20 September 2012

(6) UK - Burghley House and Stamford

The day has dawned cloudy - very cloudy! Again!

Burghley House and Stamford are on the agenda today.
The Tom-Tom got us in via the owners entrance, as we later discovered! We passed a huge herd of buck but didn't stop for a photo as we thought we could walk amongst them later! This house is very old and has a vast history. It was placed in a trust years ago - however, family members still live here but have to apply to the trust and must be direct descendants. The old Tudor kitchen is huge and puts the Rockingham kitchen to shame. The rooms are all very large and ostentatious with either paintings or tapestries taking up just about every conceivable space. The walls and ceilings are painted with murals - it took an artist and his team 11 years to complete these works.
Privacy was not a priority in those days so there was no passage between bedrooms. Imagine, servants, kids other guests all walking past your bedroom? The 4 posters had their curtains for a good reason. Burghley was built between 1555 and 1587 - it's hard to imagine a building surviving for so long.

The Great Hall has a huge collection of old books - currently in bookshelves behind grids. However, these books were left lying on the floor for nearly 70 years and had been nibbled on by rats during this time. Educated rats obviously!
The descendants, Miranda and Orlando who are currently living in the house have 4 children, the eldest is 12. Three school going children attend 3 different schools - one wonders who does all the fetching and carrying.

The gardens are park-like with sculptures (not my cup of tea!) and the Garden of Surprises is a more of a children's treat with water spouts all over the place.
The grounds are massive but not as pretty as Rockingham Castle, which I preferred although it is much smaller. Burghley is excessive in it's huge collection of paintings, many from Italy and the painted ceilings are just too overwhelming for me. Busy would be the word - not tranquil and peaceful.

Our next stop was the London Inn in Stamford for a 10 pound lunch (for 2) James enjoyed lovely cod, peas and chips and I had Chilli Con Carne. It seems a popular, busy and well frequented spot.
Stamford itself is the most gorgeous town with beautiful old stone buildings, pedestrian areas and very fine buildings. The town lies at the southern tip of Lincolnshire where it borders Rutland, Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire. The town boasts many 18th and 19th century buildings and it is well worth a wander. Stamford has approx 18,000 inhabitants and has a lovely feel to it despite the fact that there are a number of shops to let. The river Welland runs through the town and this has always been crossed here for the North/South road. This route was known as the Roman Road, then the Great North Road and now the A1.

Unfortunately, we did not have sufficient time to fully enjoy this lovely, old stone town.

© Judelle Drake

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