YOUR BLOGS |What the red head said: A review of Charlecote Park

We’re always keen find out what people love about Charlecote, what they enjoyed most on their visit and whether a return visit is on the cards! So we were thrilled when Donna of ‘What the red head said wrote about her visit to our special place…

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On our way home from Scotland we wanted to find somewhere to stop, to stretch our legs and get lunch. Our first thought when we need a stop like this is National Trust, as we have membership, it always works out as an enjoyable and affordable day out.

Image : What the Red Head said

Image : What the Red Head said

Charlecote Park is a beautiful, traditional looking building situated in gorgeous grounds with land full of deer, a river and lots of places to walk and have a picnic including formal gardens.

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Charlecote Manor Revisited

We originally read this blog last year just before our busy summer season was drawing to a close. It didn’t seem right to share then as we were preparing the close the house for winter. Now we’re readying ourselves for another season and soon to throw the doors open again, it seems a more appropriate time to share.

Cindy visited us in October and took some photos as she toured the site. We’ll hand over to her, and she can – through the medium of her blog – reacquaint you with Charlecote…

 Charlecote Park is located just outside of Stratford-on-Avon and it isn’t far from us, so we decided to visit again.

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The road leading up to Charlecote is quite a long walk, but transportation is provided for you if you need it and can’t walk that far. It isn’t that long, but for people with walking difficulties, they have vehicles to take you to the manor house.

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Getting ready to enter the gatehouse, then to the courtyard in front of Charlecote Manor.

(Remember, in England, always bring your umbrella!)

Read more here <Charlecote Manor Revisited>

Our house re-opens on 15 February. Be sure to check our website for opening times and prices. We look forward to welcoming you back soon!

National Trust challenge!

What have you got planned for 2014? Have you set yourself some resolutions for the year ahead? What about a challenge you’ve always wanted to complete? How about this…

The Challenge: to visit all National Trust properties in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

This is a challenge that one National Trust member (blogging under the name ‘cboyle71′)  has set themselves and they’re already well into their adventure having completed dozens of visits already!

Why?

The ‘why’ of this challenge is a slightly complicated question. I think the inspiration first came from the thought that I was just simply not taking enough holidays! I go on several weekend breaks with friends each year but take very few extended holidays, having always been a little reluctant to travel alone for any length of time and apprehensive about travelling abroad by myself. As a result, I thought that perhaps it was time to take a few holidays in the UK, which I might be better able to tackle alone.

And this led me on to the NT. As a child, I went on many holidays around Britain, which always included numerous visits to stately homes and gardens, so there was something comforting and familiar about the idea. Somehow, I think I will find it easier to take the plunge into solo holidays if I have a specific plan in place before I go.

That is not to say that I plan on doing this whole challenge on my own! I already have visits to Dorset and Kent properties lined up with friends over the next couple of months and I will be happy to welcome other friends and relatives who might want to accompany me at any time… although they should be warned that I intend to cover every property in as much detail as I can, with the inclusion of as many on-site cafés and second-hand bookshops as possible!

They have already visited Charlecote, coming to see us in September last year, you can read more about that visit and more on the National Trust challenge blog.

No rest for the wicked. A day after Hughenden, I was let loose on the Cotswolds and headed to Charlecote Park. This was my first property classified in the Midlands region so I’m counting that as another milestone – I need to give myself milestones so I feel I’m making progress, even though I’m still just over a twentieth of the way through the challenge!

Charlecote was another repeat visit although I last came on a Wednesday when the house wasn’t open so that first time didn’t really count. On arrival, my first port of call (after the toilet, that is!) was the gatehouse where I gathered with some other interested folk to listen to a welcome talk. I can’t stress enough how useful these talks are as an introduction to a property and the Charlecote version was no exception, giving me some helpful background and some anecdotes about the Lucy family, particularly those members of the clan who have shaped the house and grounds.

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‘Part of the impressive pietra dura table in the Great Hall (not too dissimilar to my parents’ placemats!)’

Rad more < 13. Charlecote Park – 24/9/2013 >

Diary of a House Elf: Winter Cleaning at Charlecote and Dust busting at Anglesey Abbey

As you will no doubt be aware if you’ve been reading this blog for a while or visiting National Trust places, winter is a time where our house elves are incredibly busy. The doors to our grand house may be closed but inside it is a hive of activity. But what is going on?

Winter is the time we ‘put the house to bed’, carrying out conservation tasks and checking inventories. Our House Elves have been building scaffolding and moving it round the house. All this for the simplest of jobs such as taking nets down to wash!

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Our conservation room turned into a laundry this week when the nets from the staircase were washed and ironed.

The House Elves hide out: the conservation-come-laundry room

The House Elves hide out: the conservation-come-laundry room

We came across this post from our colleagues at Anglesey Abbey and thought it might be of interest to you too…

Most of us are familiar with running a duster round the shelves and giving the carpet a quick vacuum – but how do you look after a 40 room house, packed with precious artefacts, which welcomes over 80,000 visitors through its doors every year?

Here at the National Trust, we face many challenges when it comes to cleaning our houses, but the types of challenges are not so different from yours or mine at home – they’re just on a slightly larger scale!

Take Anglesey Abbey for example, the former home of the 1st Lord Fairhaven, where the house conservation team (made up of staff and volunteers) spend a busy few months during the winter, inspecting and cleaning everything from floor to ceiling.

We use the winter months as an opportunity to check each item for signs of damage and record anything we find so it can continue to be monitored.

At the same time we’re busy cleaning items – the aim, to stop dust collecting. Dust can be abrasive, acidic or alkaline. It is also hydroscopic (attracts and holds moisture) and harbours and feeds pests, hence why we try so hard to stop it gathering. And it’s no easy task, last year we vacuumed up over 2000lbs of dust at Anglesey Abbey!

Read more < Dust busting at Anglesey Abbey >