Knole House

A story of restoration and conservation 

Knole has been welcoming visitors to see its splendours and curiosities for centuries. However, ever since the National Trust acquired the property in 1946, it has faced a running and expensive battle with leaking roofs and windows, damp, moths and woodworm which have all put Knole’s collection of furniture, paintings and textiles at risk.  

In 2019 Knole concluded an intensive 5-year, £20 million renovation project making it the biggest conservation and renovation project undertaken for any National Trust site.   


The restoration project uncovered fascinating layers of the building which were literally peeled back to repair and replace parts of the ageing structure. These new discoveries enrich the tapestry of Knole’s history and provides a greater understanding of the property. With the house presented today in much the same way it was before the project, how do you best interpret the hidden restoration and conservation story for visitors as part of a self-guided tour?  

Our Solution 

The restoration project required thousands of hours or painstaking work carried out by hundreds of staff, experts and volunteers, some of which were recorded in photographs, videos and audio interviews. To simply provide this ‘scrap-book’ mix of content to visitors as new interpretation would not add value to the experience or deliver a greater understanding of the project.  

ATS’s experienced interpretation team worked closely with the Knole team to review the existing content and proposed a tour with a friendly narrative thread that presented the archive material in a more thought through way. Visitors using the iTouch multimedia guide can dip in and out of the archive material as part of the storytelling approach, providing a look behind the scenes during the breath-taking restoration phase. Our creative team designed a RubawayTM feature to deliver an addictive ‘before and after’ interactives. Contemporary script writing and professional narration expertly frame the archive interviews to deliver a multimedia tour that encompasses the energy and passion of Knole, as well as being on pointe to offer visitors an insight into what were once, hidden areas of the property in a fun and engaging way. 

Words from the client team 

“The guide was collaboratively produced and clearly met our specification, ATS were a pleasure to work with and I would highly recommend them to other organisations.”  

“The multi-media guide at Knole has opened up the National Trust’s conservation work for visitors to share. Without the films, photos, oral histories and narrative, all carefully pieced together on our guide, Knole’s stories would remain hidden.”