Sunday, 21 August 2016

Basildon Park

Our final day of holiday was spent at Basildon Park, a National Trust house and garden that is often used as a setting for filming period TV shows and films, such as Pride & Prejudice, Downton Abbey, Dorian Gray and Marie-Antionette. It's current restored state is, in most parts, thanks to it's last owners before the NT, Lord and Lady Iliffe. The house had been badly damaged during the war and also passed from owner to owner, with each one seemingly taking fixtures and fittings at whim before selling it on. One chap even tried to strip it down and sell it to the Americans.

It was revamped and redecorated to it's former shining glory but with more modern home comforts such as central heating and a modern kitchen, and, in the 1950s, enjoyed playing host to many posh parties hosted by the Iliffe's. Eventually they passed it on to the National Trust, on the condition that nothing was touched and the spirit of it being a family home remained. They themselves continued to live in a small area of the house, the sitting room of which you can see as Lady Iliffe left it, and had the best of both worlds as they were allowed to continue using the dining room in the main house to entertain guests when it was closed to the public (which was more often than it is now).

The rose garden at the back of the house was one of my favourite areas. beautiful roses, sweet peas and agapanthuses cluster together in a medley of pastel colours and just beyond them is the most incredible view over trees and fields. It was quite the best place.

So our mini holiday came to an end; three days steeped in history and architectural sights, combined with a copious amount of coffee and beautiful weather. Quite the best sort of break away.

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