The Midlands is full of historic stately homes and manor houses and some of the very prettiest can be found in the Cotswolds. Think Cotswold stone, English gardens and added quirk thrown in for good measure. Snowshill Manor is one of our favourites, mainly down to its original owners eccentricities and passion to restore this manor house to a thing of beauty. He definitely succeeded and created a gem of a stately home in the Cotswold countryside.
History of Snowshill Manor
Now owned and managed by the National Trust Snowshill originally belonged to Charles Wade. Being a travel blogger I felt really drawn to Wades’ ambition to fill this Stately Home with curios from around the world. You’ll find treasures from all his travels in the many rooms and the whole house somehow has exudes a sense of adventure.
Charles Wade originally trained as an architect but when he inherited part of his fathers sugar business, he had no need to work again. So he turned to things he loved, illustrating, collecting and creating the perfect home at Snowshill. When he purchased the estate in 1919 it was pretty run down so he set about restoring and remodelling it. Interestingly Wade kept the Manor House to store his collections and lived opposite in the small Priest’s House.
Over the years Snowshill welcomed many famous faces to its grounds. These include Virginia Woolf, Graham Greene and even Queen Mary. Demonstrating just what a fascinating place it is to visit. This is unlike any other stately home in the Cotswolds.
Charles Wade gifted Snowshill to the National Trust to help preserve his beloved collection of curiosities. He was most certainty a creative, a poet, a craftsman and a dreamer. With Snowshill as an outcome, I’d say that’s the perfect combination.
What is there to see at Snowshill
The car park at Snowshill is around a 15 minute walk from the actual Manor House and will take you through the gorgeous grounds. You’ll pass some of Charles Wades wonderful poetry and some beautiful landscaped grounds. These are a little overgrown this year as you would expect.
The house itself contains too many treasures and trinkets to list and it really is a fascinating insight into the mind of Charles Wade. The full sized model samurais and absolutely heaving collection of old bicycles are guaranteed crowd pleasers.
I think the best bits though are the outdoor areas. I adore the lavender strewn doorways, the yellow bricks of the inner courtyard and the various manicured paths to explore.
Even this old bell gave us a giggle, the ring was louder than she expected!
Designed by Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott in the 1920’s, the Arts and Crafts garden is a must visit. In a similar fashion to the house, Wade had put much thought into the overall design of the garden combining natural elements with architectural flourishes. The sundial and seating area was a beautiful place to take a break and the many artistic flourishes made it impossible to take a bad picture!
My daughter was fascinated with the addition of the model village which is lovingly cared for by National Trust volunteers and put away each winter for touch ups.
At the end of your visit I highly recommend a stop off at the cafe for a hot drink and slice of cake. There’s plenty of outdoor seating and the views across the Cotswold Countryside are simply stunning. Next to the cafe you’ll find the orchard with row after row of apple tree. And this, the cutest windmill I think I’ve ever seen.
Where is Snowshill Manor
Located very close to the village of Broadway which is often described at the “Jewel of the Cotswolds”. This part of the Cotswolds sometimes feels like the England that time forgot. Towns here are chocolate box perfect and the lush green countryside seems to extend for miles.
From London it is a two hour drive up the M40 then the A40 to the edge of the Cotswolds. The the A424to Stow on the Wold and the B4077 up to Snowshill. From Birmingham I’d take the A435 to Alcester where you’ll pick up the A46 then the A44 to Broadway. Then follow the signs to Snowshill, a lovely stately home in the Cotswolds.
Facilities at Snowshill Manor
As mentioned, Snowshill has a fabulous cafe on site serving hot and cold snacks and drinks. If you want to bring your own food then you’re welcome to arrive with a picnic blanket and sit in the apple orchard soaking in the views.
There are toilets at the main entrance which were spotlessly clean. Unfortunately dogs are not allowed into Snowshill or the grounds.
Currently the ground floor of the Manor house is open daily from 11.30am-4.30pm with a one-way route in place. Please do bring and wear a mask if you are visiting. Entry will be limited to ensure social distancing and make sure you book a timed slot before you arrive.
If you enjoy visiting quirky, historic buildings you’ll love my post on unique castles to visit in the Midlands. It includes Broadway Tower, the smallest “castle” in the country, just ten minutes drive from Snowshill. You also might like this post on another unusual National Trust property, the Kinver cave houses in Worcestershire.
Make sure you pin for later to plan your next visit to a stately home in the Cotswolds.