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Audley End House and Gardens

A film set of a house that is both beguiling and historically diverting.

Audley End house is one of those old historic homes from the ranks of the English Heritage straight out of the "Downton abbey" school of English history. Its every feature seems to have been designed with that classical style in mind and now looks like it should be a film set for some Jane Austin type mini-series. But this is no bad thing, what it means in effect is that the house and the grounds are breath taking to look at.

The experience effectively starts as you drive by it. It's an eminence that is straight out of the history books. Its stretching lawns that could easily hold Wembley stadium are perfectly kept and is one of the most beckoning sights any historic heritage site could offer would draw you in on its own.

The house started its life as a monastery and then fell into ownership of Sir Thomas Audley in 1538, granted by King Henry 8th, a kind gesture no doubt, but sir Thomas was also lord chancellor and couldn't keep his hands out of the cookie jar. He used this house as a chance to embezzle the equivalent of 10s of millions of pounds from the King and got off lightly when he eventually got caught out by being sent to the Tower of London; though a huge fine got him out with all his limbs attached. The house since got past on to various nobles before eventually being handed to the English Heritage who manage it to great effect today.

Its a clearly developing as fun-day-out attraction which is worth driving to as they have developed the gardens to include children's play areas, kitchen gardens and even stable areas with well manicured horses waiting to be patted. But you're really here to marvel at what it must be like to live and own a really massive house on a really massive estate, and in this regard you won't be let down. They work hard here to make sure this is not just a dusty old house with a bit of history, they have opened things up in the garden encouraging you to dwell, and they hold regular events to keep people coming back. Not to be missed.

Postcode: CB11 4JF

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