Adventures at Audley End

I love getting the chance to visit a new country house. Having visited quite a few where I live in Suffolk, it’s always nice to find somewhere new to explore. As I’d recently studied Audley End in my Country House module at uni, it was next on my list.

After spending over 10 weeks poring over plans and elevations it was amazing to get to see the actual house and have the drawings come to life as I ventured around the estate.

audley doodle 1.001

Audley End was built on the foundations of Walden Abbey, suppressed by Henry VIII in the wake of the dissolution of the monasteries in the 1530s. Henry granted the house to Sir Thomas Audley, Lord Chancellor and former Speaker of the House of Common. Sir Thomas not only transformed the house from a monastery to a stately home but also created the title of Baron Audley of Walden.

The house passed through several owners (including Charles II when the house descended into debt), who continued to transform the house from a monastery to one of the most ambitious houses of its time. Despite being built around the medieval courtyard of the Abbey, Audley End kept to current fashion, creating symmetrically arranged state apartments intended to accommodate royal visitors on their progress around the country.

In the 18th century, the house went under an extensive reduction in an attempt to make it more manageable. The house was decreased from two courtyards to one as you see today. During this time Capability Brown replaced the declining formal gardens in favour of a more natural landscape, featuring a lake and organic views.

I find it really fascinating to compare the house you see today to the plans and drawings of the Jacobean house. So if you’re a history nerd like me then check out the Audley End website where you can download some plans. (So helpful!!!)

Sadly you can’t take photos of the interior of the house as the collection is still under private ownership. Despite the downsizing, there is still so much of the house to see, including a massive taxidermy collection. I will admit the amount of dead animals and birds was quite disturbing, however one of the highlights was the Great Bustard, the heaviest flying animal, previously extinct to Great Britain.

doodle 2.001

The gardens were so beautiful to explore, with much of Capability Brown’s designs still visible. There’s an organic Kitchen Garden, Pond Garden, Parterre as well as extensive grounds featuring classically designed ground buildings dotted about. I love walking about and taking in the views of the house, made complete by the hoards of flowers. Also, there was a branch in one of the glass houses that looked like a sloth, so what’s not to love really?!

I hope you enjoyed this post, it’s a bit more history based than a few of my previous ones, I just got carried away already knowing so much about the house haha! I adored my time visiting Audley End, I guess it’s like the nerdy version of seeing your favourite band live…

Emma rasp

9 Comments Add yours

  1. restlessjo says:

    I’ve heard of this one but it’s a bit beyond my territory so thanks for showing me around. Good old Capability did get around, didn’t he? 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m glad you liked it! Yes haha, I’m still amazed each time I find another one designed by him! ☺️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lucy says:

    I completely understand your last sentence! Castles and houses are the best days out, ever! My favourite house is Newstead Abbey, which is miles from where I live now I’m in Scotland, so travelling there feels like going to an exciting gig! I should probably spend more time relatives when I’m there, but, you know, it’s hard to pick an auntie over Byron 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. They really are!! Aw such a shame, just googled it and it looks amazing, would love to visit some day!! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. says:

    Interesting story and quite a imposing property. The garden is also nice. It’s one of the things I like the most about castles and bit houses, that they have a garden where I can walk and relax.

    Would love to stay connected and share stories.
    Here is also my travel blog:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Yes, the grandness of the house makes it seem quite imposing! I agree, quite often the gardens are just as beautiful!
      Just followed you, I’ll have a look at your blog 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow! These pictures are utterly amazing. Keep it up. Love your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Will be sure to check yours out!


  5. Tanja says:

    I’ve been here too!beautiful house


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