Britain's best Tudor experiences

Unearth six of the best Tudor experiences in Britain, from walking among the yew pyramids of Athlehampton in Dorset to sampling 500-year-old recipes at Merchant's House in Pembrokeshire

7th August 2017
tudor
1. Yew pyramids – Athelhampton, Dorset
Athelhampton House
Athelhampton House - ghost hunting hotspot and wedding venue ©Getty

The Great Hall of this 15th-century manor is pure Tudor sumptuousness, with its fine tapestries, heraldic stained glass and roaring fire in the hearth. But Athelhampton’s crowning glory has to be the 20 acres of gardens, featuring a court of yew pyramids. Take an amble alongside the delightfully named River Piddle as it winds through the grounds. 

2. Wolf Hall costumes – Barley Hall, Yorkshire
Barley Hall
 Power and Glory exhibition brings the small screen to life ©Alamy

See the magnificent costumes from BBC Tudor drama Wolf Hall, which are on display in this medieval townhouse until March next year. The clothes form part of a permanent exhibition about York in the time of Henry VIII. Barley Hall itself lay hidden under an office block until the 1980s and has since been rebuilt to reflect its 14th- and 15th-century origins. 

3. Hide in a priest hole – Speke Hall, Liverpool
Speke Hall exterior
           Owned by the National Trust, Speke Hall is just outside Liverpool. Photo: Alamy

The devout Catholic Norris family built this imposing mansion during an era of turbulence, so included a number of security features. Among them, a priest hole, where visiting clerics hid from the authorities. There is also an eavesdropper – a hole under the eaves for servants to listen to the conversations of visitors at the front door. Find out more here.

4. Anne Boleyn’s home – Hever Castle, Kent
One of the moats at Hever Castle
                                Just one of the moats at Hever Castle. Photo: Getty

Hever echoes childhood doodles of a dream castle – it has crenellated towers and not just one moat, but two. It was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, doomed second wife of Henry VIII and mother of Elizabeth I. To enter her bedroom and see her treasured prayer book is to feel a step closer to this enigmatic woman. learn more about Hever Castle.

5. Merchant’s House – Tenby, Pembrokeshire
Tenby's The Merchant House
Entrance to The Merchant's House ©Alamy

Tenby was a busy port in the 15th century, and its streets bustled with trade. Tudor Merchant’s House reflects this commercial era, when a merchant did indeed live here. Visitors can sample 500-year-old recipes and try on clothes in the bedchamber.

6. Chapel in the Woods – Cotehele, Cornwall
The chapel at Cotehele House
You'll find the chapel nestled into the gardens of the estate ©Alamy

The gardens of Cotehele House descend the deep valley down to the River Tamar, and feature a medieval stew pond, dovecote and an array of exotic plants. You’ll also find the Chapel in the Woods, built by Sir Richard Edgecumbe on the very spot he escaped death during his rebellion against Richard III. 

You are currently reading: Britain's best Tudor experiences - 7th August
Get your first 5 issues for just £5 when you subscribe to BBC Countryfile magazine!

Subscribe to BBC Countryfile Magazine today and you can enjoy generous savings from the shop price plus, free UK delivery and discounts off special editions and back issues.

Countryfile Magazine - Current Issue