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Have you been to Stonor Park? Put it on your Visit List

master exterior and park

Interesting times afoot at Stonor Park, one of the few privately owned stately homes in the area. It’s probably not been at the top of your must-see venues – Blenheim Palace and Waddesdon are the big beasts of the area – but it’s worth knowing about Stonor because they’re massively upping their offering this summer.

The manor house dates back more than 850 years and incredibly still in the same Catholic family, despite a turbulent Tudor history that saw its lands reduced as the family sought to survive. William and Lady Ailsa Stonor have just moved in the main house with their three children, and there is definite move to attract a more diverse, younger, family-oriented demographic – there’s talk of an adventure playground later this summer, and there are more cross-generational events like the Tulip and Spring Flower Festival that starts at the end of this month (30 April – 2 May), The Great Antique and Vintage Car Boot Sale (29 May) and Big Tree Climbing for kids in the summer hols.

Stonor-Park-Summer-House

I’m going to take my mum to the tulip festival with the kids – interiors and flowers for the adults (highlights include the grand Gothic revival hall, 17th century library and the dramatic long gallery opening on to beautiful Italianate gardens). lovely grounds for the kids to dash around, a pantry for a tea stop, followed by lunch at The Quince Tree, about 200 metres away!

Also worth knowing,  if you’re really into your gardening, there’s a demonstration called Tulipomania by floral designer and expert Jonathan Moseley on the day too – remember him from the BBC’s Big Allotment Challenge? It’s an extra cost so you don’t have to do it, but it’s quite a coup to get him involved at Stonor.

I’ll keep an eye on Stonor anyway, and let you know when I see something else cool that’s coming up. Or if you’re passing near to Henley, go and check it out – it’s a hidden gem.

Tulip and Spring Flower Festival, 30 April – 2 May, £15 adults, £7.50 (5-16 years), under 5s (free). stonor.com

 

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Bucks & Oxon