House and outbuildings

Victorian splendour

Come in to this Victorian interpretation of an Elizabethan great hall © Jana Eastwood

Come in to this Victorian interpretation of an Elizabethan great hall

Come in through the porch dedicated to Elizabeth I and you’ll find an Elizabethan-Revival interior created in Victorian times by Mary Elizabeth and George Hammond Lucy.

Begin your visit in the Great Hall surrounded by 400 years of Lucy family portraits and then discover more about what you see with one of our costume talks. Find out how the Lucy family lived in Victorian times, their European spending spree and family tragedy.

Our children's trails begin here too - collect a sheet from one of our friendly room guides.

Victorian splendour

Once the bedroom where Elizabeth I slept, now a Victorian drawing room © Jana Eastwood

Once the bedroom where Elizabeth I slept, now a Victorian drawing room

Mary Elizabeth and George Hammond Lucy wanted to make Victorian Charlecote conform to their ideal of ‘Merrie England’ in the reign of ‘Good Queen Bess’.

So between 1829 and 1865, they refitted the main rooms with the advice of the designer and heraldic expert Thomas Willement. They filled their new rooms with stained glass, early editions of Shakespeare’s works and ebony furniture (which was then thought to be Tudor).

They also bought spectacular tables and cabinets from the Fonthill Abbey sale of items from the unique collection of William Beckford.
 

Victorian splendour

The ebony bed was made from a 17th-century East Indian settee © Jana Eastwood

The ebony bed was made from a 17th-century East Indian settee

Three of the guest bedrooms upstairs are open to visitors and are shown according to a very detailed inventory of 1891. The furnishings are, for the most part, the originals with wallpaper and carpets remade from original designs found at Charlecote.

These rooms were generally used by visiting bachelor friends as they were a long way from the fitted plumbing.

You can see many delightful paintings here and other fascinating objects collected by Mary Elizabeth and George Hammond Lucy on their travels.
 

A family home

Our library is one of the finest in the care of the National Trust

Visitors sometimes wonder why it’s not possible to see the whole house. This is because the Lucy family still live here. Many of the items you see belong to the family and are kindly loaned by them to the National Trust.

Part of the upper floor is also taken up with our self-catering holiday flat, The Turret. This is a delightful place to stay, with glorious views of the Warwickshire countryside.

Please note: Buggies and rucksacks just don’t mix with fragile artefacts and you will be asked to leave these in the porch (limited space on busy days).

Keep up to date with the house elves

Our house team's work has to strike a careful balance between the careful conservation of our collection and letting our visitors see what's happening. We work in front of our visitors when we can and regularly post information about what we're up to at the moment on our blog.

This is where you can find out about the forgotten biscuits, dealing with mould and some of our favourite objects.

 

Gadgets and goodies

You can help with cooking in the Victorian kitchen

You can help with cooking in the Victorian kitchen

You'll find a taste of Victorian England in our award-winning kitchen. Talk to our costumed guides about the recipes they're cooking today, the cooking techniques and utensils being used.

Children can try on mob caps and aprons and discover more about what it was really like to be a Victorian servant.

We are not always able to cook on a Wednesday when the house is closed but the Victorian kitchen is always open.

Complete the picture

Explore the outbuildings and discover more about Victorian servants’ lives

Explore the outbuildings and discover more about Victorian servants’ lives

Cross the courtyard to find the laundry, brewhouse and tackroom which were so vital to the efficient running of the house. You can gain a real sense of the physical hard work undertaken by the people employed here.

Imagine filling the washing coppers with hot water and hauling out the wet linen to dry, and see the huge range of implements that were regarded as essential for all aspects of cleaning the family’s riding equipment.

The comprehensive carriage collection of vehicles used by the Lucy family will fascinate lovers of romantic historical fiction – here you can compare the merits of a phaeton, a barouche or a brougham.
 

Access for all

The Virtual Tour in the stables will tell you so much more

Anyone who hasn’t been able to access the upstairs rooms in the house will want to find our Virtual Tour in the outbuildings too.

Here you can sit at our computer screen and discover a wealth of information about the Lucy family and the history of Charlecote.

The Virtual Tour is also open on days when the house itself is closed.
 

Volunteer with us

Share your love of Charlecote and join our friendly team.

There's plenty of training, and it's a chance to learn something new or bring your knowledge to us.

We’ve plenty of opportunities for new volunteers within our forthcoming outbuildings project.

Could you help us to bring history to life?

Explore more

Mary Elizabeth Lucy and her husband filled Charlecote with the best of Victorian splendour. Our friendly room guides can tell you more about everything you see.

Take a look at some of the room guides’ favourite items.

Can you find all the Cuddly Critters hiding in the house during the school holidays?

Our collection

Every item of crockery and cutlery is catalogued

You can now view items from National Trust places everywhere and find out about the pieces that interest you at National Trust Collections.

Here you can discover a searchable treasure trove of hundreds of items from Charlecote's paintings, furniture and carriages.

Charlecote collection hightlights.

 

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