Charlecote Park is a grand 16th century country house, surrounded by its own deer park, on the banks of the River Avon near Wellesbourne, about 4 miles east of Stratford-upon-Avon and 5.5 miles south of Warwick, Warwickshire, England.
Charlecote is approached through a long path that leads under an impressive Tudor brick gatehouse. Behind the house is a small formal garden terrace, beyond which is a large deerpark designed by Capability Brown, where a herd of deer still roam.
One of the most interesting features of Charlecote are the ornate Tudor chimneys (best viewed from the rear of the house). The house interior is largely Victorian, and visitors can go ‘below stairs’ to see what life was like for the servants who kept Charlecote running. There are numerous outbuildings on view, including a kitchen and cider press.
Queen Elizabeth I is known to have visited the house, and stayed in the chamber that now serves as the drawing room. A contemporary portrait of the queen is on view.
The Lucy family came to England as supporters of William the Conqueror, and the family has owned land at Charlecote since 1247. Sir Thomas Lucy (1532-1600), the builder of the current house, was a magistrate under Elizabeth I. In the course of his duties he was responsible for prosecuting local families with Catholic sympathies, including the Arden family, William Shakespeare’s maternal grandparents.
Charlecote is a delight to visit; the location is superb, and the house and gardens are well worth an extended exploration.