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Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Packwood House

This blog is about a place I visit from time to time which is still local to me, I have not been for a couple of months but thought I would tell you about it anyway.

Packwood house is a Tudor house which was build by John Fetherston around 1556, it started as a smaller farm house with rooms added as time went by, like many grand properties. In the early 1900's the house was purchased by a local industrialist and then inherited by Baron Ash in 1925 who spent the next 20 years converting it into the house it is today. My favourite room in this house is not an original room at all, it is the Grand Hall which was converted from a barn in 1931 and the long gallery which connects the room to the rest of the house. I love the Tudor style halls and the builders have done a beautiful job of this room, it is not until you are told when it was built that you realise it's age. You could easily be fooled into thinking it is older than it is. I have always said if I ever win the lottery, whichever house I would buy, I would have a Grand Hall. We can all dream can't we :)

The photo below was taken in late Spring early Summer on a beautiful sunny day. It was lovely driving down the road on the approach to Packwood House. Here like at many other National Trust properties, the wild flowers had been left to grow and looked amazing!  

 I like Packwood house, the garden never fails to please me, it always looks beautiful whatever time of year you visit. Many of these photos were taken around Spring and early Summer although I do have a photo of the garden in summer taken on my little camera which I will add to this page to just to show you how beautiful it looks. Packwood gardens can look both formal an like a cottage garden, the gardeners do work hard here.

The photo taken with my little camera in middle of the summer, possibly last year, just added to give you an idea of how beautiful it looks.

Early summer this year

I think one of the main things Packwood is know for is it's Yew Garden, this area was always my children's favourite part of the visit, they loved running around the trees and it was always a race to the top to see who could get to the top of the spiral mount 1st! I have seen other children do exactly the same :)

I think there are about 100 trees here which were planted in the 17th century if I am right. The mount is supposed to represent the 'Sermon of the mount' and the 12 large yews, 'The Apostles'.
The picture below is from the steps in front of the mount looking down towards the house.

One thing I didn't like about visiting Packwood in the past was the lack of a coffee shop.There used to be a vending machine inside the shop, which I didn't like at all so I used to nip across to Baddesley Clinton for a coffee instead. ( I can do that with National Trust membership and not pay to enter  ) This year all changed, they had a man in a van selling light refreshment and a place to sit, it made the visit much more enjoyable and soon, they will have a brand new visitors building and  a cafe, can't wait! I think the opening day is around the 21st of  November, just in time for the Winter months when people will need that warm drink or a bowl of soup to warm them up! 

When the children were younger we would take a picnic with us but now, I don't know if it's age or what but I like to sit and have a proper coffee in a proper cup. It's all part of the whole 'getting away from things' I think. When you have children, disabled or not, going out is not just simply 'going out', you have to plan visits, prepare food, especially if you have a few special diets to think about to and then carry this heavy bag around , no one else will do it for you! I guess on my escapes, all I need or want to do is charge my camera, remember to clear my memory card, grab my car keys and go. Well an escape is from all normality isn't it? If the children are with me, most places do something gluten or dairy free these days so they can still have a treat.

                               Taking a walk down towards the lake

                                    View of the lake from the garden.

 So pretty with all the Wisteria hanging form it. My Mum has this hanging over her gate and it always looks lovely.

       Earlier in the year the main garden was all purple, my favourite colour

in the sunken garden

The statue in the little sunken garden always makes my children laugh a little.

The high terrace is always lovely and the colours always changing.

 Now for a look inside, this is the main hall leading towards the Grand Hall I mentioned earlier. I love this hall, it feels so different from the rest of the house and has so many interesting things to look at. If you ever take notice of the old tapestry's hanging on the wall's, think how much work went into those and the detail on them and the size of some of them. Quite something!

Fire place in the middle of the main hall has spice compartments in it which were used to keep the spices dry.

Looking down towards the Grand Hall

Grand Hall's are always best with a big table running down the centre of them, just adds atmosphere to the whole picture as you can imagine the Banquets held in them. Unfortunately this one was empty on this day due to a music even being held there that night. I am sure I have some photos with the table in the middle somewhere. I will have to check and maybe add it later. 

                A few other rooms open to visitors at Packwood House

Note the spider in the bath!

It is so easy when looking around these Historical properties to miss things. Look at the carving under the top of this four poster bed, it's beautiful but so easily missed.

I really like the mini table and chairs set in this room, we have the same sort of thing today but I only ever see it in plastic, this is much nicer. This room is called the Queen Mary bedroom as she visited in 1927 but the room was prepared for in case she wished to use it.

This room normally has a second tapestry covering all the walls but it had been taken down to be sent off for cleaning, something that can take some time as with all old things.

There are a few other things to do at Packwood that I haven't mentioned today like walking by the lake or through the small wood, all places to explore. I have always liked history but I guess the reason I like to escape to these places it that you can imagine how people used to live and maybe dream a little too. It's an escape in more ways than one.

Also don't forget the Packwood to Baddesley Clinton Walk  see blog on Baddesley for more information.

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