We were off to Oxfordshire for a few days in August and thought we’d pop in to a National Trust house on the way, now that we’re over 40 and have recently spent £60+ joining the National Trust ( it’s like bailouts but for the gentry – run out of money? no problem we’ll take on your house) and we want to get as much value for the money as we can out of the annual fee, tho we did get some binoculars for joining, when was the last time you used binoculars? think i was 8.
Anyway, We found it on the website before we set off.
It’s described as
Honey-coloured stone house with exquisite plasterwork and fine landscaped garden
Nestled in the heart of rural Warwickshire, surrounded by elegant lakes and fine landscape gardens sits Farnborough Hall. Made from the locally quarryed Horton honey-coloured stone, this country house shimmers in the sunlight.
Inside, the finest 18th-century plasterwork, depicting natural beauty and wildlife, adorns the interiors. On your way around you’ll spot many treasures that were collected during the Grand Tour, as well as sentimental family items and photographs.
Sounded quite nice, looks a sizeable place, that will kill a couple of hours we thought.
We thought wrong. We were met at the door by an elderly woman who was a cross between Margot Leadbetter and Barbara Woodhouse who barked instructions at us and made us buy a book for a fiver. On the whole it was looking good, a nice size book, must be a lot to see. Off we went in to the first room….
It used to be a courtyard but the owner wanted to display all his Canalettos so he made it in to a room and hung them on the wall, except these on display weren’t the real ones they’d been sold years back to keep the estate afloat. nice room tho.
next room was a dining room laid out which adjoined a sitting room, both quite pleasant and then you were back in the hall ready to go up the stairs.
At the top of the stairs was a little old man ready to tell you all he knew about the place. I asked which way you go next and he said “this is it, it’s just the stairwell, you come up here to look at the busts – the finest collection of busts and some of them genuine roman”
And that was it. Less than half an hour in the place, 3 rooms, a hallway and a stairwell and you were done. done? we bloody well were.
Apparently the family still live there and use the whole house, just letting the public see three rooms on a couple of days a week.
How, if a place is owned by the National Trust can the family still expect to live there and not let the public, who pay for pay for its upkeep, have a jolly good poke around? its why we joined the National Trust, well mainly so we didnt have to pay £20 to get in to Tatton Park a while back, but at least there you get most of the house to see.
Another disappointing National Trust Property, thats 2 out of 4 so far, but I’ll tell you about Gawthorpe Hall another day.