Regarded by many as the finest Elizabethan House in England, Burghley House was built in the 16th Century by William Cecil, the 1st Lord Burghley. Externally, the house has altered very little. The stone used to build Burghley was from the local quarry of Northamptonshire oolitic limestone at Kingscliffe – so durable that many of the ashlar blocks still show the masons’ identifying marks.
Generations of the Cecil family have developed the interior and have added fine art and furniture from around the world. Visitors today are able to see one of the finest assemblies of 17th century Italian masterpieces, an exceptional collection of Oriental and European ceramics, fine furniture, textiles and works of art grouped together in a magnificent setting that remains a family home.
In 1961 the Marquess of Exeter, on hearing that the autumn three-day event at Harewood could no longer be held, invited the British Horse Society to transfer the event to his estate. The Burghley horse trials have been run every year since.