30th January 2024
Another trip out. This time it was to Basildon Park (yes, the writing paper was named after it). Built in the 1700s with newly acquired wealth, Basildon Park has weathered many storms. By World War II, it had fallen into disrepair. The grounds became a prison camp, and sadly, American soldiers damaged parts of the house. Fires, water damage, and neglect took their toll. Yet, the house persevered. In 1952, when a woman with a keen eye saw its potential and embarked on a revival mission, eventually gifting it to the National Trust in 1978.
We joined a short, guided tour of the house which was the only way to view inside. Perhaps this is in the winter only.
After the tour, we enjoyed a light lunch. The winter menu offered a few hot options, perfect for a chilly day. Next, we explored the gardens and woods, marvelling at a magnificent Holm Oak tree. Dog owners will be thrilled with the 400 acres of space to roam, and there’s even a designated dog-friendly area in the house restaurant for those who really must bring their furry friend along.
The park boasts two restaurants: one by the house and another near the entrance, where you’ll also find the National Trust shop. Interestingly, Basildon Park is one of the few National Trust sites where you don’t have to exit through the shop (bonus points!). While the second restaurant was closed for the winter, the one by the house was open and ready to serve hungry visitors.