With the new series of Downton Abbey about to hit our screens, why not fit in a visit to Stansted Park in Hampshire?
I have long intended to visit but for some reason or other, I put it off until a couple of weeks ago. Now I wish I had visited sooner and I will definitely return. Why?
Well – Stansted House gives you a unique insight into what the “below stairs” life was like. Yes – you have the beautiful entertaining rooms upstairs, but it’s the downstairs that really sets this attraction alight.
Beautiful little vignettes are laid out before you – the butler’s desk, the shoes waiting to be cleaned, the laundry, the kitchen – it’s almost as if someone has just popped out and we were sneaking a peek behind their backs.
My favourite objects were the hat boxes from Locks & Co and this picnic set.
No plastic here at Stansted thank you very much – no – two footmen staggered out to the hunting party with a three course meal, kept warm inside this multi-sectioned wooden box. How the other half lived!
If you come here, there’s a charming church to visit, a maze, a lovely cafe and a huge garden centre – ample parking for all and a great day out.
The history of Stansted Park dates back a 1,000 years and for 500 of those, it was owned by the Earls of Arundel. The family of the present incumbents, the Earls of Bessborough, have been there since 1924 and the Estate is now preserved in perpetuity by the Trustees of the Stansted Park Foundation.
Stansted Park, Rowlands Castle, Hampshire, PO9 6DX. Adult costs are currently GBP7 per person – summer opening until end of September – Sundays to Wednesdays, from 1pm – 4pm.
Contributor & photographer: Sue Lowry
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