Last weekend I was fortunate to visit Burghley House and stay in one of the cottages on the estate. The house is described as England’s ‘Greatest Elizabethan House’ and, well, it is great. Whilst the house is not one of our members*, it does do weddings for those that are interested.
*We didn’t turn it down… it is just that you can’t actually stay in Burghley House!
The house’s main business is tours and plenty of people enjoy wandering around the state rooms, old kitchen (copper pans and all), bedrooms that numerous royalty have stayed in and a huge double-vaulted dining room. There are also gardens, an orangery, a brewhouse gallery and a multitude of other bits that I didn’t have time to see. The separation between the private and public side of the house works well too – the public can see plenty but the house is still a functioning family home.
Staff are knowledgeable and full of tales, some historical/folklore and some that they have witnessed – including the one about corporate guests drinking so much that they couldn’t remember where they were heading at the end of the evening, and the one about letting birds fly around the dining room for target practice on a rainy day. Not recently I hasten to add!
Whilst there two great things happened, firstly we saw the Battle Proms concert, the highlight of which was a Spitfire air display. The second was a wander around the roof of Burghley – what great views and 70-odd chimneys, all of which used to work. Apparently wood chopping for the fireplaces was a full-time job for several people and the roof would have been a very smokey place indeed.