Wellesbourne, Warwick, Warwickshire, CV35 9ER
Charlecote Park is one of my favourite National Trust properties. I first found out about it when someone I knew got engaged here and loved the look of the photos they posted! There are lots of things to do here; the house, the deer park, a lovely little woodland garden, secret houses, a church, a Victorian kitchen and various out-houses. I had intended to visit again over half term but didn’t get chance to. It’s been a while since I was last here and I’m definitely overdue a visit.
Although it’s in Warwickshire, you can actually visit between school runs. It only takes just over an hour to get there so you get quite a few hours on site before you have to get back in the car.
If the season is right, you can explore the deer park which is a lovely walk. They also have rare breeds of cows and sheep in the fields you can have a look at. The deer are used to having people around so, as long as you’re quiet you can get relatively close to the herd. You are asked to stick to the main footpaths though so you don’t disturb them. It was actually at Charlecote that I got to see two stags fighting, which was a spectacular sight.
In the wider parkland there are some awesome fallen trees for you to clamber over. There’s the riverside (both the rivers Dene and Avon meet on the site) and lakeside walks. There is also the family church at the edge of the estate. You are welcome to have a look around but the gate is one way, if you want to go back into the grounds you have to go back through the visitor entrance.
Back to the main grounds. It’s definitely worth having a look around the outbuildings. There’s the laundry (makes you very grateful for washing machines), a brewery, a tack room, a Victorian kitchen and scullery and a large carriage collection. In the kitchens there are lots of cool things to have a look at such as a Victorian freezer and, if there are volunteers available, there may be cooking going on as well.
On one of the days that we visited the gatehouse was open to visitors. Inside there was a little, very eclectic museum and we got to go onto the roof as well (hence the great angle on this shot). We happened to be up there just as the bell was about to ring so middle child got to watch, and hear, the bell ringing which he thought was very cool.
There are various sections to the formal gardens, including a relatively small Parterre. There is also the Orangery cafe which does a lovely scone. There’s a little lawn area at the front which is perfect for picnics. There’s also this little hidden house. You cannot go into it but can still have a good look through the window. There’s an outside seating area outside which is next to the play area of the woodland garden.
The house itself isn’t suitable for pushchairs or large bags, but you can store these securely with the volunteers. There’s a children’s trail within the house and the volunteers were all more than happy to engage with the kids each time we’ve been inside. The house itself doesn’t have that many rooms open because it’s still lived in by members of the Lucy family but the rooms that are open are fascinating.
There is currently a lot of work happening at Charlecote as they try to improve the visitor centre and car park. It will be interesting to see what’s changed since I last went.
Entry – FREE for National Trust members. Family ticket is £37.30 for house and garden entry.
Parking – there is a free car park across the road. This is currently being improved. The car park can fill up on busy days, particularly if there is an event on. If you’re travelling a distance it’s best to get there earlier in the day if possible.
Toilets – in various places on-site. There are currently no toilets in the car park and it will take a few minutes to walk to the nearest ones.
Food – cafe on site. Picnics welcome.
Rating – 5 / 5. We’ve visited quite a few times.