Interior design: Tudor

The Tudor period spanned the reigns of five monarchs, from Henry VII in 1485 to the death of Elizabeth I in 1603. It marked an age of prosperity, money from expanding trade, and the gift of land to royal favourites enabling them to build lavish houses. Dark oak panelling, rich velvet fabrics and wooden four-poster beds are all part of the Tudor style of interior décor. Here are some of the places in our care where you can absorb the atmosphere of Tudor style:

Tudor features to look out for...

Tudor style at a glance incorporated: symmetrical architecture; around an ‘E’ or ‘H’ shaped plan; multi-paned, lattice work and casement windows; stained glass with heraldic and ecclesiastical motifs; rich oak panelling, plasterwork and stone hearth surrounds; walls adorned with tapestries and embroideries; colours of dark brown, gold, red and green; walls adorned with tapestries and embroideries; velvet, damask and brocade fabrics for bed hangings and drapes; decorative symbols of Tudor rose, thistle and fleur de lys; trestle tables, benches, heavy chests and carved four-poster beds; and wooden floors, encaustic tiles and plaited rush matting.

The Winter Parlour at Canons Ashby, Northamptonshire

Canons Ashby, Northamptonshire 

The family home of the Drydens since Elizabethan times, Canons Ashby's interiors include original late 16th century murals depicting Old Testament tales, vast chimney pieces and elaborate plasterwork featuring typical Tudor symbols of thistles and pomegranates.

View of King Charles Room at Cotehele, Cornwall, showing bed and tapestries

Cotehele, Cornwall 

This atmospheric house with its superb collection of arms, armour, textiles and furniture, was built between 1485 and 1560 with later modifications. It features large Tudor fireplaces and ornate hangings.

The Blue Room at Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire

Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire 

One of Britain's greatest and most complete Elizabethan houses, Hardwick Hall is a magnificent statement of its builder, Bess of Hardwick. Remarkable for being almost unchanged since Bess lived here, it is a rare glimpse into the formality of courtly life in the Elizabethan age.

A family looking out of a leaded window at Little Moreton Hall, Cheshire

Little Moreton Hall, Cheshire 

Wonder at the skills of past craftsmen in the Great Hall and as you climb the stairs to the Long Gallery in this classic example of a black and white timbered Tudor house. Marvel at its thirty thousand leaded window panes, each group designed with a different arrangement of triangles, diamonds, squares, circles and lozenges.

The view down the Long Gallery at Montacute House, Somerset

Montacute House, Somerset 

A magnificent Elizabethan stone-built house, Montacute's Long Gallery is the longest of its type in England. Adorned with elegant chimneys, carved parapets and other Renaissance features, the house includes contemporary plasterwork, chimney pieces and heraldic stained glass.

A carved wooden table in the Library at Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk

Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk 

This quintessential Tudor moated manor house has a magnificent gatehouse and accessible priest hole. The rooms show the development from medieval austerity to neo-Gothic Victorian comfort and include displays of embroidery by Mary Queen of Scots.

The timber-beamed hall and staircase at Paycocke’s, Essex

Paycocke's, Essex 

Marvel at the stunning woodcarving and elaborate panelling inside this wealthy wool merchant’s house built in 1500. The house is a grand example of the wealth generated by the cloth trade in the 16th century.

The Drawing Room at Rufford Old Hall, Lancashire

Rufford Old Hall, Lancashire 

Step back in time to one of Lancashire’s finest Tudor houses, with a spectacular Great Hall, intricately carved wooden screen and hammer-beam roof. A young William Shakespeare is said to have performed at the house for the owner, Sir Thomas Hesketh, and his guests.

The Dining Room at Sizergh Castle, Cumbria, with Elizabethan oak panelling

Sizergh Castle, Cumbria 

Built in the Middle Ages by the Strickland family who still live here, this imposing house was extended in Elizabethan times and includes an exceptional series of oak-panelled rooms, leading to an inlaid Chamber.

A table set for a meal in the Drawing Room at Speke Hall, Merseyside

Speke Hall, Liverpool 

One of the most famous Tudor manors, this half-timbered rambling house has rich interiors, the rooms spanning many periods, including a fine great hall and priest hole from that time, striking Jacobean plasterwork and intricately carved furniture.

The wood panelled Linenfold Parlour at Sutton House, Hackney, London

Sutton House, London 

A unique survival in London's East End, the house was built in 1535. Although it was altered over the years, it remains an essentially Tudor house with oak-panelled rooms and carved fireplaces.

Boy turning a spit in the kitchen at Tudor Merchant's House, Pembrokeshire

Tudor Merchant's House, Pembrokeshire 

Step back 500 years and discover how a Tudor merchant and his family would have lived in this fascinating three-story house close to the harbour of Tenby.

Design in other eras