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If you consult a dictionary and look up ‘English stately home’ you’ll find the word ‘Longleat’ right beside it. It has much to offer visitors, from a period country house of the sixteenth century to a splendid complex of landscaped gardens. Sir John Thynne bought Longleat in 1544 from a sect of Augustinian friars and converted it into a high-class family home. However in 1567 a fire ravaged the property and Longleat had to be completely re-built. One can easily spend a day touring this unique sight, enjoying the original Elizabethan hall with all the period fixtures and fittings, the coopered drains of the master bedrooms, the robes corridor, the saloon, the Prince of Wales special quarters, the lower dining room and the music room. Location for hit Bollywood movies and the Red Bull Air Race, Longleat is truly a first-rate attraction.

Longleat Forest, which surrounds the property, is home to a Centerparcs branch which offers great fun activities and games that stress outdoor living and high-adrenalin adventure. There is also a top-quality safari park featuring lions, tigers, giraffes, elephants and other beasts of the southern hemisphere. This park is the first of its kind outside the African continent. To add to the aristocratic vibe, Longleat remains the ancestral seat of the Marquess of Bath. The total land mass is 8000 acres of woods and flatlands that are well worth exploring throughout a long summer’s day.

Those who want to sample a genuinely thrilling period piece will want to tour round a hedge maze, the sort of thing you see in Victorian costume dramas. The Red Library is one of the most mind-blowing repositories of knowledge available in Britain, containing some 40,000 books that can be viewed by arrangement with the management of this one of a kind English traditional manor house. The view of Longleat from the steep approach is really something else that cannot be conveyed in language and it is just a matter of you going there to visit on a clear day and seeing for yourself.

© 2011 Abiyoyo SL

Wiltshire is truly one of the most beautiful rural counties of England, boasting a singular wealth of attractions of all kinds. It also happens to be one... continue »
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