Ardington House

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This is a beautiful symmetrical Georgian mansion in the depths of the Oxfordshire countryside. It markets itself as a wedding venue, but is also open for six weeks during the summer. We decided it would be an interesting place to visit when driving from Scunthorpe to Portsmouth. It is in the centre of a small village just off A417 between Didcot and Wantage.

The house was built in 1720 as was the home of the Barings family of banking fame. It is at the end of a tree lined drive set in gardens with mature trees and a view down to the lake.

There is a short flight of steps up to the main door set in a stone portico. We were greeted and given a printed sheet with information about the different rooms and then wandered round by ourselves.

The entrance hall has white panelling with family portraits hanging on the walls. There is a beautiful double staircase on either side of the south door leading into the garden leads up from the entrance hall. This has barleycorn twist banisters with a large acorn on the end posts. The underside of the staircase has white carved panelling.

There is a small office off on the left with toilets beyond. Next to it is the drawing room is a very elegant room with white walls, two comfortable sofas, 18/19thC furniture and oil paintings on the walls. Windows look out across the gardens.

The dining room is opposite and still has its original oak panelling. It is quite a dark room with it’s dark green ceiling with white decorative plaster. Paintings include the founder of Baring’s Bank in an alcove and also portraits of two American women who married into the family. The room is unfurnished but there were piles of stacked chairs on the walls.

At the top of the staircase above the main entrance is the music room which has a small piano and some 18/19thC furniture.

This was interesting to visit but not worth going far out of your way. There aren’t many rooms to see. I got the feeling that the public opening is a bit of an after thought ( perhaps a means of getting funding if it is open fro a certain number of times a year?) The web site concentrates on weddings and it is obvious this is where the money is.

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