Open all year
At the heart of the park is Lydiard House – a striking Grade I listed Palladian house, that for 500 years was home to the St John family. The ground floor state apartments of Lydiard House have been beautifully restored and are open to visitors all year round to view the ornate plasterwork and original family furnishings displayed alongside portraits and photographs of the St John family.
As one of Wiltshire's smaller stately homes, Lydiard House benefits from a highly intimate atmosphere. Visitors walk through the Library, Morning Room, the Hall, Dining Room and Drawing Room, before reaching the Bedroom and Dressing Room, where in the past only the most important visitors and closest friends would be received.
The rooms contain many Palladian details, including ionic columns, decorated ceilings and plaster reliefs. The Hall and Library feature more masculine designs: lions and griffons in the hall, ellipses and octagons in the Library. The rest of the house is more feminine. Fruit, flowers and cherubs feature in the ceiling decorations and carved fireplaces.
Striking character figures of the family and their servants bring the house to life and their story is told through audio commentaries and displays. The collections continue to grow as further original items are traced and acquired for the museum.
Lydiard's curious 'Blue Closet' is devoted to the 18th Century society artist Lady Diana Spencer who shares a common ancestry with the late Princess of Wales. Lady Diana married into the St John family - becoming the 2nd Viscountess Bollingbroke, and by her second marriage, Diana Beauclerk. Her delightful wall panels, pictures of her children and Wedgwood China incorporating her designs are on display. Here too, a fascinating 17th Century painted window by Abraham Van Linge contains over 100 pieces of exquisitely painted glass figures, flowers, tiny flies and even an elephant.
Accessibility Guideline Notes