Saturday’s in the Crisp house are for getting stuff done, errands, shopping etc. and Sunday is always our family day. Last Sunday we woke up and decided we wanted to get up and go straight out (well as much as you can with a 20 month old). We decided we didn’t want to travel too far as it was set to be a scorcher, but we wanted to visit somewhere pretty that we hadn’t seen before. Packwood House immediately popped into my head; not far from Solihull, my Mum friends have raved about it and its one of those places we’ve been meaning to visit ever since moving to the West Midlands, but hadn’t gotten round to. Boy were we missing out! We went with few expectations as we knew very little about it, apart from the assumption that being part of the National Trust meant it was going to be beautiful!
We arrived at 10.30am so it was lovely and quiet. Emilia and I were immediately smitten with the field of sheep next to the car park and left poor Rich to unpack the car while we went over to ‘baaaa’ at them.
As you enter you come across a lovely seating area and place to admire/buy plants. In the admissions foyer there were toys and foodie treats available to buy and whilst I was a keeping a keen eye on Emilia who was driving a digger round the floor shouting ‘diggerrrr, diggerrrr’ and trying to open some bubbles, Rich was already signing up for a years membership to the National Trust!
Below is Emilia chatting to the sweet lady who signed us up. I know it looks like she’s talking to an imaginary friend, but the lady was out of shot, haha. The interior lover in me adored these chairs and the Thornback and Peel “Rabbit and Cabbage’ didn’t go unnoticed either!
The Garden Cafe is next to the entrance and the decor is right up my street, I must get more pictures next time! They serve a good range of hot and cold food and the cakes looked divine and reasonably priced. I can absolutely vouch for the tastiness of the shortbread! Good coffee is always up there at the top of our nom list and the Americano did not disappoint either. We had a ticket and a time to look around the house itself to so our stay in the cafe was short and sweet.
The approach to the house is just stunning, my eyes were pinging back and forth from the wildflower meadow to the gravel entrance and the wall of flowers. As you can see, Rich and Emilia were already over the road before I’d finished taking photos, rolling their eyes as I said “this wisteria is great for the wisteria hysteria hashtag!” on Instagram.
As you can see, the outside of the house is just perfect, the house itself is not overwhelming in size but its style and grounds are quintessentially British.
Whilst I tried to take in as much information as possible as we went through the house itself, keeping a beady eye on Emilia took priority. She’s usually pretty good, but I was extra careful to make sure she didn’t get her mitts on anything old and rare! With that in mind, I will refer back to some of the blurb as I describe the house and provide a link below.
Packwood House is Tudor house, remodelled in the 1920’s-1930’s by Graham Baron Ash. He added rooms and converted a barn into a Great Hall with mezzanine. This man had great taste in interiors! A man after my own heart, he stated in his Memorandum of Wishes that the house should have fresh blooms throughout. I hear ya big guy! There are beautiful stained glass windows, fireplaces aplenty and the staff were lovely. When Emilia took an interest in the Grandfather clock, they sang ‘Hickory Dickory Dock’ along with her. Very sweet…
Emilia charging towards the chair because it had a pine cone… EEK! At least she wasn’t yanking the tapestry.
This en-suite bathroom was my favourite room, beautifully decorated in Delft tiles and taps displaying lions heads! A modern version of these tiles has been carefully integrated into the Garden Cafe’s interiors, a lovely touch I thought!
Moving on to the gardens. There were beautifully manicured gardens, a wonderful display in the Yew Tree Garden, the garden gazebo (a great place to picnic and play). As the day was hotting up we sought shade by the lakeside, away from the crowd. Emilia loved being able to run around the open countryside and seeing the Ducks and Geese by the lake, especially the fuzzy babies!
Beautiful view of the house and check out the Wisteria!
After lunch we ventured into the woods where we came across two of the three Packwood Follies. The first was the ‘Embedded’, a huge oak bed frame beside the lake! Large enough to occupy a family it looked great, but I was unable to capture a photo as it was indeed occupied by a family sunbathing.
The second of the Follies was in the bluebell woods. Emilia loved the ‘Inside Out House’ (below), a cute little cottage from the outside, a little eerie looking on the inside. She stood there for a good ten minutes pointing at the doorway saying ‘owse’. We will have to find the third of the follies on our next visit!
If hanging out in the ‘owse’ wasn’t enough for our little girl, she certainly had a great time at the Orchard and Buttercup meadow. Buttercups are her absolute favourite flower, we can’t pass them without me picking one for her, even if we’re just on the way to the shops! So she was in ‘book a book’ heaven here! We had to move her on after about 10-15 minutes as she gained selective hearing with being so engrossed in them. Bless…
All the excitement of Follies, picnics, running around in the woods and collecting Buttercups meant Emilia crashed in her pushchair, which gave Rich and I the chance to relax over at the Chestnut Avenue and Gorse Wood. An area of unkept beauty; sheep were free to roam as they pleased, and there was shade in abundance. We found an area just off the beaten track to sit on Emilia’s Oskoe Living play mat (we so need a picnic rug) and look up at the sky. Blissful it was… We even managed a selfie!
There was plenty we didn’t get to see and that I can’t yet comment on; the Kitchen Garden, the Welly Walk and the Yew Garden to name a few. But we like that we have stones unturned, something new to explore next time we visit (which I’m sure will be VERY soon).
Gaining a National Trust membership has meant that we have opened the doors to our weekends. We spent the evening after our visit browsing other places of interest in our area. But I also know this has given us an excuse to explore far and wide and see as much of our wonderful country as possible.
Post not written in collaboration .