Knebworth House was one of Englandís largest red brick Tudor houses before three of the wings were demolished in 1813 by the then owner Elizabeth Bulwer. It is now partly a high Gothic fantasy house both inside and out due to Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton who fancied the style and added the details. Later, Sir Edwin Lutyens, who married into the family, modified some of the Gothic features.
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Lutyens is also responsible for the pollarded lime avenues in the formal garden, part of the 250 acres of the Victorian and Edwardian park. Deer roam the park.
In the house visitors can view a Tudor banqueting hall with a 17th century oak screen and minstrelsí gallery. In the same room is 18th century panelling. The ceiling is a coved oak-ribbed one. In the hall is a painting by Sir Winston Churchill, a friend of the family. Also open to view is a Victorian library, a high Gothic Victorian state drawing room, an Edwardian dining parlour, Lyttonís study, a nursery, and three bedrooms. The bedrooms are each individual in style, one being Elizabethan, another Regency, and the last in the chinoiserie style.
In the former squash court is an exhibition on the two Lyttons when they were viceroys of India.
Knebworth House and Gardens
Near Stevenage, Hertfordshire
Off the A1 or B656 south from Hitchin
By rail from King's Cross, London, Stevenage station is two miles from the house
Tel. 0 1438 812 661
Open: times vary week to week, month to month and are different in different years; check website for full details and to be sure no events are being held as it is a venue for many concerts.
Historic Houses Association member; shop; parking; gardens, park, adventure playground, dinosaur trail
Web: Knebworth House and Gardens
Exterior photo of house © by Barbara Ballard
Closeup photo of exterior by Peter Neal courtesy Geograph Britain and Ireland