The manor house, gardens and grounds are not open to the general public, but they are open for exclusive, private group tours of 15 people or more (pre-booked in advance), from 1st May to 30th September, subject to availability. We generally take bookings for the following year, so it helps to plan wel in advance of your planned date.
For guests who have booked by appointment, please park in the car park and head down the drive to the estate office. Toilet facilities are provided, but the tea room and restaurant is only open for pre-booked group visits.
If you are not able to form a group, and would still like to visit, we plan to open for public tours in 2024, dates TBC. The tours shall be held in conjunction with Historic Houses (formerly HHA), who are handling all bookings. To make a reservation, you can follow these links:
Head to the Historic Houses website: www.historichouses.org/tours. Scroll down to ‘Browse Tour Houses by Region’. You can find us under the South-West and Channel Isles’ region.
OWLPEN MANOR, home of Sir Nicholas and Lady Mander and their family of five children (and twelve grandchildren), has long been recognised as one of the most romantic Tudor manor houses in southern England. Set in a picturesque valley among bluebell woods right under the Cotswold hills, it has formal terraced gardens and magnificent yews of the seventeenth century.
The house dates 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 famous collection of Cotswold Arts and Crafts furniture and fittings.
- Magnificent Tudor Great Hall of 1523. Jacobean Solar/Parlour wing dated 1616.
- Elegant early Georgian Little Parlour and doorcase 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 who then wrote to William Morris to tell him of this great find, and the house was then finally rescued by the outstanding Cotswold Arts and Crafts architect Norman Jewson in 1926.
Owlpen’s breath-taking 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, Vita Sackville-West, and latterly, Alan Titchmarsh.
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.
What a gem, nestled in the valley, where time almost seemed to stand still. We felt very privileged to see your home. Group organiser, 2022.
“A magical place, like a pearl set in a green sea” – House tour guest, June 2022.
“Such and enjoyable afternoon. Everything about it was good. Such a lovely setting and gardens. The house was fascinating and the talks by the Manders was really wide-ranging and interesting. We loved the collection of Arts and Crafts furniture, painted cloths, and the ghost stories!” – House tour guest, May 2023.
“It was a real privilege to see a house which had been so lovingly brought back from the brink. I could have listened for hours to details of researches into the house, its history, its inhabitants and surroundings.” – Tour organiser, 2023.