I am a freelance writer, living in Bath with my wife and son.
I love my city, and love to live here. I write about Bath a lot, and sometimes about travels in Ireland and France.
Published February 25th 2018
Newark House is a home from home
Newark Park is a stunning Tudor house, set in beautiful grounds and gardens. The building was originally a Hunting Lodge that was built in order to enjoy the breathtaking views over the Cotswolds, which is now a World Heritage site due to its beauty. Any visitor to this place will feel enchanted by its fascinating past, and the creative and decorative interior. The scenic 22-mile drive from Bath is very picturesque, and plentiful parking and helpful guides make it very easy to get straight into the house and grounds.
Newark Park, showing its position at the top of the Cotswolds escarpment.
Newark is managed and cared for by The National Trust, which is an organisation seeking to protect and preserve the past and traditions of the United Kingdom. The trust are careful custodians of their properties and do a huge amount to repair and restore properties and places. As such, every location has an entry fee, but I always feel that this is money very well spent. For those wishing to visit several historical National Trust places, it is certainly worth considering becoming members of the NT. This gives free access to any National Trust property and free parking for all of these places. Click on the link for further information.
Newark House, seen from the gardens. This time of year is perfect for a visit, as the grounds are covered with Snowdrops and other spring flowers.
The house at Newark is completely open for visitors to explore and discover for themselves and the volunteers who look after guests are both knowledgeable and friendly. Despite the age and value of this 500-year-old property, people are encouraged to enjoy the space by walking around inside. There is even a tea room in a wooden cabin outside and a huge dining room table available to enjoy treats at. There are all manner of treasures and fascinating artefacts to enjoy at Newark, but by far the best aspect for me is the view from any one of the many windows. It is phenomenal, and every pane of glass frames a scene that is as lovely as an oil painting.
Incredible vistas across the Cotswolds
There are three major versions of this building, which has been added to an enlarged over the centuries. It has been, in its time, a Hunting Lodge for feasting, a family home and a nursing home for the elderly. Most recently though, the house was rescued from becoming derelict by a Texan architect who came across it on a cycling holiday and decided to return the place to its former glory. There are several portraits of this gentleman throughout the building, and his love of peacocks is a signature piece in every room. Outside today there are several male and female peacocks that wander the grounds. One, in particular, is a mischievous fellow, and sometimes runs up the stairs then flies out of upstairs windows.
Winged finery. These fabulous birds lend an exotic atmosphere to Newark.
For me, one short visit of two hours was nowhere near enough. To really experience the magic of this place, I recommend spending at least four hours. With awesome country walks, a World War One display and a brilliant secondhand bookstore to peruse, the time will fly by. There are so many more things to say about Newark, but on a final note, I want to stress how lovely a place this is to spend some time with friends and loved ones. There is a fairytale loveliness about this house and plenty of room to run around and let off steam outside. Any group would feel happy here, but I think that Newark is entirely suited to a day out with family. Happy peacock spotting if you go.
Family friendly and open to visitors both young and old.