North West England
Enormous mansion, originally Jacobean, built on the site of an earlier manor house and castle, and packed with treasures, including a significant collection of silver and notable works of art. The estate was given to the National Trust by the 10th, and last, Earl of Stamford and includes a 300 acre park (with deer) and sumptuous gardens. The house was used as a hospital during WW1 and by the military during WW2, when there was a US training camp and then a POW camp in the grounds. Entry to the house is by timed ticket only.
One of the most exuberant-looking Tudor timber-framed houses in Britain, Little Moreton Hall is a puzzle of shapes - and a puzzle that its still standing. The weight of the stone-tiled roof and the amazing long gallery has pushed the place out of alignment - it looks almost like the original crooked house. The interior is fairly bare, but fascinating. It includes interesting carvings, plasterwork - and Tudor wall painting, revealed when Georgian panels were stripped away.
Lyme is a large estate that was owned by the Legh family from 1388 - 1946. The house dates from the late 16th century, but is mainly 17th and 18th century in style. The library displays the Lyme Caxton Missal - an early printed book published by William Caxton in 1487. Outside are huge formal gardens, surrounded by an enormous deer park. Plenty to see, plenty of places to walk. Lyme featured as 'Pemberley' in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice in which Colin Firth emerges from the lake.
Tatton Park is the former estate and home of the Egerton family. Set in 1,000 acres of deer park are 50 acres of gardens, including a Japanese garden, the Tudor Old Hall, kids' playground and the 18th century mansion. There are extensive facilities, making it a popular place, and events are held regularly - including concerts featuring leading stars and the annual Royal Horticultural Show in NW England.
The estate was bequeathed to the National Trust in 1958 and is managed and financed by Cheshire East Council.
A memorial in the grounds of Tatton Park commemorates No 1 Parachute Training School, based at Ringway Airport, now Manchester Airport, during WW2. Tatton Park was used as a drop zone. The inscription reads: “THROUGHOUT MOST OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR TATTON PARK WAS THE DROPPING ZONE FOR N0.1 PARACHUTE TRAINING SCHOOL, RINGWAY. THIS STONE IS SET IN HONOUR OF THOSE THOUSANDS FROM MANY LANDS WHO DESCENDED HERE IN THE COURSE OF TRAINING, GIVEN OR RECEIVED, FOR PARACHUTE SERVICE WITH THE ALLIED FORCES IN EVERY THEATRE OF WAR" Among those who trained here were agents of the Special Operations Executive, who parachuted into enemy-occupied Europe.
Attractive garden and partially open 17th century red sandstone manor house. The estate at Acorn Bank dates back to the medieval order of the Knights Hospitaller. The main attraction now is the 17th century walled garden, with its fascinating medicinal herbs, pretty formal area, traditional orchard, woodland walks and industrial past complete with restored working watermill dating from the 16th century.
Fairly spectacular waterfall with a 65 foot drop set amongst what was once fairly cultivated parkland. A pleasant (though relatively steep) walk to the top of the falls from a car park (free to NT members). There's a network of trails nearby and some lovely views.
Get there via Kirkstone Pass on the A592 from either Windermere or Ambleside - Aira Force is a bit past Glenridding. Or from the A66 between Penrith and Keswick, take the A5091 through Dockray.
The Beatrix Potter Gallery in the attractive village of Hawkshead holds a collection of the author's original drawings and exhibits these in an annually changing exhibition. The building is 17th century and was once the office of her husband, local solicitor William Heelis.