An Elizabethan Manor House in the tiny village of Breamore, Hampshire, Breamore House is part of a larger estate which includes the Breamore Mizmaze and the Giant's Grave. Still lived in as a private home, it is open for just a few months of each year.
The house was built in 1583 on the site of a former Priory. It was bought in the 18th century by Sir Edward Hulse, physician to Kings George I and II, and his family still live there today. It was severely damaged in a fire in 1856, and much of what you see today is a 19th century recreation of the original Elizabethan manor using the salvageable parts.
When is Breamore House open?
This seems to vary as according to Trip Advisor Reviews, they are often closed when they say they are open. Their Facebook page still has their opening hours from 2013! Hopefully they will be updating their shiny new website regularly, so look there first.
How much does it cost to visit Breamore House?
Adult tickets are £13.50, children are £5.50. (If you want to just see the Countryside Museum, it is adults £5.50, children £2.50). For this you get an hour long tour around the house led by a guide - you cannot explore the public rooms on your own and you cannot take any photos (it is still a private home). Reviews of the tours range from excellent to awful, so it probably depends on who you get.
What is there to see at Breamore House?
Visitors can see a variety of paintings, tapestries, porcelain, 17th Century needlework, period furniture and a rare James 1 carpet. There is a small garden, but no extensive landscaped grounds which you may be used to from other stately homes.
The Countryside Museum has displays of agricultural equipment, tractors, tools and recreations of old shops and businesses.
The Museum area also has a small, flat, grass and concrete maze for kids to walk on and a small play area.
At the top of the hill behind the house is the Breamore Mizmaze. This is not part of your entry fee to the house and it can be accessed at any time of the year entirely for free. The driveway leading up to Breamore House is a public footpath - keep going past the house and you will get to the Mizmaze.
Next to the house is an important Anglo-Saxon church, St. Mary's. This is not part of a visit to Breamore House and can be visited separately and for free - it is open most days.
What facilities are there at Breamore House?
There is a tea room, loos and free parking for visitors to the house - all of which are available when the house is open.
Is it worth visiting Breamore House?
The house gets plenty of good reviews from people who like the building and who had a good tour. I visited it a few years ago and was unimpressed with it - guided tours to me now are a bit of an anachronism - they remind me of visits to stately homes in my childhood where you stood behind a red rope with a guide pointing at things on the other side.
The tour is rather dull for children, mine were very bored, and the Countryside museum is a bit shabby, although I did like the displays and the fact that it was about ordinary people - I also have a soft spot for recreations of old shops and businesses.
Sadly my kids were not as impressed, and other reviewers have advised against taking children there.
The estate gets its fair share of negative reviews on both Trip Advisor and Google reviews. Here at Slow Travel, we only like to promote the places and people who we think deserve our hard earned pay. A recent experience I had with the owners is very much in line with the negative reviewers and it is not a place I could ever choose to support.
What alternatives are there to Breamore House?
The nearest stately homes are Mompesson House and Arundells, both a 15 minute drive away in the Cathedral Close of Salisbury. Arundells was once home to Ted Heath, Prime Minister, and is filled with his fascinating artworks, political cartoons, boating memorabilia and with a beautiful garden overlooking the water meadows. Mompesson House is owned by the National Trust and gives an insight into life in the Cathedral Close.
Wilton House is a 25 minute drive away from Breamore. It is also privately owned and has been in the same family since 1544. It is a huge house with 21 acres of grounds which contain a large and very popular adventure playground in the gardens for kids. The house is filled with some incredible artworks and artefacts, and has the amazing double-cube room which is most definitely worth seeing.
If you have kids then Beaulieu is the place for you. It is a 45 minute drive away, but only costs £8 more per person than Breamore House and has a stately home which has been in the same family since 1583, extensive grounds, the ruins of a Medieval Abbey, the National Motor Museum, a monorail, a museum dedicated to the SOE of World War 2, a large adventure play area for kids and plenty more. What is even better is that it is by the sea and can be combined with a visit to Bucklers Hard and Lepe Beach.
I would also recommend a visit to Mottisfont, a National Trust property which is a 30 minute drive away. It has huge grounds, beautiful gardens and a lovely house (which includes the cellarium of a priory) and which you can wander around as you wish. There is plenty for kids to do as well as cafés and a restaurant.
When its open, Highclere Castle is a fabulous place to visit. Also privately owned you can visit the castle and the extensive grounds as well as the Tutankhamun Exhibition. You do need to book in advance and it is a 70 minute drive from Breamore, but it is a wonderful day out.
What else is there to do in Breamore?
Breamore is great for walking - try the Breamore Mizmaze and Giant's Grave Walk, the Breamore Halt Railway Walk, or the Breamore-Woodgreen Walk. The nearby village of Rockbourne has a Roman Villa and Museum, and just 20 minutes away is the town of Salisbury with the Cathedral, Old Sarum, the Doom Painting and so much more.