Tyntesfield, Wraxall, Bristol, Somerset
Anyone who knows a thing or two about architecture will tell you that Tyntesfield near Bristol is Victorian Gothic Revival in all its splendour, but it wasn’t always so. The original house was simple Regency style, extended and adorned by three generations of the Gibbs family whose fortune came from guano – or to put it bluntly, bird droppings, which made a very good fertiliser.
Outside is golden Ham stone and pale Bath stone, with soaring arches, crenellations and tall chimneys; inside are enormous carved fireplaces, ornate ceilings, beautifully stencilled walls and sumptuous soft furnishings. The Chapel is unexpectedly grand, inspired by Sainte Chapelle in Paris, so don’t be at all surprised to hear gasps of wonder; it really is something else.
No doubt about it, to find a Victorian estate so complete is rare, even for the National Trust; the farm buildings, the worker's cottages, the stables, they’re all still there, sat amidst 540 acres of grounds and the wider estate. The formal gardens are a delight, with a Neo-Classical orangery, a box-hedged rose garden, croquet lawn and walled kitchen garden where much of the produce for the two cafés is grown.
Allow more or less a whole day for your visit to Tyntesfield because it’s the kind of place where you'll want to linger, to stop and stare, to admire things. Have a picnic on the lawn, stroll through the orchard, let the kids loose in the play areas.
Dogs are welcome in the grounds on leads, though certain areas are out of bounds, and another thing to bear in mind is that if you’re not a NT member, parking is £5.
Open: 10.00 am-5.00 pm every day
T: 01275 461900 All information correct at the time of writing