The best National Trust places to visit in the Heart of England

Days out, Family, Pet friendly, Romantic breaks, Rural, Activity, Educational, Nature

Posted by Kate A on 15th March 2020

Disclaimer

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

National Trust Heart of England

From magnificent, sprawling estates to hidden-away gardens, the Heart of England is home to some of the most incredible National Trust places. These treasured spots have been preserved by the charity for their importance to British culture and are open to the public to inspire and educate.

We have chosen some of the best National Trust places to visit in the Heart of England, including grand stately homes, exotic gardens, and fascinating Roman remains. Find out where kids can dress up as Victorian school pupils or chimney sweeps for the day, where dogs can enjoy tail-wagging walks through scenic parkland, and glorious gardens where couples can savour a peaceful picnic.

Many of these National Trust sites feature tearooms and gift shops, as well as special events throughout the year, and if you’re a member you might be able to visit for free! If you’re planning on exploring some of these magical places, why not have a browse of our cosy holiday cottages in the Heart of England by clicking the button below?

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👪 Family-friendly places

🐕 Dog-friendly places

🌲 Beautiful gardens

The best family-friendly National Trust places to visit in the Heart of England

Chedworth Roman Villa, Gloucestershire


NT Chedworth Roman VillaChedworth Roman Villa credit: Instagram @kayleigh_brushneen

 Walk in the footsteps of the Romans as you enjoy one of the top National Trust days out in Gloucestershire for families. Nestled within the heart of the Cotswolds near Roman Britain’s most affluent regional stronghold at Cirencester, this ancient site is home to the remains of one of the grandest Roman villas in Britain. Budding young soldiers can dress up in gladiator costumes and set out on an adventure to search for clues about the lives of the villa’s previous inhabitants.


NT Chedworth Roman VillaChedworth Roman Villa credit: Instagram 

 Within each room, kids can look out for placards which highlight some of the amazing inventions that the Roman Empire brought to Britain, including baths, latrines, remarkable underfloor heating systems, and spectacular mosaics. Join one of the free guided tours to learn more fascinating secrets, before discovering a host of artefacts found on-site in the museum. On sunny days, lay out a blanket and enjoy a family picnic in the captivating countryside surroundings and be sure to keep an eye out for the famed giant Roman snails!

⭐ Don’t miss: The assortment of Roman table games to have fun with as well as craft activities and the chance to try brass rubbing.

🌦 Best conditions: Although there are plenty of indoor activities if the weather takes a turn, the ruins of the villa are best experienced on a sunny day.

☕ Facilities: Café, shop, toilets, baby-changing facilities, family activity packs and trails. Assistance dogs only on-site - there is dog-friendly seating behind the café and walks in the surrounding countryside.

🏠 Stay nearby: Emma's Cottage, Chedworth | Sleeps 4 + 1 dog

Chastleton House and Garden, Oxfordshire

NT Chastleton House

When it comes to family-friendly National Trust places in the Heart of England, Chastleton House and Garden ticks all the boxes. Situated in Oxfordshire, this stately manor built by a prosperous wool merchant, is a Jacobean architectural marvel. Having only been bequeathed to the trust in 1991 by the same family who has lived here for around 400 years, the building remains largely unchanged and is a fascinating time capsule - you genuinely feel like you’re stepping back in time.

NT Chastleton HouseChastleton House and Gardens credit: Instagram @disraeli81

Before you start exploring, pick up a family activity pack from the visitor reception, filled with all manner of exciting objects for little ones, such as binoculars, a magnifying glass, tape measure, and explorer and bird identification sheets, and set off on an adventure of discovery within the house. Measure tables, search for squirrels in the plasterwork of the ceilings, and keep your eyes peeled for mystery doors. Outside, more fun awaits in the beautiful gardens where kids can play hide and seek amongst the Jacobean topiary, follow the Wilderness Walk, and play a round of croquet on the lawn (the rules of the game were originally invented here!).

⭐ Don’t miss: The rooms filled with mysterious and rare objects without ropes or barriers – the kitchen ceiling was last cleaned in 1612!

🌦 Best conditions: Perfect in all weathers, but to get the full experience and have fun in the gardens as well as the house, we recommend visiting on a clear day.

☕ Facilities: No café on-site but the church next door serves refreshments on the days Chastleton is open and picnics are welcome in the garden. Family activity packs, toilets, baby-changing facilities, free parking 270 yards from the house. Dogs are allowed on leads in fields, stable yard, and forecourt only.

🏠 Stay nearby: Henmarsh Cottage, Moreton-in-Marsh | Sleeps 4 + 3 dogs

Sudbury Hall and the National Trust Museum of Childhood, Derbyshire


Sudbury Hall and the National Trust Museum of ChildhoodSudbury Hall credit: Instagram @ntsudbury

 Cared for by National Trust East Midlands, Sudbury Hall and the National Trust Museum of Childhood makes for a packed kids’ day out in Derbyshire. A showpiece for 17th-century craftsmanship, the house has been home to the Lords of Vernon for 300 years and features lavish interiors dating from the Restoration period. Soak up the history with a tour and marvel at the family portraits in the Long Gallery, the Great Staircase which is considered one of the finest in a country house, the 1930s kitchen, and the elegant family rooms.

Sudbury Hall and the National Trust Museum of ChildhoodNational Trust Museum of Childhood credit: Instagram @ntsudbury

 After the little ones have had fun searching for interesting characters within the intricate plasterwork and carvings of the house, venture into the National Trust Museum of Childhood which lies within the Victorian servants’ wing of the Hall. Here, a treasure trove of interactive toys and games from the past and present-day await. Try your hand as a chimney sweep, a scullion or a Victorian school pupil, play jacks and marbles in the Victorian Street, delve into a Victorian mine tunnel, and create magical stories in the performance area.

⭐ Don’t miss: Pick up an activity booklet from the gift shop and see what you can discover within the sweeping grounds, which also include a brilliant woodland adventure play area. 

🌦 Best conditions: Great in all weathers with a wealth of indoor and outdoor activities and attractions. 

☕ Facilities: Restaurant, gift shop, toilets, baby-changing facilities, family activities, outdoor play area, car park with free buggy transfer available, dogs welcome in the grounds and gardens on a lead – assistance dogs only in the hall, museum and tearooms.

🏠 Stay nearby: Staffordshire Knot Cottage, Alton | Sleeps 6 + 2 dogs

The best dog-friendly National Trust places to visit in the Heart of England

Croome, Worcestershire


NT Croome CourtCroome credit: Instagram @ntcroome

Tails are sure to be wagging with delight when four-legged family members catch sight of the enormous grounds of Croome in Worcestershire, cared for by the National Trust West Midlands. One of the top dog-friendly National Trust places in the Heart of England, the estate features a visitor centre and museum which was once RAF Defford’s secret wartime airbase, and the magnificent Croome Court which was previously the home of the Coventry family since the 16th century. Although dogs are unable to enter the Court, RAF museum, shop and the RAF canteen, they are, however, welcome to scamper around the surrounding Capability Brown parkland and woodland on a lead.


NT CroomeCroome credit: Instagram @mazie.vizsla

 Pick up one of the dog-friendly walking maps from the visitor reception and set out on an adventure through the parkland where there are surprises around every corner. The grandest of English landscapes with commanding views over the Malverns, there are follies, statues and temples to discover, along with an enchanting church, a mesmerising Rotunda, and a bird hide. You’ll find plenty of water bowls and dog waste bins, and when you fancy a bite to eat there is an undercover outdoor seating area at the café where your pup can join you for a sticky slice of homemade cake.

⭐ Don’t miss: Your pet will love a walk around the lakeside where a variety of wildlife can be spotted such as kingfishers, nightingales and deer.

🌦 Best conditions: Because dogs are only allowed in the outdoor areas, it’s best to visit on a sunny day. 

☕ Facilities: Restaurant, shop, plant sales area, toilets, baby-changing facilities, family trail, free parking, mobility shuttle to the court. Dogs on leads are welcome everywhere except the Court, RAF museum, shop and restaurant – there are off-lead areas which the staff will point out at the visitor reception.

🏠 Stay nearby: Bredons Norton The Forge, near Tewkesbury | Sleeps 4 + 1 dog

Attingham Park, Shropshire


NT Attingham ParkAttingham Park credit: Instagram @countryhouseobsession

 Another of the best National Trust properties in the Midlands to bring your dog to is Attingham Park in Shropshire. Originally built for Lord Berwick in 1785, this atmospheric mansion and its 600-acre estate stand as remnants of a family fortune that rose and fell over eight generations. Inside, decadent Regency interiors feature period furniture, artwork and collections of silver, and you can also venture ‘below stairs’ to see how the servants once lived and worked.

NT Attingham ParkAttingham Park credit: Instagram @whatbuddydidnext

 Outside is where those with four paws can have some fun. Designated short lead, on-lead and off-lead areas allow canine explorers to see as much of the grounds as possible, including the beautiful Deer Park. There are plenty of dog waste bins, and you’ll also find 10-minute tie-up points in the Stables Courtyard so you can quickly pop into the shop, toilets and café. After a long walk, there’s nothing better than a relaxing cuppa, so head for the undercover area known as Dog Walker’s Rest where brimming bowls of water await happy hounds and you can tuck into something delicious too.

⭐ Don’t miss: The tranquil space of the apple orchard and gardens that still yield their own produce which can be bought seasonally from the on-site shop.

🌦 Best conditions: As dogs are only allowed in the grounds, it’s best to visit on a dry day.

☕ Facilities: Café, shop, toilets, baby-changing facilities, children’s playfield, family activities, free parking within 25 yards. Only assistance dogs are welcome in the house, but all dogs can explore the grounds – pick up a ‘Visiting with your dog’ leaflet from the Reception to see where they are allowed to go. 

🏠 Stay nearby: Ryton The Old Milking Parlour, near Shrewsbury | Sleeps 4 + 1 dog

Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire

NT Clumber Park

Strolling through the 3,800 acres of enchanting natural woodland, parkland and heathland with your cuddly canine by your side is one of the best ways to experience Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire. One of the top National Trust Midlands places that is pet friendly, Clumber was once the country estate of the Dukes of Newcastle. The house that stood here was demolished in 1938, but within the park, you’ll discover glimpses of its grand past, including a Gothic-style chapel, a charming Walled Kitchen Garden, and a spectacular serpentine lake complete with balustraded bridge and delightful Doric Temple.

NT Clumber Park

Grab the collar and lead and enjoy one of the many dog-friendly walking trails through the grounds, looking out for a variety of wildlife including deer and longhorn cattle – there’s nowhere that’s out of bounds to four legs here! There’s even a dedicated indoor space where you can all rest for a while after your jaunt with refreshing bowls of water, as well as dog beds and blankets if they fancy a little snooze while you have a bite to eat.

⭐ Don’t miss: A gentle stroll along the longest avenue of Lime Trees in Europe (2 miles).

🌦 Best conditions: Sunny days are best for a day out at this pet-friendly National Trust park, with so many brilliant walks on offer.

☕ Facilities: Café, refreshment kiosks, shop, plant sales, 20 miles of cycle routes, cycle hire centre, coarse fishing available, toilets, baby-changing facilities, woodland play park, parking. Dogs are welcome in the park with provisions provided. 

🏠 Stay nearby: Brook Edge Cottage, Barlow | Sleeps 6 + 2 dogs

The best National Trust gardens in the Heart of England

Hidcote, Gloucestershire

NT Hidcote

One of the finest National Trust gardens in the Heart of England, Hidcote in Gloucestershire is also one of the most inventive with its intricately designed outdoor garden rooms. Created by the great American horticulturist Major Lawrence Johnston, this Arts and Crafts-inspired garden features a labyrinth of narrow paved pathways leading to hidden spaces, a profusion of colourful flora and some incredible panoramic views of the surrounding Cotswolds countryside.

NT Hidcote

Vast in size, there are lots of peaceful spots to while away an hour or two, perhaps enjoying a picnic beneath the towering trees of the ‘Wilderness’, or sitting with a book beside one of the shimmering pools surrounded by wildflowers and butterflies. With so many unique plants which were collected by Johnston on his exotic travels, this garden is packed full of interesting photographic opportunities for nature lovers and those with green fingers.

⭐ Don’t miss: The garden’s small orchard produces the most delicious homemade apple juice which you can purchase from the shop. 

🌦 Best conditions: There’s always something new and exciting to see whether you visit in the magic of winter when the gardens are blanketed in ice and snow, spring and summer when the gardens are a riot of colour, or autumn when the leaves on the trees offer a firework display of reds, oranges and yellows.

☕ Facilities: Café, plant centre, shop, toilets, baby-changing facilities, children’s quiz/trail, free parking 100 yards away. Assistance dogs only.

🏠 Stay nearby: Gable End, near Chipping Campden | Sleeps 2

Packwood House and Gardens, Warwickshire


NT Packwood House and GardensPackwood House and Gardens credit: Instagram @kralcaj

 Not only is this restored Tudor house one of the most popular National Trust houses in Warwickshire, but the gardens are second to none. Famed for their collection of striking yew trees, the mingled-style gardens are a wonderful place to escape for a while - especially during the summer months when pretty perennials fill the borders, purple-headed alliums line the pathways, and the wildflower meadows are carpeted in a colourful array of cowslips, irises and buttercups, attracting bumblebees and fluttering butterflies.

NT Packwood House and GardensPackwood House and Gardens credit: Instagram @fromthevinetraveltime

 The bountiful Kitchen Garden offers row upon row of seasonal fruit and vegetables, much of which can be found on the menu of Packwood’s café. And amongst the vivid tapestry of flamboyant flower borders, the iconic Yew Garden is the star of the show. According to legend, the yew trees at Packwood represent the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ and are over 350 years old.

⭐ Don’t miss: The playful installations hidden among the gardens by artist Hilary Jack – look out for a little patchwork cottage in the woods, peek through the windows of the sweet little houses in the Yew Garden and watch the clouds drift by as you lie on a giant bed. 

🌦 Best conditions: The gardens are best enjoyed on a sunny day, although there’s plenty to look at in the house if the heavens open. 

☕ Facilities: Café, shop, plants for sale, toilets, baby-changing facilities, children’s quiz/trail, free parking 100 yards away. Dogs on leads welcome in the car park, public footpaths across the estate and café terrace. Assistance dogs only in gardens.

🏠 Stay nearby: Hazelnut House, Shrewley | Sleeps 6 + 1 dog

Hanbury Hall and Gardens, Worcestershire


NT Hanbury Hall and GardensHanbury Hall and Gardens credit: Instagram @aldred_david

 Make the most of the sunshine with a stroll around the fragrant gardens of Hanbury Hall in Worcestershire. These much-loved National Trust gardens in the West Midlands were originally designed by George London to complement the William and Mary-style house in the early 1700s but were unfortunately swept away when fashions changed. Twenty years ago, they were carefully reinstated according to original plans and are truly spectacular, with all manner of glorious colours and scents to take in.

NT Hanbury Hall and GardensHanbury Hall and Gardens credit: Instagram @hanburyhall_nt

 Enveloping the house that was the seat of the Vernon family for over 300 years and which contains a fascinating collection of artefacts and artworks representative of the period, the 400 acres of gardens and parkland features an intricately laid out formal parterre, fruit garden, two orchards, a bowling green, and a working 1730s orangery. Admire the pomegranates, oleander, and agaves in the Great Garden, revel in the seclusion of the Walled Garden among the flowers, fruits and vegetables, and learn the secrets to a good harvest from the friendly gardening team – they even offer interesting guided tours of the garden.

⭐ Don’t miss: Challenge your friends to a game of bowls on Hanbury’s very own Bowling Green (open May-October).

🌦 Best conditions: The gardens are best admired on a clear day, but there’s plenty to see in the house if it starts to rain. 

☕ Facilities: Shop, tearoom, plant sales, toilets, baby-changing facilities, children’s play area. Children’s quiz/trail, free parking 150 yards away. Dogs on leads are welcome in the park, on footpaths only. 

🏠 Stay nearby: Diamond Cottage, Worcester | Sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

Stay with us in the Heart of England

With so many incredible Heart of England National Trust places to explore, why not treat your loved ones to a relaxing break in one of our cottages nearby? See how many of these beautiful houses, parkland, and gardens you can tick off the list, then put your feet up in the cosy surroundings of our self-catering accommodation. Whether you’re travelling as a couple, a family, a large group or bringing the dog, you’re sure to find the perfect place to stay within our collection of holiday cottages in the Heart of England. Just click the button below to have a browse.

Map of National Trust places in the Heart of England