Tyntesfield – interesting places are closer, than you think

Recently, I’ve read a   blogpost on visiting Cracow  at my friends website. Many readers stated in
their comments, that contrary to tourists, locals never visit any interesting places in their towns, and
can be completely oblivious about some of them. At first, I wanted to disagree, as I firmly believe,
that only locals know, that Cracow is more, than just the Wawel Castle and the Cloth Hall
(Sukiennice), and Warsaw doesn’t end on the Palace of Culture and Science. But then it occured to
me, that many of us, caught on our daily business, fail to see many interesting places, even if we
pass them by everyday on our way to work. We can spend hours reading various guides to most
exotic corners of the Earth, checking exhibitions worth seeing, browsing through lists of cafes,
while unknown to us, an exhibition of a famous artist’s works is being held in our very city. Thus,
while we await our vacation, it’s good to check, if there are no new bistros being opened nearby, or
attend a saturday night concert, or even try some quality time with our families at the museum.

Since I had some spare time, I decided upon enjoying the spring at  Tyntesfield  – which is a
Victorian country manor. It is a perfect exapmle of thar period’s architecture. Lonely Planet dubbed
it an „absurdly extravagant estate”.

It is situated mere 7 miles south-west of Bristol, and can be reached by city bus. Nevertheless, a
bicycle is a better option for all you cycling enthusiasts.
There’s another reason to leave your car at the garage – a 20 percent discount at the local restaurant
for all, who came on foot, by bicycle or via public transport. Be sure to spare some time for coffee
and crumpets! The restaurant itself is far from exclusive, but still, it’s quite interesting, as it’s
situated in an old stablehouse. You can still see the walls of horse stalls inside!
There’s also a large   gift shop  , where you can buy everything – guides and cookbooks, gadgets, like
mugs and t-shirts, but also some lovely handcrafted items. There’s also an elevator, so it’s not a
problem to visit with an elderly person or a baby stroller.

Before this huge estate (almost 500 acres!) became open to the public as a place of leisure, it was
private property. Its first owners were the Tynte family, whose surname gave the house its name.
According to historical accounts, the Tyntes have been living here since around 1500. The estate
has been leased and sold a couple of times since then, until 1843, when it was bouth by an
enterpreneur by the name William Gibbs, who decided to renovate and expand the manor. Gibbs
made a fortune while selling fertilizers. The renovation consumed the equivalent of 18 month gross
income from all of his enterprises. Gibbs has bought the neighbouring lands in order to expand his

property. Around 500 people were employed at his estate.

Both William and his heirs have delved into large scale charity activities, supporting the local
community. During World War 2 the manor was turned into a huge medical facility – the largest
American hospital in Europe.

Tyntesfield’s last owner – Richard Gibbs – has decided, that the property is to be sold after his
death, due to huge amounts of money needed for a general renovation. The new owners have
received the house and nearby property, consisting of almost 2500 acres of agricultural land, over
1600 acres of forests and 30 houses. The Gibbs received a whooping amount of 15 milion stirling
pounds, and almost twice as much by auctioning the manor’s furniture. The National Trust have
only bought the central part of the estate, including the manor, the garden and the park. The head of
National Trust had to show a feat of extraordinary persistence in acquiring the mansion, as it caught
the attention of such celebrities as Madonna and Kylie Minogue. The mansion was renovated and
the park returned to its former glory.
When visiting Tyntesfield, you can chose a ticket for the park only, or one including a tour inside
the manor. The tour is unlike anywhere else. You need to go around the back and knock at the back
door. The guests are being greeted by servants.
The main hall features a piano, and a charming elderly gentleman is playing some music. Each
room has its own guide, who can tell you things about all the objects in the room and is happy to
answer all your questions.
All in all, Tyntesfield is breathtaking.
Apart from the park, there’s also a kitchen garden, full of vegetables, fruit and flowers. These can be
bought for a small donation. Most of the central estate is open for tourists, and everything is so
pretty, that you wish you could stay there forever.
An adult’s ticket costs £16,30. For those, who only wish to see the park – £10,10. Members of the
National Trust get free admission.

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