10 Best National Trust Sites Near Bath In 2023

best national trust sites near bath

History buff? Bath’s got you covered!

If you enjoy a side of gorgeous gardens with your trip down memory lane, check out one of the best National Trust sites near Bath, all within an hours drive

Whether you’re a fan of fantastic flora, or adore old architecture, there is somewhere to suit you.

1. Dyrham Park

dyrham park
Image Credit: Cotswolds.com

Discover ancient parkland around a 17th century house and garden at Dyrham Park, just a short drive outside of Bath on the A46 (on the way to the M4).

Built for William Blathwayt, Dyrham Park is a fine stately home surrounded by 270 acres of steep and sloping parkland with ancient trees and incredible views. Planted to celebrate all seasons, the 21st Century garden takes its inspiration from earlier days with nods to 17th Century design such as the herb garden and colourful plants and trees.

Inside the honey-coloured Baroque house you can see selected rooms each afternoon (while conservation is going on in others) and get a sense of the riches of Blathwayt, which he accrued as a major military and government figure during colonial times.

2. Bath Skyline

Image Credit: National Trust

It’s not just stately homes that fall under the National Trust banner, you’ll also find protected countryside and other sights around Bath. Literally in this case, as the six mile circular Bath Skyline walk takes in a loop of amazing views around the city.

If you’re short on time, the three mile ‘Walk to the View’ trail from Bath Abbey takes you through Georgian architecture, along the towpath, and up the hill to be rewarded with a sweeping view of Bath.

Feeling more energetic? Take a few hours to meander along the six mile circle around Bath, starting at Bathwick Hill and taking in landmarks like Sham Castle, iron age forts, roman ruins, and Prior Park.

3. Prior Park Landscape Garden

prior park

Part of the Bath Skyline Walk, Prior Park Landscape Garden is the nearest National Trust garden to the city and it boasts one of only four Palladium style bridges of this design in the world.

Created in the 18th Century by local entrepreneur Ralph Allen, in collaboration with famous landscape Capability Brown (and poet Alexander Pope), Prior Park Landscape Garden will soon have its lakes returning thanks to an ongoing restoration project to reconstruct the 18th century dams.

Great news for the environment (and also great news for anyone who wants to take a photo of the iconic bridge with a reflection!).

4. Westwood Manor

westwood manor

Close to Bath, near Wiltshire’s Bradford-on-Avon, Westwood Manor is a lovely example of a 15th Century farmhouse. Built over three centuries (slower than roadworks in Bath!), the small manor house features late Gothic and Jacobean windows outside and if you’re looking for some interior design inspiration inside you’ll find period furniture, decorative plasterwork, and ornate ceilings.

Look out for the unusual instruments  in the music room, including a spinet and the UK’s earliest Italian keyboard. The house is lived in and only open seasonally, so check before you visit and be sure to explore the modern topiary while you’re there!

It’s one of our best National Trust sites near Bath if you are looking for something different!

5. Lacock Village, Abbey, and Fox Talbot Museum

lacock village

All of lovely Lacock’s historic village is now National Trust owned, but you’ll also find the fascinating Fox Talbot Museum, site of the world’s first photograph and Harry Potter fans will recognise the dramatic interior of Lacock Abbey, founded in the 13th Century as it appears as Hogwarts in many of the movies.

Downton Abbey fans might also recognise the village from scenes, too!

If you carry on walking through the town centre, you can find a wonderful little dog walk that takes you over a river and past some lovely picturesque English cottages.

It’s one of the best National Trust sites near bath, hands down.

6. Great Chalfield Manor and Garden

great chalfield manor
Image Credit: TripAdvisor

Meander around Melksham’s medieval manor house, Great Chalfield Manor, which dates back to the 15th Century. Take a look at the terraces, topiary, and gazebo in the ‘arts & crafts’ style garden (gardens that have ‘rooms’, topiary, and colourful plants) and stop to literally smell the roses and explore the lily ponds.

Pass the parish church, barns and gatehouse to cross the upper moat and don’t forget to look up and spot some of the stone monkeys perched on the rooftop.

The donor’s family live in the house and so it’s only open seasonally (April to October via guided tours).

7. The Courts

the courts

Summer is the best time to visit this quintessential English country garden, The Courts,  which is close to Chalfield Manor near Melksham. Smell the fragrant flowers,  see the sculptured yew trees, and look for tasty trees and plants in the traditional style Kitchen Garden. Wander the peaceful water gardens and look out for the stone temple!

Pick up a picnic of  cake, snacks, and tea to enjoy on a bench in the orchards or under the ever-changing trees in the arboretum. Browse the second hand books or buy a plant to take home as a memento.

8. Stourhead

stourhead bath

Worth the drive from Bath to Warminster is the world-famous landscape gardens and Palladian house at Stourhead. Since opening in 1740, the garden has been heralded as a ‘living work of art’  and was created with the help of 50 gardeners under the leadership of Henry Hoare II (‘Henry the magnificent’) a banker and garden designer.

Colourful beech, oak, sycamore, and ash trees line the grand lake with hidden architectural interests from the cave-like ‘grotto’ to the Roman inspired Temple of Floras and Temple of Apollo, the Palladian Bridge, and the Pantheon, all built during the 18th Century and still standing today.

Stourhead is also home to the Bristol Cross, a restored medieval monument that was brought here by six wagons pulled by oxen. You can reach here by car though, in around 45-minutes!

9. Cley Hill

cley hill

Hike to a beautiful 360 degree view of the Wiltshire countryside, climbing up an Iron Age hillfort on a challenging 9.5 mile trail. Start in the National Trust car park off the A362. Cley Hill is home to a diverse selection of wildlife from colourful butterflies to swooping buzzards and kestrels and the steep slopes are also home to rich plant life like delicate orchids.

Pop into nearby Frome before or afterwards to fuel up with food from one of the independent cafes in the trendy town.

Into spooky stuff? There are lots of UFOs reported in this area…

10. Avebury Manor and Gardens

Stonehenge’s little sister Avebury is only 45 minutes from Bath and the National Trust site is home to the stone circle, a museum, and a manor house right in the heart of the World Heritage Site.

Explore the Neolithic and Bronze Age landscape, including the largest circle of stones in the world, but also leave time to travel through the ages in the 16th Century manor house where rooms are decorated in a range of styles from Tudor to the 1930s.

In the manor’s gardens you can explore different ‘rooms’ to discover everything from a kitchen garden to the mystical named half-moon garden, and that’s the best National Trust sites near Bath!

Looking for ideas for other days out in or near Bath? Check out our top 10 best places to visit near Bath or get romantic on a date in the city.

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