Pride and Prejudice, Downton Abbey, Brideshead Revisited – we’ve watched the tv series, seen the movies, read the books. These stories of life in England during centuries past are one of the reasons we visit this small island. The stories and the houses. They are gorgeous – huge, historic, mysterious. The National Trust of England looks after many of the historic houses as well as gardens, castles, villages, coastlines, islands and important lands.
To share the work they do, and also to raise money to continue saving and restoring houses, they run a program of rentals. Yes, you can go and stay in some of the most beautiful and historic places in England. Thatched roofs in Somerset, a round house in Suffolk, an old pub in Northumberland, Agatha Christie’s gardener’s lodge in Devon, a fisherman’s cottage in Cornwall, a 1600’s cottage in Sussex, a medieval farmhouse in Wales, and a lighthouse keeper’s cottage overlooking the White Cliffs of Dover.Get information here.
Another organization doing a similar thing is the Landmark Trust. Set up in 1965 they aim to rescue and restore historic houses then rent them out for holidays. They’ve got islands and lighthouses and stables and houses, even a Gothic Castle that inspired Harry Potter author JK Rowling. Visit their website.
If you prefer hotel living, the other way to see the houses of Britain is to visit National Trust properties that are open to the public. If you join The National Trust you’ll get discounted entry prices and will be helping them keep these houses and gardens alive.