Charlecote House in Warwickshire has it all, and we started teaching photography courses there in 2009.
The deer park was remodelled by Capability Brown including a waterfall and makes a truly lovely photography location. The house sits in a British landscape that looks timeless, but was actually totally re-landscaped in a natural style in the 1760s from the previous geometric formal garden, which had been there for nearly 100 years. This included the planting of some now-massive cedar trees where there were once hundreds of yards of low box hedges. There is a herd of fallow deer – deer have been here since Tudor times (not the same ones, obviously). There is an ancient apple orchard that we photographed for National Trust back in 2010. We are based in the historic house outbuildings. Photography courses at Charlecote start at the education room at 10:30 and finish at about 5pm.
Rumoured to be a location where Shakespeare was caught poaching, and definitely the movie location where Johnny Depp starred in the bath in The Libertine, Charlecote is a great location for landscape and portrait photography with a range of gardens and outbuildings for us to use. There is often modern art in the grounds, but the lovely honey-coloured stone of the building is what takes most people’s eye. We have taught all kinds of photography courses here, even the portrait photography course works well with the stately home in the background. It’s definitely one of our favourite venues, and the famously fussy Tripadvisor rates it as one of the best NT venues in the Midlands. We find it to be a relaxed location, where you can achieve a lot of different shots without going too far, but if you want to chase the deer into the distance that’s ok too. The river has some good wildlife, including sandwich-eating swans. It’s a lovely place to work even in bad weather, and it is open all Winter.
Charlecote has beautiful floral displays for great flower photography, it is also a rich environment for insects along the river. The building itself is brick, giving some problems with white balance, and we recommend the use of some fill flash in photographing in the archways. If this doesn’t mean anything to you – you need to come on a course! We can give you loads more photography techniques and photography tips to get the camera working properly. As with many lovely British venues, the automatic camera settings just don’t do it justice. Most cameras are calibrated for American conditions, and the weather in Warwickshire, sadly, is different to Florida!
Course course price includes admission to the gardens. There is a lovely cafe in the grounds. For more details see the property website or see what is happening on Charlecote’s facebook page. Thanks to the National Trust for allowing us to hold photography classes at Charlecote Park.