Secret doors

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Doors are curious things. They have been known to lead to private rooms, hidden gardens and even other worlds.

* The mansion at Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire, is riddled with false and hidden doors. Many doors are painted or wallpapered so that they blend in, making them very tricky to spot. In the Georgian period such devices were a popular way of maintaining the ‘balance’ of interiors. Can you spot them all?

* Generations of children have enjoyed hunting for Fred, the friendly ghost at Overbeck’s House, in Devon. This hunt will take them through a little secret door in the panelling of the stairs, into a room that’s stuffed full of children’s toys from the past – including lead soldiers and dolls’ houses. When the kids find the secret door, and the ghost within, the room guide will reward them with a sticker and certificate.

* Hidden in a tree in the gardens of Hardwick Hall, in Derbyshire, is the door to a fairy house. Children can open it up and look inside to see what the fairies are doing.

* There are seven concealed doors at Oxburgh Hall, in Norfolk. Can you find the one in the library? This door is hidden within a wall of bookcases and is decorated with real book spines, with tongue in cheek titles that reference events and people from the history of Oxburgh.

* At Cotehele, in Cornwall, children can find a secret ‘door’ in the form of a table. They must crawl under the table to enter the Red Room Closet - which only those under 18 are allowed to explore. Children love the fact that they are allowed to go somewhere that their parents are not.

* At Montacute House, in Somerset, an Lord Curzon built an en-suite inside a cupboard. Can you spot the right door?


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