Welford Park, Berkshire

Most of the stately homes I’ve visited have been owned by the national trust, so I always find it fascinating to come across one of these privately owned beauties and hearing about what the families that own them are doing them to keep them up and running. Welford Park is one of the most interesting and enterprising of these I have had a the pleasure of visiting.

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DSC_0091 (2)It only opens to the public one month of the year during the snowdrop season, with an entry fee of £6 per person. They have a little marquee selling tea, coffee and cake, and a shop selling ‘snowdrop memorabilia’, home grown and made pickles, chutneys, and hand reared pork from pigs born and reared in the woods on the estate. The cucumber pickle is to die for. The star of the show, however, are the carpets of snowdrops found in the woods during February. They are the budding photographer’s dream canvas, and the perfect place to spend valentines day which is what we did last year, as mid-February sees the snowdrops at their best. I will let the photos below speak for themselves!

Every time we’ve been we’ve commented on how lucrative that one month must be for them, not least because the short amount of time it opens for makes it feel all the more special and worth the yearly trip. They are able to share their beautiful grounds and lifestyle with the public for four enjoyable (but probably quite hectic for them) weeks, but also get to spend 11 months of the year in privacy. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship which helps sustain this impressive 17th century estate, an admirable cause which I enjoy being a part of.

*Update 9th August – It appears the great British bake off was filmed at Welford Park this year! I’m glad it’s gaining some well deserved publicity. There’s also that small thrill every time you see it on your TV screen when you know a place quite well.

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