Monday 30 June 2014

A Visit to Bantock House......


Good morning, how was your weekend? I've had a fairly busy one, I was out with friends on Friday evening and an Hen Night on Saturday. It's like buses, I don't go out for ages then I get two offers together, just like the two proverbial buses turning up!!!!

I haven't been well this week and on Sunday morning, I just wanted to go out for a walk and get some fresh air and as part of Camp Aloha Friends, one of our tasks was to go for a walk in our local area. I love where I live as we have lots of surrounding countryside but also I can easily get to a few cities within 40 minutes including Birmingham, which I love too visit.

After sitting in my sunny conservatory, drinking my morning coffee and reading a magazine, we decided to drive to Bantock House and Park. I can't believe I've never visited this beautiful place before, it's only a 15 minute drive from our house and have gone past it many times as my friend lives two minutes away from there.

As we pulled into the driveway we could see the beauitful Bantock House which was built in the 1700's and was originally named New Merridale Farm. We drove onto the carpark and spread out in front of us was a children's playground, an outdoor gym, a golf course, acres of fields, a nature trail and manicured gardens.

We walked around the perimeter of the fields, then followed the paths through leafy, wooded nature trials that then lead to the gardens. The gardens that surround the house were designed by Albert Bantock who inherited the house from his Father, Thomas Bantock who bought the house in about 1864.

On the death of Albert Bantock, with no children to pass the house onto, he bequeathed it to Wolverhampton Council, who still run it now and renamed it Bantock House in honour of the family. The Bantock Family use to breed Highland Cattle on the grounds but the only sign left of this, is a sculpture outside the house made by a local craftsman Neil Watt.

There are plenty places to sit and relax around the grounds and watch the world go by, we sat in the pretty Rose Garden that was scattered with benches. Some of the benches were underneath wrought iron arches with fragrant climbing roses twisting around the poles. I could have quite easily sat there all day, reading or knitting, relaxing with the fragrance of the roses and lavender.

This cheeky little fellow came to day hello, he wasn't shy, Mick said he was staring me out as I was taking his photo!

This is the sundial in the Rose Garden, an English garden wouldn't be complete without one.

The sunken garden behind the house is called The Dutch Garden, this and the other gardens were restored by Wolverhampton City Council in 1998.

By this time we needed some refreshments and headed to the tearooms which were in the courtyard near the house, we took our drinks outside, we have to make the most of our summer in the UK, and sat surrounded by lavender. Lavender is my favourite flowering plant, I love the colour and the fragrance, it just reminds me of those warm, sunny days of summer from my childhood.

After we'd finished our drinks, we had a look around the house, this wasn't like any historical house I'd visited before. As we entered there was a very welcoming young man who asked us if we'd visited before, as we hadn't, he took us into the Great Hall, gave us a brief history and told us that we could sit on the furniture, open drawers, look through the family documents and read through the many books and notebooks left lying around on the tables. I found one written by the Lady of the House that had many notes but one made me laugh, she had written they must replace a dish that had been "disastrously dropped by cook the previous evening"! There was also an entry of a dinner party menu for ten, I found this fascinating, that you could actually touch and be so close to this little bit of history.

This is a very family friendly place to visit and one of my favourite rooms in the house was the large light and airy Nursery, they've set up a large round table for the children to sit and colour as well as a traditional Edwardian school desk that they can sit at. There was a large rug in one corner that children can sit and read the many books, a dolls house to play with and my favourite thing of all!!!! A chest of dressing up clothes, traditional Edwardian children's clothes!!! Such fun!!!!!

I had a wonderful few hours here and did I mention that all this is FREE!!!!!! What a great place to come with the family, it is open all year round, there are a couple of donation boxes around which we gladly put some money in. We have plans to go back soon as a family and take a picnic, some games and golf clubs for those who want to have a game. Once you are in the park, you wouldn't believe you were on the outskirts of Wolverhampton city. When I told my family and friends where I'd been not one of them had visited it and a few who'd never heard of it. If you live in the Midlands, passing through or visiting I would highly recommend stopping off and taking a look for yourself.

We will definitely start looking at more local attractions and I encourage you to do the same, sometimes we take it for granted what is on our door step. I would love to hear where you like to visit that is local to you.


Here are a few treasures I picked up from the garden paths, Melody who is one of the teachers at Camp Aloha Friends and she has encouraged us to look at the beauty around us and pick up a few of mother natures treasure along the way.

Did you like the Polaroid photo above? Well, this is another childhood memory, my Mom has lots of photos of us taken with the original Polaroid camera. I love the retro look of them and though you can still buy them the film is really expensive. I've come up with an alternative, I take my photo using my digital camera or phone then change them to Polaroid with an App called Instant. I can't stop playing with this great App, there are lots of different filters and also texts so you can 'write' the whos, where's and what's on your photo.

I've printed all my photos from yesterday out Polaroid style, ready to add to my journal. Another great App if you are a fan of Instagram is Instasize by Munkee Apps, it lets you post full size photos from your phone rather than just square. It works great with the Instant App.

Thank you for stopping by, have a great week and I'll be back soon. Don't forget to let me know where you love to visit, if you don't want to leave a comment, you can always email, there's a link on my sidebar.



Amy at love made my home said...

Bantock House looks like a wonderful place to visit, the gardens are really beautiful aren't they. So glad that you made it there, I expect that you will want to return again. A great way to round off a fun weekend by the sounds of it. Love your "polaroids" a great way to make your own with the same feel as the originals. xx

Joy said...

What a beautifully relaxing place to visit, and so open too - usually when one visits such places it's a case of "hands off", so it's very nice to know Bantock House is so welcoming. I love your polaroid pics, Deb, and the beautiful flowers, and hope you can enjoy this treat again soon. Thanks for sharing it with us, xoJoy
PS I hope you're feeling better again soon x

Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

What a beautiful place to visit! LOVING all the photos and how wonderful they let you go through their things!!

Hazels Crochet said...

Oh this looks like such a beautiful place to visit. I love places with lots of flowers and grass!

That Polaroid app looks really interesting, I loved my camera but as you said the cartridges are quite expensive!

Unknown said...

That's an amazing place to visit Deb, thanks for taking us on this day trip with you ;-) Ira x
Ira’s Crea Corner

Jo said...

Oh we love that place, I have not been for a while. The children like the park and I love the cafe as well as the hands on approach to looking around the house. You have just reminded me to put it on our summer holidays picnic list. Jo x

Unknown said...

Deb you have taken me right back! I spent quite a bit of time at Bantock Park in the 70s as a wartime friend of my father's was Head Gardener there for a time. (I grew up near W'ton). Your lovely photos show how it has been so well cared for since those days, great to see how beautiful it still is! Alison xx

RooKnits said...

This has become one of my most favourite places in the world since having my children. We live a 40 minute walk, or 5 minute car journey away and can be found there at least once a week rain or shine.

elns said...

Beautiful. I could smell the lavender.

Stefanie said...

What a beautiful place to visit and learn about. I'm envious how you get together a lot with your friends. Mine unfortunately are usually too busy. Love how that place is so child friendly. The Polaroid app looks fun.

Lynnda said...

What a beautiful place to visit Deb !! Thanks for sharing these lovely photos .. Hugs x

Ros Crawford said...

Sounds like a lovely day and what beautiful gardens!! Thanks for the link for the App ... may use that sometime!

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