I have been toying with the idea of getting National Trust membership for a couple of years now because I am an old biddy at heart who loves nosing around old houses and eating cake in tea-rooms. But I have held back because I am not sure if we visit enough places in a year to justify the membership, looking online there are attractions within an hours drive of us but less than I thought there would be.
However, there is one attraction right on our doorstep in Lancashire that for some strange reason I don’t think I have ever been to. Gawthorpe Hall is a beautiful manor house in Padiham, and this Sunday Rob and I finally got round to checking it out.
Here is what we made of it;
- The Tea room had a lovely setting with exposed brick and flagstone floors but the menu is strictly soup, boxed sandwiches and cake. Which isn’t bad but you would be disappointed if you wanted something substantial and it was a bit pricey for what it was.
- The Hall itself is not wheelchair or pram friendly. There are lots and lots of stairs and tight corners. It was fine for us because we could carry Orla and the lovely receptionist said we could leave our pram behind the desk and that she would look after it, but this would not be a good visit for someone with mobility issues.
- The Grounds are beautiful and wheel friendly. We had a nice walk up into the woods on a wide dirt road. Although it was muddy, which to me is part of the charm!
- Inside the Hall is wonderfully maintained with lots of original features and furniture. There were also lots of stewards around happy to talk through some of the detail of the house. For example one steward told us that one of the family members in the 19th Century was into vintage furniture – she would commission pieces to be made from broken 16th Century pieces so that they would appear older than what they were. Funny, how old the ‘reclaimed’ furniture trend is!
- Adult tickets were £4 each, that is pretty good value for money if you ask me, and that was just for entry into the Hall itself. Parking and the grounds were free entry.
- There were some really interesting collections on display including an extensive textile collection and an exhibit of Charlotte Bronte’s possessions and letters that were fascinating to look at if you are as obsessed with Jane Eyre as much as I am!
I really enjoyed our visit and think it will be a spot we will be returning to. In fact I think I would like to go on my own sometime and have a really take my team to read up all the plaques without feeling like I am holding anyone else up. Might be awhile before that happens though!