National Trust Tyntesfield House and Gardens

Tyntesfield is a National Trust property in Somerset. Some people believe that Tyntesfield is in Bristol, as it is so close to the border. The large Victorian house has extensive gardens and parklands, which I visited last week.

After steering down the beautiful drive, members of staff greeted us to double-check our tickets. After parking up, 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.

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.

The National Trust are also encouraging visitors to bring a picnic, and have places to picnic list. 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. 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, and the rain stayed away long enough for me to explore.

The history of Tyntesfield House

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. 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. 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. The National Trust purchased it in 2002, after a fundraising campaign to save it 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) and selling it in Europe and North America. It was mined by indentured Chinese labourers, in deplorable conditions. 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 redevelop the house with 47 bedrooms in total (some of these are servants accommodation) came to £70,000. 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

The final 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 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

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.

Tyntesfield – how to get there

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 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. Those arriving on foot or by public transport get 20% off in the café and shop.

Admission prices for Tyntesfield

The Tyntesfield admission prices are £10 per adult, £5 per child, 1 adult and 2 children £15, or a family for £25.

National Trust members get free entry. For our couples membership, we pay £10 per month. As well as free entry to 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.

Follow Tyntesfield on Social Media

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