A Tudor manor house built around a hall that dates from the Doomsday Book and is occasionally open to the public has confirmed its 2024 opening dates.
This is Dorney Court which this year is also marking its 400th anniversary of being owned by the same family after James Palmer and his wife moved in to the house in 1624. The current generation took on custodianship in the 1970s, at which point the house was in a very poor state, and they are the generation who went commercial, opening the house for filming, weddings, and occasionally, to the public.
If it looks familiar, it’s Francis Urquhart’s countryside home when he was plotting in the BBC’s House of Cards.
Occasionally, the general public are also allowed to go through that Tudor entrance for a look around.
As a tour, it’s a lot of family history and a good chance to peer around lots of half-used rooms that you’ll be able to spot for years to come in historical dramas or TV shows – and point out, “I’ve been there!”
Previously, they’ve had scattered dates throughout the year, but last year, they tried a new approach, and presumably, it worked well, as they’re doing it again this year. So, the house will be open every afternoon in June 2024 from 12:30pm to 4pm.
Tours take place roughly hourly on the hour, so my suggestion is to arrive about half an hour or so before the tour so you have time to take in an ancient church next to the house, look around the gardens and relax – then an hour(ish) tour.
The tours cost £13 per adult (other prices available), so quite good value for money. There’s no need to book as you just pay on the day; card payment is preferred. I suspect that tours will be busier on weekends, so if you have the option, it might be better to go for a quieter visit during the week.
Note – there’s no photography allowed inside the house, but it is fine outside.
Getting to Dorney Court
If driving, you can park next to the house.
If coming by train, then the house is a 20-30 minute walk from Taplow station on the Elizabeth line. It’s best to leave the station by the modern glass exit over the footbridge (the loos are on the Reading bound platform that you probably arrive at), then it’s a walk to Dorney Court. Unusually for rural roads, there are pavements almost the entire way.
When arriving, my tip is when you spy the graveyard and the sign to the old church, go down there, and a door in the wall opposite the church takes you into Dorney Court. Or you can walk around to the main entrance, but there’s no pavement, and it’s longer to get to the house.