Monday, 30 September 2019

Wightwick Manor & Gardens NT - A real Treat!

Hi there everyone ๐Ÿ˜€

A few weeks ago now we were up and about unexpectedly early for a Sunday and, having managed to get the priority job ... of trimming the privet ... ticked off the list, decided to reward ourselves with a sneaky afternoon out.

I'd wanted to visit Wightwick Manor for a while now ... it's about the closest National Trust property to us that we've never visited before and was more than close enough to fit in for an afternoon.
It took a little longer to get there than it should have as we got caught up in a local half marathon so ended up doing a few detours, but we were soon parked up and checked in.

It's a short walk from the car park to the house and the National Trust have done that thing they do so well ... in making sure that you get a really good first reveal of the property ...

It looked absolutely stunning. Unusually for us we hadn't really done any research ahead of our visit and had no idea what to expect ... we were both really surprised at how beautiful and big the manor house was and we couldn't wait to have a closer look ...
 

It looked even more beautiful closer up, with lots of quirky features everywhere we looked. We were really looking forward to seeing inside but first stop ... as ever for us ... was the tea room, where lunch was on the cards, whilst we had a look at the property map and decided our plan of action. We headed round the right side of the house, which really was beautiful from every direction ...
We found the tea room, housed in the old stable block where we enjoyed a really nice lunch and decided where we would head first ...
It will come as no surprise that we chose to start exploring the gardens first, starting with the formal garden, where was still a little late summer colour to be found ...
... along with more lovely views of the manor house ...
From here we made our way to the kitchen garden, which was just lovely ...
It was bursting with all sorts of interesting things to see ... with lots of fabulous looking vegetables ... huge onions lying drying in the sun ...
... fat orange pumpkins ...
... and the most fabulous looking red cabbages ...
There was still plenty in flower too ... more glorious sunflowers ...
... beautiful pink roses, that smelt absolutely divine ...
... rows of bright everlasting flowers ...
... and the biggest dahlias ever ...
From the kitchen garden we headed down past the Grigg House ...
... and found the ancient glacial boulders ...
There were more lovely views of the manor house from here, looking back up through the orchard ...
 
We had a quick look at the upper pool before making our way back up towards the house ...
We took a five minute breather in a small rose garden at the side of the house ...

... before heading for the main entrance ...
Now, if you read my blog regularly, you will know that when we visit these kind of places we never really spend that long inside ... we tend to be drawn to the gardens. This property kind of threw that on its head. Whilst we did enjoy the gardens, we absolutely loved the property. It was really fascinating and laid out really well ... also, there weren't really any bits that you couldn't see, which was a real treat.

As is the norm with this kind of property the rooms were quite dark, with curtains and blinds drawn. We did take a few sneaky peeks outside and it was so easy to get completely disorientated with whereabouts we were in the house, compared to the grounds.

The leaflet guide was really useful, making it clear as to which parts of the house were original, built back in 1887 as a family home, and what was added later ... with a view to impress, and impress it certainly did.

We started in the original drawing room and it was here that I was first hit with my inspiration of all things William Morris ...
Not that I haven't come across William Morris fabrics and wallpapers before, but this property really does show them off to their best.

There were plenty of beautiful cut flowers, presumably from the kitchen garden, bringing a fresh, spring feel to what may have otherwise felt a little gloomy ...
We saw the library, which was also part of the original building ...
... with more bright and cheery blooms from the garden ...
... and the original breakfast room ...
It was at this point that we made our way through the original hallway and into the Great Parlour, which was added, along with billiard and dining room, in 1893. It was designed to impress and it absolutely did what it says on the tin ... it was truly spectacular ... a huge space, complete with minstrels gallery ...
... and a beautiful, huge, yet cosy inglenook fireplace ...
From here it was through into the billiard room ... again, pretty spectacular ...
Then there was the formal dining room, with a serving hatch to its own serving kitchen ...
Next we got to see upstairs ... the guest bedrooms and bathrooms and the day and night nurseries ...
It was then down the back stairs ...
... to the Turkish bath ... very unusual apparently for a private house in the 19th century, with this being only one of two in National Trust houses ... the other being in Cragside in Northumberland, which is also a fabulous property to visit ...
Now I know this isn't the best of photos but I really just had to capture this wallpaper, which was my absolute favourite ...
It was then through the servants hall ...
... and scullery ...
... before coming back out into the sunshine.

We still weren't quite done ... there was a quick wander round the second hand bookshop and a good look at the plant sales and, whilst tempted, we did manage to resist ...
I couldn't resist in the gift shop though and I have to confess that a couple pieces of William Morris fabric may have been purchased ... it was just so pretty ๐Ÿ˜€

The last thing for us to see was the bridge over the road, which is a copy of the Mathematical Bride in Cambridge ... whatever that might be ...
There wasn't much to see on the other side of it, but it did give another lovely view of the house on the walk back ...
So, that was about it for us and we made our way back across the terrace at the front of the house ...
... and back down to the car ...

We'd had the loveliest of afternoons and I was leaving feeling truly inspired. Wightwick Manor & Gardens may just be one of my favourite National Trust properties ever and not necessarily what I would have been expecting to find a stone's throw from the centre of Wolverhampton ๐Ÿ˜€

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