As a child, I loved nothing more than exploring, my favourite times where the days when Mum and Dad would pack up a pic-nic and we would set off for a day out at a stately home. For me seeing how they used to live, and imagining all the scandal that went on behind closed doors, was amazing.
We wanted this for our girls, so we became members of both National Trust and English Heritage. We joined under the Family pass as we thought it would be a good way of exploring our history here in Britain. When deciding where to go in Bertie, we always have a look and see what the two organisations have to offer in that area. This time we found a place called Hanbury Hall in Droitwich Spa, so we decided that would be one of our days out while away.
As My Mum and Dad used to do, we packed up at pic-nic, I always find it funny how when you pack a pic-nic its basically your lunch and a brilliant way of saving money, ensuring that you do not need to pay the high prices charged at these family attractions. However why do we find it necessary to pack enough food to sink a battle ship. If we were at home we would have a sandwich and maybe some crisps, but when we do a packed lunch, we have 3 or 4 four rolls each, crisps, cakes, chocolate biscuits and of course not forgetting a piece of your five a day. we never eat it all and end up taking it home and having it for dinner as well. Maybe next time I will only pack what we will eat! After packing our mammoth lunch in the car, we all bundled in and set off for our day out. Within half an hour drive from Chapel Lane Club Site, we arrived at the hall.
The car park as with many of these places it’s a fair walk from the main attraction, however the main reception is only a short walk from the car park and for the elderly or infirm they provide a free transport service to the main house, via golf buggy. Dogs are welcomed at Hanbury Hall there are signs advising you where dogs can be walked and must be kept on sort leads (so not on the extendable ones). As mentioned before we are members so we show our cards to the assistant at the reception, he scans them and confirms we are members! He then books us on the last guided tour of the house at 2pm, advising us that there is only 4 spaces left (there are 5 of us) we explain that this possesses a problem as we do not want to leave anyone out. To which he advises us, oh that’s ok we can add another one on it will be fine. So why tell us that there is only 4 spaces when adding one on it not a problem. Think he just wanted to look good!. He hands the 4 tickets to our youngest and we leave the reception building for the walk to the house and gardens.
As usual I am busting for the loo, so it was a bit of an accelerated walk to the stable block which housed the toilets. We had about 45 minutes before the guided tour and decide to have a walk around the gardens adjacent to the house. The Gardens are in the process of being restored to their original design, and being winter they are a little bleak but pretty all the same. You could imagine that in the spring and summer they are a sight to behold. Originally designed by royal gardener George London. There are many sights to see, including a Orangery and Mushroom House, Ice house, walled garden and more. We take a walked around the formal gardens, known as The Sunken Parterre, which is laid out like so many of the gardens at these stately homes, with low cut box bushes creating a symmetrical pattern divided into four with paths through to allow a person to walk around and view the splendour. This was followed by the Fruit Garden again meticulously laid out, not a leaf out of place, possibly because there are no leaves on the trees this time of year, but you know what I mean.
Time was getting on so we make our way back to the main house for our tour. We enter through a very normal looking door, what I mean by this is as with many other houses that I have visited over the years the entrance to said house is normally very grand, big oak double doors with Colom’s around and lion heads looking down at you. Not this place though, it looked like an afterthought, like they had built this grand looking house and then thought oh we forgot the door, However once entered through the door you are greeted with a rather grand entrance hall and staircase.
As mentioned before we are on a guided tour which if I’m honest I prefer not to be on, I like to walk around myself and take it all in. but on this occasion, we do not have the choice as the house is being cleaned over the winter. The guide calls us all over to being the tour, he spends some time telling us about the legacy of Thomas Vernon, wall and ceiling paintings that adorn the entrance hall and staircase, that he commissioned Sir James Thornhill to create. These depict the story of Achilles and, having been recently restored, and are Hanbury’s crowning glory.
After this we are moved into a smaller room, which was used by the last lady of the house as a day room. This is the most modern room in the house as it was used up to the sixties and is also being currently restored. From this point, we all started to lose interest I’m afraid and although the gentleman doing the tour seemed to know his stuff it was more about the people that lived there than the actual house its self. We shuffled our way round the rest of the house, which was only 3 more rooms and ended up where we had started. The girls where getting bored, so we decided to make a move. Not a bad day out, but I think you would be going there more for the grounds and gardens than the actual house, but it got us out for the day and with our membership didn’t cost us anything either.