Tag Archives: National Trust

Dunham Massey

Sunday 20 May

IMG_6342After our visit to the Anderton Boat Lift we have headed to Dunham Massey, a National Trust house. Whilst this is not a spectacularly large house, the drive to it is long and the parkland surrounding the house is substantial allowing for many visitors to picnic in the grounds.


Rear of House from Gardens

Although the postal address is near Altrincham it is also near Little Bollington and easily signposted.

A modern cafe and visitor centre is set away from the main house which is found on a flat walk.


Talk on “A Woman’s Place”

Our Manx National Heritage cards allow us free access to the gardens and house as well and we are lucky enough to hear a small talk in the kitchen area by a volunteer who portrays one of the Housekeepers of the 19th Century at the house (Dunham Massey: A Woman’s Place)

Not a great deal to see inside of the house compared with other houses but still worth a visit. A display of Victorian and other clothing was a popular display and an item of interest is that surgeon Thomas White in May 1729 performed a Mastectomy in the house on Lady Mary Booth’s mother.


Costume display

It beggars belief the pain the poor woman went through.



The gardens however are worth going to but were not perhaps at their best when we went.

Dinner tonight at a pub that was recommended by another volunteer who provided a golf cart style lift back to the entrance to save our legs.

The pub, The Swan with Two Nicks, is not exactly easy to find but once there we can see why the volunteer suggested it. Sunday lunch type fare, Yum.


500 year old Oak Tree – the oldest on the estate 

Monday 21 May

A bit of retail therapy in the heat of the day at Cheshire Oaks after we have said goodbye to Phillip & Sylvia.

Lots of renovations are being carried out on the complex which will make it even bigger in the not too distant future – probably in time for Christmas.

Ferry home from Liverpool just in time to prepare for the influx of bikers for this year’s TT.

We are hosing Homestay guests again this year but not our normal visitors.


Baddesley Clinton and Packwood

6 September

An overnight with Elizabeth after an event free crossing to Liverpool and a visit to Dunelm to get our replacement bedroom curtains – good service, thank you.IMG_4550A morning drive to Baddesley Clinton Stately home and just in time to catch a fascinating talk by “Richard” about the house’s history followed by a visit to the wonderfully restored house.IMG_4559

The gardens are renowned for their Dahlias but sadly this year, following a move to a different supplier, the show wasn’t as good as previous years.

Nevertheless, some were still in full bloom and with their vibrant colours presented a good display along with some interesting scarecrows.IMG_4576IMG_4573

Afternoon at neighbouring Packwood House, another National Trust property with lunch in their café followed by a walk around their gardens and lake and before venturing inside.


The Yew trees are a feature here and are so manicured, it is just as though from a distance they look as though they have been ironed.


Inside, there are tapestries and the usual type objects in a stately home but some of it has been erected recently and is not as old as the rest of the house.  Still, an interesting afternoon.


Late in the evening we are told that Sarah pulled out of buying a particular house for a the quite acceptable reason of their being a registered paedophile owning the house next door. Not something you want with a young child. He has at least enjoyed going back to his new School after his summer camping.

It’s off to Italy tomorrow.

Re-visiting Norfolk

IMG_4158Thursday 13 July

It is at least 10 years since we visited the North Norfolk coast having been there regularly from 1985 to 2008 whilst Sally’s parents were still alive. Early ferry from home, calm crossing and no trouble getting out of Liverpool.


Boudecia cruise ship

Fred Olsen’s cruise ship, Boudecia, in the cruise terminal.

Stop at IKEA Leeds for lunch and of course you have to buy things – well it is things we wanted anyway.

Next stop was Great Heckington on the A17 between Newark and Kings Lynn where we had stopped before when we were regularly plying this route on our way to Brancaster.

A bit surprised though by the Penguin Pie on sale there!


Penguin Pie anyone?

Our destination tonight is Norwich and we are in an older style Holiday Inn Express on the northern outskirts of the city. This has definitely seen better days and is in need of some TLC.

Receptionist thinks we are not members of their loyalty club which is somewhat surprising bearing in mind we have been members for over 15 years and amassed several thousand points.

Not a good start as we also took the last parking space and he had no idea on suggestions for an evening meal tonight.

We chose the Reindeer, a pub on one of the roads out of the city; a good choice although a bit alarming as we were the only customers for a meal to start with and it was about 7pm.

Friday 14 July


Old Hunstanton’s unique rock formation

Woken at 05:45 by what sounded like drilling or sanding followed by banging. This lasted a good 30+ minutes but we did manage to get back to sleep before being woken by our alarm at 8.

Day out to the North Norfolk coast to reminisce from when Sally’s parents lived there.

First stop is Old Hunstanton, meet up with John & Deirdre for a walk along the beach to introduce their dog, Lucy to the sea and to marvel at the unique rock formations.

Windy and overcast, so it was not really the weather for shorts and t shirts and Lucy was not impressed at first with the waves, but soon gets accustomed to it and manages to get somewhat wet which does wonders for her recent doggy perm!


John & Lucy nearly in the sea

I am not sure I had ever walked on this beach on the North Norfolk coast, so crumbly and the difference in colours is somewhat amazing.


Windsurfers taking advantage of the weather

Lots of windsurfers struggling with the wind, all wrapped up of course but there were some hardy kids in the sea.

Lunch as a picnic was not allowed in the car park so we eat in our cars instead! Jobsworth!

Next stop was at Brancaster where Sally’s mum & dad had lived for 22 years before their house had to be sold for nursing home fees.

We parked up and walked around a local footpath, what a change but we understand many of the houses are now holiday homes and not lived in permanently.


The “old” family house

It was interesting to see the changes made, especially to the “old” family house.

Wells-next-the-sea was the last stop of the day and although we debated going to the end of the causeway on the little train, we opted for a walk along the causeway instead stopping half way along just to sit and stare, just so peaceful.


Wells-next-the-sea breakwater railway engine

Now that the sun had come out and the wind dropped, photographs were looking good and we took more than we normally would as hopefully Gary can turn one or two of these into a painting for us.


Boats at low tide

After walking up the high street, the hairdressers, Jenny was still there, we head back to the car park and the fish and chip shop for a classic evening meal of fish and chips on the harbour wall and surprisingly not bothered by seagulls.


Taking Lucy for a walk



After our farewells, we head back to Norwich for a much better night’s sleep tonight.

Saturday 15 July

Drive to Earley for a visit to Flic, Gary and Cody. The traffic was appalling, where does everyone go?

Gary called out for work so we entertain Cody before we head to our hotel and then to a meal at Prezzo in nearby Woodley with them and Gary’s mum, Barbara. Cody was so good allowing us to have a virtually uninterrupted meal.


Clearwell house

Sunday 16 July

After lunch with Flic and Gary, we head off to Clearwell. Some great comments in our visitors book, one guest has been there 7 times, so we must be doing something right.

The garden is in need of some TLC since our Gardner left at the end of May but the new gate looks good.

Monday 17 July

Of course, most times we come here, work is required on the house but this time, we thought we would do some touristy things, so head off towards Wales.

Our first stop, using our Manx National Trust cards, is the nearby National Trust castle at The Kymin. A castle on the hill above Monmouth which has connections to Nelson who, in 1802 dined at The Round House at The Kymin having sailed down the River Wye 3 years before Trafalgar and is probably the most famous guest to have dined at the Round House.


Monmouth from The Kymin

Allow an hour to look around the grounds but for those who are of reduced mobility, it is not really accessible inside the Round House but the view from the grounds are fantastic.


We drive on to Abergavenny for a coffee, we last were there at Christmas in 2003, and then on down some narrow lanes to Llanthony Abbey, a 13th century monastery sacked after the dissolution of the monasteries by the Henry VIII administration in the mid 1500s.


Llanthony Abbey and hotel

The Abbey is surprisingly intact after all these years with some of the rooms still recognisable.


Llanthony Abbey ruins

Retracing our tracks down the narrow Welsh lates, we head for Skenfrith, a village on the border between England and Wales for afternoon drinks at The Bell, whilst we watched youngsters wandering around in the river Monnow.


Tower inside Skenfrith castle

A walk around Skenfrith castle, which was built in the 13t Century on the banks of the River Monnow to help keep the English and the Welsh apart!


The Bell at Skenfrith

This brought back memories of a Scout camp I had gone to, possibly when I was 14 or 15, and whilst I had not visited the Pub then (I am sure the Scout leaders had!) we had visited The Bell a couple of times recently, once with my Mum about 12 years ago for afternoon tea and once on New Year’s Day 2014 when torrential rain had raised the river Monnow to virtually flood level.

Much more civilised weather today.


The Bridge at Skenfrith New Years Day 2014


The Bridge at Skenfrith on a summer’s day in July 2017





Tuesday 18 July


Westbury Gardens

After meeting up with our caretaker and his brother-in-law, Paul who is now going to do some limited gardening for us, we head off to Westbury gardens close to the Severn River.


Westbury Gardens

This is a National Trust property so using our Manx National Heritage cards we were able to get in free to view these gardens modeled on a Dutch garden complete with canal and very hungry fish.


Hungry fish

The one building remaining, a tower, had some very ornate wood panelling and there were many differing species of flowers, plants and fruits in evidence including the most enormous 400 year old oak tree and a somewhat larger than normal thistle.

A brief tidy up of one of the hedges on our return from food shopping and pack up ready for our journey home tomorrow.

Wednesday 19 July

A stop at Labels near Ross-on-Wye for some clothes and we head off northwards taking A roads rather than Motorways.


Houses at Brockhampton

Our route took us via Ledbury, Malvern and Brockhampton where we stopped for our lunch and had a brief view of the extremely ancient house again using our Manx National Heritage cards to get in.

What a wonderful house this is, just wish we had more time to explore it and the area around.

Back on the road, we get held up by 3 sets of traffic light controlled road works and a broken down Lorry on our way towards Shrewsbury and are at the ferry in Liverpool with plenty of time for our crossing home.

Now for some home time, garden time and preparation for our next visit – this time to Jersey and France.