Following the dissolution of the monasteries, Stoneleigh Abbey was converted from a Cistercian monastic house into a magnificent stately home, surrounded by 690 acres of parkland and gardens. There have been many famous visitors over the centuries, including Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and Jane Austen.
Where is Stoneleigh Abbey located?
Between Leamington and Kenilworth, Stoneleigh Abbey sits in the heart of the West Midlands. The entrance to Stoneleigh Abbey is via the B4115.
What is the history of Stoneleigh Abbey to the present day?
Stoneleigh Abbey is very much a house of two parts. The first half, built using red sandstone, is in the Jacobean style, and is built from the ruins of the original monastery. The second part is the West Wing, which was built in the baroque style, having been designed by the noted architect, Francis Smith of Warwick.
A relative of Jane Austen's mother inherited Stoneleigh Abbey, and the novelist and her mother stayed there as his guests in 1806. Many now believe that this was the setting that inspired the novel, Mansfield Park. More about Jane Austen's connection with Stoneleigh is revealed on the tours of the house.
What is there to see and do at Stoneleigh Abbey?
Visitors to Stoneleigh Abbey can enjoy an indoor tour of the West Wing, with access to state rooms and many family possessions, followed by a walk around the gardens and woods surrounding the house. Afternoon Tea can also be taken in the Orangery, with views to the river.
Back in 1809, the Reverend Thomas Leigh, the owner of Stoneleigh Abbey, decided that the grounds needed something of a makeover, and he invited Humphry Repton, a notable landscape gardener of the day, to work on this. Repton created one of his famous ‘Red Books' to detail his proposed changes, and this has now been digitised, so that visitors can see what was envisaged, what was put into place, and what remains of that design to this day.