Located in Lane Cove, Carisbrooke House is a historic museum of life in the 1880s and is the only house museum in Sydney to capture the flavour of the Victorian middle-class lifestyle.
I love visiting historic houses—I find them fascinating and it’s a step closer to visiting Downton Abbey one day. With a beautiful Sunday afternoon at our disposal, we decided to tour the house and explore Burns Bay Reserve.
Before the visit, I assumed that this house museum was a mainstream pay your money and wander around yourself sort of deal, but it was surprisingly different in a lovely way. On arrival, we were warmly greeted by our tour guide Tricia who invited us in and set us up with a short video. This gave us a historical background about the original Brooks family who lived there, and how the house was restored back to its former 1880s glory.
It’s hard to imagine how different life was back then. In fact, when the Brooks family lived at Carisbrooke, the easiest way to get there was by ferryboat from Circular Quay along the pristine Lane Cove river, to the ferry stop at Hunters Hill. After a quick row across the river to their own private wharf, they were home. That actually sounds quite nice in comparison to the commute battle we face today.
Tricia then proceeded to give us a private tour and show each room individually with a commentary on their historical significance and what made the space so special. Some of my favourite features in the house include; the antique dressing table in the master bedroom; the table set up in the dining room, and the sound of the music box in the parlour. I really enjoyed the personable, local feel to this tour as any questions were welcomed and we could have a discussion about it.
Tricia carried a great conversation throughout the tour, from stories of her time living in the UK during the 1950’s and the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II to our joint love of TV show The Crown. The tour ends outside in the garden area, which has sandstone pathways leading you to the water edge. From here, you can wander over to Linley Park along the riverbank, which overlooks the boats. It’s a gorgeous area that I have wanted to explore for a while, so we’ll definitely be back there in spring for a picnic.
Where: 334 Burns Bay Road, Lane Cove 2066
When: Tours are available to the public each weekend between 11am and 4pm.
Price: Adults $8, Concession $6 and Family $20.
For more information, visit their website here.
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