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Basildon Park National Trust

A stunning 18th century manor house in Berkshire that oozes period drama for history and film fans. A place to explore the intimate rooms, gardens, woods and paddocks. Free range kids will love it.

Weekend Escapes

Basildon Park in Lower Basildon has period drama in spades. It has starred in Pride and PrejudiceThe DuchessMarie-AntoinetteDorian Grey, Downton Abbey and now Netflix global TV sensation, Bridgerton. The views are jaw-dropping, the house is small-scale grand, and the gardens and grounds perfectly reflect each season. There’s an informality to Basildon Park that I absolutely love. it’s also a great spot for kids to safely roam free range with play areas and countryside walk activities that distract them from their step count.

Sitting elegantly in 400 acres of historic parkland and gardens, this 18th-century house was purchased by Lord and Lady Iliffe in the 1950s, when it was de-requisitioned after the Second World War. With extraordinary vision, the family brought Basildon Park back to life, acquiring a collection of fine furnishings and carefully selected Old Masters. The estate has only ever been inhabited by three families, spanning from Georgian new build in the 18th Century to 20th century home.

Inside is where eagle-eyed film fans will have a field day. It was Mr Bingley’s temporary country home in the 2005 version of Pride & Prejudice, starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen. See if you can spot the room used to shoot the Netherfield Ball? You’ll recognise the opulent red drawing room used in the Christmas special of Downton Abbey as Basildon Park masqueraded as Grantham House – the Crawley family’s London home. And finally, global TV swoon-fest Bridgerton used the Garden Room and parterre for episode eight of series two, as the scene for Lady Featherington’s ball. Period drama heaven.

The wooded parkland offers glorious seasonal colour, with spring bluebells, orchids, summer buttercups and autumn leaves, while the landscape has been carefully restored to offer wonderful views, peaceful trails, with four way-marked paths – with options for little legs and buggies. The place is positively chock-a-block with lovely spots to perch and soak up the view. Plus kiddie heaven with ball runs, rustic balancing toadstools and the chance to simply run without a care in the world.

And for refreshment after all that good, wholesome fun? Cream teas, cakes and hot lunches can be bought from the lovely (though often busy) café and a rather lovely gift shop to pick up something for your home or garden. Well behaved dogs are welcome on a lead.

This month in Berkshire

Basildon Park National Trust, Lower Basildon, Reading, Berkshire RG8 9NR
01491 672382

Opening hours
Monday: 10am – 5pm
Tuesday: 10am – 5pm
Wednesday: 10am – 5pm
Thursday: 10am – 5pm
Friday: 10am – 5pm
Saturday: 10am – 5pm
Sunday: 10am – 5pm

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