This month I purchased a year membership to the National Trust. We absolutely love visiting these old historical sites and buildings. I had noticed (looking through past photographs) that in our first year in England we had visited loads of places, over the following two years it seems that our explorations had become less frequent - not good. So this is what prompted buying a family membership - finally! We have been threatening to do so since we first arrived in England - anyhoo, now it is done.
Sunday after church we decided that we would take our first trip out as National Trust members. We decided to visit the nearby Hardwick Hall. As you enter the property you find yourself in a delightful square of quaint buildings. Here you can do a bit of gift shopping (which I did), perhaps buy a plant or two for your garden and have a bite to eat.
Once we had finished a light lunch we walked through to the manor house. Oh it is so grand! Bess Hardwick, who built this Hall and lived here, was second in wealth and stature only to Queen Elizabeth I.
The tapestries, portraits and furniture are just all over the top! Everything is on such a grand scale. Just look at this staircase below!
My favourite part of the house was the kitchen.
As I was oooing and aaaing over the kitchen, the guide for this room said if I wanted a kitchen like this I would have to learn how to scrub a kitchen table really well ;o) - all the tables were certainly well scrubbed. Apparently the guide had had to learn how to scrub a kitchen table in her home ec. classes at school - that was many moons ago!
These cooking ranges were apparently still being used in the 1950's! Can you believe that? So amazing.
We also popped into Stainsby Mill at the entrance to the hall. Oh my - this has to be one of the most lovely places to visit! For a start we have all the English quaintness you could hope for. It is eye-candy for any Anglophile :o)
Inside you get a full tour and demo as to how the Mill worked. The early craftsmanship in building the mill is astounding. Look at the carpentry in all the fittings.
Upstairs I enjoyed seeing the Millers overcoats. They were beautifully smocked and embroidered - that these were utility clothes!
After a lovely tour I could not resist buying some organic stone-ground flour and homemade marmalade!
A lovely day out exploring England's heritage :o)