Homes of The Landmark Trust

There is a quintessentially English charity called The Landmark Trust. Their admirable goal is to find historic buildings in danger of being destroyed, restore them to the highest standards, and then rent them as vacation homes. Given England’s history, there is no shortage of appropriate properties. They are all interesting and some are spectacular. The rentals are reasonable, especially considering the high standards of restoration and amenities. You can rent a small cottage for two or a castle with a moat for 12. The interiors are magnificent, beautifully designed in perfect harmony with the spaces.

Astley Castle1


Astley Castle2


Astley Castle3

Astley Castle

Dating back to the 13th century, this site has been owned by three Queens of England. A fire in 1978 left the site a smoldering ruin. The renovation features a brilliant counterpoint of modern design motifs with the ancient bones of the structure.





Abby Gatehouse

In 1540 Henry VIII evicted the monks of Tewkesbury Abby, as he did virtually all the monasteries in England, enriching the coffers of the crown and his friends. The buildings were divided into two categories: “superstitious buildings to be destroyed”, and those that were “convenient to be preserved”. The gatehouse fell into the superstitious buildings category, but the local townspeople rescued it by claiming it was their only church. They bought the gatehouse back for 483 pounds, the value of its lead and bells. In ruins for hundreds of years, it was originally restored in 1849. The recent restoration has created a wonderfully evocative space, with beamed ceilings, terracotta tile floors and plaster walls.


Bath House1


Bath House2





The Bath House

The Bath House was built in 1748 for Sir Charles Mordaunt, as an addition to his estate of Walton Hall. Cold water bathing was considered to be very beneficial for one’s health at the time, so the basement contained a grotto-like bath chamber. Keeping up the water metaphor, the main room is decorated with all manner of seashells. The pool is fully functional, though I’m certain that cold water bathing would not be beneficial to my health.


Water Tower1


Water Tower2


Water Tower3

Appleton Water Tower

In 1871 the future Edward VII fell ill with typhoid while visiting Sandringham, one of the royal family’s favorite residences. Three years later, so did his elder son. Considering that Edward’s father Albert had died of typhoid, a safer water supply was clearly needed for the estate. Which is how the Appleton Water Tower came to be, as a pumping station and reservoir. It is a charmingly Victorian space, elegantly decorated, and as close as you and me can get to the royals at Sandringham.


My husband and I have been thinking of arranging a destination for a reunion with our far-flung children next summer. I’ve been enthusiastically exploring the options for the ideal location. There are several Landmark Trust properties that fit the bill.  We have to find one that has ghosts, ideally a duke’s wife who went mad, was locked in the attic, and now roams the halls. To see all the impressive properties and for the complete story of all of them, check out the website.

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