I’m not a big fan of stately homes.
I certainly enjoy the gardens, the tea rooms, the playgrounds and the gift shops but the actual homes I can take or leave. I appreciate they are fascinating to some people but they remind me too much of school trips with clipboards.
This may be the reason why I’d not taken the children to Appuldurcombe Manor in the South Wight.
We found ourselves with an hour to fill after a trip to the Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary. I suggested that we took a three minute detour to explore the Manor.
Despite being free, there were only two other cars in the car park when we arrived at about 3pm during the school holidays.
About a third of the house is still very grand whilst two thirds is a ruin, with outlines of fireplaces, blocked off cellars and steps which lead to nothing.
An estate agent would describe it as an ‘ideal project’ and that it was ‘in need of some modernisation’.
The children much preferred this ruinous state to a home where everything is intact and on display. There were no volunteers sat on chairs in the corner of the rooms and no audio tours. For most of the time we were there, we didn’t see another person.
As a result, we were free to shout ‘echo, echo’ at the top of our voices and play hide and seek. I couldn’t help feeling it would be a great location for my Sega Lock On laser gun set from the 1990s.
I’m also a sucker for grand buildings which have fallen to ruin. I briefly felt as if I was recording one of those ‘abandoned Isle of Wight’ videos where people trespass their way onto locked up buildings. This feeling was shattered when I spotted an elderly couple taking photos of the fountain.
So, if you’re after a day out at a magnificent stately home with a coffee shop and hours of entertainment...then Osborne is your best bet.
However, if you want a romantic historic building where the children can run around without knocking over a vase then Appuldurcombe Manor is a great choice.
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