A couple of weeks back on a murky Sunday I persuaded Mr M that we should take a drive out to the motored manor house that is Baddesley Clinton. Mr M was much more enthusiastic about ‘getting things done around our house’ (the same things we do every Sunday that seem to need doing again by Monday), but I was keen to get out and enjoy our one day of the week that we get to spend together.
Naturally, I won, and so we threw on our wellies and raincoats and drove the twenty minutes to The Forest of Arden. We took out National Trust membership earlier this year but I forgot our membership cards (duh). Luckily the nice man at reception believed us and let us through.
Baddesley Clinton is a medieval moated house with a fascinating history. Home to the Ferrers family for 500 years, the house served as a refuge for Catholic priests facing persecution in Tudor times. Being a bit of a history boff myself (I like to think), I loved hearing from the tour guides the stories and seeing for myself the ‘priest hides’ down the toilet shaft. Mr M was just happy to get warm I think, and Taylor just wanted to eat all of the herbs that are out on display in the ‘Tudor kitchen’…
The Great Hall is dominated by a magnificent stone chimney place and there are various records and relics to discover. From here we visited all the other rooms including the drawing room, the chapel, library and Henry Ferrers’ bedroom, and tour guides were on hand to give us an overview of the history and answer our questions. The house was personally my favourite out of the National Trust properties we’ve visited so far – I liked how intimate it feels and you can really imagine how it used to be as a family home.
After our house tour, we headed over to the Barn Restaurant, where they had a range of warming hearty meals on offer. I opted for the lasagna, which was delicious. Dave had already eaten but couldn’t resist the chocolate brownie – Taylor also had a couple of nibbles! The canteen is lovely and bright and the chefs use as many ingredients as possible from the Baddesley Clinton vegetable garden.
There’s an idyllic courtyard at the front of the restaurant which I imagine would be perfect to sit in during the summer – not surprisingly it wasn’t ‘sitting out’ weather in November! In the courtyard there’s also a Plant Centre where you can purchase garden accessories and furniture, as well as quality plants and herbs.
Unfortunately we didn’t get to see the gardens as it was so cold and wet, plus Taylor was getting pretty grumpy so we decided to call it a day. But we will definitely be returning in the summer months to take a walk through the woodland nature trail and around the lake. There’s also a formal walled garden with flower borders and fruit trees and various vegetable gardens to explore.
All in all we had a lovely afternoon, but as is often the case with England – it would be better in the summer!
What’s your favorite National Trust place to visit?