Cathedrals, Castles and Country Houses
"The Stately Homes of England,
How beautiful they stand" Noel Coward
The Easton Estate is surrounded by some of the largest estates in the East Midlands. The figureheads of most great Estates are fine country houses or castles so our guests are spoilt for choice.
The closest house is Grimsthorpe Castle. This is truly a hidden gem. It is rarely crowded but the architecture, collections and landscape match some of our most famous houses. Designed by Vanbrugh and visited by Henry VIII, Grimsthorpe Castle is a 15 minute drive from Easton or 10 minutes from The School House in Burton-le-Coggles.
Belvoir Castle is about 25 minutes away through some very pretty countryside. The castle is still owned by the Duke of Rutland who is a keen military historian and there are some interesting collections of militaria and a fine portrait by Holbein of Henry VIII. The views from the castle are exceptional and, on the way to the castle, you may see Harlaxton Manor an enormous gothic mansion. Allegedly the owner kept building until he felt he had matched the grandeur of Belvoir. Now owned by the University of Evansville it is open for special events.
To the south, Burghley House is a friendly, world famous house. Built by William Cecil, Queen Elizabeth I's closest adviser, it is still lived in by his descendants and boasts a fantastic collection of exciting murals and beautiful works of art. A great place to visit and to combine a trip to Stamford. The Orangery at Burghley is great for lunch.
These houses are still lived in by families but Belton House to the north of Grantham was taken over by the National Trust in 1984 complete with many of the contents. It is best known for its role as Rosings Park in Pride and Prejudice and has a brilliant adventure playground for children.
Much closer to home (just 3 miles as the crow flies) the National Trust also own Isaac Newton's home, Woolsthorpe Manor, which is beautifully interpreted and has a small café and science room in the old stables.
A bit further afield you can visit two of the finest cathedrals in the world. Lincoln Cathedral is the best known and is, frankly, awe inspiring. Ruskin described the cathedral (once the tallest building in the world) as "out and out the most precious piece of architecture in the British Isles." Next door in the Castle, you can combine a visit to see Magna Carta in the vaults.
Much less well known is the quality of Peterborough Cathedral. When this was owned by the Benedictine monks it was one of the richest in the country and hosted kings and queens as they travelled through the kingdom. The West Front and the 14th century wall paintings are astonishing and only matched by the fan vaulted ceiling at one end and the tomb of Katherine of Aragon.
And finally, and rather humbly, St. Thomas's Church in Burton-le-Coggles is a simple 12th Century church of great quality with a Grade 1 listing. It is worth a visit if you are staying at the School House or visiting the pub, The Cholmeley Arms.
Here are some quick links to the rest of our local guide: