History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
Belton is one of the foremost stately homes in Lincolnshire. The Brownlow family acquired the estate in 1617, and the current manor was built from 1685-88 for 'Young' Sir John Brownlow. It is not certain who Brownlow used for his architect. Several possibilities have been put forward, including Sir Christopher Wren, Roger Pratt, and William Winde, architect of Coombe Abbey.
The house was modelled on Clarendon House, London (since demolished). Earlier Elizabethan houses had popularized a design built like an H, with a central block one room deep flanked by wings. Belton was one of the first houses to create a central block two rooms deep, the so-called 'double pile' design. This allowed for more light, greater privacy, and easier roof construction.
The Brownlow and Cust families owned the house for over 300 years before it passed to the National Trust in 1984. The exteriors of Belton present one of the finest examples of Restoration (Carolean) architecture in the country. Film-goers will recognize the house as the setting for several films, including Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, and Tom Jones.
The interior, by contrast, features a wide range of styles, with rooms decorated in Restoration, Regency, Victorian, and 1930 styles. The showcase room is the Marble Hall, by which visitors enter. This chamber is named for the pattern of black and white marble tiles used for the floor.
Another chamber worthy of note is the Queen's Room, remodelled for a visit from Queen Adelaide. This chamber boasts an ornate state bed monogrammed with the initial 'AR' for Adelaide Regina. The Chinese Room features hand-painted 18th-century wallpaper.
A particular feature of the house is the wonderful set of wood carvings by 18th-century master Grinling Gibbons. There are also collections of fine porcelain, silver, painting, and tapestries.
The house is set in 36 acres of Italian and Dutch formal gardens, and huge informal gardens. Close to the house is the formal garden area, which is an absolute delight, with water features and symmetrical paths set off by statuary and curving lines of stone walls and hedges. The centrepiece of the gardens is the Orangery, with its display of exotic plants.
Beside the Orangery is the 12th-century parish church of St Peter and St Paul, where many of the Brownlow and Cust families are buried. The family memorials are an extraordinary sight.
The combination of the formal gardens with the Orangery and church together make for an unforgettable sight. Beyond the formal garden area you will find lovely treed parkland, with a Lakeside Walk, and a restored Victorian boathouse. In the grounds is a sundial that featured in the book 'The Moondial', by Helen Creswell.
Belton For Families
There's a lot to keep kids occupied at Belton House. In the house is a playroom where children and adults can dress up in Victorian costume, as well as play with period toys and games. There is an extremely large adventure playground, and the miniature railway runs most days in the spring and summer (a small charge applies). The hedge maze will also prove popular with the younger generation. The grounds are extensive, with plenty of opportunities for children to run around.
About Belton House
Address: Grantham, Lincolnshire, England, NG32 2LS
Attraction Type: Historic House
Location: 3 m NE Grantham, on A607
Website: Belton House
Phone: 01476 566 116
National Trust - see also: National Trust memberships (official website link)
OS: SK929 395
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
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NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low to exceptional) on historic interest
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Fulbeck Manor - 6.8 miles (Historic House)
Belvoir Castle - 7.7 miles (Historic House)
Easton Walled Gardens - 7.9 miles (Garden)
Woolsthorpe Manor - 9.4 miles (Historic Building)
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