ABOUT: This mansion dates back to 1696, when the surrounding area was countryside, and the house could have been considered a rural retreat a fair few miles outside of London. Over the years the house changed hands many times and underwent renovation; the gardens were landscaped and the building was transformed into an example of Georgian architecture in the 18th century. The local council eventually purchased the property in 1912, and throughout the 20th century it was home to a hospital, health centre and lodging for wartime refugees. After being empty for a while it was restored with the help of Lottery Funds, and today it offers visitors the chance to roam around a Victorian-style kitchen and wander through Georgian rooms. Regular exhibitions take place Ė donít miss the chance to browse the artist studios on the top floor - as well as activity days for the whole family, including painting your very own stained glass window. The Victorian rose garden, nature trails, rococo grottoes and the outdoor games bags provided offer further adventure, particularly for younger visitors. Admission to both the mansion and gardens is free, however they are only open Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday.