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Ambient Travel Blog

A visit to Burghley House is a must for anybody who is interested in the Elizabethan period loves fine buildings, world renowned art collections, beautiful gardens and sweeping parkland.

Burghley delivers them all in one superb location in rural Lincolnshire.

The house was designed and built under the watchful eye of William Cecil, Lord High Treasurer to Queen Elizabeth I and arguably one of the most powerful men of the first Elizabethan era. 

Work commenced in 1555 when the East range was erected with work continuing on the East and South ranges until 1564.

Sir William Cecil had purchased Theobalds Manor in Hertfordshire in 1563 and records show that he was involved in the renovation of this property for 10 years whilst work was suspended at Burghley.

In 1557 building recommenced and the West front, with its great gate-house, was finished in 1577. The North front was completed in 1587.

From the outside, the imposing scale of the house masterminded by William Cecil, the 1st Lord Burghley, remains almost unchanged. The main part of the building has 35 major rooms on the ground and first floors with more than 80 lesser rooms, halls, corridors, bathrooms and service areas.

To give some idea of scale, the magnificent lead roof extends to three quarters of an acre. Restoration and rebuilding of this structure commenced in 1983 and took nearly ten years to complete. 

Internally, Burghley has undergone many changes as successive generations of the Cecil family have, over the past 450 years, changed the furnishings and decorations to reflect their individual tastes

The result is one of the finest collections of 17th century Italian masterpieces, exceptional examples of Oriental and European ceramics, fine furniture, textiles and works of art all grouped together in the magnificent setting of what is still, essentially, a family home.

The parkland that the visitor sees today, were largely the work of the famous eighteenth century landscape designer Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. He took advantage of the magnificent setting of the House and the sweep down to the spires of nearby Stamford, creating a perfect canvas that today hosts, classical concerts and events of all kinds.

The main visitor gardens at Burghley are the Gardens of Surprise and the Sculpture Gardens. The South Gardens are the private family gardens but these do open during April when the visitor is able to enjoy the spectacular display of spring bulbs. 

Burghley is one of the venues visited during the Influential Tudors tour organised by Ambient Tours.
 

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