I once walked 50 miles from Widnes to the Devil’s Arse in the Peak District with a friend. There was no particular reason for doing so, other than the challenge of walking 50 miles straight. I still recall my fond memories of camping near Dunham Massey with its huge stone walls, beautiful hall and wild deer roaming about.
Dunham Massey was an important area during the medieval period and acted as the seat for the Massey barony. The Georgian hall, with the remnants of a caste in its grounds, is a popular tourist attraction. The area has 45 listed buildings owned by the National Trust which reflects it long history. During my visit I took the opportunity to join the National Trust because I’ll be visiting a lot more sites in future. Also so I can write more reviews for TLC and your pleasure.
The park is quite easy to get to by car if you leave junction 19 of the M6 or junction 7 of the M56. Parking is £5 for the day or free for National Trust members. The park is very child friendly and has an ice cream shop, café/restaurant serving home made goodies, toilets and a shop. Just mind out if you visit on a busy day and you’re an ice cream fan because the queue was truly British…
Entrance to the hall and gardens varies in price but is totally worth it for what you see. I think it was about £11 for adult entrance to the garden and the hall. They take about an hour or three to fully appreciate them both anyway.
Wandering around the park you will find plenty of Bambi types (deer) that cutely wag their tails and ears to fend off flies. They will no doubt speak to your soft side with their warm fuzziness and cuddly appearance. Here’s a picture…
Awwwww ain’t they cute?….
No! They are wild animals and despite their cuddly exterior they will happily nut you if you get too close. That means no chasing them with ice creams or trying to feed them.
Once you have successfully avoided the Bambi types and entered the Hall you will find it replete with beautiful paintings, ornate sculptures and bags of history. In each main room there are knowledgeable National Trust employees that will happily talk to your for hours about the site and the grounds and the paintings and the wallpaper. In all honesty it was great to have such dedication and knowledge at hand; one gentleman spoke to me for 15 minutes about the bird’s eye paintings of the estate.
My favourite rooms were the Silverware room – which was full of intricate silver objects that had been painstakingly embossed – and the Library, which was full of scientific instruments, literature from all over the globe and if you’ve ever seen those library ladders on wheels you get in films…Well, they’ve got one of them in there so you know they mean business.
I always seem to end up visiting places with carved animals so here are some more you’ll find hidden in a little walled area. The gardens are a key feature of the park, containing Britain’s largest Winter garden which looks stunning even in it’s summer youth. I particularly enjoyed the Well House which has been well maintained and adorned with wooden arches in an artistic style.
I love the tree bark ceiling they have made inside the awning of the Well Housea which sort of looks like a spider web.
In the gardens there are chickens, sculptures and plenty of, well…plants and flowers. Garden stuff really, including the moss garden. Its a nice walk and the garden attendant happily lets you know when it’s time to go by strolling around using a little bell and cheerily calling out.
If you’re feeling peckish after your day out be sure to visit the café which sells lots of home made scones, cakes and country-house treats at a reasonable price. You also get to sit in a huge open plan room with exposed original ceilings.
Give the National Trust website a gander and make your mind up whether you’re going to go visit Dunham Massey. I certainly recommend you do because I know you’ll enjoy yourself.