Get a taste of life below stairs

Have you ever imagined what life would have been like for a servant in a great country house? Many of the places in our care are full of sculleries, butlers’ pantries, servants’ bedrooms and other ‘downstairs’ rooms to explore. Here are a few of the best places to find them.

East of England
Servants in the basement at Ickworth, Suffolk

Explore the servants' quarters 

When we think of grand country houses it’s easy to imagine the glamorous lives of the families who lived in them, but there was often plenty of drama and excitement below stairs as well. Take a wander around the surviving servants quarters at places like Ickworth, Wimpole and Blickling, and you’ll find a treasure trove of stories that provide a fascinating glimpse into lives spent ‘in service’.

Wales

North

Midlands
A volunteer and children in the Laundry at Berrington Hall, Herefordshire

Berrington Hall, Herefordshire 

This was the Rodney family home for nearly a century before it was gambled away and acquired by the Cawley family. Explore the butler’s pantry, footman’s room and laundry room, not to mention the beautifully decorated dairy. On a tour of the rooms, you can try out tools and discover how servants moved around the house unseen by the family and guests.

South West

South East

Northern Ireland
Visitors on a guided tour of Castle Coole

Castle Coole, County Fermanagh 

Seat of the Earls of Belmore, Castle Coole includes the State Bedroom prepared for George IV. The vast basement and servants' quarters at Castle Coole have been restored so that you can get an authentic experience of life below stairs. You can visit a whole host of rooms including the Footmans’ Room, Wine Cellar and Servants’ Hall.