Ever since smash period drama Bridgerton hit our screens, a LOT of us have been daydreaming about what life would be like living in a regency romance. All the filming locations in Bridgerton have become EXTREMELY popular places to visit – but now you don’t necessarily have to visit London, Bath or Bristol to get your regency fix.
Recently I rediscovered Berrington Hall near Leominster Herefordshire – a neoclassical mansion by Henry Holland set in ‘Capability’ Brown’s final landscape and gardens. It is simply dripping with Georgian grandeur and I truly felt like Daphne Bridgerton promenading along the candyfloss coloured rooms and corridors.
Like Georgian history? Like fashion history? Then you simply need to visit Berrington Hall!
How old is Berrington Hall?
Built in 1778-81 for the Hon. Thomas Harley, Lord Mayor of London and son of the 3rd Earl of Oxford, Berrington Hall is one of the few masterpieces of the architect Henry Holland to survive intact. Before that there had been a building on the site since 1386.
Who lived at Berrington Hall?
Harley gave Berrington to his daughter Anne and her new husband George Rodney, the son of naval hero Admiral Rodney. After Harley’s death the house stayed in the Rodney family for the next 95 years, until the 7th Lord Rodney was forced to sell the house and estate in 1901.
Berrington was bought by a wealthy cotton merchant called Frederick Cawley who later went on to become the 1st Baron Cawley. It was handed over to the government in 1957 in lieu of death duties.
What can I see at Berrington Hall?
To put it simply, the whole of the interior of Berrington Hall is truly spectacular!
Pastel colours, ornate decorations and plasterwork … and the painted ceilings!!!
The Georgian theme is continued with fine furniture in all of the rooms. You truly feel like you have walked on to a Bridgerton set.
My favourite room was the small boudoir which was used by the women of the house. On the ceiling you can find Venus on a cloud playing with cupids.
I also really liked the drawing room, one of the first rooms you enter on your walking tour. Again the ceiling is the centrepiece here. It is the finest one at Berrington and one of the most elaborate ever designed by Holland. Spot Jupiter, Cupid and Venus.
I know this may sound a bit silly – but the staircase at Berrington Hall with its sweeping arches and glass dome is simply stunning!
The landscape and park
The house is set in a park laid out in 1780 by the landscape designer ‘Capability Brown’, who was also Holland’s partner and father-in-law. Berrington is famous for being Brown’s last landscape design.
Work on the park commenced before the new Berrington Hall was erected and Brown created a typical open sweep of grassy parkland, complete with ha-ha and 14 acre lake. He then suggested where to place the house within the park.
Nowadays, visitors can take advantage of two signposted walks. There is also a walled garden to explore.
Why will fashion history lovers want to visit Berrington Hall?
The hall also hosts costume exhibitions, showing various pieces from the Charles Paget Wade Collection. This is a collection of over 2000 items of clothing from the 18th and 19th centuries. If you want to learn more about the collection, I suggest checking out The Hidden Wardrobe Blog.
There is also a exhibition, ‘A Dress Fit for a King‘. The main feature of this exhibition is an original eighteenth century court mantua – threaded with real gold – which was owned by Ann Bangham, wife of the original owner Thomas Harley. This is the stuff you only usually find in the V&A!
There is also a lot of information about 18th century dress in general. If you like fashion history, then you will like this exhibition!
How do I get to Berrington Hall?
Given its rural location, the best way to get to Berrington Hall is by car. The nearest train station is 4 miles away in Leominster.
Where do I find out more about Berrington Hall, including opening times?
Berrington Hall is a National Trust property. You can find out more details about Berrington Hall, including opening times, here.
If you want to make a day of it then you can combine Berrington Hall with nearby Croft Castle – its only 15 minutes drive away!