Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Staffordshire Days Out - The Shugborough Estate

There are many beautiful  places to visit and sights to see in Staffordshire, and the Shugborough Estate situated just 4 miles from Stafford offers a wonderful day out, whatever your age! 

It was a very warm and sunny Bank Holiday Monday when we paid a visit to the Shugborough Estate.  The queue to get in snaked out of the main entrance building and along the side of the road, but thankfully, given that we are National Trust members (the property is jointly owned by the NT and Staffordshire County Council) our membership cards were checked as we queued and we were granted a speedy entrance via a side gate. 

Wandering through the estate grounds with the sun beaming high in the sky was an absolute delight.  Despite the crowded car park and queue to get in, it didn’t actually seem that crowded.  We walked as far as is possible within the grounds, crossing over the river which was full of families splashing about with the kids and a plethora of dogs.   

After treating ourselves to a sandwich from the on-site cafĂ© –which we decided to eat al fresco, sitting on the grass in the sun, it was time to look around the magnificent Mansion House – a truly breath-taking building which has been restored to give you a real taste of what life would have been like to live at Shugborough in the 18th Century.  

I think my favourite aspect of the day was the Lord Lichfield exhibition and the insight into the Lichfield Private Apartments – somewhat voyeuristic, yet a compelling view into the life of one of our great artists, one almost expected him to pop up and enquire as to whether you were having a good day! 

For history buffs, the servants quarters are not to be missed – with working staff located around the kitchens, scullery and brew house you really do step back in time. 

New  for the 2013 season are the scarecrows and their dressing up box, located within the walled garden.  Great fun for kids of all ages (even those in their 40s and beyond!) to rummage through the wooden dressing up box and add a touch of glamour – or practicality – to the scarecrows on display.
The beauty of Shugborough is that it changes with the months and seasons.  I for one will be going back later on in the year to see how the newly-planted vegetables have fared over the English summer – and to sample some more delicious ice cream from the parlour!  

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