Before planning a visit, I recommend checking the informative website in case one wishes to attend/avoid certain events.
The extensive grounds, carpeted with well-established spring bulbs on my most recent visit, are attractively laid out with lake, walks and play areas for children - but my interest was in the house and church, for which there is a modest charge. Within the house there are only seven rooms open to the public, each one lovingly restored and furnished to give visitors a fair idea of what Lydiard House was like in better days. Children are welcome - there is a small table, chairs and printed matter (a suggested trail?) suitable for them in the Great Hall and dressing-up items in the Morning Room. My favourite item has always been the Painted Window - by van Linge - in the blue dressing-room although it is no longer possible to get up close and marvel over the quirky figures and lifelike plants, flowers and fruits. There is more of van Linge's work to be seen in the church (key obtainable from Reception on request) as well as the famous Golden Cavalier. Postcards, guide book and a small selection of related items are on sale at Reception, where the staff are extremely helpful.
The only black mark at Lydiard was earned by the Coach House Tea Rooms: I had planned to lunch there but decided instead on a warming, hastily-eaten bowl of nondescript soup because, although the kitchen had a 5 out of 5 Hygiene rating and there was a notice outside stating that only Guide Dogs were permitted, I counted three dogs, not on leads, in the dining area. I could tolerate the chill, the unswept floor and crumbs on the plastic tablecloth - but NOT dogs sniffing out and consuming food debris underneath the tables. A half-door at the entrance would be in keeping with the coach house/stable theme and, it is to be hoped, deter dog-walkers from bringing their pets inside.
The nearby toilet block was warm and dog-free.
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