Isel House

Isel House is one of Nelson’s finest heritage house experiences, set in a picturesque English-style park.

Isel House exteriorSee beautiful antique furnishings; original Marsden ceramic collections; displays relating to the history of the house and grounds; botany exhibits; stories of the local community and learn about its restoration.

Isel House is an integral part of Nelson’s local history and tells the story of the Marsdens, one of Nelsons first families. Thomas Marsden, a watchmaker from Cumbria, England, arrived in Nelson with his wife Mary in December 1842. He established a business in Selwyn Place and moved to Isel, then a property of almost one thousand acres. He built the original house, gifted the land for the nearby St Barnabas Church, created a plan for the park and planted most of the older trees, which are now over one hundred years old. After Thomas died his son James took over the property, developed the farm and built the stone front of the house.

Isel House has been restored by way of layers of history – from the ornate style of the Victorian era to the modernist style of the 1950s. It features a large stained glass skylight, a lovingly carved stairway and striking wood panelling that echo its Victorian heyday. The house includes many beautiful items, including 17–19th-century European furniture, large paintings and delicate ceramics, originally owned by the Marsdens.

Upstairs rooms have been conserved and hold displays about the house’s history, the grounds and the community of Stoke.

Much of Isel’s restoration was managed by the Isel House Charitable Trust under the supervision of curator Sally Papps. The House and extensive park grounds are now owned and managed by Nelson City Council. 

Isel Park can be used as a wonderful wedding venue.

Isel Park Walks

Check out the Isel Park Tree Walk and other walks on the Heritage Walks page.

Opening hours and contact details

Tuesday – Friday  10am – 3pm
Thursday market
(weather dependent)
 4.30pm – 7.30pm
Saturday  12pm – 4pm
Sun – Mon and public holidays Closed 

Entry by suggested donation $7.


Isel House and Park
Off Main Road Stoke

16 Hilliard Street
7011 Nelson

Phone: 03 5471347 

Find out more

Stories about Isel House and the Marsdens can be read on The Prow.