I think Burghley is my personal favorite among all the grand houses we have visited. I find it fascinating that one family has owned it, from the time William Cecil, 1st Lord Burghley and Treasurer to Queen Elizabeth I built it. It has an amazing collection of paintings, ceramics and works of art, many of which are still standing where they were first recorded in 1688. And interestingly enough, the family still lives here in one of the apartments surrounded by the landscape designed by Capability Brown.
The family was typical of most of the families that owned the large estates. The young couples went on tour on the Continent, and brought back many paintings and artworks with them. Their fortunes were lost and regained through lucrative marriages. Eventually the expenses were too great, and the house was turned over to the National Trust. However, when the family tried to turn the house over to the National Trust in the 50's, the house was in such disrepair they wouldn't take it without extensive renovations being done. So they kept the house, managed to make the renovations, and formed a business to maintain the house, provide tours, and many other money-making activities. Burghley horse shows are world renowned international level shows, and they host the Burghley Horse Trials, a 5* event every year.