Arlington Court is a country house of the Regency (early nineteenth century) period, owned and opened to the public by the National Trust. A particular attraction is the park with its herd of red deer. Arlington is the ancestral home of the Chichester family whose most celebrated member was Sir Francis Chichester (1901-72), the first person to sail single-handed round the world by the clipper route.
The unique feature of Arlington Court is the presence of the National Trust’s carriage museum. In 1964 the Marquess of Bute presented the Trust with a collection of eight historic carriages which stimulated the formal establishment of the collection two years later. The carriages are housed in a stable block built for the Chichester family in 1864, but the growth of the collection necessitated the building of an extension in 2003. The collection now numbers more than 40 vehicles, including some from other country houses belonging to the National Trust and some from the Science Museum, London. They include the Craven state chariot, a carriage built for the Earls of Craven in the mid-nineteenth century by Hooper & Co, one of the principal London coachmakers. It is a highly ornate vehicle and was used only for important occasions such as state openings of parliament. There is also a travelling chariot used by the British diplomat Gibbs Crawfurd Antrobus (1793-1861) for long journeys across continental Europe in the early nineteenth century. Antrobus was one of the British delegates at the Congress of Vienna in 1814-15. Similar carriages were used by wealthy young men undertaking the Grand Tour. Other vehicles include a child’s carriage from Newfoundland, and an ornate hearse of circa 1900. The collection is the principal centre in the United Kingdom for research into road vehicles of the pre-motor era, and for training those concerned with driving and conserving historic carriages.