A visit to Snowshill Manor & Gardens, Cotswolds

by Jan

If you’re visiting the Cotswolds, you must allow time for a visit to Snowshill Manor and Gardens.  Not only will you get to enjoy a day out at this unique National Trust house and its unusual collection of treasures, but you’ll see one of the most gorgeous villages in the Cotswolds.

Snowshill Manor and Gardens is in the chocolate box village of Snowshill, near to the popular town of Broadway in Gloucestershire. It is in the heart of the Cotswolds National Landscape, an area of outstanding natural beauty.

Come with us to discover how we got on during our visit to Snowshill Manor.

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Snowshill village, Cotswolds

St Barnabas Church, Snowhill Village, Cotswold, UK

Without a doubt, Snowshill is one of the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds.

The focal point of the village is its Victorian church, St Barnabas, which stands on the village green in the centre.  Snowshill is a quintessentially English village, with not much more than the church, a pub and village hall.  It’s flanked on three sides by pretty honey-coloured stone cottages.  The only nod to modernity is the red telephone box by the church green.

As with many traditional English villages, the pub, the Snowshill Arms, is directly in front of the church.  This 15th century inn has been serving traditional food and ale to the residents of Snowshill for hundreds of years and is an ideal resting place to stop and chew the cud.

Now, if you’re thinking you recognise the village of Snowshill, you may remember it from the film Bridget Jones’ Diary.  Snowshill was the set for the scene when my favourite singleton, Bridget, went to visit her parents at Christmas.  In fact, they filmed these winter scenes in summer, so all the snow was artificial, but very convincing!

Snowshill Village Houses, Snowshill, Cotswold, UK

All the cottages in Snowshill are picture-pretty, but my favourite was those in Buckle Street.  This row of quaint cottages, with its matching blue doors, are just off from the village square.  The ancient road leads to the neighbouring village of Broadway, where you’ll find the iconic Broadway Tower.

You can even stay in Honor’s Cottage, one of these Snowshill Cottages which is owned by the National Trust.

However, you need to head in the other direction to reach Snowshill’s most famous attraction, the historic Snowshill Manor & Gardens.  This popular attraction in the Cotswolds is only a few minutes’ drive from the village or a ten-minute walk.

Snowshill Manor

Snowshill Manor, Snowshill, Cotswold, UK

Today, Snowshill Manor is owned by the National Trust.  From the car park it’s a ten-minute walk past open fields to the manor house.  Our first impressions were actually a little underwhelming, and it was only as we got closer, we realised how remarkable the house and gardens are.

Snowshill House was formerly the home of architect and craftsman, Charles Paget Wade.  He first saw the house in a magazine, whilst serving in the First World War.  Later, in 1919, he returned to purchase the 16th century house and start the much-needed renovations.  He was obviously not the only owner, but certainly the one who had the most impact!

Dove Cote at Snowshill Manor, Cotswold, UK

Surprisingly, the newly renovated property was not for Wade to live in, but to house his quirky collection of memorabilia.  The elegant Tudor manor house became home to Wade’s growing collection of possessions and he moved into the small cottage next door.

However, Wade was perfectly content living in this basic accommodation, which provided all his home comforts.  More importantly it provided him with a repair workshop, where he could continue creating and fixing things.

Eventually Wade’s collection at Snowshill Manor grew to include over 22,000 unusual objects, including toys, clocks, and quirky art objects.  He fully embraced the family motto Nequid Pereat –  Let nothing Perish and found a use for everything.

Today, you can see his treasure trove of collectibles inside the house, which serves as a museum.  Each room has a different collection of artefacts, including an extensive collection of 17th century Samurai armour, medieval items, and paintings.

Snowshill Manor Garden

Outside, you can see where Wade has stamped his mark on the gardens at Snowshill.  He created a series of small, themed gardens,  which each reflect his unconventional personality.  Each area of the garden has its own unique features, making it ideal for kids to explore.

Our first pleasant surprise was the cute model village, with its miniature houses and own private train network.  Wade created the mini village himself in his workshop.

Snowshill Manor Gardens, Cotswold, UK

For full details of admission prices and opening times click here.

The children also enjoyed the fishpond in the centre of the courtyard, especially once they spotted the newts!

As you’d expect from a National Trust stately home, the flowerbeds were immaculate and looked resplendent with spring colour.  However, don’t forget to look up too.  You don’t want to miss the statue of Mary, sun dial or blue astronomical clock.

Plus, there’s an ancient dovecote, which has survived since the 16th century and still has doves today.

Soldier Windmill Snowshill Manor, Cotswold, UK

We retraced our steps and stopped at the National Trust café.  It has outside seating overlooking the hillside and a few wooden play structures.

Keep an eye out for this charming weathervane, which has a prime position overlooking the Cotswold countryside.

Other things to do near Snowshill

Cotswold Lavender, Broadway

If you’re visiting in summer, one of the top attractions in Snowshill is the Cotswold Lavender Farm.  The fields look spectacular, with row upon row of rich purple flowers.  In fact, it measures 70 miles of rows in total, which is a humungous amount of lavender!

Cotswold Lavender uses traditional methods to harvest the lavender and make essential oils.  There is a gift shop, where you can buy many of the lavender products.  The best time to visit Cotswold Lavender is in July, but it can get busy then.

Cotswold Lavender is open daily from 14th June until 4th August 2024.  The opening times are from 10am to 5pm.

Broadway Tower

Broadway Tower, Broadway, Cotswolds, UK

One of the best things to do near Snowshill is visit the pretty village of Broadway and Broadway Tower.

Broadway Tower is the second highest point in the Cotswolds and has view stretching over 16 counties.  You can walk to the tower from the historic village of Broadway or drive up to the car park.

The iconic Broadway Tower stands within Broadway Tower Country Park, managed by the National Trust.  Once you’ve got to the top you can visit the café or just stop to admire the views.

Batsford Arboretum

Ornamental Garden at Batsford Arboretum, Cotswolds, UK

Another of the best places to visit near Snowshill is Batsford Arboretum, near Moreton-in-Marsh.  Spread over 56 acres, this is a beautiful outdoor space with one of the UK’s largest private tree collections.  It also has a Japanese zone, with many statues, bridges and Japanese features.

Getting to Snowshill Manor

The easiest way to get to Snowshill is by car.  It is a short distance from the village of Broadway, which you can get to from the A44.  The postcode for Snowshill Manor is WR12 7JU.

If you are travelling by public transport, the nearest train stations are Moreton-in-Marsh and Evesham.  These are both about 7 miles away.

Accommodation in Snowshill

As it’s such a small village, there is limited holiday accommodation in the centre of Snowshill.  However, you could book Willow Vale or Broughwood Cottage, which are both self-catering cottages near the church.  Both cottages look amazing and full of traditional Cotswold charm.

If you prefer a Cotswold hotel, try the Lygon Arms, a former coaching inn, which is now a luxury hotel.  Another deluxe hotel near Snowshill is Buckland Manor, a Relais and Chateaux Hotel, with four poster beds.  Both of the high end hotels are in Broadway.

Alternatively, another good option would be to stay in nearby Chipping Campden.

Parking in Snowshill

There is a free car park within walking distance of Snowshill Manor.

If you are visiting the village, you’ll find a few parking places by the church.

Have you been to Snowshill Manor & Gardens?  We’d love to hear your comments below.

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A visit to Snowshill Manor, Cotswold, UK

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