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Things to see and do in the house at Dyrham Park

Italianate double staircase on the west front at Dyrham Park, Gloucestershire
Italianate double staircase on the west front at Dyrham Park | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

The main house is open daily following major conservation and decorative work. The new exhibition and basement are open too.

Conservation in action

Following massive re-roofing work, we've now completed vital conservation and decorative work as part of a big project to re-present the house to create a more authentic, meaningful experience for visitors. New interpretation and visitor information to bring the stories of the house to life has been installed and Dyrham Park is sparkling with 17th-century life once more.

  • Staircases have been re-stabilised and restored

  • Walls and panelling have been made to look like high quality wood through a highly-skilled and painstaking process of re-graining, involving fine brushes and feathers

  • Paintings have been cleaned, repositioned and rehung

  • Key rooms have been redecorated to historic designs

  • Lighting has been carefully balanced to protect and illuminate collection items, allowing previously hidden details in tapestries, furniture, architectural features and paintings to be enjoyed once more

  • Two Georgian chandeliers, which had been in safe storage since work started on the roof project in 2014, have been electrified and rehung in the Great Hall and another one in the Gilt Leather Parlour

  • A beautifully crafted trompe-l'oeil screen has been created to represent Blathwayt’s highly-ornate long-lost Japan Closet that was once there. It includes exquisite floral and striped silk hangings and striking blue-black paint, colour-matched to the original, overlaid with gold decoration based on 17th-century designs

A couple in winter hats on the Old Staircase at Dyrham Park, South Gloucestershire
Visitors on the Old Staircase at Dyrham Park, South Gloucestershire | © National Trust Images/ James Dobson

What to see

The main house opens at 11.30am and the route depends on volunteer numbers on the day, but will include newly redecorated historic showrooms and re-presented collection items in ground and first floor rooms. Room guides will be on hand to assist visitors.

Experiencing the house is multi-sensory. As well as the visual impact, there are objects to feel and touch and scents to take in. Music, live and recorded, rings through the Great Hall, birdsong fills the entrance hall and a short film brings to life the context of the house’s place in history.

Visitors can try on and create their own 17th-century silhouette by borrowing hats and wigs as well as delivering notes of feedback to William Blathwayt on his home.

On entering the house, there’s a model of the house and grounds and a framed family tree. Each room has a name tile with a brief descriptive sentence made in the style of Dutch Delftware to get a snapshot into that room. For those who want to delve deeper, there are wooden boxes containing text to read and a selection of labelled objects to explore. Those interested in specific collection items can look at more detailed room books.

The Baroque interior

Built in two stages between 1692 and 1704 for King William III’s Secretary of State, William Blathwayt, Dyrham contains one of the best surviving Baroque interiors in the country.

The hugely spacious Great Hall is the historic core of Dyrham. Once the heart of the original Tudor house, it is all that survived from that period after Blathwayt’s rebuilding.

A visit will give a flavour of the late 1600s. You’ll see oak wainscoting, walnut panelling and leather-hung walls and highlights of the collection include paintings, furniture, and blue and white Dutch Delftware ceramics.

Chairs, pictures and a chandelier in the Great Hall at Dyrham Park
Newly re-grained Great Hall at Dyrham Park | © National Trust/David Evans

Collection highlights

Dyrham’s collection has three items featured in the new publication of the National Trust's 125 Treasures, which are on display in the house. These are Delftware pyramid vases and two paintings, including the popular Samuel Van Hoogstraten painting 'A View through a House'.

Restored tapestries

The Tapestry Bedchamber includes two tapestries that have been rehung following specialist cleaning and conservation.

One includes a newly added red squirrel, stitched back in after conservators noticed a gap and carried out research to find out what should have been there.

Other spaces

The basement, which includes the second-hand bookshop, Great Kitchen and dairy, is also open daily. The entrance to the basement is signposted as you arrive from the parkland and is via the south-west courtyard.

A new exhibition is also open. ‘The world of William Blathwayt and the birth of modern Britain' focuses on the fast-changing world of the late 17th century when the house and grounds as we know them were created.

Filming at Dyrham Park

Dyrham Park has featured in a number of films and TV programmes including Poldark, The Remains of the Day and Sanditon.

Did you know that Dyrham Park's Gilt Leather Parlour and the sumptuous Great Hall both recently featured in the BBC drama The Pursuit of Love, an adaptation of the Nancy Mitford novel? Filming for the programme took place during lockdown in September 2020.

Delft tile Dyrham Park, Gloucestershire 1036101
Delft tile at Dyrham Park, Gloucestershire. c1670 | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Access to the house

The entrance is on the West Terrace, on the far side of the house as you enter the site from the parkland.

Level access to the house is from the East Front - please ask a member of staff or a volunteer for directions.

There is no step-free access to the first floor of the main house. We have an electronic photobook available for wheelchair-users to view images of the house and collection. This tablet is available at the house entrance. Please talk to a member of staff or volunteer who will be happy to assist.

Transport

We are running electric mobility vehicles between the car park and house for those who otherwise wouldn't be able to manage the steep terrain.

A group of Delftware urns at Dyrham Park, Bristol and Bath

Dyrham Park's collections

Explore the objects and works of art we care for at Dyrham Park on the National Trust Collections website.

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