Walk in famous footsteps
From childhood homes to places where they gained their inspiration, the creative and scientific to the rich and powerful, many of our houses have connections to famous faces through the ages.
Get closer to the lives of some of those who have made their mark on British history.
Here are some of our top spots to walk in famous footsteps:
'That’s She! The Only She! Make an honest woman of her – quick!' was how Rudyard Kipling and his wife, Carrie, felt the first time they saw Bateman’s. Surrounded by the wooded landscape of the Sussex Weald, this was the writer’s sanctuary, where he was inspired to write “Puck of Pook’s Hill.” Kipling’s strong associations with the East can be seen within the house in the many Oriental rugs and artefacts. Most of the rooms - including his book lined study - are much as he left them.
Take a fascinating trip down memory lane with a combined minibus tour to Mendips and 20 Forthlin Road, the childhood homes of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. This is your only opportunity to see inside the houses where the Beatles met, composed and rehearsed many of their earliest songs.
The home of one of Britain’s greatest seafarers, it was from Buckland that Drake planned his assault on the Spanish Armada. The Abbey, now part-museum and part-home, features fascinating memorabilia including the famous Drake’s Drum; which was with him on the epic voyage when he died and is said to beat if England is ever in danger.
The family home and place of inspiration for Sir Winston Churchill, Chartwell remains much as it did when he lived here. Pictures, books and personal mementoes evoke the career and wide-ranging interests of this great statesman, writer, painter and family man, while the hillside gardens reflect Churchill’s love of the landscape and nature. They include the lakes he created, Lady Churchill’s Rose Garden, and the playhouse built especially for his youngest daughter.
This is an extraordinary glimpse into the private holiday home of the famous and much-loved author Agatha Christie and her family. The relaxed and atmospheric house is set in the 1950s, and contains many of the family's collections, including archaeology, silver, botanical china and books.
The roomy saloon, complete with fireplace and a balcony overlooking the River Dart, is where Christie set the murder of Marlene Tucket in Dead Man’s Folly.
Amid rolling Chilterns countryside sits the home of Benjamin Disraeli, Queen Victoria’s favourite Prime Minister. Acquired in the midst of his political career, he turned it, with great help from his dedicated wife, Mary Anne, into the country house needed to secure his political aspirations. Follow in his footsteps through the atmospheric manor to discover his colourful private life, and why he was such an unlikely Prime Minister.
Thomas Hardy - Hardy Country, Dorset
Few authors have such strong associations with the natural and cultural heritage of their local area as Thomas Hardy.
His semi-fictional Wessex - inspired by the landscape surrounding Dorchester - was the setting for many of his novels, short stories and poetry. Hardy Country is home to his birthplace; a small cob and thatch cottage built by his father; and a short journey away is Max Gate, the red brick villa designed by Hardy himself.
Beatrix Potter bought Hill Top with the royalties earned from Peter Rabbit and the garden is laid out to reflect Peter’s adventures with Mr McGregor. Tom Kitten, Samuel Whiskers and Jemima Puddleduck were all created here. Down the road in Hawkshead is the Beatrix Potter Gallery with exhibitions of original sketches and watercolours from the celebrated children’s stories.
This lovely Georgian townhouse, in the Cumbrian town of Cockermouth, was the birthplace and childhood home of romantic poet William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy. Presented as their bustling family home and peopled by costumed servants, it offers an unforgettable chance for all ages to experience what it was like to live in the 1770s. Relax in our beautiful summerhouse on Wordsworth’s famous terrace, walk and listen to his poetry and discover the nature that inspired his work.
Birthplace and family home of the famous scientist, it was here he made many of his most important discoveries about light and gravity here in the plague years of 1666-7. You can still see the famous apple tree that inspired his thoughts on gravity from the bedroom window, and explore some of his ideas for yourself in the Science Discovery Centre.