After stepping out of our apartment on a beautiful, sunny afternoon, we buckled up and began our journey to Dunham Massey.
The sun shone powerfully in our eyes, while its rays tingled our skin. It felt like it was the first day of spring. I’ve been in the mood for a day trip for quite some time – but in typical British fashion, the weather had somewhat managed to successfully dampen our spirits (and days). After hearing we would be in for a treat at the weekend and after a little browse on the National Trust website, Dunham Massey seemed like a great destination for a little day out.
Dunham Massey is steeped in history. Built back in 1616, the hall and grounds have been transformed throughout the years and was extensively remodelled by John Norris in 1732 – 40 for the second Earl of Warrington. In fact during the First World War, the hall was used as an auxiliary hospital for wounded soldiers. Today, it prides itself on being “a garden for all seasons, an ancient deer park and a house full of treasures and stories”.
As usual as soon as we arrived, our bellies began to grumble. We saw lots of families enjoying picnics around the site and wish we had brought our own – a lesson learnt for the next visit! Rather than searching for a place nearby, we settled with grabbing a sandwich and sweet treat from the cafe. It was quite hectic but once we sat down and enjoyed our lunch al fresco, the busy atmosphere soon settled.
Once we finished lunch, we grabbed our cameras and started snapping away. We crossed the bridge and found ourselves passing through a gate which led to the deer park. Apparently deers roam freely around the ground which was something I found really cool – totally channeling my inner Eliza Thornberry!
As we wandered through the grounds, I couldn’t help but look around. It was so picturesque. The intrinsic detail of the historical statues and picture-perfect scenery was something to be deeply admired. It had such a great sense of character and felt a million miles away from Manchester.
After we had a little stroll through the grounds, past the stables and mill , we thought it would be the perfect time to indulge in an ice cream. The queue was long. It’s probably the longest queue I’ve ever waited in for ice cream. But it was totally worth it. Rich, creamy and smooth ice cream was just what we wanted and exactly what we got. We also spotted the coolest, little pug – just chillin’.
By this point the clouds began to claim the sky and as the sun sank away, we made our way into Dunham Massey’s garden. Having just paid for the garden tour, we were excited at what would be in store behind the classic, white gates.
Hundreds of flowers and plants decorate the winter garden with pretty colours to be seen everywhere in sight. With every twist and turn along the gravel footpath, I saw a huge variety of flowers I’ve never seen before. The vast plots of land were speckled with peach coloured flowers and daffodils were beginning to bloom.
After passing down a little lane, we found ourselves on a bench and it reminded me so much of the scene in Notting Hill with Hugh Grant & Julia Roberts when they were relaxing in the park. A short walk later we found ourselves strolling nearby the chicken coop before passing by some ducks! It can totally see how it is such a great place for children – to run around, breath in the fresh air and meet a few chickens along the way.
It was only when we left the winter garden that we noticed how enormous the grounds were. Apparently the listed hall is set in 3,000 acres of grounds so there is certainly plenty to explore. I could see the fields roll on for miles and it only made me want to continue our adventure for even longer.
The garden was a great place to explore and generally relax in. We were stunned by the classic beauty of the house itself and the little gems throughout the grounds. It was quite a poignant moment when we stood facing the house from across the lake. Had we ventured a little further, I feel my hopes of spotting a deer would have been greater. But unfortunately the grey clouds had covered the sky and the weather began to take a turn for the worse. It was time to call it a day.
As we left the park, reflecting on what a blissful day it was, we couldn’t help but wonder about all the history that echoes throughout Dunham Massey and all the stories that have never been told and remain a secret even today.