Sunday, May 25, 2008

Time Out

We made the decision, given the dire weather forecast for both Sunday and Monday - yes, it's Bank Holiday again - that yesterday would be the best day to venture out. We have National Trust membership that is due to run out in July; as we can't afford to renew it we will have to let it go. So we have decided that over the next month we will try to re-visit some of the National Trust properties that are not too far away - we have to conserve petrol - for one last time. First up is Sudbury Hall.

Although very windy Saturday was actually quite warm and sunny. I always enjoy visiting Sudbury Hall as there is plenty of parking and an easy walk to the property - if you can't walk very well there is a covered buggy to run you up to the site. We took refreshments with us, although there is a tea room on site, so after a quick coffee we set out to walk to the Hall. As the Hall itself didn't open until 1p.m. we went around the gardens first. Below is a photo of the opposite side of the Hall taken from the lakeside.

Built by Sir George Vernon in the second half of the 17th century, on the site of an older manor house, it has ornate decoration both inside and out with much wood carving and ceiling paintings in the interior. It also boasts a beautiful long gallery on the upper floor with raised areas for sitting in the double windows you can see on this side of the hall in the photo above. The long gallery and the white carved staircase were used as the interior of Mr Darcy's home Pemberley for the 1995 BBC production of Jane Austen's 'Pride and Prejudice' - yes, that one! As we were walking around the ground floor of the hall we were accompanied by lovely piano music. A young woman arrived to play just as we reached the music room so we were lucky to hear her.

After our stroll around the garden and churchyard we went into the Museum of Childhood which is housed in the Victorian part of the hall. It has been refurbished since our last visit and both children and adults were having a wonderful time. The displays are much improved and there is a fascinating display of three 'period' bedrooms upside down on the ceiling. As we looked up the attendant said to me that she felt old as she could remember all three eras - 1940s, 70s and 90s. After the museum we walked back to the car and found a picnic table where we could eat our lunch and then we walked back to visit the hall itself. I love the colours in the interior, the slub greens and yellows on the walls and in the bedrooms the pale green or navy and white flowered wallpapers.

Before we left we had a little walk in the village of Sudbury. There was a cricket match on the field at the side of The Vernon Arms and a game of bowls on the pitch opposite it. The village is lucky to still have a post office and shop.

And also a village school with lovely wisteria around the door. It must be wonderful to go to school here.


  1. I was quickly scrolling down after reading to see if there were photos of the interior of the 'Hall', but I imagine that you werent allowed to take photos inside?
    Beautiful school entrance. Probably the kids dont value the ambiance the Wisteria gives their lovely old school, as much as adults would. However, when I look back on my childhood, it was the feel and sometimes smell of places that over time infused me with a love of old history filled buildings and houses.
    Lovely post.

  2. It's years since I last went to Sudbury, I'd forgotten how pretty the village is - the school is lovely with that wisteria though I imagine that lois is right and the children won't appreciate it until they are grown up and looking back nostalgically.

  3. I loved the long gallery and the library. I also have a vague recollection of a collection of puppets, one of which appeared to have been based on a gentleman in one of the photographs in the nursery.It could be that I am completely mixed up!

  4. Now stop it. You're making me homesick.Sudbury Hall was another place I regularly visited years ago. I still use a book mark all the time that I bought there in 1985 and often look at it and and smile. They used to have a chimney for children to climb up. My sons used to love visit and go up it.