A National Trust membership is a very wonderful thing to possess when life is getting one down. We’ve been really enjoying having ours to fall back on when we need cheering up, and since we seem to be having one of those years in which nothing seems to be going right, the National Trust has come to the rescue on a number of occasions. Today was just such a day, and as the sun was shining our ‘cheering up destination’ was Packwood House and its glorious gardens. This was how the sky looked when we arrived… perfect!
Our first port of call was the cafe, where I had a goats’ cheese salad and Lee had sausage sandwiches. My beverage of choice was Dandelion and Burdock. Only now I look at the label in this photo do I realise that it says “upend before pouring”. I’m wondering whether this has anything to do with the fact that it started erupting out of the bottle as soon as I put the straw in?! Anyhow, it was delicious.
This is the scene just outside the cafe. You really are in the heart of the countryside here, and the healing power of nature was tremendously beneficial.
I spotted lots of sundials around Packwood. This red brick building looked particularly striking against the beautiful blue sky.
This is the main house. Sorry for the overexposed pic… I only had my iPhone camera with me!
There’s a lot of wood panelling inside this cosy Tudor house, as you can see as soon as you walk through the door.
Spot Henry VIII in the entrance hall!
We loved this fireplace in the Long Gallery, as it had little lockable cupboards built into it! Apparently, the chap who lived in the house in the 1920s and 30s – Graham Baron Ash, who gave the house to the National Trust – salvaged much of the house’s furniture, tapestries and so forth from other stately homes that were being pulled down at the time. I found this particularly interesting, as way back in the distant past I wrote my English Literature coursework on the demise of the English country house. It was interesting to see first hand some of the things that had been saved from the houses that weren’t so lucky as Packwood.
This was the Great Hall, converted from a barn in 1927 for guests to dance in.
Upstairs, one of the first rooms we saw was this nicely tiled en suite bathroom. These tiles are antique Delft ones.
This is ‘Queen Margaret’s bedroom’. Apparently the 1920s owner of the house gave all the bedrooms historic names to give them a sense of being ancient and important.
There was a little room called the Lookout Room, which gives visitors a view out over the immaculate gardens. Look at those perfect lawns!
Another bedroom, Queen Mary’s bedroom. Apparently Queen Mary really visited Packwood, in 1927, and used this room to relax in after the journey!
Here’s another view from an upstairs window. The surroundings really looked wonderful in such lovely weather.
This, as you might have guessed, is the dining room.
This room was brought to life with harpsichord music – very civilised.
Once out of the house, we went for a lovely walk around the gardens. At each corner there is one of these little garden rooms, which offer views of the surrounding grounds and have small tables in – perfect for outdoor dining.
The gardens were absolutely immaculate. As you can see, one of the gardeners was in the process of mowing the lawn.
I loved these little niches in the walls, which were for honey bee colonies!
There was an impressive array of yew trees towards the back of the garden, which I imagine must take quite a lot of maintaining.
At the top you walk round a narrow, spiraling path to the top of a small hill topped by another yew tree. We had seen this only a few weeks ago on a repeat of Treasure Hunt, in which one of the clues was right at the top!
Here’s us… we managed to balance one of our phones in the hedge to get this!
After that we walked round the lake. There was a mummy duck with a big family of little tiny ducklings, swimming very close to her, but I couldn’t get a decent photo on my phone unfortunately!
This is one of the ‘follies’ – an inside out house – installed this year, with a Lee for scale!
Finally, a colourful picture of some of the many beautiful flowers.
I’d definitely recommend a visit to Packwood, especially midweek when it’s nice and quiet. Find out more about visiting here.