I always like to end a holiday by visiting somewhere on the way home, especially if there’s quite a journey. It also means we can stop and get some lunch. When you’re only going away for a few days, adding the extra day out means a longer holiday. If I’ve not managed to get a National Trust property in on the holiday, a visit on the way home works out well. On the way back from Lytham St Annes we decided to stop at Shugborough Hall.
Shugborough is just outside Stafford, so not far of the M6. Shugborough Estate has plenty to see. From the parkland and woodland, to the beautiful Georgian mansion to the monuments scattered around the estate. There’s also Park Farm, although this was closed at the time we visited. There’s walled gardens, the river, tea room and playground. So something for everyone.
After arriving we stopped straight away in the tea room for some lunch. It was a long wait for N’s panini – I don’t know why because the place was empty apart from a couple of tables who were already seated with drinks and cake. We hadn’t realised there was a normal cafe up near the hall itself.
Like so many National Trust places, there is a long walk from the car park to the hall. It looked like there was a buggy transfer running for those who needed it, but the walk is flat concrete so easy to deal with for pushchairs and wheelchairs.
It was a lovely walk enjoying the farmland, with N interested in watching a couple of sheep having a bit of an argument!
Next stop was the hall itself.
First you get to Lord Lichfield’s apartments (or Patrick Lichfield, the late photographer). I’d not realised his history was a part of Shugborough. It was so interesting to find out more about his life, his photography and equipment he used. You could also see some of the iconic shots of famous people he shot up close, rather than just on tv or in magazines.
In the Lichfield apartments you can’t take photos as much of what’s on display is copyrighted. I found it really interesting, although it was less so for N as he’d not heard of the photographer. I think he was surprised at spotting photos of famous people including Queen Elizabeth II. Writing this now, when 2 weeks after we saw the photos she died, is quite strange.
You then move into the main part of Shugborough Hall, and it’s more normal National Trust rules. So I took plenty of photos. N had my camera but his photos were bizarrely all of (blurry) close ups of artwork and decor. Very odd choices – I think he did it to annoy me. Luckily my phone takes good photos.
It’s a beautiful house. You get to find out about the Anson brothers, George who was known as the father of the British Navy, and Thomas who brought his love of culture and music to Shugborough.
There’s some interesting additions that depict the love of global travel, and there’s plenty of space and time. Considering it was school holidays, Shugborough wasn’t busy at all like other National Trust properties we’ve found. Although it might have been that everyone was at lunch!
The Ansons built Shugborough Hall and the estate to create their paradise inside and out. We didn’t make it round to see the Chinese House or the Cat’s Memorial, but the Shepherd’s memorial behind the formal gardens alongside the river was an interesting ruin of what was previously there.
As well as the formal gardens, there’s the walled gardens, full of fruit and vegetables growing. I do love a garden, although by this stage N was keen to get home.
Other monumental creations include the Tower of the Winds House which you walk past from the car park, the Triumphal Arch, and other greek styled designs.
We didn’t stay long at Shugborough Hall and estate, but it was a good stop off on the way home, and another National Trust visit ticked off my list.
There’s plenty to see, with walks around the estate. Around the farm tea rooms, there are farm buildings with agricultural themed displays in the old stables, so great for children to find out more and see animals when those areas are open.
Have you been before? What’s your favourite thing to visit at Shugborough?
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