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This article is about the stately home and related attractions. There is a separate article covering the Longleat Safari Parkmarker.
Longleat House, 2005
Longleat is an English country house, currently the seat of the Marquesses of Bath, adjacent to the village of Horningshammarker and near the towns of Warminstermarker in Wiltshiremarker and Fromemarker in Somersetmarker. It is noted for its Elizabethan country house, maze, landscaped parkland and safari parkmarker. The house is set in over of parkland, landscaped by Capability Brown, with of woods and farmland. It was the first stately home to open to the public, and also claims the first safari park outside Africa.

The house was built by Sir John Thynne, and designed mainly by Robert Smythson, after the original priory was destroyed by fire in 1567. It took 12 years to complete and is widely regarded as one of the finest examples of Elizabethan architecture in Britain. Longleat is currently occupied by Alexander Thynn, 7th Marquess of Bath, a direct descendant.

A leat is an artificial waterway or channel such as that which supplies a watermill.

Longleat House and the Thynnes

Longleat was purchased by Sir John Thynn in 1541. He was the first of the Thynne 'dynasty' - the family name was Thynn or Thynne in the 16th century, later Thynne only, but the present head of the family reverted to the spelling Thynn in the 1980s.

The house is still used as the private residence of the Thynn family.

Longleat House tour

The tour of the house comprises:
  • The Elizabethan Great Hall, with a minstrels' gallery
  • The lower east corridor, a wide room originally used as servant access to the main rooms. This now holds fine furniture and paintings. Also on display are two visitor books, one showing the signatures of Elizabeth II and Philip, the other Albert (George VI) and Elizabeth (the Queen Mother).
  • The ante-library, with a magnificent Venetian painting on the ceiling
  • The Red Library, which displays many of the 40,000 books in the house
  • The Breakfast Room, with a ceiling to match the ante-library
  • The Lower Dining Room
  • Stairs up, past a display of large early Meissen porcelainmarker animals
  • The Bathroom and bath-bedroom: the bath is a cooper built lead lined tub. Originally filled by hand from buckets and drained the same way, taps and drains are now provided and the lead lining was replaced in 2005. The room holds the first plumbed in flush lavatory in the house.
  • The State Dining Room, with a Meissen porcelain centrepiece on the table to facilitate flagging conversations
  • The Saloon
  • The State Drawing Room, designed by Crace
  • The Robes Corridor
  • The Chinese Bedroom
  • The Music Room, with instruments including a barrel organ
  • The Prince of Wales Bedroom, so named because of a large painting of Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales the brother of Charles I
  • The upper west corridor
  • The Grand Staircase

Events and Filming

Longleat Woods

Longleat Woodsmarker ( ) is a biological Site of Special Scientific Interest in Somersetmarker, notified in 1972.

The Longleat Forest is also home to a holiday resort operated by Center Parcs. who operate several sites in the Uk in forest areas, based on offering Activity Holidays in a rural parkland setting with accommodation in chalets or lodges and caravan parks.


  1. The Sun, Dec 9, 2005, TV Fallen Madonna found by John Cole. Retrieved from online edition on April 7, 2008.
  2. Wiltshire Times, Dec 16, 2005, Say ‘Allo’ to new Longleat feature. Retrieved from online edition on April 7, 2008.
  3. The Return of 'Allo 'Allo! (BBC), 28 April 2007

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