Wimpole Hall, Cambridgeshire
This magnificent seventeenth-century house is the largest house in Cambridgeshire and is now looked after by the National Trust. The great Hall, gardens and park are all open to visitors and make a fascinating and enjoyable day out for all the family. The house is about 300 feet (90 metres) from end to end and the central part is 4 storeys high. The orange and red brick facades are largely eighteenth-century.
One of Wimpole Hall's first owners was Edward Harley, 2nd Earl of Oxford. He owned Wimpole Hall between 1713 and 1740 and commissioned the baroque chapel which is a principal feature of the house. The chapel is filled with statues of Saints which stand between pairs of classical columns. Visitors can also see Thornhill's Adoration of the Magi which fills the east wall. The long library was built to house Edward Harley's huge collection of books and manuscripts which now form a central part of the British Library. Harley's book collection was the largest and most important ever assembled by a private individual. Wimpole Hall's long library also contains an oak and walnut pulpit on castors to give access to the higher shelves. Wimpole Hall's next owner was Philip Yorke, 1st Earl of Hardwicke and he introduced some of the finest paintings to the house.
Facilities for visitors at Wimpole Hall include the Stables Shop which stocks a wide range of gifts, plants, toys and delicious fudge, a secondhand bookshop where visitors can browse and buy from a great selection of older books. Refreshments available at the Wimpole Estate include home made soup, delicious hot meals, a good choice of coffees, cream teas and cakes so there is always something delicious available from one of the cafes. Also, there is always the opportunity to get involved with the National Trust and purchase membership so you can visit the Wimpole Estate and the other National Trust properties with free entry at the same time as helping to support the great conservation work they do. The properties, like the Wimpole Estate, benefit directly from subscriptions.
For disabled visitors, a virtual tour is availabe from the main Hall and the Restaurant, and large print guides and Braille guides can be loaned. The Wimpole Estate also provides a multi-seater vehicle on certain days so it is wise to check availability in advance of a visit. Dogs are welcome at the Wimpole Estate but only with responsible owners. Dogs must be kept close by and under proper control at all times. A short 2 metre lead is required near the farm animals. Only Registered Assistance dogs are allowed in Wimpole Hall, the gardens and the Farm.
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