Sunday, 19 May 2013

Lyme Park - National Trust - A day out May 18th 2013

Lyme Park is a National Trust property near Disley which is south of Manchester in England.

We visited on 18th May 2013 and it was forecast rain.

We set off at about 11.15am and the rain hadn't really started but we had prepared ourselves with waterproof coats and wellies and boots.
A packed lunch and flask of coffee were spread across our various rucksacks and we set off in the car.
I had a general idea which direction to go and decided not to look on a website for the directions, thinking that my sat nav would be able to find it as a point of interest. 3 miles into our journey I typed into the sat nav 'Lyme Park' as a point of interest and the search found nothing! Marvelous.
I then went online with my smartphone and found the directions for a car on their website, which were very unhelpful with the detailed instruction of

entrance on A6 only
Parking: 200 yards from house
Sat-Nav: stay on A6

I cut and pasted it, to show you.

That was it.  Ok, but how do you get to the A6?
So I had to look it up again on my phone for a post code to be able to enter it in my sat nav.
The postcode was on the previous page showing visitor information, but it would have been  useful to be written with the info that I cut and pasted above.
The detail I needed is here in case you need it and don't wish to go through what I had to go through.:
 Disley, Stockport, SK12 2NR

Anyway, we arrived, oh 1 more thing as we almost arrived, the sat nav was counting me down to the last 200 yards and I could see the entrance. My wife the passenger thought the entrance was the turning just before and assumed I wasn't slowing down enough for the turning and started freaking out that I was going to turn a sharp right at 30 miles an hour. Quite amusing afterwards, when she had calmed down.
The entrance to Lyme park starts off with a hut in the road and a NT volunteer asking for £5 for the car park but because we are members we don't have to pay. He handed us a leaflet and an audio cd which we put into the car cd player and we were given a nice introduction to Lyme Park as we drove down the driveway.
The long drive down to the house is through some really nice countryside and is about a mile long, but the mist was coming down and made it difficult to see very far. Considering this is the middle of May the weather was cold and damp and not very pleasant.
We arrived at the car park and the cd was timed to perfection and the voiceover said to continue playing it on our departure.
We were meeting our friends there, the same friends that we had gone to Brimham rocks with 2 weeks previously and if you have read that post you will have seen a photo of Ann's leg in plaster after snapping her achilles tendon. So now she is in a wheelchair with crutches draped alongside.
Gary and I took turns to push Ann up the big hill from the car park. We could have used the shuttle service but it looked more fun to push the chair, so we did that. We also discussed what the journey down was going to be like and how loud the screams would be as she hurtled down.
We got to the top of the hill and it was quite tiring for Gary and I.
We entered the front of the big house and had to get our tickets to be able to walk around the house and gardens. (We didn't do the gardens in the end, we ran out of time).
The entrance to the house is up a flight of steps and Ann in the wheelchair was faced with a dilemma. A NT volunteer said that there was an entrance through the gardens that she could go through but would have to be escorted by a member of staff. We, the able bodied were told to go out of the back entrance (the garden entrance) and to turn right and right again and we could join up with Ann in her wheelchair, so off we went into the mist and around the corner to be faced with a large wire fence and gate that was padlocked, we were told that someone would let us through. After 2 minutes waiting separated by the fence, I said that this was ridiculous and we walked back around the way we had come and met up with Ann again. The NT volunteer wanted to know why we weren't waiting near the locked gate and I was quite sharp with her sayng that there was no need to split us up and we should just go through the same entrance as Ann.
In the end Ann got fed up of waiting for her escort and grabbed her crutches and hopped up the steps.

In the house.

The house is a lovely stately home and was/is home to the Legh family.
It is the usual grand Edwardian style that is familiar to us, just like all the other stately homes we've visited.
The rooms are full of dark old paintings that look like they need restoring and lightening up a bit.
We had great fun in one of the rooms where you can dress up in period costumes, kids and adults alike and we spent at least an hour in that one room trying on all the costumes. We had a laugh.
The costumes in that room where there for use in that one long room and on a small stage that was there, but in the porters room, there were more costumes of better quality that you could dress up in with the help of a volunteer and these were proper clothes and not cheap imitations like in the stage room.
Our kids got dressed up in the costumes in the porters' lodge which they could wear to walk around the whole house and gardens if they wished. There were quite a few visitors (adults) who were wandering about dressed in edwardian clothes and looked the part.
The lady volunteer in the changing room said that she loved her job and liked to stay in that particular area because all the visitors always had a beaming smile on them when they were dressed up.
For our disabled visitor, Ann, the house was quite hard work. There are lots of staircases both up and down and the down steps where the trickiest ones because of her crutches, so she had to shuffle down on her bottom, which generated some looks from the other visitors, who wouldn't have realised at first what she was up to.

For our lunch which we had very late we located the indoor picnic area. The picnic area was down at the bottom of the car park and near the children's play area which looked fabulous and extensive.
The wheelchair journey down the hill was uneventful and didn't involve a screaming Ann hurtling out of control as we had envisaged.
The picnic area was undercover as the threatened rain had just started as a very fine drizzle and we were able to keep dry, whilst we ate jam and cream scones which Diane had made that morning. They were delicious.
At the end of the day we decided we had better get going and leave, because we had booked a horse riding hack nearby and need to be there for 5pm. The drive back along the drive was suddenly made very exciting by the hundreds and hundreds of deer which were grazing by the roadside. I have never seen so many deer and so close to the road as well.
The voiceover that you can hear on the video is the cd that we were given by Lyme Park and it's the quiz that is playing as we found the deer.
Hundreds of deer by the roadside - Lyme Park
Later when we went to the farm for the hack, we came across another deer next to a gate and I was able to get right up to it and stroke it's ears and muzzle. In one day I had two different deer experiences, which is quite unusual.

Anyway that's all I'm writing now so please make a comment and share this blog on your social networks. Facebook or twitter or google plus.

Misty in May over the gardens of Lyme

same costume man and boy

same costume man and boy

looking in the mirror

the hat is a bit too small

Add caption

moody soldier

ecky thump

oh dear a tame dear

a massive rabbit

off on the hack

A bit like caravanning but wetter
The blurb from NT's website....

Glorious house, surrounded by gardens, moorland and deer park

Welcome to Lyme Park. Nestling on the edge of the Peak District, Lyme Park was once home to the Legh family and, in its heyday a great sporting estate.
Step back in time to the Edwardian era - Lyme's 'Golden Era'. Enjoy lavish interiors, try out the piano, read a book in the library, or take the children to dress up on the stage. Delicate items restrict the opportunities for photography but the stage in the Long Gallery can be used to take pictures of visitors of all ages in fabulous fancy dress.
The 1,300 acre estate with its medieval herd of red and fallow deer offers fantastic walks and stunning views.
For a more tranquil walk explore the Edwardian rose garden, ravine garden or luxurious herbaceous borders next to the reflecting lake where a certain Mr Darcy met Miss Bennett in the BBC production of 'Pride and Prejudice'.
Children can let off steam in Crow Wood Playscape with its giant slide, badger den and rope walks, whilst the nearby Timber Yard Coffee Shop offers delicious hot and cold snacks, soups and range of cakes.