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  • Hi I'm Maddie and today I've come to Audley End.

  • This incredible place has

  • a rich and varied history

  • and there is so much to explore.

  • So, let's get started.

  • I'm having a bit of a nose

  • around the main house and I've just come across

  • this corridor and it's like walking

  • through a natural history museum.

  • You've just got these cabinets

  • of curiosities

  • everywhere.

  • Hi Peter!

  • Peter is curator

  • of collections here at Audley End

  • and wow, this house

  • is incredible.

  • Tell me a bit about the room that we're sat in

  • right now. Well, the room we're in now is

  • called the Saloon and it's where

  • the family in the 18th and 19th century

  • would have enjoyed tea

  • perhaps after dinner, they would have entertained

  • their guests here, just somewhere to

  • relax and spend time enjoying the view

  • perhaps. So, I guess we would

  • think of this as a lounge or sitting

  • room, something like that. Exactly. But when you

  • say the family, are we talking about

  • the Braybrookes at this point?

  • Well, there have been many different owners of Audley End

  • over the years, some with children

  • some without children,

  • people would have had very different ideas about

  • how they want to furnish the room, so in this room

  • for example, we have a ceiling that

  • is 400 years old from the Jacobean period

  • We have paintings from the 18th century

  • We have furnishings from the 19th

  • century, so it's a real

  • mixture of different periods and

  • styles and tastes of different family members.

  • I love the idea that this house

  • has belonged to

  • a family of travellers and explorers

  • and I love

  • the eclectic style that you get here.

  • It's amazing. Well, I really

  • enjoy working with all these objects and

  • sometimes people have an idea of what a typical

  • English country house is, but this

  • completely blows that out of the water, you find

  • things from every corner of the world, it's like

  • a microcosm of the world

  • in the collections that you find here.

  • So, this is the Great Hall

  • Wow.

  • Is this one of the first rooms that guests or visitors

  • would have seen? This is really the first

  • room that people would see when they came into the house.

  • and it's definitely designed to have the wow factor.

  • You know you've arrived at a really

  • great, important house when you

  • come into this space. What was the room

  • used for? Well it really came into it's

  • own when there were big grand events -

  • weddings, Christmas dinners,

  • any kind of feast or banquet,

  • this room would have been filled with tables

  • and chairs and people dining.

  • But when those types of events

  • weren't happening, and the family with their

  • 8 children in the 19th century were here

  • on their own, we know that the children liked to

  • play badminton here.

  • Why? How? A few years ago, when we were

  • cleaning the Great Hall screen,

  • we found some 19th century shuttlecocks

  • lodged high up

  • so wayward shots perhaps that

  • they couldn't retrieve.

  • Peter, there is a lot of taxidermy

  • at Audley End, but what's so special

  • about this one? Well, this is one of

  • my favourites. Meet Paddy the

  • female otter. Well, the 5th Lord Braybrooke

  • acquired Paddy during a

  • fishing trip to Ireland. And when we say acquired

  • Paddy, this is Paddy as a

  • an alive otter? As a live otter,

  • as a young

  • otter pup, and Paddy

  • was brought back to Audley End and

  • as the label says, lived up

  • afterwards for many years in a pond

  • in the Rose Garden, so became something of a

  • family pet, and then

  • after Paddy's death, Paddy became

  • part of the taxidermy collection.

  • They didn't want to let go of Paddy?

  • Well, Paddy has been immortalised here and

  • will stay here forever more.

  • Wow, how interesting.

  • This is

  • the definition of a

  • cabinet of curiosities

  • I love it. And if we have a little

  • look inside, you can see that

  • it contains perhaps some of the more unusual

  • quirky, types of objects

  • that might have intrigued children

  • perhaps horrified them.

  • I can understand that, and you say horrified

  • I'm looking at that - that is disgusting.

  • Well, this is a lovely specimen, that is a

  • Russian rats tail killed in Sebastopol,

  • still with a little bit of fur on the end.

  • And, there's a little tin

  • there, can I open it up? Yes, well this little tin

  • has a label on the front

  • that says chocolate nougat from Africa

  • If you open it

  • you can see it's still

  • inside. Woah.

  • How old is that?

  • That we think is about

  • 120 years old.

  • Why didn't they eat it?

  • I don't trust anyone who leaves a bit of

  • chocolate in a tin. Would you like to eat

  • that? No, I'm alright.

  • We have come to the top of the house

  • to use this key.

  • Where is it going to lead us?

  • Well this isn't somewhere that people can normally

  • go to, but I thought perhaps you might

  • like to have a look on the roof? Because you can see

  • the landscape and the rest of the site you can explore

  • afterwards. Ah some good views then.

  • So, here we are on the roof

  • and from here you can really appreciate

  • this beautiful landscape.

  • It looks very natural. It does, yes.

  • But actually it's completely artificial

  • and that was what Capability Brown was

  • known for doing in the 18th century

  • so, the lawn is levelled off

  • the river is widened to look like a lake,

  • even the hillside is

  • in some respects artificial with trees

  • positioned at particular places.

  • I've been

  • wandering around the kitchen gardens and I

  • am surrounded by delicious

  • fruits and vegetables,

  • and that's all thanks to Head Gardener

  • here, Louise.

  • This is a wonderful place to be.

  • It really does feel

  • alive, there's something quite magical about

  • gardens I find anyway, with all the

  • life bursting around you. So it's all

  • used, it's all harvested.

  • It's either used on sites,

  • so through the tea rooms

  • and the restaurant on site.

  • We also sell some to visitors, so we have a

  • a small produce shop,

  • and the majority of it we sell to

  • a local organic box scheme.

  • It's not just the kitchen gardens you have

  • here, there's an ornamental garden

  • as well, yes - what do you call that?

  • The major ornamental area is the

  • Parterre Garden, at the rear of the

  • house. What is Parterre?

  • Parterre means pattern on the ground,

  • so it's a bit like a tapestry.

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