Heritage Open Days is an annual event celebrating England’s architecture and culture by allowing visitors free access to interesting properties that are either not usually open, or would normally charge an entrance fee.
Lydiard House and the Walled Garden will be open for free of charge on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 September between 11am and 5pm.
The grand state rooms of Lydiard House will be open for everyone to explore the elegant fireplaces, original furniture and portraits of the St John family, who lived at Lydiard Park for over 500 years. There is a teddy bear trail for children and information on the Royal Visits to Lydiard Park is on display in the rooms.
Outside, visitors can stroll in the 18th Century ornamental fruit and flower Walled Garden and admire the late summer flowers, bedding plants and unique garden features including the sundial and well. There are also plants for sale in the Walled Garden and the Tea Rooms are open for ice creams and refreshments.
Also in the grounds of the park, the Ice House will be open on both days for visitors to look inside. In the past, the Ice House would have been packed with snow and ice during the winter to provide a way of preserving food in the summer.
Next to Lydiard House, St Mary’s Parish Church will also be open on both Saturday and Sunday for visitors to look round. The St John family Triptych will be opened up and can be viewed along with other exceptional monuments to the family including the 17th Century tomb of Sir John St John and the ‘Golden Cavalier’ – a life size effigy of his son, Edward St John, in full battledress as he fought and died in the English Civil War – above.
Cllr Garry Perkins, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for Lydiard Park, said: “Lydiard House contains many treasures, and along with a visit to the Walled Garden and beautiful church, offers a great day out for local residents and visitors to the area.
“It is important for Lydiard Park to be part of this national celebration of our heritage, offering everyone the chance to explore what’s on their doorstep – free of charge.”
Heritage Open Days is England’s biggest and most popular voluntary cultural event. It is managed by the Heritage Open Days National Partnership, bringing together the National Trust, The Heritage Alliance and Civic Voice and is supported nationally by English Heritage.
Full information on all the historic sites and properties open for Heritage Open Days can be found at www.heritageopendays.org.uk