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ADVERTISING FEATURE24NADFAS REVIEW / AUTUMN Sweet HomeStately Jacobean mansion, charming Victorian country house and smart Art Deco residence. Three verydifferent English Heritage properties that have one thing in common. they were all once lively family homeswhich still bear the stamp of the strong personalities who have shaped the way they look todayBuilt in 1603-14, Audley EndHouse & GardensnearCambridge, underwent atransformation in the second half of the18th century when architect RobertAdam was commissioned to create anelegant suite of reception rooms and'Capability' Brown remodelled the estateinto a pastoral landscaped park. However, it was the third LordBraybrooke who in the early 19thcentury created the Jacobean-styleinteriors that can be seen today. Thereare 30 lavishly decorated rooms to enjoyin all, filled with treasures including finefurniture, opulent soft furnishings, booksand ceramics. The vast art collectionincludes works by great masters suchas Holbein and Canaletto. Life at Audley End during the Victorian era is vividly celebrated in lively presentations featuring costumed actors or virtual characters in the Stables and Service Wing. From May to September, real horses take up residence in their very grand stables with their groom on hand to take a break from mucking them out to chat to visitors. A new exhibition describes the life of grooms, coachman and gamekeepers in the 1880s.In the Service Wing too, visitors can'meet' real characters from the past likehead cook Avis Crocombe, as sheplucks game or makes pastry.As well as the superb parkland toenjoy, there is also an acclaimedOrganic Kitchen Garden growingVictorian fruit and vegetable varieties. Audley End House & Gardens, CB114JFHouse, Stables, Service Wing andGardens open Wed - Sun & BankHolidays until end Oct. Re-opens 1 Apr2011. Stables, Service Wing andGardens remain open on selected daysin winter - call the site for details. Further information: call 01799 522842 or visit

In 1842 Charles Darwin sought refugefrom the rigours of London life when heand his wife Emma, six monthspregnant with their third child, moved toDown Housein the pretty Kentishvillage of Downe, six years after hisreturn from his epic voyage on HMSBeagle.Darwin soon set about adding to andaltering the Georgian house hedescribed as 'oldish and ugly,' doublingits size over 40 years to accommodatehis growing family. He and Emma hadten children, seven of whom survived to maturity.Down House provided him with asanctuary where he could concentrateon his experiments and writing, whileindulging the noise and laughter of hischildren as they grew up. Stepping into the house today, it is stillevery inch the Darwin family home. FromDarwin's original study overflowing withhis books, scientific instruments andpersonal items, to the intimate familyrooms, it is crammed with a comfortableclutter of period Victorian furniture,family portraits and photographs. It now also houses an exhibitiontracing Darwin's life and work, featuringrare original personal objects andmanuscripts and a full-sizeAbove:Horses atAudley EndHouse andGardensLeft, top:The OldStudy at TheHome of CharlesDarwin, DownHouseLeft, bottom:Thedomed EntranceHall at ElthamPalace andGardensreconstruction of the cramped cabinwhich was his home for five years duringhis epic adventure on the Beagle. Outside the 18-acre estatesurrounding the house looks much as itwould have done when it served asDariwn's 'outdoor laboratory,' where hetested his theories on evolution.The Home of Charles Darwin, DownHouse, Downe, near Orpington, KentBR6 7JT Open Wed-Sun until mid-Dec; closed mid-Dec-Jan, re-opensWed-Sun 1 Feb 2011. Furtherinformation: call 01689 859119 or visit Greenwich in south-east London,Eltham Palace & Gardensbears thestamp of fashionable socialites Stephenand Virginia Courtauld. A masterpiece of1930s design, the mansion, which is onthe site of a Tudor royal palace, capturesthe glamour and allure of their millionairelifestyle. A show house of its day, theCourtaulds spared no expense byinstalling the very best and latest fixturesand fittings to impress their friends,attending the large parties and dinnersthey hosted. Cutting-edgeaccoutrements included electric clocks,push button phones and a centralisedvacuum cleaning system - still inworking order today. Architectural highlights include aspectacular domed entrance hall with amarquetry panel by Swedish artist JerkWerkmäster and Virginia Courtauld'sluxurious gold mosaic-tiled bathroomdesigned by Malacrida. The house adjoins the survivingmedieval Great Hall of Eltham Palace,childhood home of King Henry VIII andstands in a tranquil oasis of moatedgardens, with herbaceous borders,terraces, lawns and mature trees.Eltham Palace and Gardens, LondonSE9 5QE Open Sun-Wed until end-Dec (except 24-26 Dec); closed Jan,re-opens Sun-Wed 1 Feb 2011.Further information: call 020 82942548 or visit REVIEW / AUTUMN201037English Heritage offers a generous 15%discount for groups of 11 or morepaying visitors. A tour leader and coachdriver are admitted free per coach. Group visits and guided tours must bepre-booked at each site - for moreinformation, visit