History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
The house complete by 1621 when King James visited Lady Pembroke here.
Houghton is now a ruin, administered as an ancient monument by English Heritage.
Inside the roofless ruin you can see where the great staircase installed by the Bruce family in 1688 once stood. The staircase, possibly the work of Christopher Wren, is now at the Swan Hotel in Bedford.
The house is fascinating. The sheer scale of the roofless ruins suggets just how impressive it must have been when first built. It is no wonder Bunyan used it as his model for House Beautiful! The location is wonderful, facing out over a wooded slope, with only a few stray cottages high above on the crest of the hill to distract your attention.
We did find the signposting for Houghton a bit underwhelming. We were left wondering if we'd arrived in the right place at first, as there is no obvious signpost after you turn off Hazlewood Lane. In the end we guessed that we needed to follow the lane left, parallel with the main road, and we eventually came to a small parking area. From there you walk past a row of cottages on your right and the house is visible down the slope of the hill to your left.
About Houghton House
Address: Ampthill, Bedford, Bedfordshire, England, MK45 2EZ
Attraction Type: Historic House
Location: 1 mile NE of Ampthill off the A421, 8 miles South of Bedford
English Heritage - see also: English Heritage memberships (official website)
OS: TL039 394
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
Opening Details: Open access site, usually accessible at any reasonable time
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Flitton, St. John the Baptist Church - 2.5 miles (Historic Church)
De Grey Mausoleum - 2.5 miles (Historic Church)
Cainhoe Castle - 3.9 miles (Castle)
Wrest Park - 4 miles (Garden)
Brogborough Hill - 4.8 miles (Countryside)
Elstow Moot Hall - 5 miles (Museum)
Elstow Abbey - 5 miles (Abbey)
Woburn Safari Park - 5.1 miles (Family Attraction)
Nearest Accommodation to Houghton:
Nearest Self Catering Cottages
Nearest Bed and Breakfasts
Near Luton train station (inside Starbucks)