When I lived in Paris, I barely gave the Eiffel Tower a second look; it’s always the way that when you live next to a well-known landmark, it loses its allure!
In the same way, I was always vaguely aware that Ashdown House wasn’t far away from us, but was never sure what it was exactly. As it has a rather famous tenant, it doesn’t tend to be open that often, but as it underwent a significant renovation two years ago and was open for tours every Saturday during the summer, I decided to take the McBaby to check it out.
I didn’t even know it was a 17th century hunting lodge built in 1662 by William, Earl of Craven (the same Craven family that lent their name to Craven Cottage, Craven A cigarettes and the Vine and Craven Hunt). There’s a short tour of the 400-year-old staircase and its paintings before a trip onto the roof which gives beautiful views of the parkland and shows off just why this is a great hunting lodge – while we were up there, we saw a herd of deer run right across the land. The tour guides were patient and informative, even if you bring a naughty three-year-old with you who just wants to run up and down the north rides rather than listen to the history behind this life-size doll house!