What to do at the Weekend:
Visit Snowshill Manor and Garden
We’re really lucky that Snowshill Manor and the Cotswolds – a stunning Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England – are a relatively quick drive from where we live.
Here there are so many gorgeous towns and landmarks to explore, all with that picture postcard, quintessential English feel.
If you were to close your eyes and imagine a stereotypical view of England…chances are you’ll be picturing the Cotswolds.
As proud National Trust members – yes, we know we bang on about it all the time – we decided to check out Snowshill Manor and Garden on a recent trip to the area.
About Snowshill Manor and Garden
Snowshill Manor and Garden is situated in the village of Snowshill, just a short drive from the landmark town of Broadway, Gloucestershire.
This 16th century manor house was purchased by Architect Charles Wade in the early 1900s, where he used it to house his impressive collection of interesting objects.
From bicycles and samurai armour, to musical instruments and medieval treasures, it’s an Aladdin’s cave.
A beautiful building constructed in around the 16th century, Snowshill Manor provided Wade with the perfect backdrop to store his collection.
Restoring Snowshill Manor
Despite his efforts in restoring Snowshill Manor – which was in a bad state when he purchased it shortly after the First World War – Wade never actually lived in the building.
Instead, he lived in the Priest’s House which is located opposite the main building within the Garden.
Wade gave the Manor and Garden to the National Trust back in 1951, and it is now a fantastic visitor spot for all to enjoy.
The Walk up to Snowshill Manor
It is worth noting that both the Manor and Garden are a 10-15 minute (rather hilly) walk from the main visitors centre.
To help those with accessibility issues, the site has two powered mobility vehicles available for hire alongside two manual wheelchairs.
They can also provide visitors with Access Maps which outline accessible and non-accessible areas throughout the site.
Inside Snowshill Manor
If you want to visit the Manor during your visit – which we highly recommend as it’s the focal point of the whole place – then it is advised to pre-book a timeslot before you visit.
There are only a limited number of tickets to go inside the Manor available each day, so it is definitely worth pre-booking to avoid disappointment.
The Manor itself is quite large, so there is plenty to see.
As Charles Wade gathered so many collections of different items, there’s something cool to discover in every room.
It’s hard to know where to look so you don’t miss anything!
As the National Trust operates with the help of fantastic volunteers, some floors or specific areas in the Manor may be closed on certain days if they are short on people.
The volunteers we met as we wandered the rooms were all brilliant.
They were extremely knowledgeable about the Manor and its collections and were more than happy to share their knowledge with you.
Let Nothing Perish
As Wade never designed his collection to be a museum, you’ll see that none of the items are labeled.
So, this is really where the volunteers come into their own with filling in the gaps for you.
Wade’s motto was ‘Let nothing perish’…which you can see he clearly lived by when visiting the Manor.
The eclectic collection contains thousands of different objects, which Wade chose to fit in with three key criteria: design, colour and craftsmanship.
The house really is a treasure trove of items you are unlikely to see anywhere else!
Samurai Armour at Snowshill Manor
One of the most impressive collections on display at Snowshill Manor is the Japanese samurai armour.
There are a total of 39 suits of samurai armour at Snowshill, which date back to around 1830.
The designs are incredible to see, with metal plates that almost replicate scales, intimidating face masks and impressive horned helmets.
It’s easy to see why the Japanese would have used these suits of armour to deter their enemies.
They’re quite terrifying.
We definitely wouldn’t have wanted to face them (or be stuck in a room with the dressed mannequins after hours)!
Unlike the Manor, Snowshill Garden doesn’t require pre-booking to visit.
After purchasing Snowshill Manor, Wade worked with an Architect called Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott to design a number of outdoor rooms/courts.
These sit in what was basically an overgrown farm at the time.
Following its refurbishment, the Snowshill Manor Garden was seen as an extension of the Manor itself.
And so it remains that way today.
Not Your Average Garden
Throughout the Garden you’ll find different levels of land, sloping down the hill (with the Manor centre stage at the top).
Borders of beautiful plants line the paths, which lead you through terraces and orchards, past ponds, wells and meadowlike fields.
Within the garden, you’ll even find a model village!
The buildings within the garden include the Priest’s House which Wade used as his home, alongside cow byres which were used as an outdoor entertaining and dining space.
Getting to Snowshill Manor and Parking
If you’re traveling to Snowshill Manor and Garden by car, it’s super easy to get to from Broadway (north Cotswolds area).
It’s just a quick drive (2.5 miles) down the road.
Super handy if you want to visit multiple spots on your visit to the Cotswolds.
There is free parking at the site, with both a main parking area and overflow for when it gets busier.
Both car parks aren’t massive, so we imagine they can get pretty full.
However, we had no issues parking when we arrived (later in the afternoon).
Head for Snowshill Village
If you’re using your satnav to direct you – which most of us do – you’re likely to end up in the centre of Snowshill village itself.
Fear not, the Manor and Garden aren’t far from here and you’ll easily be able to follow signs to their visitor’s car park.
As the grounds of Snowshill Manor are so picturesque, in the summer months enjoying a picnic would be lovely.
A Picture Perfect Picnic
There are fantastic views over the local countryside from the designated picnic area and orchard.
You reach these before you take the 10-15 minute walk to the Manor and main garden.
Here provides the perfect spot to kick back and relax in the sun.
There is also a cafe serving hot and cold drinks, sandwiches and various snacks and cakes – ideal for a sit-down all year round.
Snowshill Manor Opening Times
The site is open every day between March and October from 11am until 5.30pm.
The Manor generally opens at 11.30am until 4.30pm however the gardens are open at all points during the site’s opening hours.
In the winter months from November to February, they are only open on weekends although timings remain the same as above.
Last admissions to the garden are allowed at 4.30pm.
If you’re planning on visiting the manor, you’ll need to arrive earlier as the last entry slow is 2.30pm-3pm.
How much does Snowshill Manor and Garden cost?
As we generally say, one-off entry costs to National Trust locations are pretty steep.
If you want to visit a few National Trust spots throughout the year, purchasing a membership is definitely the best option.
You’ll more than make your money back this way, plus you can also use your membership card for free parking at National Trust owned car parks (of which there a quite a few around popular beauty spots).
Having said that, Snowshill Manor and Garden is probably one of the more affordable National Trust Spots we’ve visited.
If you just want to pay on the day, entry to both the Manor and garden comes in at £12.00 for an adult and £6.00 for a child.
If you’re not bothered about the Manor, then you can purchase a garden-only ticket for £8.50 an adult and £4.25 a child.
But to be honest for the price difference, you may as well see both areas.
After all, the Manor is the money maker and the spot you definitely want to see.
The National Trust
We love visiting National Trust spots.
They’re always steeped in rich history and are situated in the most beautiful settings!
It’s hard not to be drawn in by places such as Snowshill Manor.
With places to visit all over the UK, you never need to travel far to discover one of the National Trust’s absolute gems.