Adventures with the National Trust #3 – Kedleston Hall

It occurred to me the other day that I haven’t done a National Trust post in ages. In fact, I’m so behind with my posting that I’ve actually been to the featured venue in this post twice, and I haven’t even mentioned it once. So, this post is going to be a bit of a mash-up of my visits to Kedleston Hall.

I first visited Kedleston with the girls way, way back in March. The weather was absolutely miserable and I felt really sorry for an orienteering group that were there that day. It poured with rain all day.

There’s plenty to see and do at Kedleston. There is, of course, the Hall itself. Parts of the Kiera Knightley film “The Duchess” were filmed here and you can see why. The sweeping grounds and elaborate interiors are exactly the kind of thing you’d expect to find in a period drama. There is also the All Saints church, a shop, a restaurant and the pleasure grounds to be explored, so you can’t complain at value for money.

The majority of the Church that is still standing at Kedleston was built in the 13th century, although some parts of it date back as far as the 1100’s.  It’s filled with history including a number of tombs.

The first time we visited was actually before the main season began, however the Hall was open to show visitors a little about the conservation of the property. A lot of the tapestries and curtains had been taken down for cleaning and we saw one poor lady individually cleaning some of the most complicated pottery I have ever seen. She told us it can take up to four hours to clean just one item! It was very interesting to take a look behind the scenes at all of the work it takes to keep these properties cared for and well presented.

The second time we visited the Hall was open in all of its glory and (as it was the Easter holidays) there was even an Easter hunt for the girls to do. The hardest Easter hunt I have ever come across. Tiny, little fluffy chicks were strategically hidden in each room and we have to count how many there were. Without knowing how many you were looking for it was impossible to tell if you’d found them all. Freya got bored after the first room, but I persisted and even with hints from the guides I still managed to miss 6!!

The restaurant is set in a one of the beautiful old kitchens and it is a fabulous place just to sit and look around at all the features. We only wanted a little snack and so tried the sausage sandwiches. They were delicious, made with thick, crusty bread. Hmmm, mmm. My mouth’s watering just thinking about them. I must go back there and try something from their lunch menu – just for comparison obviously.

I’m a bit of a sucker for a gift shop and National Trust ones usually have a variety of kooky treasures that you won’t find on the high street. I managed to resist buying anything the first time around, but succumbed to temptation the second time and picked up a book about Edwardian housekeeping as well as two (very large) books about the National Trust Houses and Gardens. They’re filled with info and pictures of all the different properties so should hopefully help me to decide where to visit next.

Have you visited any of the National Trust properties?  Do you have any favourites or recommendations?  Leave a comment in the section below.

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