I can’t quite remember how Penrhyn Castle came up in my research as things to do in North Wales but it ended up being my favourite destination. It’s one of those rare National Trust properties that’s easy to get to by public transport. Closer to Bangor than Conwy it’s a pleasant 40 minutes by bus from Conwy town centre (Arriva buses have a very handy app that worked well and an all day ticket covering North Wales cost me £6.50). The bus stop is right outside the entrance to the castle although there is then a gentle mile walk down the driveway to the ticket office and round to the castle itself.Continue reading
Posts Tagged With: national trust
Canons Ashby – The House
Canons Ashby is a National Trust property in Northamptonshire that we visited over the early May Bank Holiday. I’m splitting the visits into three sections with posts on the gardens and the church to follow in the coming weeks. Ashby is an old word for farmstead so Canons Ashby (note no apostrophe) literally means the farmstead of the canons (priests) from the Augustinian priory that was established in the mid-12th century. Over the years the Black Death and Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries lead to the area falling into disrepair until the remains of the building were bought first by Sir Francis Bryan in 1537 and then a year later by Sir John Cope.
In the 16th century Sir John Cope gave the estate to his son-in-law John Dryden and using masonry from the old priory buildings built the distinctive tower part of the building. The Dryden’s continued to live in the house for the next 400 years, adding and removing bits of the interiors and exteriors which has left it with a rather interesting shape where some of the rooms aren’t really aligned.
The house came under National Trust control in 1981 when parts of the building were close to collapse. They did a significant amount of work to preserve the building and uncovered some real gems that previous generations had covered up. One such discovery was that of an 18th century painted mural depicting scenes from the Bible that had been covered by panelling.
One room in particular with unexpected grandeur was that of the drawing room. Not only does it contain an amazing fireplace but also an impressively decorated plaster ceiling – the drop pendant in the middle would have been where a chandelier was hung.
It’s an interesting place to visit especially to see the way improvements and changes to the house have shaped its appearance today. You can find more photos here.
Last week we decided to go for a walk around the lake at Clumber Park. Run by the National Trust entry is free for members (which we are) or £5 for an adult. The park spans 3,800 acres and was quite busy; we had to park in the overflow car park which we’ve never had to do before, but as it’s so large it never felt crowded at any point, and at plenty of sections there was no one else around at all.Continue reading
Lambs at Calke Abbey
Last month we headed to Calke Abbey in Derbyshire as the farm there was inviting people to come and see the newborn lambs from Calke’s rare breed of Portland sheep. We had been planning on going the previous weekend but had to postpone because of the snow, luckily this time it was dry and fairly warm and it was finally starting to look like spring. There were plenty of lambs and sheep outside and in the barn where we arrived just seconds after one of the lambs was born.
Treasurer’s House, York
Treasurer’s House in York is a National Trust property in the shadow of York Minster. The treasurer was controller of the Minster’s finances and entertained important guests until 1547 when the job of treasurer came to an end. The current building’s design is due to the work of Thomas Young, Archbishop of York between 1561 and 1568 who almost entirely rebuilt the house.
Clumber Park at Christmas
Continuing the Christmas theme, we recently visited Clumber Park, a country park run by the National Trust and went for a walk around the lake. We’ve been there before (post here) but never done the full walk. It was freezing but a nice bracing walk that took us just over an hour and a half. There is a bit of an Alice in Clumberland Theme going on at the moment which was quite fun – especially in the café where we stopped for a very nice lunch – and we also managed to see and photograph a lot of robins.
Calke Abbey at Christmas
To get in the mood for Christmas we decided to head out to Calke Abbey, a Grade I listed National Trust property in Derbyshire. This was my second visit – you can read about the first visit made in 2011 here. This time, because it’s the winter season, a lot of the house is out of bounds but it is making an effort by decorating the areas that are open, though as we visited early in the day we didn’t get the full effect of the lantern trail and other light displays. Whilst walking around the grounds we also came very close to some deer and spent a long time taking photographs of them – some of those shots are below.
Anglesey Abbey, Gardens and Lode Mill
Anglesey Abbey is a National Trust property in Cambridgeshire. Founded around 1135 as the Hospital of St Mary it underwent many architectural changes and upheavals until Lord Fairhaven and his brother brought the property, unseen, in an auction in 1926.
Grange Barn, Coggeshall
Grange Barn is a National Trust property in Coggeshall which we visited on the same day as Paycocke’s House, as the Trust advises. It’s an odd attraction for the Trust but interesting in its own way, reputedly one of Europe’s largest and oldest timber-framed buildings, dating from 1230.
Stainsby Mill is a 19th century flour mill, still in working order, which is in the care of the National Trust and we visited it on our way to Hardwick Hall which is nearby (and which will feature in a later post).