I was going to upload this yesterday, but my parents didn't leave until about 6pm, and then, well, I wanted to sit on my bottom and eat loads of chocolate really, but now here I am, to present to you the first "Ginger's Jollies" post! Yippee!
These posts will be about places of interest I've visited and generally travel-ly type posts. (Hey! I just invented a new word! Woohoo.)
So. Let us begin!
Yesterday was Easter Sunday here in merry old England! As is tradition on Bank Holiday weekends here...it rained! However, my parents and I decided we'd brave the weather and head out to look at Speke Hall.
Speke Hall is in...well..it's in Speke, and Speke is in South Liverpool. Speke Hall is quite close to the John Lennon Airport, and is quite easy to find (if you have a reliable satnav. My Mum's decided to take us to the completely wrong place. My iPhone rescued the day. Thank you Apple!)
Speke Hall is a modestly sized manor house and grounds that belonged to the Norris family, although the site dates back to the Anglo-Saxon era. The Norris family rose to power in the Tudor times, and Sir William Norris Snr (there were two), built the house for his gigantic family! (He had 19 children!!) It has been added to since then (mainly by the Victorians.)
The Hall is in the middle of the estate and is surrounded by grounds and gardens. There is the obligatory gift shop, and a Home Farm restaurant on site that serves local produce if you get a bit peckish!
There are buses that run to Liverpool Airport (about 1 mile away), and also rail services to Liverpool South Parkway (about 2 miles away).
Speke Hall is usually open 11am-5pm, though times seems to change to 11am-4pm in the Winter months, and some days it's scheduled to not be open at all. I'd definitely check opening times with Speke Hall directly before you go to make sure you aren't disappointed!
Prices vary depending on what you want to do. For example, you can pay to just be admitted to the house and grounds, the whole property, or have a house upgrade (although, I'm not really sure what that means!) It costs £9 each for my Mum, Dad and myself to go yesterday, and that included admittance to Speke Hall, the grounds and gardens, and a guided tour of the grounds too...
|A stream we found on a walk through the woods!|
ParkingIt's free, and there's quite a lot of it! Yay!
At Speke Hall there is a children's play area. There are also quiz sheets that children can do as they visit the house and grounds. Yesterday, there was an Easter Egg Hunt going on! I don't know if there are events like that all year round, so it might be worth contacting Speke Hall to find out if you're interested! There are also baby changing facilities, and baby slings and "hip carrying infant seats" for loan (You can't take prams/pushchairs into the house.)
Speke Hall is very pretty, and has a lot of history. The staff are quite knowledgeable about the house's history, and always willing to answer your questions and give you extra information about the house/grounds, and the Norris family. The gardens are very pretty, and there is lots of space to run around in.
The tour was really informative, and we got lots of extra information that otherwise we might have missed. The staff get stuck in too, and dress up in costumes to add to the authenticity.
The grounds are pretty. There is quite a lot of lawn which would be good for the summer months when you can sit outside and have a picnic (and maybe a cheeky Pimms!) Walking through the wooded bits are lovely too, even though there isn't much of them!
|Spring colours starting to appear in the grounds|
The noise was a big one for me. I LOVE my history, especially the Tudors, and when I visit a stately home, I like to imagine myself as lady of the manor, and the noise made that difficult. But, Speke Hall is right next to the airport, so the noise was inevitable.
This isn't really a con, but Speke Hall isn't big really, at all! In comparison to some of the stately homes I've visited it's tiny, and the grounds are quite small too. We set off for a walk that we thought would be about 30 minutes, and we were back round to the house in 10! It's still a lovely house, I just don't want to be deceptive and say it's big, when, it's not!
The tours get booked up - and fast. We couldn't get on to a guided house tour yesterday. They were all fully booked. The house tours run at regular intervals in the morning, so if you want one, go early!!
Speke Hall was a good day out, and overall, quite a hidden gem set amongst a city backdrop. It reminded me of being back in the country, and it was good to feel like I was getting some fresh air (even though it was only about 20 minutes from my house.)
I think I would go back to Speke Hall, but in the summer when the weather's a bit nicer and you might want to stay a bit longer. We all had a good time yesterday, but I think when it's a bit busier, Speke Hall might have a different feel to it!
Definitely a place to visit if you like your historical houses!
More information can be found here: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/speke-hall/
or telephone: 0151 427 7231