Friday, May 18, 2012

Wrest Park

We are having a cold, wet and miserable spring here, but it finally stopped raining at the weekend and Tevye, Rose and myself went on a trip to Wrest Park in Bedfordshire. I had been learning quite a bit about the Wrest Park archives at work which whetted my appetite for a visit. The last time I went there - maybe 15 years ago? - was to an open air classical music concert. Since then English Heritage have done a lot of work restoring the gardens. Now it is a relatively undiscovered gem - one of the most important examples of an early 18th century landscape in the UK. Photos are from my phone, and something has gone peculiar with the sky and clouds between phone, iPad and blogging app. I intended to sort this out, but as I have already been sitting on this post since the beginning of the week I am giving up and posting the pictures as they are.

The house - only a few rooms are open to the public. It has not been lived in as a stately home for several decades. During the war it was the headquarters of a life assurance company, then until quite recently it was used as an agricultural college.

The view from the pavilion to the house - the photo doesn't do it justice. After the long lake there is a huge lawn, part of which was taken up with croquet pitches. We guessed from the layout that they must hold some sort of championships there.

The pavilion. Somehow I didn't take any pictures inside. Narrow doors lead to narrow, steep spiral stairs leading up to two tiny bedrooms and down to a "two seater" bathroom below.

Woodland garden. Grassy lanes lead to statues, follies and summer houses. There is also a cemetery for the family's dogs tucked into one corner.

Chinese bridge. Complete with nesting swan and her mate.

Rose had a lot of fun doing a children's activity trail. Lots of things to draw and to look for.

The orangery.

Rose playing a "help the housekeeper get dinner on the table" version of snakes and ladders. The house has an information area which includes some nice hands on activities for kids.

A view from the edge of the gardens across the Bedfordshire countryside.


Theresa said...

Oh my goodness! How beautiful! And how nice that they have kids activities.

Missus Wookie said...

Looks lovely - and hopefully the garden wasn't too soggy and cold. Fun activities are always a good addition.