My parents have now gone home, and a sense of normality has returned, more or less. We’re heading off on Sunday ourselves, going camping down at the very far South West of Cornwall, so I need to start packing and preparing for that. However I thought I’d share what we did yesterday with my parents as we had a lovely day out at Lanhydrock, a National Trust-owned stately home about an hour’s drive away. We and my parents are all National Trust members, so it worked out at a pretty cheap day out as the entry was free. I have to confess, we tend to visit more of the “coast and country” kind of National Trust properties than the stately home kind of properties, but I like a change too and my Mum really wanted to visit this one as they have some William Morris rooms, which she loves. So, we packed a picnic and went.
It was a bit of a wet day, which turned out to be ideal for wandering around a house, but not so much for the picnic. Luckily we managed to find a spot near the entrance under cover to eat it. There’s a great adventure playground here which Lucy got a short go on before it got too wet to be safe. To get to the house itself you have to walk through some of the parkland, a pleasant walk as the rain cleared up. The park is pretty large; you could spend a day just walking round it – or hire bicycles and explore it that way. I would have liked to see more of it – maybe we can go back again some time and do this.
The house was originally Elizabethan but restored heavily in the nineteenth century after a fire. I’m annoyed with myself because I didn’t manage to take any photos of the whole house – the one at the top of this post is just of the gatehouse. Once you get inside, you walk through a succession of rooms including the formal parts of the house as well as the servants’ areas. We found the William Morris wallpaper pretty quickly, much to my Mum’s delight.
I have to admit, I found the “below stairs” areas more interesting than the posh dining rooms and drawing rooms and so on. I loved seeing the old kitchen and dairy and pastry room and so on. I think the enforced class divisions make me a bit uncomfortable, although from the information we read about the house, it seems the family who lived here treated their servants very well and looked after them.
Upstairs, we saw bedrooms and dressing rooms. There was even a school room and a nursery for the family’s many children – I think they had 9 or even 10 to look after.
My eye was naturally caught by the old patchwork quilt in the nursemad’s room. I know exactly how much effort is needed to make little hexagonal patches and sew them together so I was really impressed with this and how long it must have taken to make.
When we’d finished looking at the house, we took a stroll round the gardens and the small church behind the house. Lucy enjoyed rolling about on the grass, for some reason she really liked the small, gentle slopes in the lawns. We were more interested in enjoying the flowers.
It was starting to get late so we decided to head home, but taking a more meandering walk through the parkland than on the way in. Lucy enjoyed climbing some of te huge trees that we found. OK, I’ll admit it, Clive and I did too, not being able to resist a good strong tree to climb.
Despite the rain in the morning, this was a great day out. I’d like to come back when Lucy’s more confident on a bicycle and hire some to ride around as that looked like a lot of fun. My memories of visiting this kind of place as a kid is that they were fairly dry, but the National Trust seem to have gone to a lot of effort to make such places more child-friendly, and Lucy seemed to really enjoy the day, as much as we did. Definitely worth visiting if you’re in Cornwall and want something a bit different to beaches and fishing villages.