Shugborough Hall

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We approached Shugborough, and were amazed that so few people were on the car park right next to the Hall. Then in became apparent. It was Tuesday, and the Hall is closed on Tuesday. "It says so in the National Trust book", was the reply upon enquiry. No it doesn't! It does say so on their website though, so maybe I shuld have checked! However, a cup of coffee in the little cafe and away we went to return on Thursday. No parking near the house now! A car park 800metres away is where to leave the car, and either walking or catching the mini train for able bodied, or there is a shuttle bus for the people with mobility problems. On arrival at the front (?) of the house, there is a lovely drive with open views over the country side. I question front because the opposite side of the house has a full facade overlooking the gardens and river, with a wide walkway lined with close cut conifers. Entering the house from the main entrance the magnificent rooms appear one after the other with too many superb works of art to mention. In each room there is a sheet describing all the articles in the room and its history and also an expert on that room is on hand to point out things you may have missed, and clarify things which you may find odd or confusing, ( like the seahorses in the wallpaper). One of my favourites was the library with that fantastic Italian plaster ceiling. The Red Room has a beautiful inlaid table, which fascinated me in the ornate workmanship which we can only marvel at these days. The private quarters of Patrick Lichfield have recently been opened to the public, and is a look into the life of ' how the other half live' from more recent times. With pictures on the walls of such stars as Joanna Lumley, Twiggy, and hosts of others. Shugborough is a place that I'm sure you could return to time and again and find new things to see without getting bored. To finish our visit we walked through the gardens to the island bridge, crossed the river to the island and walked through the arboretum to the Chinese bridge, crossing the river back into the main garden.

I can thoroughly recommend a day out at this fantastic property. I haven't even mentioned the trip around the servants quarters, the old farm or the walled garden. It was worth joining the National Trust just to see this property. And full marks to the very dedicated volunteers who staff the rooms to explain everything to the inquisitive visitors!!

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