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By Jennie Craine - 13 April 2012

I visited Hellens yesterday with my family and a friend, and have to say it's one of the most interesting houses I have ever been to. It is an absolute treasure-house of wonderful paintings and artifacts which connect us with Britain's long past. We had a most enjoyable guided tour and I am already planning a return visit. It isn't very often that one visits somewhere with such a sense of history and yet feels so close to that story - not at arm's length as in some of the country's more Stately Homes.

Groeswen Chapel

By Rodric Evans - 02 April 2012

Since 2000 over £500,000. has been spent on restoration of the chapel, in recognition of its importance in the development of Welsh Nonconformity. Contributors include CADW, the Welsh Assembly, the Historic Churches Preservation Society, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Caerphilly Council and the Weston Foundation. The Veolia Environmental Trust paid for a new slate roof, the original Meeting House (now the Vestry) refurbished for community use, and the famous graveyard improved giving safer access to the tombs and monuments of notable Welsh poets preachers and musicians. Volunteers from the Gwent Wildlife Trust repaired boundary walls. Inside, the chapel's beauty has been restored with new plasterwork, and the long elegant windows show to effect Sir William Goscombe John's bronze plaque of the chapel's first minister, the Rev. William Edwards, the famed bridge-builder. Groeswen Chapel welcomes pilgrims and tourists alike. Since restoration the congregation has increased in size and vitality. Further information, and visits are available by contacting the Project leader and chairman of Trustees Peter Jones (02920882245 or 07588501848) or June Evans (02920884018).

Rufford Abbey

By Ian Ryan - 30 March 2012

Visited Rufford Abbey on 25/3/12, easy access and plenty of parking, which was free on the day. The grounds are well kept and so is the lake, which had lots of wildlife,and we saw the odd rabbit/squirrel roaming about in the forest, and there were activities for the kids to join in. The old Abbey itself had seen better days, not much remaining but still interesting. There is a nice cafe and a restaurant close to the Abbey and a souvenir shop at the far end of the lake. All in all we had a good day out, as I said it was free to park on the day we visited, don't know if this is normal practice.

Renishaw Hall

By Yvonne Haynes - 29 March 2012

One of my favourite places to visit. Beautiful. A hidden gem. Well worth a visit.

Chillington Hall

By jayne simon - 22 March 2012

My name is Ameileah and today I visited your farm and woods. I really enjoyed watching John cut the tree down, and I went to see the sheep and the cows. I really enjoyed my visit today 22nd March 2012. I have asked my Mummy and my Nanny if we can come on a visit to your lovely big house.

St German's Church

By Mrs DeVere-Winterton - 14 February 2012

A real treasure, one of the Victorian seven wonders of Wales. Wonderfully cared for and cherished by the congregation. An amazing organ, recently restored and the casework repainted to the original design. Sadly there has been some recent liturgical re-ordering, unnecessary and already out of date. Well worth a visit, one step from heaven.

Bletchley Park

By Ann Sinclair - 13 February 2012

Fabulous day out, fun for all the family, England's Best fantastic HISTORIC war time Home of the ORIGINAL Code Breakers. I personally love it. My family and I go back time and time again and never tire of hearing our war time history being told. Thank you Bletchley Park for sharing your SECRETS.

Ty Mawr

By Hannah - 13 February 2012

Ty Mawr is a fabulous place, but not so much of a stately home - in its current state, at least. I believe it was a medieval hall house, but it is now a camping barn. You can stay there for a couple of pounds a night, but you'll need to take your own bedding, cooking equipment, etc. There's also a wonderful little cottage right next door – still basic, but definitely worth visiting. I’ve stayed there several times – with a group of friends, with my husband, with our two small children, and with another family with young children. It’s a fabulous base for a holiday, within easy reach of the mountains and lakes, several beautiful beaches, at least three steam railways, and the ice cream shop in Beddgelert! And it’s only about £25 a night, regardless of how many people are staying – and you can fit a surprising number of people under its fairly small roof; I think there are 10 beds/mattresses! 'Y Ty Cymreig' on S4C writes: Ty-Mawr, Nantmor is ... a truly rare survivor, being entirely built using the drystone technique. It is ... a true candidate for the ultimate Welsh house. There are also 19 records related to Ty Mawr in the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales.

Plas Clough

By Bob - 08 February 2012

I live there and it's great!

Ardchattan Priory Garden

By Sarah - 06 February 2012

The garden surrounds the 13th century Priory, now a private dwelling house. It has fine herbaceous and rose borders, plus a long rockery to the front of the house with magnificent views over loch Etive. Either side of the drive are mature trees, interesting shrubs and many spring bulbs. The soil is neutral, so it suits many different plants. The main highlights are the daffodils in April, scattered colour in May and June, some Rhododendrons and Azaleas, plus Prunus, Viburnum and other shrubs. The herbaceous borders are at their best in July and August and Roses peak around the end of June. There are plenty of shrubs with good autumn colour and the main herbaceous border continues to flower well into October. Next to the garden are the ruins of the old Priory chapel, currently in the care of Historic Scotland, it is open with the garden.

East Riddlesden Hall

By Ken Alston - 26 January 2012

We visited the hall last year and went round with the guide, who made it all the more interesting, well done. We had a walk round the lovely gardens afterwards and bought a few plants for home, a very pleasant afternoon out thanks to the staff, who were very pleasant and knowledgeable.

Strawberry Hill House

By Christine - 15 January 2012

I have a lovely time visiting strawberry hill. The house is quite something, I really liked the library. The room guides were very knowledgeable about the rooms, and I liked the pictures of what the rooms looked like throughout the history of the house. After visiting the house, I had a coffee and scone in the cafe, both very tasty! In the cafe I was visited by one of the resident cats of the house. All in all a very nice day out. I am planning on coming back for their jazz festival in June 2012.

Kentwell Hall

By Mary Sparkes - 13 January 2012

My husband and I used to reenact in the Civil War Society and spent two weeks at Kentwell in 1981 on a living history fortnight, this was the year before we got married. It is often talked about by us to our two daughters and now four grandchildren! Very memorable experience, well worth doing if you can. It was a lovely setting and that was back then, no doubt even more stunning now, good luck to you all there.

Kenwood House

By Andrew Wyeth - 12 January 2012

I have visited both Kenwood House and Hampstead Heath many times, in fact I have been going up to Kenwood House and the heath since the 1960s. The house is very impressive and the numerous works of art and grounds instill in you a sense of grandeur. The grounds are very extensive and I have done conservation work on the fencing in the grounds. Kenwood House is not far from Jack Straws Castle or the Spaniards Inn, which is where Dick Turpin was. No-one can fail to like the house and grounds, there used to be open air concerts in the summer there. I once saw Richard Baker, the newscaster, in the Cafe and there used to be a carriage there. Also there used to be a gypsy caravan in the grounds.

Southside House

By M. Barrick - 04 January 2012

I visited Southside House in the 1990s. It smelt of wood smoke and polish, very lovely feeling about it, lots of not very good paintings by the family. It is the only place I have ever been to that kept the Powder room intact - from the time when you had your powdered wigs refreshed by putting your head into a separate room through holes in the wall and a servant powdered them inside - stopping the powder going everywhere. It is a must. Very odd opening hours and I could never get back in again as every time I went it was closed. But worth persevering as it is really different from the usual run of the mill houses. Small wandering halls and room from all periods making for a special day out.

Fulbeck Manor

By Joy Bentley (nee Fane) - 02 January 2012

What a beautiful historic house. Julian took me through when I was visiting England a few years ago now and I was very appreciative of his knowledge of the Fane Family. He and Julia were very gracious in letting me see the family portraits and showing us over the church where there is also a great and wonderful history. Certainly worth a visit if you are interested in history. Thanks.

Stansted House

By Stephen Littlewood - 13 December 2011

We enjoy coming back to the UK, as we live in Tenerife and like to visit historic properties. Stansted is a charming period house with extremely large grounds. We even watched a local cricket match for a while, yes and it was a beautiful sunny day as well. I found the most interesting part of the house, was downstairs, where the servants worked and lived. It certainly gives you a totally different perspective on how the working class lived in those days, but I must admit, the staff at Stansted House seemed to be taken care of extremely well. If you are in the area, it's well worth a visit and highly recommended.

Caldicot Castle & Country Park

By Beryl Howard - 11 December 2011

For the best part of 30 years I have enjoyed this lovely park excellent for walking around in a beautiful safe environment. The park was improved when the flood meadows were turned into a pond and wildlife area. The castle and immediate grounds are very beautiful and are kept very clean by the maintenance staff and the picnic areas are lovely with a nice open area for children to play as well as a play park.

Blewcoat School - Gift Shop

By Lesley Brett - 10 December 2011

My great-grandfather was a pupil at this Blewcoat (Bluecoat) School in the 1850s/60s and I made a trip to London especially to visit the building. Tucked away between (ugly) modern giants this little building is reassuringly inviting and most pleasing to the eye. The front and back doorways of the cube are almost identical and there is only one room between them; the west door is blocked on the inside with a large (restored) fireplace where the doorway once was. I find it curious that when both doorways were in use, you would have entered by one door only to find yourself immediately confronted by the exit door! The one room is the total sum of the school but whilst it has been very tastefully refurbished into a comfortable, peaceful coffee and NT gift shop, I couldn't help but feel that the luxurious carpet and swank Chesterfield sofas did nothing at all to reflect the harshness of the wooden benches and splintery floorboards of the period school; indeed if it were not for the sign informing us that it WAS once a school,and the little statue of the 'Blewcoat Boy', I don't suppose that anyone would ever know - sadly every trace of school-life has been obliterated. I asked if there was a leaflet or any information about the school to be had but no - nothing at all. Even so, it was worth a visit and a lovely peaceful corner in which to grab a quiet coffee....and of course we should thank the NT for saving it from demolition.

Dumfries House

By James Smith - 09 December 2011

What a fantastic stately home and estate! I was taken aback by the beautiful Robert Adam interiors, Chippendale furniture, wonderful Ayrshire settings and had a lovely lunch in the old Coach House Cafe. Thank you to our guide and all the helpful staff. We'll definitely be back next year!

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