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Basildon Park, Reading

#1 of 12 in Historic Sites in Reading
Historic Site · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
Basildon Park is a country house situated 2 miles (3 kilometres) south of Goring-on-Thames and Streatley in Berkshire, between the villages of Upper Basildon and Lower Basildon. It is owned by the National Trust and is a Grade I listed building. The house was built between 1776 and 1783 for Sir Francis Sykes and designed by John Carr in the Palladian style at a time when Palladianism was giving way to the newly fashionable neoclassicism. Thus, the interiors are in a neoclassical "Adamesque" style.

Never fully completed, the house passed through a succession of owners. In 1910 it was standing empty and in 1914, it was requisitioned by the British Government as an army convalescent hospital. It was again sold in 1928 and quickly sold again. In 1929, following a failed attempt to dismantle and rebuild the house in the USA, it was stripped of many of its fixtures and fittings and all but abandoned.

During World War II, the house was again requisitioned and served as a barracks, a training ground for tanks, and finally a prisoner of war camp—all activities unsuited to the preservation of an already semi-derelict building. In 1952, a time when hundreds of British country houses were being demolished, it was said of Basildon Park "to say it was derelict, is hardly good enough, no window was left intact and most were repaired with cardboard or plywood."
Today, Basildon Park is as notable for its mid-twentieth-century renaissance and restoration, by Lord and Lady Iliffe, as it is for its architecture. In 1978, the Iliffes gave the house, together with its park and a large endowment for its upkeep, to the National Trust in the hope that "The National Trust will protect it and its park for future generations to enjoy."
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1,184 reviews
  • So disappointed eating benches were overturned preventing you from sitting whilst eating your lunch! Yet a few odd benches were available if you could bother to find one! Water in the toilets was...  more »
  • I met a friend here during Covid lockdown 2.0. We both have young babies so didn't do the woodland trails but just pushed our buggies round the house and gardens and then ended up doing two stretches....  more »
  • Lovely house. Usual high standards found in National Trust properties. The main car park is half way up the drive. This is the ticket point. The house is further up the drive with a fair walk up a steep incline. You can catch a golf buggy up to the house if u have mobility issues. Alternatively, buy your tickets then drive up to the house where you find further disabled parking. Free parking. At the ticket point you can also find a courtyard area where plants and garden sculptures are sold, small drink/snack bar and a wonderful shop complete with second hand books. Further up at the house you will find the main restaurant. Can be busy but the staff keep up really well and are smiling all the while. Lovely touch....lots of deck chairs out on the main front lawn for visitors. Exciting things for the kids. Climbing trees encouraged, ball runs and a play trail for those with good legs! Super place. Recommended.
  • Interesting history to the house and glorious inside and out. The gardens are beautiful. Lovely cakes in the tea rooms. Well worth a visit, definitely recommend it. Will definitely be going back. Had a lovely day.
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