The Vyne, Basingstoke
A grand mansion surrounded by woodland and wetlands, King Henry VIII's favourite Hampshire hunting lodge, The Vyne, is a National Trust must-visit and a great family day out.
A 500 year-old Tudor manor, surrounded by landscaped gardens and beautiful views, National Trust Headliner The Vyne, really is something to behold. Built for Lord Sandys, Henry VIII’s Lord Chamberlaine, the grand house was one of the notorious king’s favourite haunts. And he brought two of his many wives to visit – Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn.
Inside, surviving Tudor interiors include the prized 16th-century stained glass in the Tudor chapel. Legend has it that the glass was removed and sunk in the fish ponds to protect it from ransacking Roundheads during the English Civil War. Later, The Vyne became the family home of the lawyer and politician, John Chaloner Chute.
There are plenty of treasures too, like the jewelled casket from Florence. The fantastic collection of watercolours are a fantastic glimpse into the everyday life of The Vyne in the Victorian era. And the lastest must-see, The Vyne’s rare and intricate eighteenth-century chinoiserie tapestries have returned after eight years of painstaking conservation.
Special note too for the beautiful Stone Gallery, previously used as a children’s playroom and a greenhouse. And once upon-a-time, it was also where a certain Muddy Ed said ‘I do’. There are no weddings at The Vyne now (sorry brides-to-be) but there are plenty of places to enjoy a romantic stroll or picnic.
Outside, the beautiful grounds and gardens at The Vyne really do bring something for all seasons. Spring bursts into colour with bright yellow daffodils, beautiful blossom in the heritage orchard and the extensive and beautiful bluebell woods.
Summer brings a pop-up flower meadow in the historic beautifully-tended walled garden. As autumn takes hold, liquid amber and swamp cypress trees fringing The Vyne’s magnificent lake turn crimson and purple, creating beautiful reflections across the water.
A stroll through the estate’s ancient woodland opens out to wetlands – home to myriad birds, water voles and other wildlife – with a bird hide to spot them from.
Take a break in the Tudor Brewhouse cafe for coffees, homemade cakes and cream teas. Then mooch for highlights from National Trust ranges and local products in the gift shop, or bargain reads in the second-hand bookshop.
Events-wise, there are always plenty of great seasonal kid’s trails here. And, this summer 2022, look out for the return of fantastic outdoor theatre and cinema at The Vyne, from July to August.
Note: From 25 April 2022 you’ll need to book to visit The Vyne. From 23 May for three weeks The Vyne will be closed on weekdays for essential infrastructure works. Please check the website for exact dates.
Vyne Road, Sherborne St John, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG24 9HL
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