26 August 2011

Althorp House & Princess Diana

Althorp House, Northamptonshire

A girlfriend of mine just returned with rave reviews from the Spencer family home,
but I had to hurry if I was to visit this famous estate
before it closed to the public for the season
So off I went!

The Spencer dynasty has lived at Althorp for twenty generations
Not a museum, this house is has been occupied uninterrupted by a family since 1522,
making this house a home

Covering 14,000 acres of beautiful countryside in Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, and Norfolk,
the estate includes cottages, farms, woodlands, and even villages

Charles, 9th Earl Spencer (Princess Diana's brother) lives there today

Oaks & sheep line the driveway

Making their fortune as sheep farmers since pre-Tudor times,
the Spencer estate leases much of its land for farming today
In many cases, the same family has farmed the same land for generations

As you could imagine, the Althorp House holds many stories
including courtly balls, a secret marriage (1755), a small pox victim (19th cent), and 
royal overnight guests including William of Orange (1695), 
Queen Mary and King George V (1913)

One guide assured me there are no ghosts or secret passageways, 
but I was always on the lookout for a trapdoor or hidden panel :)

Prince William Room & Marlborough Room

Exploring the nineteen rooms and a few private apartments,
I found the house to be large and grand (as expected)
with an accumulation of countless portraits,
artwork, antique furniture, and books that spans the generations

Althorp Stables

The stables hold an award-winning exhibition celebrating the life of Diana, Princess of Wales
including the famous bridal gown, her childhood letters and artifacts, 
and details of her charity work

My favorite part was seeing some of her dresses displayed next to
photographs of her wearing them

She was definitely an amazing person with all she accomplished
What a difference one person can make
(and how adorable are her two sons?!)

A Sad Day: At rest on island, September 6th 1997

I saw a visitor leave flowers here...

Located beside lake

Although the 2011 summer open days have almost past, 
there are opportunities to rent out the house for a wedding or special occasion(!)
or visit when it is open next time (the more economical choice):

Althorp Garden Art Weekend (Sept 3-4)
Winter Warmers at Althorp (Nov 25-27)

It was definitely an unforgettable day
Thank you for coming along :)

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Exterior photos: by me
Interior photos: Althorp 
Content: Althorp, Wiki



LindyLouMac in Italy said...

For the love of Diana, delighted you got to visit. :)

topchelseagirl said...

Thanks for taking us along!

Sunray Gardens said...

Thanks for the lovely visit with Princess Diana. Spectacular for sure.
Cher Sunray Gardens

Barbara said...

Wow, I"m adding this to the list of places I have to visit!!

Ellie said...

I've never been there but it looks lovely. Thanks for the tour.

Katie said...

thank you for sharing this! i will probably never visit in real life so i really enjoyed your words and the photos :)

Iota said...

Lovely to see.

I'd always been told it's pronounced Al-thrup. Did people on site say it that way, or the more obvious Al-thorp? I'd be interested to know.

Grammy Goodwill said...

Thanks for sharing this with us. It's probably the only way I'll ever see this lovely home and grounds. I was a big fan of Princess Diana.

demie said...

thanks for a lovely historical and exciting tour! i do remember the moment i heard princess Diana died... a magnificent woman!

Pet said...

Interesting Post. The bit about being sheep farmers is somehow funny :-)

Sallyford said...

Thank you for sharing your photo's, I would love to visit there myself. Isn't it strange how I live all my life in the U.K but never made the effort to visit. Now when I go back I will book a ticket! Sally x

Emily said...

Thank you for the tour! I found it all fascinating, especially the sheep and acreage. What beautiful grounds! What a lovely experience.

Hines-Sight said...

Love this post, Laura. Well done!


I would love to make this visit.


Privet and Holly said...

Someday I will
visit this lovely
place....Maybe even
with you?? I'm
working on it : )
xx Suzanne

camp and cottage living said...

Thanks for sharing your trip with us!
I'll never get to see this, so it was fun to view it through your eyes!
It hard to imagine one family having posession of an estate for so many generations!

rachelsjunkinthetrunk said...

O0H THANK YOU! I so felt as if I took the tour myself!

Happy Homemaker UK said...

@ Iota: Although I asked loads of questions, the word 'Althorp' never came up, so I'm not sure about the pronunciation - now you have me curious!

Ola said...

very nice residence but I also like the surroundings, the view with the sheeps is very beatiful!

Anonymous said...

It's "Al-Thrup".

happy little cottage said...

Hi Laura!

Thanks for taking us on this tour. Diana was truly an icon and it was interesting to get a glimpse into her childhood home. Lovely!

Magali @ The Little White House said...

I've never been there, so thanks for taking me along with you on that trip... I would die to see Diana's dresses (well, not litteraly "die")... There's one thing I'm not sure your guide has right: no ghost! I mean what English mansion dated back from the 16 th century or so doesn't have a ghost?

Happy Homemaker UK said...

@Anonymous: my readers are so smart. Thank you for the comment :)

lisaroyhandbags said...

What a great place to visit! Thanks for taking us along! :)

Emma said...

I am longing to visit Althorp!!! Thank you for yet another wonderful tour. x

Gail Dixon (Louisiana Belle) said...

*sigh* I loved Princess Di.

What fantastic images! Thanks for the tour of Althorp House!