Hidden away in Stafford in the heart of Staffordshire Shugborough hall is the former ancestral pile of the Earls of Lichfield. Now owned by the National Trust but managed by Staffordshire County Council Shugborough really does have something for everyone.
The original mansion house and eight acres of land was originally bought in 1624 for the princely sum of £1,000. It was demolished in 1693 and replaced with a three storied house which forms the centre of the house you see today. A tour guide will take you around the State Rooms and tell you a bit about the history of both the house and the precious artefacts within it. Since 2011 an extra area has been opened to the public which is the apartment of the previous Earl of Lichfield who died in 2005 and was famous for his photography and there is also an exhibition of his work featuring some very famous faces.
The Riverside Gardens
Having explore the house why not then wander around the immaculately maintained Riverside Gardens with its eight striking monuments one of which is thought to be linked to The Holy Grail and has a poem thought to be a code on it which no one has yet managed to decipher. The gardens are Grade 1 listed and feature a butterfly terrace planted with bushes whose flowers attract butterflies and bees.
The Walled Garden
Kept exactly as it was 200 years ago the Walled Garden was then a centre of excellence with gardeners coming from all over the country to learn the avant garde cutting techniques. The garden is part of the living history of Shugborough so is tended by gardeners dressed as they would have been in the day and using the traditional methods and tools as they would have done in 1805.
The Victorian Servants Quarters
See what live would have been like for the servants including the latrines with authentic smells. Meet Mrs Stearn the head cook ruling her kitchen maids and keeping them to order. There is also a manned laundry so you can see how hard it was do the washing in the days before washing machines were invented. The Hall has many relics of bygone days which have all been lovingly restored and are in use today as part of the experience. There is also a brewery and a courtyard to look round. Shugborough also has a large collection of carriages on display.
The Georgian Farm and Mill
This is a working farm so there are animals, many of which are rare breeds and cheese is still made using traditional methods and there is also a mill where grain is ground into flour using a working water mill one of only a handful left and the only one of this kind in Britain. The whole experience is staffed by vounteers dressed in the costumes of the day and happy to answer your questions about the lifestyles they are portraying.
The County Museum
As if all this was not enough there is also a Victorian school room, a general store, a traditional sweet shop, a tailors and a chemist.
If having taken all this in you need to let off a bit of steam there is a children’s play area and you can also take a tour of the estate on the land train.
If you want to buy a momento of your trip then visit the craft workshops where you can buy traditional craft items such as handmade candles, glass pieces and wooden items.
There is so much to see and do and the price is great value – an adult ticket costs just £15 on the day and £12 if you book in advance and a family ticket for 2 adults and up to 3 children is only £37.50 or £31 if booked in advance.
If you are planning a trip to Alton Towers why not stop here on your way home it is so worth it.