Sir John Cave offers guided tour round Sidbury Manor

Sidbury Manor is opening its doors to the public for two days this summer after its owner is heading a programme giving visitors access to country houses.

Sir John Cave is allowing people to take a length guided tour of his Victorian manor house as part of Invitation to View’s launch in the South West.

The Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Devon, who owns Sidbury Manor, became interested in the scheme, which started in Suffolk in 1998 and has spread throughout East Anglia.

He is now chairman of the newly-formed Westcountry group, which consists of 16 interesting properties with architectural, historical or horticultural highlights.

Many of the houses are not normally open to the public, and some also have eccentric owners who will actually conduct visitors around themselves.

A spokesman for the project said: “Usually, visitors are shown around by the owners who can reveal a great deal more of the history, secrets and scandals than a normal tour guide.

“Owners will chat about the restoration work, decorating schemes, and garden plans along with ghost stories and the intricacies of living in a historic house”

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Sir John’s home was built in the 1870s by David Brandon for politician Sir Stephen Cave, who was in Benjamin Disraeli’s cabinet.

It was described by Pevsner as ‘a mansion in free Jacobean Renaissance style’, which includes stained glass and panelling.

The property stands in parkland in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with walled gardens containing rare trees and shrubs.

Those who will get the chance to look around on May 3 and September 13 can expect a two and a half hour tour, including a Devon cream tea, for �15.

For more information call 01206 573948, or visit