Just 20 minutes southwest of Launceston sits the classified historic town of Longford. Beautifully preserved historic buildings line the streets while the centre of town features an impressive park. But for all its historic charm, Longford is known for its nearby estates. Free convict labour brought forth the impressive Woolmers and Brickendon Estates on Van Diemen's Land back in the 1830's.
Take the Midland Highway 24 kilometres south of Launceston to find Longford. It'll take you 2 hours by car from Hobart, as Longford sits 187 kilometres north of the capital. Longford is 96 kilometres and an hour's drive from Devonport.
At the center of town, you'll find the beautifully historic Longford Christ Church. There is an intriguingly spooky settler cemetery right next door. The streets of Longford are lined with charming hotels and inns, beautifully preserved homes and colonial buildings. You'll also find Australia's oldest continuously operated motorcar race course in town.
Longford's colonial charm cannot be ignored. Neither can its dark history. While the buildings and nearby estates are incredibly beautiful, it was all built by unpaid convicts in the early 1800's.
The estates around Longford show off English heritage. They take you back to a time when convicts laboured for free at the behest of English aristocracy. In the early days, the wealthy wanted estates that reminded them of their homeland, and they ordered convicts to erect impressively beautiful multi-storey buildings to mimic the castles in England.
This historic town also has motorcar racing history. The 7.2-kilometre Longford Circuit hosted many races back in its heyday of the 50's and 60's. Sections of the old Formula One race track still remain today even though the track was closed back in 1968. And you can also visit the Flying Mile which saw motorcar speeds of up to 288 km/h.
Longford is also known for its bed and breakfasts, antique shops and hearty pub food. It's the perfect town to spend a day marvelling at its beautiful history.
Longford is perfect for a romantic escape. The rolling hills of the English estates surrounding the town make for a perfect day trip. After touring the estates, couples can wander through the beautifully preserved town while shopping for antiques. And the day can be capped off with a hearty meal at a cute local hotel.
Those who love history will also love Longford. It is a well-preserved reminder of what life was like back in the early 1800s. And racecar enthusiasts will love Longford's motorcar history and its historic racecar tracks. Image Credit: Adam Gibson (Romantic dinner at Longford) and Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts (Longford Church)
Longford adds to its romantic appeal with its historic bed and breakfasts. You'll also find a variety of inns and hotels nestled nicely in the quaint, historic town.
The Path of History: A Walk Through Longford's Historic Precinct is a downloadable brochure and map that will take you on a walk past 34 historic buildings and locations. You'll walk by elegant homes on Wellington Street, the London Hotel in Heritage Corner, the Christ Church in the center of town, and The Woolmers Estate and the Brickendon World Heritage Site.
You'll marvel at impressive buildings while learning how free labour was procured by landowners. Convicts were put under the direction of aristocrats between 1820 and 1840. This free-labour building boom was vital to the growth and economic vitality of a young Tasmania. Image Credit: Wai Nang Poon (Brickendon)
You'll find plenty of restaurants in town catering to tourists. Many of the restaurant names harken back to the days were convicts built houses for free. You'll also find plenty of good Chinese food in Longford as well as many hotel pubs. Image Credit: Dale Baldwin (Cozy Restaurant)
Longford was originally settled back in 1807. Many families were displaced from Norfolk Island to Van Diemen's Land when the area was originally known as Norfolk Planes. Thomas Archer arrived in the mid-1820's. He and his three brothers built the elegant Woolmers, Panshanger, Brickendon and Northbury Estates using free convict labour.
The Longford Hotel was built in 1827. The town of Latour grew around the hotel, but the name of the town was changed to Longford in 1883.
Longford features a warm and temperate climate with lots of rain. The warmer summer months feature less rain while the winters can be quite rainy.
Head to the Longford Post Office to pick up a National Trust brochure. You'll find information inside the brochure as well as a walking map that will take you to all the historic sites in town.
Taste some unique leatherwood honey at Longford's Tasmania Honey Company.
The Woodstock Lagoon Wildlife Sanctuary is 8 kilometres west of Longford on Bishopbourne Road. You'll find a protected 160-hectares of wetland full of a variety waterfowl. Reserved in 1967 by Bill and Jamie Cox, the lands are protected from stock animals and new plants.