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Visiting Canons Ashby house

The interior of the kitchen at Canons Ashby house in Northamptonshire. The room has a stone flagstone floor with a large range over and servants bells on the wall.
The Kitchen at Canons Ashby | © National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

Visit the Tudor manor house at Canons Ashby, where the warm, welcoming house features grand rooms, stunning tapestries and Jacobean plasterwork, contrasting with the domestic detail of the servants' quarters. Staff and volunteers are on hand, ready to answer your questions as you explore.

The Kitchen

Recent research suggests that this corner of the house was originally Wylkyn’s farmhouse, the oldest part of the house. The room was extended eastwards in the late 16th century by Erasmus Dryden, to create the existing layout and modernised at the beginning of the 18th century.

Great Hall

The Great Hall was originally entered from what is now the Green Court. The entrance was changed when Edward Dryden remodelled the house in the early 18th century and replaced the old entrance porch with a fine, tall baroque doorcase which he placed in the middle of the wall. He commissioned his cousin, Elizabeth Creed, to paint an overmantel with arms and armour.

The Dining Room

This room was part of John Dryden’s first phase of building, the tower house. It was completely remodelled by Edward Dryden in about 1710 and described in the 1717 inventory as the ‘right-hand parlour’. It’s a beautiful example of an early Georgian oak-panelled room.

Book Room

The Book Room is part of Sir Erasmus Dryden’s extension to the house of around 1590 and still has the original panelling. The chimney piece and overmantel with its doric pilasters and columns are also of this period. The room was described as the ‘left-hand parlour’ in the 1717 inventory and was subsequently used as a Billiard Room. Sir Henry Dryden the Antiquary created the room as it is today and gave it the distinctive name of the Book Room. The oak bookcases were designed by Sir Henry and made by the estate carpenters in the 1840-50s.

The Painted Parlour (previously know as Sir Henry's Museum Room)

Visit the Painted Parlour and marvel at the clever trompe l’oeil (trick of the eye) decoration, created in the early 1700s. All is not as it seems! Elizabeth Creed (1642-1728) painted the room in her 70s for her fashionable cousin, Edward Dryden (d.1717). You can also see Elizabeth’s work in the Priory Church.

The Drawing Room at Canons Ashby, Northamptonshire. The walls are dark dusty pink colour with a large barrelled plasterwork ceiling and a large marble fireplace featuring heraldic crests above.
The Drawing Room at Canons Ashby | © National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

Drawing Room

This room was created when Erasmus Dryden built the south range of the house around 1590. The original purpose was as a grand reception chamber, where Erasmus would have met and entertained his guests. The Great Hall was only used for large functions. Spenser’s Room was probably his private reception chamber or office.

Spenser’s Room

Sir Henry named the best guest bedroom after the Elizabethan poet Edmund Spenser who, as a relation of the Drydens, had been a frequent visitor to Canons Ashby many years before. Sir Henry would not have been aware of the extraordinary Elizabethan wall paintings discovered beneath the 18th-century panelling by the Trust during repair work in the 1980s.

Tapestry Room

This was the main first floor room of the tower house built by John Dryden in the 1550s. It was altered in about 1710, when Edward Dryden modernised the south range of the house. He installed three new sash windows in the south wall, replacing the original 16th-century fireplace that had stood here with the existing fireplace on the opposite wall.

Visitors walking along a grass path through the garden at Canons Ashby, Northamptonshire. There are summer flowers in bloom on the right and neatly clipper topiary can be seen in the background with the house behind.

Discover more at Canons Ashby

Find out when Canons Ashby is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

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Visitors walking along a grass path through the garden at Canons Ashby, Northamptonshire. There are summer flowers in bloom on the right and neatly clipper topiary can be seen in the background with the house behind.

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Canons Ashby was home to the Dryden family for over 400 years and has a rich history. Discover how the house developed and about the people that made the house we see today.

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Visiting the garden at Canons Ashby 

The garden provides plenty of space for the family to have a great day out and enjoy the fresh air. You can also stretch your legs with one of the walks in the wider grounds.

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Canons Ashby is a two pawprint rated place. Dogs are welcome at Canons Ashby, whether it's a walk in the parkland with the family or lunch in the tea-garden whilst your pup companion relaxes. Find out more about bringing your four-legged friend for a visit.

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Eating and shopping at Canons Ashby 

Grab a bite to eat in the tea-room, and find a souvenir to remember your visit in the Coach House shop. Head to the old brewhouse where you will now find a second-hand bookshop.

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Family-friendly things to do at Canons Ashby 

Discover family-friendly activities and days out with the kids at Canons Ashby, including nature trails, wild play and school holiday events.

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Historic buildings are a treasure trove of stories, art and collections. Learn more about their histories and plan your next visit.