Longleat House in Warminster

Sunday, 14 January 2024 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks
Reading Time:  6 minutes

© Saffron Blaze/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Saffron Blaze/cc-by-sa-3.0

Longleat is a stately home about 4 miles (7 km) west of Warminster in Wiltshire, England. A leading and early example of the Elizabethan prodigy house, it is a Grade I listed building and the seat of the Marquesses of Bath.

Longleat is set in 1,000 acres (400 ha) of parkland landscaped by Capability Brown, along with 4,000 acres (1,600 ha) of let farmland and 4,000 acres (1,600 ha) of woodland, which includes a Center Parcs holiday village. It was the first stately home to open to the public, and the Longleat estate has the first safari park outside Africa and other attractions including a hedge maze.

The house was built by Sir John Thynne and designed mainly by Robert Smythson, after Longleat Priory was destroyed by fire in 1567. It took 12 years to complete and is widely regarded as one of the finest examples of Elizabethan architecture in Britain. It continues to be the seat of the Thynn family, who have held the title of Marquess of Bath since 1789; the eighth and present Marquess is Ceawlin Thynn.

© Gerd Eichmann/cc-by-sa-4.0 © Saffron Blaze/cc-by-sa-3.0 © panoramio.com - sleuth@73/cc-by-3.0 © Danesman1/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Jacksyria Orangery and maze © William Avery/cc-by-sa-2.5 Longleat Hedge Maze © flickr.com - Niki Odolphie/cc-by-2.0
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Longleat Hedge Maze © flickr.com - Niki Odolphie/cc-by-2.0
The tour of the house comprises: the Elizabethan Great Hall, with a minstrels’ gallery; The lower east corridor, a wide room originally used as servant access to the main rooms. This now holds fine furniture and paintings. Also on display are two visitor books, one showing the signatures of Elizabeth II and Philip, the other Albert (George VI) and Elizabeth (the Queen Mother); the ante-library, with a magnificent Venetian painting on the ceiling; the Red Library, which displays many of the 40,000 books in the house; the Breakfast Room, with a ceiling to match the ante-library; the Lower Dining Room; the bathroom and bath-bedroom: the bath is a lead-lined tub of coopered construction, originally filled by hand from buckets and drained the same way; taps and drains are now provided. The lead lining was replaced in 2005. The room holds the first plumbed-in flush lavatory in the house; the State Dining Room, with a Meissen porcelain table centrepiece; the Saloon; the State Drawing Room, designed by Crace; the Robes Corridor; the Chinese Bedroom; the Music Room, with instruments including a barrel organ; the Prince of Wales Bedroom, so named because of a large painting of Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales, the brother of Charles I; the upper west corridor; the Grand Staircase; and the banqueting suite on the top floor: the furniture and interiors designed by Claire Rendall, the dining table commissioned from John Makepeace and the chandelier from Jocelyn Burton.

The house was designated as a Grade I listed building in 1968. The formal gardens, pleasure grounds and parkland were listed Grade I on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens of special historic interest in 1987. Other Grade I listed buildings on the Longleat Estate include: the stables, the orangery, and the boathouse and bridge over the lake.

Longleat Safari Park opened in 1966 as the first drive-through safari park outside Africa, and is home to over 500 animals, including Rothschild’s giraffes, Grant’s zebras, Rhesus monkeys, rhinos, African lions, Amur tigers and grey wolves. Cheetahs, koalas and spotted hyenas are among the most recent additions to the safari park. Four lion cubs were born in September 2011, making a total of 10 cubs born that year, and Disney named two of them Simba and Nala as part of a co-promotion agreement for the upcoming Lion King 3D film. Longleat House was built in the sixteenth century by Sir John Thynn on the site of a dissolved priory, and in 1949 became the first stately home in Britain to be opened to the public on a commercial basis. The house, park and attractions are open from mid-February to the start of November each year. The 9,800-acre estate, of which the park occupies 900 acres, has long been one of the top British tourist attractions, and has motivated other large landowners to generate income from their heritage in response to rising maintenance costs. Longleat leases 400 acres of land to Center Parcs for the operation of the Longleat Forest holiday village. The Longleat hedge maze is considered the world’s longest, with 1.69 miles of pathway. The layout was by maze designer Greg Bright. Over 16,000 English yews form the walls surrounding a central tower, and there are six raised footbridges.

Read more on Longleat House and Wikipedia Longleat House (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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