We visited Hanbury Hall with our Belgian friends – they love to see historic places in England. The house is really a typical stately home with the nearest town being Droitwich Spa in Worcestershire. The building was started in 1701 by the Vernon family and is in the William and Mary style of architecture. I thought that the picture of Queen Mary II of Orange surrounded by a garland of plastic oranges was quite amusing. The Sir James Thornhill Baroque wall paintings on the staircase are certainly unique. Our visit was enlivened by an enthusiastic volunteer room guide, who had a few entertaining stories to tell. We were also treated to a performance of music on the grand piano.
The formal gardens have been wonderfully recreated with a variety of colours and scents. There was also a range of exotic fruits growing – the yellow fruit I eventually identified as papaya. Also of course there were beautiful landscaped estate grounds. The weather was fine on the day we visited, but the volunteers were anxious because the forecast was for violent storms. There was to be an outdoor performance of Alice in Wonderland planned for the evening. Fortunately, the good weather seemed to hold.
Of course, no outing to a National Trust property would be complete without a visit to the restaurant and our Belgian friends enjoy freshly baked scones as much as we do!
A very pleasant way to spend a summer’s afternoon.