LanhydrockAn enchanting Victorian mansion, Lanhydrock is the number one house and garden to visit in Cornwall. Woodlands, gardens and 50 rooms including servants quarters, children's area, the Lord's Quarters, Lanhydrock has got it all! Start your tour with a trip in a vintage car and be dazzled at the Lord's quarters and dumbfounded with the servants' quarters. Lanhydrock not only offers a fascinating insight into the Victorian age but also lends a closer glimpse into how the upstairs downstairs lifestyle really worked.
Lanhydrock is built upon ancient grounds. The words 'lan' and 'hyrdroc' translate to the holy burial place of Hydroc, a Welsh saint. Once the estate of the Priory of St Pedroc, Lanhydrock passed into the hands of the Glynn family following the Dissolution of the Monasteries . Little remains here today of the Benedictine Priory except for the 15th century church of St. Hydroc.
Major reconstruction began in 1620 when a wealthy local merchant, Sir Richard Robartes bought Lanhydrock and proceeded to build a house with four wings around a central courtyard. Traditional a choice of structure as it was, it was perhaps this quadrangular shape with its co-current lack of light that led to Lanhydrock's lack of popularity with successive generations. For more than 200 years, Lanhydrock remained unchanged and frequently uninhabited. It was not until the 1780's that a descendant of Robartes, George Hunt, pulled down the east wing. This move gave Lanhydrock a U-shaped form allowing natural light and heat to flood into the house during daylight. He also modernised the Jacobean layout building a beautiful Rococo fireplace in the Prayer Room and partitioning off the old parlour so as to create an extravagant Drawing Room and Crimson Damask Bedroom.
Lanhydrock then passed into the hands of Anna Maria Hunt who also made significant changes to the layout as regards family and servant quarters. However, by 1857 Lanhydrock had evidently reached a state of gross disrepair and Sir George Gilbert Scott was commissioned to revamp the Gothic house by the 1st Baron Robartes of Lanhydrock. He remodelled Lanhydrock into a luxurious country home but his work was destroyed shortly after. In 1881, a fire ravaged Lanhydrock destroying everything but the North Wing and the fine, 32m Long Gallery. Lanhydrock was then rebuilt and it is this Victorian remodelling of the house that you will see here today. The neo-Jacobean fa?ade was built by Richard Coad, a former pupil of Sir Gilbert Scott. It is likely that he was commissioned to rebuild Lanhydrock in its previous style. However, he did extend the southern range adjoining a servants' area in accordance with the dictates of Victorian living.
Lanhydrock and its estate came into the care of the National Trust in 1953. Although most manuscripts of the Robartes family were lost in the fire, the remaining records were scrupulously studied in an attempt to return Lanhydrock to its earlier Victorian grandeur. The result is a fantastic living museum which feels like a tour of the Victorian Age. At Lanhydrock, you'll see three aspects of the era; the wealth in the Lord's Quarters, the work in the servants' quarters and the segregation of the children's quarters. The Lord's quarters are blessed with wonderful views and spacious luxurious interiors. The Long Gallery is lavishly decorated with a fine plasterwork ceiling depicting Old Testament tales and mythical creatures. This wealth and comfort is counterpoised by the stark working areas and servants' quarters which show just how hard it was to maintain and service the 'upstairs' lifestyle. At Lanhydrock, you'll see a huge kitchen that was once a flurry of activity serviced by some 20 servants who all bowed down to the cook. You'll be able to tour the dairy scullery, bakehouse, dry, fish and meat larders and see a huge roasting-spit and Victorian ranges. Lanhydrock also has a Nursery Wing which provided for 10 children. You'll see the Day Nursery and Night Nursery where children ate and slept, the Nanny's Bedroom and the Nursery scullery " a whole section ensuring that Victorian principle that 'children should be seen and not heard'.
Lanhydrock is set within some 900 acres of parkland and woods with footpaths leading to the River Fowey. On your tour, you'll see age old trees dating from the 17th century and tour the beautiful Lanhydrock gardens. Spanning some 30 acres, planting at Lanhydrock began in the mid 19th century. Although most of the plant collection you'll see here is much more recent, the Victorian essence of Lanhydrock is also evident within its garden boundaries. You'll also see magnolias, camellias, rhododendrons, flowering shrubs, the ancient Lanhydrock Cross and the formal gardens.
Postcode: PL30 5AD
Town/city or near: Bodmin
Lanhydrock house is open every day except Monday from the middle of May till the end of October between 11am and 5.30pm (till 5pm in October). Lanhydrock Garden is daily (all year) between 10am and 6pm.