The truth is you can rock up to the Rippon Lea Estate in a t-shirt and thongs, but something about this glam, turn-of-the century mansion makes even fashion duds want to smooth their cargos and put on a pair of socks.
Built in 1868 for the wealthy Sargood family, Rippon Lea Estate includes a 33 room mansion encircled by a glorious garden (including fernery, orchards, lakeside walk and vast swathes of soft green grass).
Alas fortunes like the Sargoods were not to last and the home passed through a few more hands before landing in the care of the National Trust. Now the estate is open every day baring Good Friday and Christmas Day and welcomes visitors of all income brackets to come and enjoy the high life.
What to do
Looking through the house is a must, but can only be done with a guide. Tours are offered all day and take visitors through the sumptuous rooms decorated to the Sargoods specifications which included gold wallpaper and a sweeping central staircase with a spectacular stained-glass window stretching from the landing to the second storey. Youll also see how the homes staff spent their long and arduous days, with a visit to the vast kitchen and laundry facility to the rear of the home.
The gardens can be enjoyed at your leisure, with acres of lawn, an ornamental lake and pretty paths to follow. Take a look through the lush fernery too, housed in a shaded wooden pavilion, the temperature drops a few degrees the moment you step inside!
A recent addition to the property is a specially designed childrens garden abutting the gate-house entry. It has been created with the natural surroundings in mind, with wooden climbing structures and simple equipment for little ones to amuse themselves with.
For those who dont want to BYO watercress sandwiches or homemade lemonade for a picnic by the lake, the on-site caf will make sure you are fed and watered.
What you need to know
Rippon Lea House & Gardens is located approximately 7kms from Melbournes CBD, in the bayside suburb of Elsternwick.
Opening Hours Closed Good Friday and Christmas Day
Open Daily, 10am 5pm
Last entry 4:30pm
Buy tickets online here.