One of the most famous landmarks in Gloucestershire is Badminton House the seat of the Dukes of Beaufort since the 17th century. The Badminton Estate is situated in the most perfect Gloucestershire countryside and is the home of the current Duke and Duchess of Beaufort. The Beauforts moved to Badminton House after the previous family seat Raglan Castle was ruined during the English Civil War. The main house is seated in a magnificent deer park which is the scene of the world renowned Badminton Horse Trials, the pinnacle of Three Day Eventing achievement which is hotly contested by international riders each year.
Badminton House has many claims to fame including the wonderful formal gardens and it is reputed to be the birthplace of the game “Badminton” although some contest this game was brought back from British India. The story goes that in 1863, when the winter weather was too harsh to play outside, the eight Duke’s children were allowed to play in the Great Hall using a featherweight shuttlecock instead of a ball to avoid any damage to the many equestrian paintings hanging there.
Strongly linked to all things equestrian, the Beaufort Hounds are based at Badminton as well as the horse trials. Many other events take place at Badminton and the estate as well as being a private home offers corporate hospitality, weddings, and other occasions in a choice of distinctive room settings of different sizes. Here we look at some forthcoming events at the Badminton estate that you may enjoy in the coming months.
BADMINTON HORSE TRIALS – 2nd-6th MAY
The Badminton Horse Trials have just been on and they are the event that riders want to win. It has grown to be an event that attracts riders from all over the world and is the most important competition on the eventing circuit. Today’s Badminton horse trials are held in a 1500 acre area of Badminton Park, where there are shopping villages, trade stands, show jumping arena, dressage arena, and the terrifying cross-country course.
The cross-country day is most popular and attracts a crowd of up to 250,000 people making it the biggest paid-entry sport event in the UK. You will not feel crowded in the spacious park and there is something for all the family to enjoy as well as the magnificent horses.
BADMINTON PLANT FAIR – 18th MAY
The opening of the gardens at Badminton House is celebrated with a plant fair where plants and exotics from all over the world can be purchased. This is an ideal way to take a glimpse at the garden before the season gets started, as well as stocking up on garden accessories, plants, bushes, and shrubs for your own garden at home.
BADMINTON GARDENS – JUNE 20th & 21st
Take this opportunity to see the marvellous gardens that merge formality, openness, and structure. There is a formal southern garden and a walled garden. The main gardens wend their way around Badminton House while the southern garden is geometric and includes 16 rose beds flanked by the shell garden, white bed, peony bed, pool bed, and large borders
There are also two superb conservatories on the eastern aspect of the house. An elegant Orangery overlooks a fountain. There is much to see and if you are a lover of gardens then Badminton should not be missed, as it is not often open to the public.
Badminton House is built in the Palladian style and the original house was the central block and wings at each side. Later additions were made in the 18th century. The house is not open to the public, but the beauty of the architecture is worthwhile seeing on a visit to the park and gardens
There is a church – St Michael and All Angels attached to the main house, which was built as a plain rectangle with a tower replacing the existing medieval church in 1785. Further additions, the apse, and chancel were added in 1875.
Cooks Green Cottage is ideal as your base if you wish to visit the horse trials or any of the forthcoming events, just make sure you book in time. Badminton House is unique in that it is the last ducal seat in Gloucestershire and the estate has so much of interest to see. If the horse trials are not for you then the house and gardens alone will take your breath away with beauty, elegance, and style.