Andrea/Cara here, It’s the height of summer here, and as I stare out my window at the small swatch of greensward and flowering shrubbery in my backyard, I can’t help but fantasize about the Regency-era ritual of the country house party. Imagine rolling through the gates of a grand estate, with acre upon acre of gardens, woodlands and waterways to explore by day. And a grand manor house in which to enjoy sumptuous meals and evening entertainments amid impressive furnishings and fabulous art . . .
Which got me to thinking about which of the stately homes in England would have been the most fun to visit. I didn’t really have to ponder the question long—now, I know many people would choose Blenheim or Chatsworth, but for me, an invitation to Strawberry Hill would have had me packing my ballgowns in a heartbeat. I mean, how could any romance author resist the chance to hobnob with Horace Walpole, creator of The Castle of Otranto—considered the book that created the genre of the gothic novel! As for his self-designed residence and gardens—he called his enclave Strawberry Hill—well, read on!