The Thames Valley Sights

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Althorp Review

Deep in the heart of Northamptonshire sits the ancestral home of the Spencers, the family of Diana, Princess of Wales. Here, on a tiny island in a lake known as the Round Oval, is Diana's final resting place. Diana and her siblings found the house too melancholy, calling it "Deadlock Hall." What the house does have are rooms filled with Van Dycks, Reynoldses, and Rubenses—all portraits of the Spencers going back 500 years—and an entry hall that architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner called "the noblest Georgian room in the country." Two paintings by contemporary artist Mitch Griffiths stand out in complete contrast. To these attractions, Diana's brother, Earl Spencer, has added a visitor center devoted to her, which includes her wedding dress, childhood memorabilia, and an exhibition on her charitable work. A literary festival is held here in mid-June. On the west side of the estate park is Great Brington, the neighboring village where the church of St. Mary the Virgin holds the Spencer family crypt; it's best reached by the designated path from Althorp.

    Contact Information

  • Address: Rugby Rd., off A428 Northampton, NN7 4HQ
  • Phone: 01604/770107
  • Cost: £15.50
  • Hours: July and Aug., grounds and exhibition daily noon–5, house daily 1–5; last entry at 4
  • Website:
  • Location: Althorp
Updated: 06-13-2013

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