Homes of the other half

Fancy seeing how the other half live? The UK has oodles of stately homes dotted all over the place - use your UK holidays to have a proper nosey round them. All the historic piles listed below are still privately owned and are great examples of the UK's heritage. So, what are you waiting for - grab your own Lord or Lady of the manor and get exploring.


27:05:2009 13:14:16 - flckr - Glen BowmanScone Palace, Perthshire, Scotland
The jewel in Scotland's crown, Scone Palace is perched above the River Tay and well worth a visit if you are taking your holidays in Scotland. The site of the Stone of Scone (also known as the Stone of Destiny),  Scone Palace has seen plenty of historical action - Macbeth of Scotland and Robert the Bruce were both crowned King of Scots here. It's worth taking a tour of the palace, where you can gawp at all the art, antiques and heirlooms that the family has collected over the years. When you need to come up for (fresh) air, take a leisurely stroll round the extensive Palace grounds. Here'll you come across the first Douglas Fir tree, which was grown from the first seed sent home from America by the tree planter David Douglas, a Scone native. The grounds are a riot of colour throughout the year, with displays of snowdrops and daffodils, bluebells and primulas as well as rhododendrons and azaleas. The Palace grounds are also a haven for birdwatchers and don't miss the Butterfly Garden in summer! Find out more at Holiday cottages in Perthshire.


Alnwick Castle - staterooms - flckr - westy48Alnwick Castle, Northumberland
Around since 1309, Alnwick Castle is not one to cower in the shadows. A favourite of film and TV location scouts, the castle has most recently taken on the guise of Hogwarts in several of the Harry Potter films. A real family-friendly day out, it's not just Harry Potter that will appeal to the kids at Alnwick. Younger visitors can step back in time and discover the life of a mediaeval knight, dress up and meet the Dragon Master before slaying their very own monster, enjoy falconry displays, historical re-enactments and take part in hands-on workshops. Mums and Dads will appreciate the lavish state rooms, while bookworms should head to the library - with over 16,000 books packed into floor to ceiling bookshelves, you'll think you've died and gone to heaven! The Capability Brown designed grounds are simply the icing on the cake. Opening times and other important bits and bobs can be found on Northumberland cottages.


The library, Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, Oct. 2009 - flckr - PhillipCChatsworth House, Bakewell, Derbyshire
UK holidays simply aren't complete without a spot of tea and cake. Set in 1000 acres of parkland, Chatsworth is worth a visit for afternoon tea alone! The home of the Duke of Devonshire and his family, Chatsworth is regularly voted the UK's favourite stately home. Crammed with priceless artefacts, including drawings by the Old Masters and neoclassical sculptures, and with a stunning 105 acre garden it's not hard to see why. But, back to the cakes. Chatsworth has several eateries, but head to the Cavendish Rooms where you can enjoy a sumptuous afternoon tea, with freshly baked produce brought straight to your table from the Chatsworth ovens. It's worth booking in advance to make sure you don't miss out. Chatsworth is also a working farm, where you can get up close and personal with the animals and take home some treats from the farm shop. To find out more about the cakes, and the house, visit Derbyshire holiday homes.


Mount Stuart House, Isle of Bute, Scotland
If it's good enough for the A-list, it's good enough for us. This gothic pad is where Stella McCartney tied the knot. Rent one of our cottages in Scotland and enjoy the sheer extravagance of Mount Stuart. The original house was destroyed by fire in 1877 and the ensuing rebuild resulted in the cathedral-like building that stands now. Vaulted ceilings, arches and stained glass create a magical atmosphere which is present throughout the whole house. Look upwards when you climb the marble staircase and you'll be dazzled by hundreds of glittering stars on the ceiling.  The eccentric Horoscope Room is a sight to behold, while the opulent drawing room and the breathtaking Marble Chapel are also must-sees. If you want to indulge your senses to the max, log onto  for opening hours and more. Cottages on the Isle of Bute.


Powderham Castle near Exeter - flckr - heatheronhertravelsPowderham Castle, Exeter, Devon
Go on safari, Devon style. This 600 year old castle is set in an enchanting deer park, and visitors can take a deer safari if they wish. OK, so you won't spot the Big 5, but the deer are pretty cute. One of Britain's oldest family homes, Powderham Castle sits just beside the River Exe and has been in the same family since 1391. Not bad going. If you ever feel hard done by, you'll feel better after finding out what life was like for domestic workers in the restored Victorian kitchen.  If a guided tour just isn't going to cut the mustard for younger visitors (although fascinating for older guests) take them along to the adventure-packed Courtney Fort or Pets' Corner. During the summer, don't miss the birds of prey displays. Plan your day out at Powderham on Cottages in Exeter.



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