Thursday 6 June 2013

Visit to Audley End House and Gardens

Earlier this week we visited Audley En House and Gardens in Essex.  As English Heritage Members this house was free for us and the kids to visit, so we thought we would go and take a look.

The house is an enormous and imposing Jacobean Manor House with extensive grounds and various gardens.

This is a view of the house from the back with landscaped colour coordinated (blue and purple) gardens.

This is the front off the house.  We had to book ourselves onto a 30 minute guided tour to be able to see inside the house.  We were not allowed to take any pictures and the tour, guided by a rather taciturn lady, was over quite quickly.  The house is beautifully restored inside with so much to see.  I particularly loved the library which held over 2,500 old books.  There were also galleries full of stuffed animals, mainly birds which had the children fascinated.  Little Man's holiday project had been on the toucan bird, so he was very impressed when he spotted one.

Once the tour was over we went back to exploring the grounds.  There was a river with lots of very friendly ducks and this beautiful black swan.

This building felt like a church, but I didn't get to find out what it was.

The grounds also contained stables.  There were no horses in the stables on the day that we visited, but there were activities for them to engage in: dressing up, saddles to sit on, some interactive information screens and a very old fire engine.

This reminds me of my abaya and cropped jacket (I think everyone should still dress like this, okay so maybe not the top hat)

Also on the grounds were a children's play area and an organic kitchen garden which was my hands down favourite part of the visit (separate post on that as I took lots of pictures).  The blue and purple theme popped up around other parts of the grounds too.

I managed to find a lovely secluded place to pray my midday prayer.  It was a lovely shaded spot and felt so peaceful and serene.  Afterwards I sat with Gorgeous in my lap enjoying the peace.

I enjoyed the well-taken care of parts of the grounds, but even moreso the more secluded spots with their enormous trees and in particular the waterfall.

I really enjoyed my day at Audley End, I felt relaxed and really enjoyed the grounds and gardens.  The house was a disappointment.  Despite being beautiful and interesting  the tour was over very quickly and the guide was a a bit abrupt and it felt as if we were inconveniencing her.    If we had paid full price for the whole family, I probably would have gone elsewhere, but as we don't have to pay for the next 13 months or so, I will probably be visiting again.

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