It seems like ages since I have posted on the blog and that is because I have been sorting out some hosting and getting the back end of things sorted so that I can make the blog look nicer and run smoother – what do you reckon so far?
Anyway, that’s not really what I’m here for and you don’t want to know the ins and outs of the hosting, uploading of WordPress etc…so you?
At the weekend, we decided that it would be a good time to catch up with my Mum and Dad (and to treat them to lunch for taking care of the kitties while we holiday so often!) and they chose Arley Hall as it has been absolutely AGES since we have all visited. (To be honest, Jit and I haven’t been since our first and only trip together where we went to the shop to pay entry boldly and happily holding the tenner we expected to get change from only to end up standing in shock at the price and paying by card instead! – I’ll share more about the cost later anyway)
We wanted to get some morning walking in before we met up so it was a case of hunting for a nice easy circular that would get us going and take us back in time for meeting. I found this one on the Visit Cheshire website – leading from the (free) walkers’ car park, through Arley and into Great Budworth. It is through fields and on roads so a good variety of things to see.
Unfortunately, time wasn’t on our side as we had kind of forgotten about the 45 minute drive to get to Arley from our house, which meant that we only had about 50 minutes walking time. Not that it was going to stop us – we’re always up for a walk, even if it’s just to see where it is and give it a go. So we settled into the car park (which is on the left shortly before you reach the Arley entrance. It is small but can fit around 4 or 5 carefully parked cars) then headed onto the restricted byway.
The beginning of the walk is through rather dense and overgrown field – so I would recommend something good covering your legs if you go now and is beautifully calm and peaceful – definitely somewhere you’re unlikely to bump into other wanderers!
Being that we were short of time, we just headed in until we hit Hollies Farm, which was perfect for creating a mini circular down the side roads and back onto Arley Road, which takes you straight to the Hall and Gardens. It may not seem like you’d be able to see much on a 3 mile walk, but this one is pretty good – a stream, crop fields and an immense sky! What more could you want from a quickie? 😉
And so into Arley Hall we wandered.
Here’s the link I mentioned to poor Jit and I on our first and last visit here. We were blissfully unaware about how expensive it is to visit Arley Hall. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for preserving heritage and fully understand the cost involved, but when you compare this to National Trust prices, you would be forgiven for reacting in the same shocked way we did. Luckily on this occasion, my Dad paid the £50.50 fee to get me, Jit and my “OAP” parents in.
Lunch was first on the cards, and of course some water after our speedy trek, which was in the apparently new and refreshed so I was holding my hopes high for a delicious vegetarian option. I was not wrong! The tart was delicious and I got a scoop of salad included for free. For four of us to eat the bill was only £35!! (although, as we chatted, that is cheap if you don’t have to pay to get to the cafe!!)
With the weather being a bit interchangeable, we decided to visit the house first to let things settle. Unfortunately, no photography is allowed inside the house, so I have very little to share on that basis. Although, if you do go, make sure you hunt out the little en suite in the bedroom!!
Unfortunately, unlike the National Trust, there is very little information available in the rooms to learn about them. There is usually one laminated sheet of large print info, but none of them shared about the vast amount of paintings, which was a shame as they bring so much character and story to the property.
Factoid of the post is that the 1990’s game show Cluedo was filmed here – with Jerry Hall as Miss Scarlett! The joys of growing up in the North West in the 90’s – even the smallest thing about somewhere being fimed for TV was a big thing!
Anyhoo, the gardens are a lot larger than they look and if you love your plants and green space, they really are worth a look around, it is also big enough to get a bit lost and I loved that there are little nooks and crannies where you can vanish from sight and discover little lesser seen features. The perennial border at this time of year is spectacular too!
Even with the grey skies, the gardens were able to brighten the scene with the gorgeous array of bright flowers, expanse of luscious green grass and Cheshire pink paths. It takes just enough time to build up a bit of an appetite for cake and tea too – which are also delicious from the cafe!
Arley is a lovely area and definitely worth a visit if you’re nearby. Despite the price, I think that once in a while it is a good place to visit as it can be a relaxed afternoon of wandering and exploring. On the other hand, I will definitely be back for the countryside part of our trip. The circular walk promises to be a good time with a could of hours to spare and a flask and picnic on our backs.
Of course, I’ll get some photographs of the walk and share them with you here. Just time to plan the next trip now!
Have you been to Arley, what are your thoughts?
Until next time, keep walking and enjoy some cake on your adventures!!