I think there may be a pattern emerging here. Books, and over-the-top architecture?
Walpole's house has recently been restored - it's mostly empty, but the rooms are magnificent, if you like that sort of thing, and I do. It's also not what you anticipate from a Gothic mansion. Gothic these days conjures up unrelieved black, skulls, bats, spider webs - very Halloween.
Strawberry Hill is not like that. It isn't like anything that you might expect. It's not on a hill, for a start. A large part of the exterior of the building is gleaming white and although it has its share of what Walpole christened "gloomth" it is definitely not dank and dark. The gallery, in particular, is a light-filled space of red walls, mirrors and extravagant gold leaf. Walpole's idea was to create a progress though the house that involved a journey from dark to light and back again. There are cubby-hole rooms, where treasures were stored, painted windows, fireplaces based on some of the famous tombs to be found in various English cathedrals, fake cloisters and an impressive library, minus books (They are looking to fill it, should you have any antique tomes you want to dispose of.) There is/are also a very nice cafe, gift shop and knowledgeable volunteer guides stationed in every room.
Walpole, it seems to me, was a showman, with a strong sense of theatre. Almost everything you see is created from wood and papier-mache, not stone or marble - the tricks of the theatre. Artifice, as high art. That ambiguity, of things not being as they seem, speaks to the thriller writer in me. I hope eventually that there will be a book in it, although probably not my version of Otranto!
It's in there. One day it will find its way out.