Rare chance to discover one of Shropshire’s hidden gems this month as Cronkhill opens its doors

A rare chance to step behind doors that are normally closed at one of Shropshire’s hidden gems is on offer this weekend, as Cronkhill, a charming villa on the Attingham Park estate, is opening its doors to visitors once again on Friday 9 and Sunday 11 May.

Visitors can explore this stunning property from 11am – 4pm, with the chance to learn about recent investigations to the fabric of the building and its past, present and future. The villa and gardens are only open to the public 6 days a year, making the chance to admire them unmissable.

An unexpected vision of Italy in the Shropshire countryside, Cronkhill was built to resemble a stone Tuscan villa as a lasting reminder of the sights that 19th century English aristocrats including Attingham’s 2nd Lord Berwick would have enjoyed on their Grand Tour around Europe.

The striking home was built on the Attingham estate for Francis Walford, an agent and friend to the 2nd Lord Berwick, between 1802 to 1805. It is the first and best known example of architect John Nash’s Italianate villa designs, which spawned many imitations. Cronkhill’s architecture was unusual for its time, and the villa is thought to be the first in England to use an asymmetric design to create a captivating impression.

Cronkhill’s most notable resident was the 5th Lord Berwick, who made the name of the house famous in the rifling world by patenting his innovative design as the ‘Cronkhill rifle’.

Today, visitors can learn about the National Trust’s plans to preserve Cronkhill and the project to restore its original stonewashed colours, long since hidden behind white weatherproof paint.

Engagement and Conservation Manager, Catherine Turnbull, is looking forward to sharing one of the National Trust’s most exclusive properties with the public. “Cronkhill is a beautiful property – a real hidden gem. Don’t miss these rare opportunities to visit the ground floor rooms and then stroll around the stables and gardens. As it is a tenanted property there are only a few chances a year to see it – so make sure you don’t miss out and plan a visit.”

It is open again this year on Friday 25 and Sunday 27 July and Friday 5 and Sunday 7 September, 11am to 4pm.

Entry is free for National Trust members. For non-members admission charges apply, Adults £.3.50 and children £1.80. 

Cronkhill is located on the road between the A458 at Cross Houses and the B4380 at Atcham.

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Pete White Pete White

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