Calm places to pause

If you’re out and about in the car and are in need of a break, why not drop in on one of our special places. Lots of our places are near to the main routes but a million miles away from the rush and congestion of the motorways.

You'll discover peaceful places where you can enjoy a complete change of pace, see an amazing house in a beautiful setting and finish your day with a cup of tea and a scone.

    Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire

    Off exit 14 M11 - approximately 10 miles / 11 minutes

    Recharge your batteries in the beautiful 46-hectare garden, with its working water mill, wildlife discovery area and one of the finest collections of historic garden statues in the country. You can try delicious, home-cooked food, made with fresh, local ingredients, in the tranquil setting of Redwoods restaurant.

    The house contains paintings, furniture and silver in the unique collection of the last occupant, plus one of our largest collection of clocks.

    Baddesley Clinton, Warwickshire

    Off exit 16 M40 - approximately 5 miles / 7 minutes

    This picturesque medieval moated manor house is a great place to stop just outside Birmingham. Have tea in the Barn restaurant and then browse the second-hand bookshop – you never know what you might find.

    Chartwell, Kent

    Off exit 5 M25 - approximately 6 miles / 8 minutes

    Escape the bedlam of the M25 with a trip to Chartwell. Bought by Sir Winston Churchill for its magnificent views over the Weald of Kent to Sussex, this was his home from 1924 until the end of his life. The rooms and gardens remain much as they were when he lived here, with personal mementoes strongly evoking his career and wide-ranging interests. Enjoy fresh produce from the kitchen garden in the restaurant.

    Cliveden, Buckinghamshire

    Off exit 3 M40 - approximately 4 miles / 7 minutes

    This spectacular estate overlooking the River Thames has a series of gardens, each with its own character, featuring topiary, statuary, water gardens, a formal parterre, Octagon temple, informal vistas, woodland and riverside walks.

    Cragside, Northumberland

    Off A697 - approximately 0.2 miles / 4 minutes

    There is much to see in the dramatic garden that surrounds Cragside. Discover one of the largest rock gardens in Europe, a vast woodland garden, as well as lakeside walks, an adventure play area and labyrinth. If travelling north of the border, make this your last stop before Scotland.

    Dyrham Park, Gloucestershire

    Family visitors at Dyrham Park

    Off exit 18 M4 - approximately 3 miles / 4 minutes

    The lavish collections inside this beautiful country house set in extensive parkland reflect the fashion in the 17th-century for all things Dutch. Victorian domestic quarters will give you a unique insight into life below stairs. Situated between Bath and Bristol, you would never believe you were just off the M4.

    Gibside, Tyne & Wear

    Off A1, approximately 4.5 miles / 9 minutes

    This stunning 18th-century landscape park and nature reserve offers a taste of the country on the edge of the city. Discover fine Derwent Valley views, winding paths and refreshing open spaces to stretch tired legs while exploring elegant buildings and ruins. Escape along the avenue for miles of tranquil walks and picnic spots or enjoy family adventures at our woodland playscape and challenge trail.

    Hanbury Hall, Worcestershire

    The orangery at Hanbury Hall, with citrus fruit displayed out the front.

    Off exit 5 M5 - approximately 4 miles / 5 minutes

    A tranquil setting off the busy M5, this fascinating house has features including an orangery, ice-house, pavilions and even a working mushroom house. There is also a recreated 18th-century crown bowling green available to play on.

    Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire

    Off exit 29 of M1, approximately 1 mile / 2 minutes

    Between Nottingham and Sheffield, a powerful Elizabethan lady - Bess of Hardwick - still shows off her wealth at this spectacular hall with huge windows and towers. The brand new visitor facilities include the The Stableyard, with delicious dining available in the Great Barn Restaurant, alongside a beautiful range of gifts in the Ox House Shop. Follow the path of plot to plate with a stroll outside to explore the fragrant herb garden, orchards and parkland which provide food for the tables.

    Killerton Estate, Devon

    Off exit 28 of M5, approximately 7 miles / 15 minutes

    Six miles from Exeter, this relaxed 18th-century estate makes an ideal place to stop off for a few hours. Magnolias and rhododendrons, rare trees, woodland walks and a summer house known as the 'Bear’s Hut' are just some of the highlights to be found outside. Pop into the Killerton Kitchen restaurant for a hearty meal, or take tea in the Stable tea-room. Award-winning Killerton cider, chutney, flour or honey can be bought here too as a tasty reminder of your day.

    Lanhydrock, Cornwall

    Off A38 - approximately 1 mile / 2 minutes

    Going to or from Cornwall, this is a real treat. One of the most fascinating and complete late 19th-century houses in England, Lanhydrock is full of period atmosphere. There is also an adventure playground, with wobbly bridge, scramble nets and animal sculptures, to keep the kids entertained.

    Mottisfont, Hampshire

    Off exit 3 of M27, approximately 8.5 miles / 15 minutes

    The perfect pit-stop when heading south to Dorset and the Jurassic Coast, Mottisfont sits just off the M27 and M3, near Southampton. Glorious grounds set alongside the fast-flowing River Test make a tranquil retreat from busy highways, with magnificent lawns providing space to stretch the legs. Bring a picnic and find a quiet spot to put down your blanket, or try some locally, sourced homemade food in the tea room, including our ‘cake of the month’. Bored passengers can even pick up something for the journey with a bargain in our second-hand bookshop.

    Mount Stewart, County Down

    Off A20, approximately 5 miles / 10 minutes

    Find an engaging and relaxing spot for a walk through beautiful grounds at this Neo-classical house, just 15 miles south of Belfast. Make time to take an engaging tour of the opulent house to reveal its fascinating heritage and historic, world-famous artefacts and artwork. Outside, find statues and fountains in the delightful parterres - a formal garden with patterns that are best seen from above - and take a moment to gaze across the peaceful lake overlooked by the Temple of Winds, with magnificent views of Stangford Lough. Enjoy a meal in the award-winning Bay restaurant or try the unique Mount Stewart ice-cream.

    Sizergh Castle, Gardens and Estate, Cumbria

    Off exit 36 of M6, approximately 5 miles / 8 minutes

    At the gateway to the Lake District, Sizergh Castle sits in glorious gardens and a magnificent estate. The imposing house has many tales to tell, while the herbaceous borders in the garden are stunning and include our largest limestone rock garden. Walks across the estate give wonderful views of Morecambe Bay and the distant Lakeland fells. Sizergh Café serves a wide selection of delicious local and seasonal produce.

    Stourhead, Wiltshire

    Off A303 - approximately 3 miles / 4 minutes

    An outstanding example of the English landscape style, this splendid garden with classical temples is set around a central lake. An ever-changing series of vistas will greet you as you move around the paths and through the magnificent mature woodland with its extensive collection of exotic trees. Perfect if you’re travelling back from Dorset to London and the South East.

    Tredegar House, Newport

    Off exit 28 of M4, approximately 1 mile / 2 minutes

    This fascinating house and garden sits just off the M4 as you enter Wales. The house is a treasure trove of colourful stories from its time as a medieval manor, to a 1930s party house and 1970s comprehensive. Outdoors, 90 acres of parkland including the great lake, three walled gardens, an orangery and farm buildings mean there is plenty of room to let off steam, explore, or take a breather from the open road.

    Tyntesfield, North Somerset

    Off exit 29 of M5, approximately 4 miles / 10 minutes

    Restored to its Victorian glory after major renovations, Tyntesfield’s house, chapel, gardens and woodland make for an inspiring break filled with fresh air and discovery. The Home Farm visitor centre, with a restaurant, ship, exhibition space and family play area are free to visit every day. The restaurant uses local produce, including some ingredients grown on the estate, to create fresh and tasty dishes.