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U is for Upton House & Gardens

imageAnother inset day, another letter achieved! On Mon 3 Nov, it was great to achieve ‘U’ on our 2014 A-Z #ntfamilychallenge with a great visit to UPTON HOUSE & GARDENS, near Banbury in Oxfordshire.

Taking a lovely drive up through the Cotswolds, myself and our youngest son really enjoyed our time at Upton House, a wonderful home founded on the fortune made through the Shell Transport and Trading Company. Upton is a quirky weekend country retreat, packed full of fun and character. Dressed in 1930′s style of the millionaire philanthropic owners, the Samuel Family, you could really absorb the Downton-esque feeling of the lovely house. Particularly enjoying the lengthy, light sitting room whilst listening to the piano playing I could immerse myself in the beautiful art amassed by art loving the 2nd Viscount Bearsted. The huge Canaletto was really lovely.

imageKeen to visit the billiards room, my son took me on in a great game – it was lovely for us to be able to play rather than it being viewed as in a frosty museum – it really reflected the spirit of the owners I felt. It made the visit come really alive for him – so imagine his delight when we came across another smaller table in the vaulted wine store where the staff used to play! Finishing in the lovely, warm kitchen – a particularly lovely NT example of one – we then went onto explore the gardens, the swimming pool (which must have hosted some great weekend parties!) and beyond the Ha Ha had a lovely wander through the wild garden and around the Mirror Pool. The gardens were quiet and from the furthest point from the house you could admire the terraced Kitchen Garden. image

I just wanted to hop in a time-machine, go back to the mid 1930s and party in Upton House as I’m sure it once was! Great visit – thanks!

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