Hastings Battleaxe journeys to Derbyshire and Yorkshire
Last week was action-packed. We stayed our first night in Matlock, visiting Matlock Bath and the Heights of Abraham, Chatsworth next day followed by scenic Peak District drive, then Wakefield for the Hepworth Gallery and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, then York and Castle Howard, and finally Hardwick Hall on the way home followed by a night with my sister. Phew.
|Castle Howard - the high spot of our trip.|
|Cable car to Heights of Abraham|
|View from the cable car|
|Matlcok Bath - pretty|
|Old fashioned gift shops...|
|Even worse.... noooo.....|
|Chatsworth - big and bleak|
|The famous fountain|
|The rockery - a bit kitsch, we thought|
After, we took a scenic route up north through the Peak District - Ladybower Reservoir, a bit of the Snake Pass etc. Philosopher had never visited the area, and indeed the scenery was impressive.
|Another window view|
|Cool corridor to the loos|
In Wakefield we stayed at the Waterton Park Hotel, recommended to us by friends Jan and Tom in Hastings. Our room was in Walton Hall, a fantastic old stately home on an island in the middle of a lake. Our oom had wonderful views across the lake, which was full of wildfowl - much quacking and honking in the morning.... The hall once belonged to Charles Waterton, a nineteenth century naturalist, who built a wall round the estate and turned it into the world's first nature reserve. There was a brilliant-looking swimming pool etc also. Battleaxe would totally recommend the hotel, but care would be needed as to when to book - the hall is clearly hugely popular for weddings and conferences. We were very lucky - it was quiet.
|Walton Hall -part of the Waterton Park Hotel|
|Bridge to the island|
|The old water gate|
|View from our room|
The park is very attractive but I think it is just too big. Two hours walking is enough for anyone, particularly for a Battleaxe with a still-dodgy achilles tendon - and we hadn't seen half of it.
|A wash and brush up....|
|Ai Wei Wei|
|Battleaxe gets censorious with an Elizabeth Frink|
|Yet More Moore|
Here is the You Tube Link. We spent time wandering in the gardens - fabulous daffodils - then toured the house. I hadn't realised it was badly damaged by fire in 1940. It is largely restored now, but it was the once-empty rooms that attracted the TV and film people back in the 80's. We had coffee, and then returned for lunch, in a cafe with a sunny outdoor seating area in the Wild Boar Garden. The place is of course commercialised, but felt much more intimate and welcoming than Chatsworth. Again, Battleaxe would totally recommend a visit.
|The Atlas fountain|
|Underneath the dome - restored after the fire|
Another thing that amused us during our trip was the Stately Home Gift Shop Experience. All these places have shops with exactly the same things in - mugs with chickens on, tweed caps for men, endless scarves for women, scented candles, picnic rugs.... we wondered if you can buy the entire stock from one supplier, as a kit?
Our own stately home experience was intensified the next day when we visited Hardwick Hall 'more glass than wall' on our way back down the country. It is National Trust - we are members. We were much struck - and irritated by - the Educational Enrichment Opportunities forced upon us at every conceivable moment.
|Do we really need this?|
|Sheets and blankets? Who knew!|
|Wonderful plaster work|
|A very long gallery|
We spent our final night in Harrold, Bedfordshire with my sister and her husband. She has just had her 80th birthday - I missed the party when we were in Cornwall.
It was indeed an action-packed week, and although we enjoyed ourselves, we were glad to be home.