Some people would never dream of visiting somewhere alone, but I think it’s great. Yes, it’s nice to chat and have a drink and piece of cake with a friend, but sometimes it’s nice to just do what you want when you want. Without a child stopping you from taking photos. The only problem is getting accosted more by hall volunteers because you’re easy to talk to on your own.
When N had his last inset day, he was at tennis camp most of the day so I had a lovely day to myself. I decided to head towards Birmingham to visit Hanbury Hall, a National Trust property.
Unfortunately it wasn’t the nicest day weather-wise up there, I got a bit wet as I didn’t have a coat, although my umbrella did come in handy. Hanbury Hall is also having work done on the front, so everything there was under scaffolding. But there were still plenty more photo opportunities.
Hanbury Hall was built in the early 18th Century by the Vernons. Its highlights are the gardens of which there are lots of different areas to explore, even in the rain. When I went, there were displays focusing on the women of Hanbury Hall including the first female head gardener. These exhibits are in celebration of the 100th year since the Suffragettes and women getting the vote.
It’s a lovely walk in the gardens – there’s a random ‘wilderness’ garden, ones with monuments, the orchards where you can enjoy apple day in early October. You can walk down to see the Ice House, or enjoy the beautifully magnificent Orangery with it’s beautiful flowers and shrubs lining up outside. I imagine there’s frequently croquet to be played on the bowling green in better weather.
The garden directly behind Hanbury Hall is what its famed for, its sunken parterre. A colourful, geometric pattern arrangement flowers and small bushes and trees into squares and diamonds to walk round or sit and enjoy.
In the corner, the old dairy has been converted into a gallery, giving you the chance to look down onto the parterre below.
The hall doesn’t open until 11, and in the morning was free flow self-touring, while there were timed tours in the afternoon. I prefer going round at my own speed.
There were plenty of volunteers around and they were trialling a new systems where they roamed to talk to people rather than having one in each room. I found it easier to have someone find me to talk to this way, as you didn’t have to wait around to talk to the one person. I love their enthusiasm and you do get more anecdotes when the volunteers speak to you rather than just reading the books in the rooms.
I had a cake and drink in the tea rooms in the servants hall, but there’s also the refreshments kiosk in the stables area, with plenty of seating out in the courtyard.
I spent a good couple of hours at Hanbury Hall, and if it had been nicer weather and I’d had N with me, I’m sure we’d have spent more time walking around the grounds and seeing the playground.
Have you ever been or are there nearby locations you’d recommend to visit?
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