Friday, 11 March 2011

Restoration Round-up

Today I have two restored gems for your viewing, visiting and intellectual pleasure, to blow away the winter cobwebs and pave the way for spring.

Firstly, Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, west London - one time property of the eighteenth century writer and wit, Horace Walpole. Upon buying the original property, Walpole set about a fantastical overhaul; transforming Strawberry Hill into the vision of gothic revival glamour it is today. Walpole's  schemes were envisaged at a time when all things gothic were undergoing a popular resurgence. He called his second home "a gingerbread castle," and a "Gothic mousetrap," and allowed the public to visit the house on a daily basis (even devising a system of advanced bookings) with one key rule: no children allowed. These days, there is still an advanced booking system in place, but the no-children rule has been relaxed! The first phase of restoration has been completed for some months now, allowing a dazzling glimpse of Walpole's impressive vision, and as further restoration work is completed, more rooms will reopen their doors.

Strawberry Hill opens for the current season on April 2nd, with pre-booking strongly advised. For more information, click here.

Secondly, we go to Shugborough Hall (Milford, Staffordshire). Ancestral home of the Earldom of Lichfield, the property and estate are now jointly ran by The National Trust and Staffordshire County Council. It has always been a gorgeous place to visit; built in the 1700s and set within rolling parkland, but this year it becomes even more special. Once the main home of Patrick Lichfield (otherwise known as the 5th Earl), only the ground floor state rooms and part of the first floor were accessible to the public. Since Lord Lichfield's death in 2005, work has been carried out to sensitively restore his private apartments and open them up for viewing. On the 18th March, these once off-limits rooms will open along with the rest of the house and estate for the current season. As Patrick Lichfield was a society and fashion photographer of great repute, there will also be a new retrospective exhibition of some of his beautiful images.

Grace Coddington, former model and current Creative Director of American Vogue, 1964
Shugborough Hall and Estate will be open daily from the 18th March. For further details, click here.

Strawberry Hill image courtesy of Strawberry Hill House; Shugborough Hall image courtesy of The National Trust; Lichfield's shot of Grace Coddington courtesy of The Independent.


  1. I love visiting National Trust sites and properties. Isn't it strange how many places I still haven't seen in London (or Staffordshire for that matter)? I guess it's always different to actually live and work somewhere rather than just visit and concentrate on all the lovely parts... Wishing you a great week xo

  2. Two more places of enchantment to add to my list of places to see....

  3. Carole, me too. Given that the NT have SO many properties though, I think you could go a long time without visiting the same property twice. Here's to hoping that you can still enjoy the lovely parts while living here! x

    Ingrid...add these two, and I'll find a few more!