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English Heritage Hideaways

 by Cherie DeLory

“If these walls could talk the tales they would tell.” So true is the oft-said phrase. For history hounds there’s infinite mystery and adventure in visiting a century home and discovering about the era and who lived there. Let the sleuthing begin at the following heritage properties in England.

Kenwood House in north London’s Hampstead Heath is accessible by tube. The Heath covers 800 acres of WOODLANDS, swimming ponds, trails, and stunning views of the city. The 18th century estate was home to high society’s first mixed race girl. The daughter of a slave lived with her aristocratic aunt and uncle at Kenwood. The book “Belle”, chronicling her life, was adapted to the screen. Brewing magnate Edward Cecil Guinness later owned the property, and his impressive art collection is on display. Tours are free.

On record as one of England’s oldest homesteads, Hellens Manor dates to the early 12th century. In the rural hamlet of Much Marcle in Herefordshire, the Georgian and Tudor estate remains a family home but is open for tours, as are the english gardens and ancient WOODLANDS. The house is said to be haunted by a female occupant who was abandoned by her lover. She was locked in her bedroom for 30 years before her death in 1728. The window pane reveals a message that she etched with her ring. Wedding receptions are hosted in the Great Barn, and a cider mill produces cider and perry for the annual Big Apple Festival.

In the Lake District, Blackwell The Arts & Crafts House, circa 1898, is one of Britain’s most influential historic houses. Arts and Crafts architect Baillie Scott’s innovative design elements incorporate stained glass, ceramic tiles, stonework, intricate carved wood and panelling. Originally a summer home for Manchester brewery owner, Sir Edward Holt and his family, the estate was also a girls’ private school.