Below is just a tiny selection of some of our grand and beautiful British Stately Homes, which is a testament to the talent, skills and craftsmanship of those who built them.  

The phrase stately home is a quotation from the poem The Homes of England, which was originally published in Blackwood's Magazine in 1827. The poem is by Felicia Hemans, and it begins as follows:

The stately Homes of England,

How beautiful they stand,

Amidst their tall ancestral trees,

O’er all the pleasant land !

Great Britain has a great selection of stately homes. They are in form and substance palaces by another name. They were the settings where affairs of state and party political matters were discussed informally. Stately homes required a lot of staff, and were extremely useful in providing employment for the local community. Most of the homes were built with great attention to detail and craftsmanship. Famous architects and landscape architects such as Robert Adam, Sir Charles Barry, Sir Edwin Lutyens, Sir John Vanbrugh, Capability Brown and Humphry Repton were employed to incorporate new styles into the buildings. Great art and furniture collections were built up and displayed in the houses. The art collections and furnishing are exquisite priceless treasures. Not only are the walls covered with magnificent art and paintings, but also with expensive tapestry. Over 500 stately homes alone were built between the mid 16th century and the 20th century, and have survived two world wars and still remain standing today.

Many stately homes are open to visitors, thus giving the public a chance to admire the ancient decorations, and experience first-hand the designs of an earlier era. The landscapes alone are breathtaking with gardens and parks that just beg to be admired. Many of Britain’s stately homes and surrounding countryside are used as movie locations in films and TV. All in all, there are over 600 castles, stately homes, and gardens across Britain. 

The agricultural collapse towards the end of the 19th century, the First World War and then World War II changed the fortunes of many houses and their owners, and now they remain as a curious mix of living museums, part-ruined houses and castles and grand family estates. The introduction of inheritance tax caused many owners to relinquish ownership to the National Trust, being no longer able to afford their upkeep. 

However, several stately homes are still owned and managed by private individuals who are descendants of their original owners, or by family trusts. The costs of running a stately home are naturally extremely high. Many owners let their properties for use as film and television sets as a means of gaining extra income, thus many of them are familiar sights to people who have never visited them in person. The grounds often contain other tourist attractions, such as safari parks, funfairs or museums.


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