Basildon Park is an 18th century mansion built on 400 acres of land. It is in the Berkshire county and about an hour’s drive from London.
I went to this place this Sunday afternoon in the midst of winter. Unfortunately, M4 was undergoing repair works and what would have taken me an hour’s drive, took me an additional 30 minutes.
The Basildon Park property is in Reading and off of A329. Getting there is fairly seamless, Google Maps has the right coordinates to the place.
It is managed by National Trust and they have done a wonderful job of it with a good number of volunteers acting as guides. Staff are courteous and kind.
Basildon Park mansion was built in 1783 by a renowned architect – John Carr. Unfortunately, the Palladium style of architecture began to fade away at the time of its construction.
Mansions such as this was the sign of wealth and prosperity for wealthy lords, and Basildon Park changed hands several times and remained unoccupied due to a number of reasons like bankruptcy, war and the desire to buy modern properties.
The last owners to renovate the property were Lord and Lady Iliffe. They bought the place in 1952 and lived until 1978 before handing it over to the National Trust.
The complete history is on Wikipedia.
Parking and Tickets
Parking is ample and is free – which is the best part. Tickets are steep as is the case in all places in the UK. It is priced at £13 for adults and £6.50 for kids over 5 years.
If you have a National Trust membership like I do, the entry is free. The membership sets me back about £10 monthly but I believe that on the long run, I can visit more places by paying an amount equivalent to an office lunch.
You generally would approach the mansion on foot from the car park through the stables. The mansion is gorgeous and looks grand from the outside.
The ground floor is converted to a tea shop and the entrance is from the first floor.
The mansion consists of several rooms and you would find that a large living room is missing. But what you can expect to find is a piano nobile. During Christmas, every principal room had a full decorated Christmas tree in it.
No mansion is complete without a library.
My favorite room was the dining room which had a fully laid out silver ware and this was the first time I am seeing it in person. And the sight is embedded in my memory. The arrangement of forks and spoons and the precision in terms of its placement are exemplary.
The bedrooms are grand with kingsize beds and the view from the bedrooms are breathtaking.
Toilets were divine too.
The Basildon Park gardens are vast and picturesque. I roamed around in at least three gardens and could have spent hours but for the bitter coldness in the weather.
Cows grazing were a common sight.
I definitely give a big thumbs up to the Basildon Park and its mansion. Kids and adults alike have plenty to ponder over and the big parks are a treat to us Londoners who are otherwise confined to matchbox sized apartments.
I also want to tell you that these mansions were owned by rich people of the times and not by royalty. But you would get a good sense of how much wealth the royalty amassed and how luxurious their lives turned out to be.
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