Tour Groups

We welcome tour groups here at Owlpen!  We often host groups of between 15 and 50 people, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays, April to end of the October.  Entry starts from £16.00.  If you would like a tour outside of these dates, please do get in touch with us directly.

In 1974, Sir Nicholas and Lady Mander moved to Owlpen to begin the painstaking process of restoring a Tudor manor house in order to house their growing family.  Since then, they have raised five children and eleven grandchildren, not to mention the menagerie of dogs, cats, farm animals and strays who have all made the Owlpen valley their home.  As this is a lived-in manor house, the Mander family offer a special tour that combines art, architecture, family, history, natural beauty, garden design, film location tours and, of course, ghost stories…

The house has medieval origins, but is mainly Tudor, dating from 1450 to 1616, with careful Cotswold Arts and Crafts repairs of 1926, when the house was saved from ruin after over 80 years of dereliction.

Today the interiors contain a series of unique painted textiles and Mander family portraits and collections, as well as a representative collection of Cotswold Arts and Crafts furniture and fittings.

Highlights:

  • Magnificent Tudor Great Hall of 1523, Jacobean Solar/Parlour wing dated 1616.
  • Elegant early Georgian Little Parlour and door-case remodelled in 1719.
  • The Great Chamber contains unique painted cloth wall-hangings with scenes from the life of Joseph and his brothers, dated about 1700.
  • The manor house became a Sleeping Beauty in Victorian times, uninhabited and dwarfed behind enormous yews. It was discovered by the poet Algernon Charles Swinburne and finally rescued by the outstanding Cotswold Arts and Crafts architect Norman Jewson in 1926.
  • Owlpen's terraced gardens are developed around an early formal garden on a manorial scale. A charming hillside garden is set on seven hanging terraces of the 16th/17th centuries, with magnificent yew topiary, old roses and box parterres. The garden was reordered in the 1720s and is today a historic survival of great interest and rarity.

The "Old English"-style garden was much admired by many of the foremost garden designers of the early 20th century, including Gertrude Jekyll, Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe and Vita Sackville-West.

There is a circular walk around the early Georgian mill pond and lake, fed by seven springs, believed to represent the medieval stew ponds. The walled kitchen garden is a delightful feature whose produce continues to feed household and restaurant.

Guests are invited to join a guided tour conducted, where possible, by Sir Nicholas and Lady Mander. They have lived in the house since 1974, and Nicholas has published books and papers on Cotswold houses, the Arts and Crafts, the history of Owlpen, and a history of the 17th century painted cloths which still hang in the manor house.  

Lady Mander prepares all of the food for our tour groups, and meals are served in the 15th century Cyder Barn just 100 metres from the manor house.  It is a fully license restaurant, and intimate venue for exclusive country house weddings and private parties.  She offers everything from a cup of tea on arrival to a home-cooked 3-course meal, for up to 50 guests.  Get in touch to find out more about her mouth-watering menus.  And if you manage to catch her, she'll tell you one of her many ghost stories, compiled from experiences of the many hundreds of guests who have stayed here since the 1970's, and tales which have been handed down to her from the distant past.

We welcome groups of between 15 and 50 people.  We offer tours Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays, April to end of the October.  Entry starts from £16.00.  If you would like a tour outside of these dates, please do get in touch with us directly.

If you would like to visit the house interior, but you do not have enough people to form a group of 15 people, we are holding exclusive private tours of the house and gardens on the following dates in 2019:

Tuesday 4th June. Tour including tea and biscuits, £18.50 per person.

Weds 26th June.  Tour including home-cooked lunch in the Cyder Barn.  £32 per person.

Thurs 4th July.  Tour only.  £16 per person.

Tues 3rd September.  Tour including tea and biscuits, £18.50 per person.

For more information including a brochure, and our availability, please contact Hugo Mander at the Estate Office.
email: sales@owlpen.com                 Telephone: 01453-860261