Burghley House

Anusuya Mukherjee
Feb 14, 2024 By Anusuya Mukherjee
Originally Published on Oct 07, 2021
Burghley House and greenery in front of building exterior.
Age: 3+
Read time: 8.1 Min

  • Visit Burghley House and soak up the ambience of this grand Elizabethan estate and grounds, comprising 35 rooms on the ground and first floors, 80 further rooms, halls, corridors, bathrooms and service areas and a Garden of Surprises.
  • Take a peek at the fantastic and rich collection of fine art, objects and artefacts that the house is home to, set against the backdrop of stunning rooms, steeped in history and glorious architecture.
  • Discover the swivelling Caesar busts, which always pique the interest of inquisitive children. And, for those who like to get down and dirty; there's the Gruesomely Grubby Gardens tour.
  • Don't miss out on the events that Burghley House regularly hosts from festive Christmas meals to spooky Halloween trails; there's something for everyone.

Visit Lincolnshire to discover Burghley House, a magnificent Tudor mansion that was built by Queen Elizabeth’s Lord High Treasurer. Burghley House is known as one of the largest and grandest surviving mansions; constructed in the sixteenth century, a reputable and spectacular example of the great Elizabethan ‘prodigy’ houses. Devised between 1555 and 1587 by William Cecil, Lord High Treasurer to Queen Elizabeth I, this grand house is a testament to the skill, vision and ambition of the most powerful courtier in the Elizabethan era.

Burghley House was built as a country retreat away from the court and city life by William Cecil, on land that his family originally owned. Transformed many times, the House underwent change throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries by two great collecting Earls, but it remains a family home right up to this day. Owned by Burghley House Preservation Trust, it has become a family favourite location, known for its rich, historical relevance, impressive Capability Brown landscapes, collections and more for the whole family to discover. With such stunning views to explore here, it is no surprise this has been a filming location for Pride and Prejudice, Middlemarch and The Da Vinci Code.

Hidden beneath the foliage, the gardens here are brimming with magic, boasting a mirrored maze, water features to refresh you on the hottest of summer days and an abundance of gorgeous picnic spots to enjoy. There are plenty of gardens and a Burghley Park to discover, from green, tranquil walks, modern sculpture and family fun. The house is surrounded by historic parkland landscapes that were laid out by Capability Brown, home to a modern sculpture park of 13-acres. Opening in 2007, the Garden of Surprises is a recreation of a Tudor trick garden, complete with revolving Caesar's heads and spurting water fountains. Have fun solving puzzles and exploring all the mini-beasts, insects, and animals that live nestled deep in the dirt of the gardens.

The South Gardens open in the Spring for the presentation of Spring bulbs are delightful. There are also amazing features to be discovered in the Garden of Surprises, inspired by a mysterious account of a 16th century Elizabethan water garden constructed by the 1st Lord Burghley at his palace, Theobalds. Out from the ground, jets of water shoot out, and there are fountains, bubbles and more, all vanishing into Neptune’s shell grotto. Let the kids explore the misty deep depths of the moss house, or do they dare to enter the mirrored maze? The whole family will have a blast. Take a trip to the Sculpture Garden, too, where this intriguing and evolving garden has lots to offer, home to ancient trees and is often the site and gallery space for Burghley’s sculpture garden exhibitions. There are themed shows yearly of sculpture that you don't want to miss, they run from April to October, and they are curated especially to demonstrate the variety, versatility and beauty of the medium. Plus, with Deer park to discover, there are sweeping vistas through old trees that roll down to the spires of Stamford, creating a wonderful backdrop of the House, boasting space for open-air concerts, wedding receptions, fairs and food markets. You won't be short of a fantastic time at the gardens at Burghley House.

Don't miss out on the array of amazing activities, events and happenings that occur at Burghley House, like Burghley House Film Festival, which provides a great atmosphere and setting to watch classic favourites, like Breakfast at Tiffany's. Plus, with Burghley House Afternoon Tea, you can make a whole day of it, living the fine life in the grand manor. For some seasonal fun, be sure to check out Burghley House Christmas fair and food market, you'll be so full with great festive food, that you'll be able to get in the Christmas mood. There's no better way to spend Christmas break. For all the spooky ghouls out there, you have to check out the Halloween trail, as you meander around the maze, escaping cobwebs and maybe even some ghosts. With this great range of Burghley House events, you'll be sure to have a cracking time at any point in the year. For more stately fun in Lincolnshire, you should make a trip toBelton House, a National Trust country estate that has gorgeous formal Italian and Dutch gardens, plus a historic deer park.

Be sure to check out the Burghley Park Gold Club, which is situated on the outskirts of the beautiful town of Stamford and established within the historic parkland of this magnificent estate. Boasting an 18 hole course, you can come and enjoy the friendly and vibrant clubhouse, which always offers a warm welcome to visitors looking to play during the week. If you're after more family-friendly Lincolnshire experiences in the great outdoors, then visit Lincolnshire Wildlife Park, one of the UK's largest animal sanctuaries, home to over 100 parrot species and other fascinating animals. 

The well-rounded experience that Burghley estate offers families doesn't just end there, home to a great, richly diverse collection of art, objects and artefacts. The Brewhouse Interpretation Centre in the house features an excellent audio-visual preface to the house and its history, plus there are annually changing exhibitions. The collection of Fine Art within the Burghley estate is diverse, extensive and varied, with the likes of many highly important objects. The finest collection of Italian Old Master paintings lives in the rooms here, plus collections of both Oriental and European ceramics are considered famous internationally and are of great interest to many scholars around the world, who come to visit, too. Along with fine English and Continental furniture, some glorious 17th century Objects of Vertu, plus English portrait miniatures and European Works of Art, you can immerse yourself strongly in this artistic and historical world. Be sure to check out the collection of Chinese Snuff Bottles, which are thought to be one of the finest in the Western world.

When you are in need a recharge, Burghley House Orangery café is open for food, snacks, drinks. Plus, there are some wonderful picnic spots to make use of, as you enjoy the stunning landscape setting.

If you're looking for things to do in Stamford, there are a range of nearby places to visit. However, Stamford itself has plenty to offer; known for being one of the finest stone towns in England. The pretty, quaint facades are popular with visitors, locals, shoppers and film producers. The hidden courtyards, narrow cobbled streets, offer unique shopping experiences, along with a variety of specialist shops. Stamford boasts numerous historic sites, various festivals, an impressive arts scene; home to an arts centre and a theatre. For nature lovers, Rutland Water is nearby, perfect for those wishing to explore the outdoors.

What to know before you go

  • When you're feeling peckish, there is the Orangery Café for you to eat at, snack and recharge, plus with the Courtyard Shop, you can buy some fine foods and chocolate to take home with you.
  • There are toilets, baby changing facilities and accessible toilets on site.
  • Dogs are allowed in the park provided they are kept on a lead to protect the deer herd.
  • Please note dogs are not allowed in the gardens.
  • The estate is mostly accessible, although as the house is old, there are some hard to reach areas and paths that are more difficult to navigate. To reach rooms, there are chair lifts for visitors with wheelchairs. It is easy to navigate pushchairs around the grounds, although they are not allowed around the house.
  • Want to make a night of your visit? Stay at Burghley House, which offers a fantastic selection of rooms.

Getting there

  • Burghley House is found in Stamford, Lincolnshire.
  • Burghley is around one mile from Stamford Station and about 20 minutes north of Peterborough via the A1.
  • If driving from the South, ensure to take the Carpenters Lodge exit on the A1 signposted to Burghley House and then turn left on to the B1081 towards Stamford. Follow the road alongside the park wall and the Bottle Lodges entrance gates down towards Stamford. Then turn right just past the pub, Bull and Swan, and then continue for about a mile along the Barnack Road (B1443). The visitor's entrance will appear on the right.
  • If driving from the North, be sure to follow the A1 south past Doncaster and Grantham. Then, around 30 minutes south of Grantham, there is the junction labelled Carpenters Lodge, which is signposted to Burghley House. Turn left towards Stamford and follow the road which goes past the estate and the Bottle Lodges entrance gates. Turn right just past the Bull & Swan pub and after one mile along the Barnack Road (B1443); you will then see the visitors’ entrance located on the right.
  • There is a car park on site.
  • If travelling by train, Burghley’s nearest station is Stamford, and this is around one mile from the entrance. You can either walk for a pleasant 30 minutes, which takes you through the park. Or you can take a short taxi ride. Stamford is on a cross country train link, from the mainline in London to Edinburgh via Peterborough.

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Written by Anusuya Mukherjee

Bachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

Anusuya Mukherjee picture

Anusuya MukherjeeBachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

With a wealth of international experience spanning Europe, Africa, North America, and the Middle East, Anusuya brings a unique perspective to her work as a Content Assistant and Content Updating Coordinator. She holds a law degree from India and has practiced law in India and Kuwait. Anusuya is a fan of rap music and enjoys a good cup of coffee in her free time. Currently, she is working on her novel, "Mr. Ivory Merchant".

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