Woodchester Mansion, Stonehouse is unique; an unfinished house in the Victorian Gothic Revival style. Hidden in a beautiful, secluded Cotswold valley and built of honey-coloured local limestone, the Mansion is superbly crafted and offers plenty to interest visitors.
Walk through the incomplete (but roofed) shell of the house to understand how Gothic architecture works. At the same time the quality of the workmanship and heritage building methods can be appreciated; many visitors work in the building trade and know how equivalent technologies are used today. Children love to look for the menagerie of carved stone animals that populate the house.
The Mansion was built for the wealthy Roman Catholic convert William Leigh from 1857-67, and was unfinished on his death in 1873. Visitors can discover why work stopped; the story behind the construction of the house and the prosperous Leigh family. The religious angle is another thread woven into the rich tapestry of this fascinating house situated in lovely Woodchester Park.
The surrounding valley with its chain of lakes offers pleasant walks and for afterwards there is a cafe at the Mansion offering light lunches and teas. The Mansion is managed by the independent Woodchester Mansion Trust and opened to the public largely by volunteers. The surrounding park is a National Trust property. Please note that the Mansion is not easy to find and refer to the full directions on the website before visiting.
Guided tours are normally available morning and afternoon, or visitors can go around by themselves. An hourly mini-bus service operates to and from the car park. Please telephone in advance if visitors have limited mobility.
Woodchester Mansion stands in Woodchester Park, a National Trust park whose entrance is near Nympsfield. The entrance to the National Trust car park is on a minor road that runs from the B4066 (Stroud to Dursley road) to the village of Nympsfield. The turning to Nympsfield is five miles south of Stroud, and close to the Coaley Peak viewing point. The entrance to the National Trust car park is on the left, about 250 yards from the junction with the B4066.