The Landmark Trust is a wonderful organization in the UK that buys and restores unique and often spectacular historic buildings. Then, instead of turning them into “hands-off” museums or private facilities, they make them available for rent to the general public. The Trust’s goal is "to promote enjoyment of historic buildings by enabling as many people as possible to experience living in them for a short time."
Each property is fascinating in its own way, and the Trust provides a thoroughly researched history for each one. I can't think of a more enjoyable way to teach children about the magic of architecture and history - instead of touring a historic site with fences and signs all over the place, you can explore, play, dine, and just relax in one. Imagine spending a whole weekend in a 13th century castle! Or perhaps a 18th century gothic temple is more to your taste. There is even a former train station available – perfect for train-obsessed little boys.
The Trust also operates five properties in Vermont (including Rudyard Kipling’s former home), two in France (including the Duke and Duchess of Windsor’s former weekend house), and four in Italy (including the former homes of Keats and Robert and Elizabeth Browning).
These are just a couple more from the UK - I'm getting addicted to browsing through these!
Find out more and enjoy perusing all of the amazing properties here.