England's Great West Way® is a spectacular route weaving through some of England's most fascinating sights and stories. Why not step back in time and into the lives of those who lived this history on a visit to the many grand houses and gardens along the Great West Way? Learn of the interesting characters who lived in these houses, discover the way of life during their time, and explore the wonderful gardens that often accompany these stunning homes.
This Georgian pile was the home of the first Duke of Wellington and bore the proud address of 'Number 1 London'. Now, it houses the Duke's breathtaking art collection, made up of 3,000 pieces gifted to him by European rulers thankful for his military service and victories. The collection spans paintings, sculptures and fine art in porcelain and silver, and is beautifully presented in the gilded environment of the house. Visitors can admire the collection while learning about the Duke's fascinating life.
This estate boasts an incredibly storied history, from hosting royalty to sheltering soldiers during World War II. It dates back to the 1500's and having undergone a restoration in the 2000's, is a beautifully preserved example of Elizabethan architecture. Visitors can enjoy the house by roaming its corridors and taking in its history through the exhibitions, or by participating in the varied programme of events and activities organised there.
A Georgian country home set in manicured gardens designed by Capability Brown, Bowood is a delight to discover. Stunning rooms and artwork including paintings and sculptures, are all on display, with one of the rooms boasting the fascinating history of being the laboratory where Dr Joseph Priestley discovered oxygen in August, 1774. On emerging into the gardens from the house, visitors are sure to be stunned by the sheer beauty of the landscaping, with rolling lawns, Italianate terrace gardens, and Lord and Lady Lansdowne’s Private Walled Garden. The gardens are complemented by a calm lake which actually hides a submerged village, with the ruins of cottages found there in 2007.
Dyrham Park is a baroque country house surrounded by 270 acres of historic parkland dotted with ancient trees and roaming deer. As visitors arrive they are greeted by sweeping views over the lawns and down towards the house. The gardens boast blooming borders, scenic ponds, and an orchard, with specially-designed areas for younger visitors, including a picnic and play area and nature trails. The house is currently undergoing a conservation project, but visitors can still be transported to the past with features such as the Victorian kitchen in the basement or harpsichord music playing in the Great Hall.