In the most westerly corner of West Sussex is Stansted Park. The site itself was mentioned in the Domesday Book and over the years, it’s had many royal visitors including Henry II, Richard I, King John, Edward VI, Queen Elizabeth, George II and slightly more recently Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. In 1644, Stansted House was attacked by Parliamentary forces and destroyed. It was rebuilt in 1688, but tragically, the main house was destroyed again by fire in 1900 (although not the stables and servants area). It was rebuilt in 1903 and acquired by Vere Ponsonby, 9th Earl of Bessborough, in 1924. In 1983 became part of the Stansted Park Foundation, and was opened to the public.
Now a Grade II Listed building, the main house sits in 1800 acres of parklands and gardens including formal and walled gardens and informal pleasure grounds. The grounds include a Grade I Listed chapel built in 1812-16 and visitors can discover the extensive servants’ quarters, beautiful grand state rooms, the yew tree maze and Arboretum, with over 40 species of trees. Or, you could head on over to Stansted Park for their unique Stansted Unlocked event.
Military spectacular never seen before – 10th & 11th July
Described as a weekend extravaganza blending history, cricket and fun, and after a year or more of closures, Stansted Park is re-opening its doors again at last. The team at Stansted have been working hard behind the scenes to revitalise the visitor experience and the weekend will provide a wealth of historic interest that reveals the colourful history of the Estate and the Ponsonby family including the sword that General Sir William Ponsonby used at the Battle of Waterloo.
With true British style and pageantry, the world-renowned Band of the Grenadier Guards will perform the spectacular ceremony of Beating Retreat and there will be everything from foot-tapping live jazz to a chance to practice your and archery skills. Outside in the Park, the Waterloo theme will continue with reenactors from the Napoleonic period showing off their Cavalry and Musketry skills and demonstrating what it was like to live in a military camp on the eve of the battle. Visitors will also be able to travel through magical woodland on the Light Railway, get lost – and found in the mystical maze and try out traditional garden games.
Sporting entertainment over the weekend includes cricket matches featuring the Royal Lancers, I Zingari and Stansted Park’s very own team.
For more information and to buy tickets please visit stanstedpark.co.uk/stansted-unlocked