ONE of the region’s finest stately homes will throw open its doors to the public this month - giving visitors a rare chance to view its stunning interiors and grounds.

Heaton Hall in Prestwich’s Heaton Park was completed in 1789 and is regarded as one of renowned architect James Wyatt’s finest country houses.

Sold to Manchester City Council in 1902 by the Earl of Wilton, the hall and its surrounding grounds have only been open to the public on an occasional basis ever since.

Now a series of regular tours will unearth some of the secrets of the famous park and tell the stories of its many visitors, from Pope John Paul II to the Stone Roses.

“The tour includes a rare visit inside the house where guests will see stunning interiors that mix elegance, opulence and drama,” said Blue Badge Guide and author, Jonathan Schofield. “The circular Cupola Room will make jaws drop.

“The tour takes in the park too with its fantastic features animating the exciting undulating landscape. We’ll take a look at the Dower House, the lovely stables, the tramway, the boating lake and even the reconstructed façade of Manchester’s original town hall whilst also taking in the superb views from just about the highest point in the city, the Temple.

“The park is 640 acres in size so we might not get round all of these on every tour but we’ll do our best.”

Guests will also hear tales of the owners, the Earls of Wilton and the Duke of Wellington’s visit in 1830 as well as hearing about the park hosting huge gigs from hometown heroes the Stone Roses and Oasis.

“There’ll be loads of stories about everyday visitors too, for Heaton Park is truly the ‘people’s park’ and has been since 1902 when it was bought by Manchester,” added Jonathan. “Guests will be surprised and delighted by what these tours reveal. That’s a guarantee, even for visitors who thought they knew Heaton Park well.”

The tours will take place every Wednesday and Sunday at 11am from 11 August. Tickets £15 or £12 with 25 per cent of admission going to Heaton Park.

For more information and tickets visit, email or call Jonathan Schofield on 07876235638.