Is there a decade that you prefer for architecture and interiors?
On Saturday I was having a mother and daughter day with my mum and was thinking about what we could do. When looking through my Twitter stream I noticed that the National Trust was having an open weekend. Considering we had already had afternoon tea once this month and are going to the Ritz next week, I wanted to do something different. When I phoned Mum to tell her my idea, she raised it before I could. She had already seen it in the daily newspaper, talk about great minds thinking a like! So one decision down, another to make, which National Trust property to visit? We had already visited Baddersley Clinton in February (I’ve still to write the review on the house) but you may remember I wrote about the snowdrops are these the first signs of Spring?. So the options left were Packwood House, Coughton Court and Upton House and Gardens. Due to the weather forecast we decided on Upton House and Gardens, as the other properties have more extensive gardens which would would like to visit on a nicer day. Plus I was really interested to visit a 1930’s house, as usually the houses we visit are pre 19th century.
The journey turned out to be really pleasurable, we love travelling through the Warwickshire countryside especially when the sky is blue and the sun is shining, which it was on our journey to get to Upton House and Gardens. We pulled up in the car park to see a very cute looking hut, which was the main entrance into the property. The lady on reception was lovely, she took our voucher and talked us through everything we needed to know.
We made our way towards the house through the trees and up the main drive, it didn’t take us long to get to the house. There is a buggy that you can catch a lift on too, which we did coming back.
As it was lunchtime we headed for the restaurant first. What a lovely building it was, it really fitted in with the surroundings. It was busy with people sitting outside and inside. It was fairly busy but the service was very quick and I couldn’t resist this scrumptious apple and cinnamon cake.
The entrance of Upton House is quite impressive and I love the exterior. Upton House was the country home of Walter Samuel, 2nd Viscount Bearsted and his family, which he brought in 1927. He extensively remodelled the house, which included guest rooms entertainment spaces.
We were greeted in the Main Hall by a number of volunteers who talked us through the map of the house. This is the first time that we have been given a map, let alone be shown the flow of the house. We both thought this was a good idea, as we did use it throughout our tour of the house. We started in the Long Gallery which is very impressive. I loved the colours and the style of furniture. The house has a lovely flow and we next found ourselves in the Sitting Room, which was very much like a snug that you might find in a modern house. They had some interesting coffee table books. Next it was onto the Library, which was small but impressive. I really like these spaces, there were some interesting artefacts and what a great office, especially with the minstrels gallery over looking the Main Hall.
We then went down stairs to the Picture Gallery, Porcelain Lobby and Billiards Room We loved the china, in the Porcelain Gallery, Mum thought the blue was the more classic looking, whilst I loved the bright yellow.
I think it is great that we can now take photos in National Trust properties. This is the second property where visitors have also been able to pick up some of the objects. At Upton House people were even able to have a game of snooker.
Being a more ‘modern’ house compared to a lot of other National Trust houses we have visited, I had to keep reminding myself that the interiors were reminiscent of the 1930’s. I did love all of the wood, especially on the stairs.
Upstairs we visited Lady Bearsted’s bedroom. This included a refurbished art deco bathroom and a very large bedroom. Both the perfect size and proportions for any lady to enjoy.
Back down stairs we found ourselves in the luggage lobby. It was a rather large space, but then you have to remember that this is where the carriage would drop off the family’s luggage ready to be taken upstairs. Again in the Dining Room I had to remember that this was a more ‘modern’ house, as I am used to being wowed by dining rooms in other houses, where this is a very functional room. For a house of this size, the kitchen seemed on the small side although it included a pantry and cold store.
We really enjoyed the tour of Upton House and felt like we had a good insight into how the Bearsted family lived. We seemed to have missed the showers and so had a look at the back of the house to take in the splendour of some of the gardens. We were impressed by the tulips, so many still standing tall.
If you like visiting period houses and gardens, then I would fully recommend a visit to Upton House and Gardens. It is really easy to find your way around the house and there aren’t too many stairs to tackle, so the accessibility is great. Everything is close by, the restaurant, garden centre, house and gardens.
Lula Belle x