Cotswolds

Woodchester Mansion, near Stonehouse

Standing in National Trust-owned Woodchester Park and nestled within a hidden valley, you’d be forgiven for thinking you had stepped into a Victorian ghost story. Frozen in time, Woodchester Mansion is an incomplete relic, a fabulous half-finished creation a sanctuary to wildlife.

The brain-child of local architect Benjamin Bucknall, work began on the mansion in about 1857 but stopped by the mid-1860s, leaving a shell without floors, ceilings or glazed windows. With his dream being to create a unique Gothic Revival house, the quality of the work is astonishing, with vaulted ceilings, gorgeous windows like those found in cathedrals and stone carved animals and plants reflecting the life within the valley.

Today, visitors can explore the incomplete mansion and its gardens, marvelling at the eerie atmosphere and imagining what the manor could have been like had it ever been finished. You can explore by yourself or join one of the two free tours that take place each day.

Nature-lovers can learn about the colonies of Greater and Lesser Horseshoe bats and on open days you can watch them on the CCTV. The bat observatory can be found on the first floor and is a fascinating insight into these amazing creatures.

If you get a bit peckish, the Servant’s Hall tea room is a great spot for a bite to eat and a cup of tea. In addition, there’s a small shop and an outside picnic area if you bring your own refreshments with you.

Parking can be found in the National Trust car park nearby, then it’s a walk through woodland to the mansion (about three quarters of a mile). A mini bus is provided too, should you prefer, which runs hourly.

Please note that Woodchester Mansion is open between the end of March to the end of October, Fridays to Sundays, Bank Holiday Mondays and New Year's Day. Please check the website for exact opening times.

Feeling inspired? Take a look at our luxury cottages in the Cotswolds here.

Woodchester Mansion, Nympsfield, Stonehouse, Gloucestershire GL10 3TS | 01453 861 541 | www.woodchestermansion.org.uk

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