If you are after destinations inspiration, Tyntesfield House and Gardens is a National Trust property in North Somerset. Some people believe that Tyntesfield is in Bristol, as it is so close to the border. The large Victorian country house has extensive gardens and parklands, which I visited last week.
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On arrival, after steering down the beautiful drive, members of staff greeted us to double-check our tickets. After parking, we walked to the visitor’s entrance where the toilet block, shop and café can be found. Walking routes had been devised, and were colour coded, so you could easily follow them and the social distancing rules.
The National Trust are also encouraging visitors to bring a picnic and has places to sit and enjoy the surroundings. You can also bring your racket and balls, and play on the Victorian tennis court.
Where is Tyntesfield House?
Just a stone’s throw from Bristol is the Tyntesfield House and Gardens. As a National Trust member, and itching to discover further afield after months of lockdown, I planned an afternoon out. For instance, Tyntesfield is just under an hour’s drive from my home in Cardiff. The garden and estate were open, along with the shop, café and toilets. Unfortunately, the Victorian gothic revival house was closed. But the rain stayed away long enough for me to explore.
Tyntesfield House History
The Grade I listed building is named after the Tynte Baronets. The dignity of Baronetage of England was created in 1611 by King James I, and only to 200 gentlemen of good birth. The role was then inherited by succession. However, the baron owned estates in the area from around 1500.
When was Tyntesfield House built?
The location was used as a hunting lodge during the 16th Century, and a farmhouse until the early 19th Century. So, in the 1830s a Georgian mansion was built. William Gibbs, who owned Tyntesfield after the house was built, significantly expanded and remodelled the residence. The Gibbs family owned the house until 2001. After that, The National Trust purchased it in 2002, after a fundraising campaign to save it from being sold for private interests.
Tyntesfield and slavery
William Gibbs made his fortune importing guano from Peru (if you’ve seen Ace Ventura, you know this is bat poo). He sold it in Europe and North America. It was mined by indentured Chinese labourers, in deplorable conditions. Above all, the profits made Gibbs one of the wealthiest non-noblemen in England. He primarily lived in London, but as Bristol’s port was where he did a lot of work, he required a residence in the area.
Who built Tyntesfield House?
In 1854 William Gibbs commissioned John Crace to redesign and decorate Tyntesfield, and it was remodelled in the fashionable Victorian Gothic Style. The builders William Cubitt & Co and the architect John Norton, added an extra floor, two new wings and towers.
How much did Tyntesfield cost to build?
To redevelop the house with 47 bedrooms in total (some of these are servants’ accommodation) came to £70,000. In other words, it’s equivalent to £6,750,000 today. This was 18 months’ gross profits from all of Gibb’s business interests. The house and the estate employed more than 500 workers.
The Tyntesfield Chapel
Finally, the last addition to Tyntesfield was a Gothic chapel on the side of the house, which was built between 1872 and 1877. It is modelled on Sainte Chapelle in Paris. At the time, the victor of the local All Saints Church opposed it, and the Bishop of Bath and Wells refused the consecration of Tyntesfield Chapel. Despite this, prayers were said twice a day for the family and their guests. It was also open to local people during Rogation and at Christmas.
How big is Tyntesfield estate?
At its peak, the Tyntesfield estate spanned over 6,000 acres, including 1,000 acres of forestry. When the National Trust took over the running house and the estate in 2002, it was 1,00 acres of farmland, 650 acres of woodland plus 30 houses and cottages. By 2013, the number of volunteers and employed staff exceeded 600 people – more than any other National Trust property.
The gardens at Tyntesfield
So, the house sits within 150 acres of parkland. I especially loved walking through the gardens: the rose garden, summer houses, an aviary and an orangery.
Some interesting Tyntesfield facts
- The roof of the house is 20 times the average British family’s home.
- At the height of the restoration, 28 miles – 45 km of scaffolding tubes covered the building’s exterior.
- The initial works cost more than £10 million, most of which was raised through donations via the “Save Tyntesfield” campaign.
- In The Library, there is the most extensive Victorian book collection owned by the National Trust.
- It has the largest collection of objects in the Trust. There are more than 60,000 items in the house that have been catalogued, including an unexploded Second World War bomb.
- 10 of the 17 species of UK bat are found on the property
- It’s been on TV. Episodes of Sherlock and Dr Who have been filmed here, as well as the 2017 film Crooked House starring Glenn Close.
- A butler called Hemmings clocked over forty years of service.
At Tyntesfield, can you take dogs?
Absolutely. It was fantastic to see couples and families walking their dogs. They are supposed to be kept on the lead, but we did see some very well-behaved pups chasing balls and playing with their owners. So, the only places your four-legged friend can’t go in are the historic buildings, Cow Barn, Rose Garden, the walled garden, café and shop. If you don’t have any poop bags to hand, they have some in the shop. This is somewhere my dog Ivan would love to explore.
Tyntesfield – How To Get There
So, travelling by car is the easiest way to get there. The SatNav postcode for Tyntesfield House is BS48 1PA. Parking is £5 per car and is free for National Trust members. It is about 15-minutes from Bristol city centre, where the nearest train station, Bristol Temple Meads is. Buses run every half hour from Bristol and Clevedon, and you can also cycle. Additionally, those arriving on foot or by public transport get 20% off in the café and shop.
National Trust Tyntesfield Tickets
The Tyntesfield admission prices are £10 per adult, £5 per child, 1 adult and 2 children £15, or a family for £25.
With a National Trust membership, you get free entry. For our couple’s membership, we pay £10 per month. As well as free entry to all of the other properties in their portfolio, you also get free parking. I’d highly recommend purchasing one. If you do sign up, don’t forget to go via TopCashBack.
Currently, you do need to plan your visit in advance. You can choose between the available dates and opening times, currently, Monday – Sunday between 10am-5pm. Don’t forget to double-check the latest Coronavirus travel information.
National Trust Holidays
National Trust Holidays offer a selection of holiday cottages, campsites and bunkhouses set in spectacular locations. Sleeping 2 – 11 guests, there are 4 cottages at Tyntesfield. They have everything you need for a night away, from kitchen facilities to cosy gardens to relax in during warmer weather.
Get 15% off selected cottages for bookings until 30 April 2023. Use discount code NTAF.
National Trust Vs English Heritage
If you are weighing up getting a National Trust Membership or English Heritage Membership, I’ve done the leg work for you. If you want to explore more historical sites, you might be wondering which is better? Here’s all you need to know.
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