Located near Lapworth, Warwickshire and owned by the National Trust since 1941, Packwood House is a Grade I Listed Tudor manor house, known for its stunning collection of furniture, tapestries and gardens of yew trees.
The House has provided rest and relaxation for many high profile guests – including Queen Mary – and for more than 100 years the house has benefitted from careful restoration and improvement works, which has allowed it to continue to flourish.
Packwood House was originally built in the 16th Century, however its interiors were extensively restored during the First and Second World Wars by Graham Baron Ash. Graham inherited the House from his father, Birmingham industrialist Alfred Ash, who bought the house in 1905.
As Graham disliked disorder he kept everything in its place, striving to recapture the unique style of a Tudor manor house. To further celebrate the wonder of the estate he opened up the Packwood House gardens to the public in 1933.
At present a redevelopment project is taking place which is set to enhance the visitor experience through the installation of a new café and visitor reception. In addition, the existing car park is being improved, alongside a few associated works.
After a lengthy campaign to secure planning permission, work began on the new café in November 2012. The new facility is being built at the rear of the current car park and will serve up fresh, seasonal food inspired by the Kitchen Garden. Conveniently located near the picnic area, the new café will help to open up new parkland walks, whilst providing improved facilities for visitors.
Resurfacing work has also taken place on the site’s second car park, whilst drainage and the surface of a second field have been improved to provide overflow parking.
As part of the project a much larger, sewage treatment plant has been installed to replace an existing facility. The creation of the much larger plant is vital for the opening of the new café, which will be open on more days and will subsequently welcome many more visitors.
Commenting on the project, Julie Smith, Project Manager for the building projects at Packwood House, said:
“The project is about providing much needed catering facilities for our National Trust visitors. We want to ensure we create an enjoyable visit for everyone.
“We have worked very closely with English Heritage and our curators within the National Trust to make decisions about how the building is going to orientate visitors towards the parkland and this is a very interesting part of the project.
“As the new building is located in a very agricultural area of the estate we are trying to make it appear as if it could have existed back in the 19th Century. However, whilst the outside of the building has a traditional look, internally it feels very modern and fresh.”
Packwood House is accessible by train, road, bus and even by foot. The historic House offers visitors many things to see and do, from a large collection of art and tapestries, to a garden, lake, orchard and wildflower meadow.
In addition to the unique history and fantastic splendour of Packwood House, the development is backed by a program of visitor events, which includes family fun days during May half term, an outdoor theatre performance of As You Like It and a Gardener’s evening tour.
Packwood House is owned by The National Trust which is a UK conservation charity, which protects historic places and green spaces, opening them up for everyone’s enjoyment. The National Trust is completely independent of the Government and relies on income on membership fees, donations and legacies, and revenue raised from its commercial operations.
Packwood House reopens to the public in May 2013, with the new café opening in autumn 2013. For more information on Packwood House, or to follow the recent redevelopment works, please visit: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/packwood-house.