So, we recently indulged in something we have been pondering over for a while now… a National Trust Membership. Yep, never have I ever felt more like an adult!
With a love for gardens and architecture, we visit National Trust properties a lot, and when asked if we want a membership we always reply with a ‘maybe next time’, but on our last visit to Kinver Rock Houses we took the plunge and couldn’t be happier about it.
The National Trust was founded in 1895 by three wonderful people that saw the importance of preserving our Heritage and open spaces for us to all enjoy, such as houses, forests, coastlines and so many more.
I discussed enjoying your own company and spending time alone in this blog post, and so, on a dreary grey Wednesday morning I grabbed my coat, car keys, membership card, and went out on a little National Trust adventure.
I arrived at Biddulph Grange Gardens in Staffordshire, the nearest NT property to me. This Victorian garden was designed by James Bateman and William Cooke, and features a variety of global garden styles, from Egypt, the Himalayas, Italy to China. There is an absolutely beautiful Dahlia walk, as well as an Arboretum, Cherry Orchard, and also a Geological Gallery.
I started at the Kitchen Garden which has a wonderful selection of fruit and vegetables, and as a keen veg-patch owner I was eager for tips!
I headed for the direction of the Biddulph Grange House, which isn’t open to the public, though some areas are accessible.
The impressive Dahlia walk is breathtaking, and leads you on a beautiful walk through the Stumpery, a path bordered by upside-down tree roots growing ferns, mosses and mushrooms. I loved how they felt like mini gardens.
The path led through ivy covered tunnels and towards the Chinese garden, which popped with reds and oranges, framing the view as I walked to the Pagoda.
There are so many lovely elements and features to Biddulph Grange Garden – you can explore and happen upon so many wonderful flowers plants and walkways.
There is a Geological Gallery and also a cute little second-hand book shop selling an array of authors and genres nearby to a beautiful window dripping in wisteria.
I popped into the Camelia House which is home to the gift shop, and has an absolutely stunning ceiling and original Victorian features. There are also some tearooms and a plant shop if you are feeling garden inspired!
The gardens are open every day from 10am until 17.30pm and cost £9.05 to non-National Trust members.
Next on my local NT adventure, I headed to Little Moreton Hall in Cheshire which is a stunning timber framed Tudor manor house. It has a twisted and warped framework from drying oak beams, causing it to look wonky and has defied logic for over 500 years in how it still stands today!
These photographs were odd to edit as I constantly kept thinking I had taken wonky shots!
You enter via a scenic moat into a beautiful courtyard. I picked an entrance and went on to explore the interior of the house. You can have a guided tour, but I made my own way around, taking in the character and quirks of the house. There is so many nooks and crannies and stairways, and I always managed to exit through an entirely different door and section of the house so I had to find my bearings again! The windows are just beautiful, apparently this is a sign of wealth if a lot of glass and wood were used.
Walking around the exterior of the building, I stumbled upon a manicured knot garden. There is an abundance of herbs and vegetables that the Tudors would have used in their meals and medicines, and also a Sleep Bed which I was particularly interested in as a sufferer of occasional insomnia! I am going to try and recreate this in my own garden, making a note of the herbs used.
Little Moreton Hall gives you a glimpse into Tudor life and you will be in awe of how this wonky building still stands proud today. It is open every day from 11am until 17.00pm and costs £12.00 to non-National Trust members.
I am planning to use my card as much as humanly possible this year so look out for future visits to various National Trust properties around the country.