The once ordinary council house where tourists now flock for miles to see

The Talliston House & Gardens in Great Dunmow
The Talliston House & Gardens in Great Dunmow -Credit:AirBnB/Talliston House & Gardens

You shouldn't judge a book by its cover, or a house from the outside as it happens, because there is one home in the Essex countryside which hides a world of weird and wonderful behind its front door - and is now viewed as one of the best historical places to stay in the county.

Talliston House and Gardens is the culmination of decades of work to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. Creator John Trevillian bought the property in Great Dunmow in October 1990, spending the next 25 years working with a team of almost 140 people to create the unique attraction.

Talliston is a private residence - which formerly used to be a council house and is not open to the public - but tours can be booked for those who want to explore the fascinating three-bedroom former council house which was described by The Times as "the most extraordinary home in Britain". Recently, Visit Essex named it was one of the top historical locations to visit in our county.

Read more: Owner of Essex's 'most extraordinary home' Talliston House and Gardens had to empty his pension to keep it running

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The site was featured on multiple TV shows, like Netflix's Amazing Interior and BBC's A Home Away from Home, and John secured a book deal to write about the house in 2019. Bookings were said to be blocked out between January and September 2020 following rapid peak demands.

There is a variety of rooms to stay in. Some include The Room of Dreams, designed after a Moorish bedchamber, and The Cabin, a period log cabin that emulates a trapper’s house in the Canadian wilderness. Each room is set in a different time and place, all built from scratch by a team of "ordinary people" who learned the skills needed to complete the project.

Talliston House and Gardens was labelled as the most 'extraordinary home in Britain' by The Times
Talliston House and Gardens was labelled as the most 'extraordinary home in Britain' by The Times -Credit:Gavin Conlan

The result is a wonderland of the kooky, historical and mythical which spreads across both the home and gardens - each room even has a different scent. You can even hire the house as a B&B for an extra special stay. Each room has a unique story to tell and tours of the home take on average two hours, and there are a range of magical extras such as high tea, a candlelight tour and supper, or even the opportunity to hire it out for photography or videography projects.

Previously speaking to EssexLive , owner John Tarrow said: "I look at Talliston and it is just astonishing that it happened. Then one day you achieve this thing, and then it gives it, you know, it gives you so much pleasure back. It gives me so much pleasure I can actually say I have achieved my dream.”

-Credit:Gavin Conlan
-Credit:Gavin Conlan

It's a great attraction to visit as a family, a school or on your own, but make sure to book in advance as the tours are almost completely full up to the end of August with tourists from across the country flocking to see it. To book a tour, or find out more about Talliston, visit the website here.