Admission 30mins before closing

Gift Aid Admission (Standard Admission prices in brackets) - 2012

Whole Property:

  • Adult - £11.50 (£10.45)
  • Child - £7.50 (£6.81)
  • Family - £31.50 (£28.63)
  • Groups - £10.00

Grounds only:

  • Adult - £9.50 (£8.63)
  • Child - £6.30 (£4.77)
  • Family - £24.15 (£21.95)
  • Groups - £7.00

Grounds only (not adventure playground) - Winter

  • Adult - £3.75 (£3.40)
  • Child - £2.50 (£2.27)
  • Family - £10.00 (£9.09)

'Hidden England' passport scheme: With a stamped passport, one person can obtain free admission when a full price ticket is purchased from other properties in the 'Hidden England' group

More information on the garden can be found on The Gardens Guide.

Your Reviews of Belton House

Prof. Mahito Fukuda (16 January 2014)

Sorry to write something else. I am doing my research on Mona Lisa. Did you have FIVE Mona Lisa(s)? What have become of them after all? Do you happen to have all those pictures? long time ago, in 1902, one of the most famous Japanese writers, namely Natsume Soseki, visited the Royal Academy of Arts and saw one of them there. He later wrote a short story entitled "Mona Lisa". I should be very oblidged if I could get any information as to the five Mona Lisas at your estate. All the best, Prof. Mahito Fukuda Dean Graduate School of Languages and Cultures Nagoya University Japan 464-8601 fukuda@nagoya-u.jp

Lloyd Johnson (23 September 2013)

I visited Belton House in 1981 while in the country for the Royal Wedding. At the Belton House I saw a Mona Lisa hanging on the wall. My inquiry was answered that there are six Mona Lisas in 1904. There whereabouts of only four are known today, as of 1981. I have searched the internet for information about the paintings but find nothing of the other five. Only the one in the Lourve is recognized.

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Additional Info for Belton House

  • YesParks
  • YesGardens
  • YesPlaygrounds
  • YesDogs allowed
  • YesWeddings
  • YesDisabled Access
  • YesEducation
  • YesRefreshments
  • YesGuides
  • YesMeals Available
  • YesFilming
  • YesGifts
  • YesShop
  • YesCar Parking

Heritage Groups

  • YesNational Trust

Credit Cards Accepted

  • YesMastercard
  • YesVisa

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