It’s an odd name for a stately home – Uppark, don’t you think? It is, however, more simple than you might expect. It’s so-named due to the fact that you literally go Up to the Park for the house stands atop rolling parkland with far reaching views over the surrounding countryside and the Solent beyond.
This National Trust property has for my taste, one of the ugliest entrances I have ever seen in a country estate although the beautiful drive leading to the entrance belies the horror awaiting you. It is interesting to note that this was not the original way to the house – if you walk around to the front facade, you can see how fine it really is – and how similar it is to nearby Stansted Park.
Don’t let my personal design foibles spoil this as a potential visit however as the staff are lovely and the house well worth visiting. The gardens and the vistas in particular are noteworthy as they were created by Capability Brown and Humphry Repton.
I can’t show you any pictures of the interiors however as photos are not allowed inside (an inconsistent photographic policy runs throughout the National Trust properties I have found) – but you can wander around the house and the extensive staff quarters at will – which are well worth visiting with knowledgeable staff to explain what you are seeing – a collection gathered from the Grand Tour undertaken by the then owners.
There is also the most glorious (and enormous) doll’s house – built around 1735 – 40 for the Lethieullier family and it’s one of the two most important early 18th-century doll’s houses in Britain.
The most noteworthy tale about this house is that much of it burnt down nearly twenty years ago now in 1989 and what you see is a fine restoration – artisans have had to re-learn lost arts to reproduce the intricate plasterwork ceilings and medallions. The Trust has cleverly displayed images of each room as it looked after the fire so you can see how pristine the renovation really is – and when you consider what they had to work with, it really is remarkable. Luckily, the staff were able to save the ground floor’s furnishings and paintings – the upper floors, lived in by the family, were not so lucky.
One last intriguing little nugget of information about Uppark? Sarah Wells, mother of HG Wells, the author, was housekeeper here. Wells was to record the old-fashioned world of Uppark in his novel, Tono-Bungay.
All in all, it’s definitely worth a visit or too.
Uppark House & Garden, South Harting, Petersfield, Hampshire, GU31 5QR. Entry for National Trust members is free, for non members, adults: GBP9.10 and children: GBP4.50.
Contributor: Sue Lowry
A3 Traveller s on twitter @A3Traveller, on Flickr, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook: Sue Lowry. It is the sister blog to MagellanStraits.com – the musings and observations of the staff of Magellan PR. Magellan PR is on twitter, Pinterest, YouTube & Facebook: @MagellanPR.