For my birthday back in May we paid a visit to Burghley House and Gardens (the Garden of Surprises and the Sculpture Garden will feature in future posts). Built to impress, the house was the work of William Cecil, 1st Lord Burghley and Treasurer to Elizabeth I and is still home to his descendants today.
Work on the building began around 1555 and took over 32 years to complete. Cecil worked as his own architect, researching new architectural ideas from the Continent. A local quarry in Northamptonshire supplied the building materials.
You proceed through the main part of the house in a self-guided tour, with guides available in each room should you have questions. The tour passes through 18 rooms filled with interesting artefacts that have been collected through the centuries. Some of my favourites included this billiard table which was made in the 1850s using timber recovered from HMS Royal George which sank in 1782. Apparently the staff and family use it in a snooker championship competition every year!
This travelling bed was used by Princess Victoria in 1835, two years before she became queen.
This lovely 18th century pagoda made from mother-of-pearl was another object I really liked.
Of all the beds in the house this one in the Second George Room is probably my favourite. This 18th century state bed was refurbished with royal arms in honour of a visit from Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1844.
There are lots of fascinating items to view in the house and we thought the entrance fee of £20 for an adult ticket was very reasonable considering the ticket is valid for 365 days so you can visit as much as you want during the year. You do currently have to book a timed slot for entry to the house and there is a section on the website to book a free slot if you’re returning using your annual ticket.
We’d also recommend the Orangery restaurant on site where I had a lovely birthday lunch.
You can find more photos here.