One of the things I love about England is how well it does stately homes. These imposing constructions were generally built to house the aristocratic families of the country, and tend to be rather grand affairs with formal rooms, impressive architecture and, depending on the whims of the owners, some form of landscaped garden.
These homes, which are generally in the country, can also be referred to as Country Houses or Country Homes, and they are where the gentry would retire to when not hanging out in the cities taking part in the social scene. Clearly, a tough life, but someone had to do it.
During the 20th century though, and for various reasons, many of Britain’s aristocratic families ended up short on funds and so weren’t able to keep these homes maintained. One of the ways around this was to open them up to the public (or sell them to a public body), which means that today a great many of England’s finest homes and palaces are open for touring.
Some of these are still privately owned, whilst others have been given to national organisations such as the National Trust and English Heritage for ongoing maintenance and upkeep.