73. Lodge Park and the Sherborne Estate
Nestled in the Cotswold countryside on the picturesque Sherborne Estate, Lodge Park is England’s only surviving and probably most opulent 17th Century grandstand.
It was purpose-built in 1634 by John ‘Crump’ Dutton as an observation post for deer coursing and for lavish entertainment.
In 1726 renowned landscape designer Charles Bridgeman redesigned the parkland at Lodge Park which is situated near the Cotswold villages of Sherborne and Aldsworth, and the market town of Northleach.
In the 19th Century Lodge Park was modified into a house, then a row of cottages, and then into a house again.
Until 1983 Lodge Park was the home of Charles Dutton, 7th Lord Sherborne, who bequeathed it to the National Trust. In 1998, it became the first restoration project of the National Trust who restored Lodge Park to its original form as a grandstand, relying on archaeological evidence to return the building to its former glory.
Lodge Park is generally open to the public between March and November (Fridays to Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays), although it is occasionally closed for private functions.
Visitors can explore this fascinating building and soak up its rich history, then explore the surrounding deer park where they may be lucky enough to see deer running wild in the surrounding countryside.
Lodge Park offers plenty of interesting activities for all ages. Children can raid its historical costume dressing up box and explore the house through its portraits with a special trail.
The shepherd's hut allows visitors to find out more about the Cotswold wool industry of bygone days and you can also ask for a map to see if you can find the Old Lady of Lodge Park in the surrounding parkland.
Sherborne is a working estate that is open year round, dawn to dusk. It has an abundance of wildlife, from deer to badgers and foxes.
Ewe Pen Barn is the starting point for Lodge Park's three main walking routes and there is also a sculpture trail to enjoy around the pleasure grounds. The 18th Century water meadows are home to otters, water voles and dragonflies.
Lodge Park café serves refreshments including award-winning cakes supplied by Cotswold bakers Huffkins.