Snowshill Manor is one of the best known manor houses in the Cotswolds, and is certainly the most famous landmark near the village of Snowshill. Located in Gloucestershire near Broadway, Snowshill was originally owned by the Winchcombe Abbey from 821 until 1539. That was the year of the Dissolution of the Monasteries, after which Henry VIII took over the property. It changed hands a number of times over the next several centuries, and was eventually taken by Charles Paget Wade, a famous architect, craftsman and collector. Once he had charge of Snowshill, he made it his task to restore the property in full. Today Snowshill Manor still houses his diverse and fascinating collections.
While the house itself is quite beautiful, Wade’s collections are perhaps the main draw to tourists, who come to see his 26 samurai armor suits, instruments, bicycles, toys and other assorted items of interest. Wade was known to be a flamboyant and mysterious person. He entertained many famous guests in his manor house including J.B. Priestley, Virginia Woolf, John Buchan and others. J. B. Priestley famously described Wade as, “My eccentric, but charming friend of the fantastic manor house.”
Snowshill itself is a small village and not among the better known destinations in the Cotswolds, though it does offer some off-the-beaten-path charm. As you might guess from its name, Snowshill is situated atop a hill which overlooks the countryside of Broadway, Laverton and Buckland, and during the colder months of the year, if snow is going to collect anywhere, it collects in Snowshill first. While you’re visiting the Snowshill Manor, you might choose to stay in Snowshill or in one of the other nearby market towns. Snowshill may be recognizable to you from the filming of Bridget Jones’s Diary. From the hillside vantage point, Snowshill offers lovely views of the tree-covered hillsides, Snowshill Manor is also known for the Lavender Fields nearby. There are many wonderful accommodations in town, and while you’re staying in Snowshill you’ll definitely want to visit the Snowshill Arms Pub.