Monday, 5 August 2019

A Morning at Felley Priory

Hi there everyone 😀

With Martin being off work for three weeks we had kind of decided that we should be able to manage at least one day out a week, amidst the other necessary catching up with chores and appointments.

The plan was that week 1 we would have a big day out on our own, week 2 we would have a day out with mum and dad and week 3 we would finally get to have our day out with Jackie and Phil, to celebrate the boys birthdays from back in March and April. All of course were weather dependent.

We were due to have our big day out on the Thursday of Martin's first week off, following a day at the hospital on Wednesday. We were in a real quandary on where to go ... I really fancied the coast, but we are just so far away and with it being school holidays and due to be about 30° we neither fancied the crowds, nor the traffic.

As it happened we were just about to set off for the hospital on the Wednesday when we had a call confirming that Martin's appointment had been cancelled. Well we were up and about so decided that we would head out on the Wednesday instead. It was due to be just a little bit cooler so thought it might be nicer for wandering around. In the end we opted for visiting a couple of gardens that are included in the Gardeners' World two for one scheme.

We started off at Felley Priory  in Nottinghamshire,which is about 45 minutes away. The plan was to spend the morning there and then head over to Melbourne Hall, near Derby, for the afternoon.

We had absolutely no idea what to expect at Felley Priory, but it is literally half a mile from Junction 27 of the M1, via a very unassuming driveway, with no real indication of what was to come. It really is one of Nottinghamshire's best kept secrets.

We parked up on a fairly small car park and, with no real signage, headed further along the driveway ...
It certainly all looked very intriguing and we couldn't wait to find out what there was to be seen. We carried on along the driveway, passing the house on the right. There is plenty of history to read about the house and its transformation from a small hermitage back in 1156. It is now a beautiful family home and it is just the gardens that are open to the public ...
We spotted a sign for the tea room and nursery and decided we would have a breakfast stop before going any further. To get to the tea room you have to walk through the nursery, which was a real surprise and a lot bigger than we would have expected ... and very well stocked ...


At the other side of the nursery is a little wooden gate ...
... leading to the tea room. If we had been surprised by nursery, we were pretty much in total shock by what we found through that little gate. The tea room was far bigger than we would have expected and there was lots of outside seating ...
I couldn't resist a wander around the garden ...
... before having a look inside, which was lovely ... and the cake looked amazing, but 10.30 in the morning was too early for cake ... yes, even for me. We found a table outside, under the shelter of a marquee and Martin opted for a toasted sandwich and I went for a sausage roll ...
Ready to explore further, it was back through the nursery, where we paid for our garden visit ... just £6 for the two of us, with our Gardeners' World two for one card ... and then across the drive to the entrance of the garden, which is at the back of the house ...
We didn't really know where to head first but ended up opting to walk along the back of the house to start us off ...
The first thing that really caught our eye were these rose arches ...
We carried on a little further and got our first glimpse of the herbaceous borders, which were some of the finest that either of us have ever come across ...
The views out across the garden and on to the open countryside beyond were just lovely. You really wouldn't know you were just half a mile from the M1.

Round the far end of the house we found this ...
Labelled as Romneya Coulteri, it was absolutely stunning and something we'd never come across before.

From here we headed into the White Garden ...
... which was absolutely afroth with gypsophilia and astrantia ...
From here it was into the rose garden, where we were just a little too late to see the roses at their best, but there were more delightful herbaceous borders and we were particularly taken with this, though we aren't sure what it is ...
... and the agapanthus were just amazing ...
We emerged from the Rose Garden at the bottom of those amazing borders that we'd seen earlier on ..


We couldn't resist finding out what lay behind this gate ...
... and made our way through to find ourselves in a small arboretum ...

From the arboretum we made our way along the bottom part of the garden, where we could look back up at the house and the topiary ...



By now the sun was shining and there was plenty of blue sky and I couldn't resist nipping back up to those herbaceous borders to catch them in the sunshine ...

The last part of the garden for us to see was the pond, which was looking very lush and green and we could see the tea room in the background ...
So that was about it ... though we couldn't leave with one last look at those borders ...



We chatted to a fair amount of other visitors whilst wandering round the garden. It was interesting to hear that every single person that we spoke to had been before. Lots recommended visiting in the spring when the daffodils are out ... I've already made a note on my calendar.

We loved this garden and will most definitely visit again ... I can see us becoming regular visitors ... it's not too far away, it has good opening times and the tea room is a real treat.

For now though, it was time to head off to Melbourne Hall for our second visit of the day ... we couldn't imagine it could be as lovely as here though, but I'll tell you all about that in another post 😀

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