Sudley House

339 Reviews

Star Travel Rating

4/5

Review type

Things to do

Date of travel

April, 2023

Product name

Sudley House

Product country

United Kingdom

Product city

Liverpool

Travelled with

Family

Reasons for trip

Culture/Sightseeing

Sudley House (Sudley House | National Museums Liverpool (liverpoolmuseums.org.uk) stands on Mossley Hill in Liverpool and provides a great view of the River Mersey and the hills of Wales in the distance. A walk around the ground floor provides a look into how the Holt family lived in the home in Victorian times. George Holt was a prominent merchant. Although it is furnished, most of the pieces are not original to the house or family. However, many original architectural features are still in situ and the artwork on display throughout the house is from the Holt collection that was gifted to the Walker Gallery by George Holt’s daughter Emma upon her death in 1944. These include paintings by Turner, Holman Hunt and Rossetti. It was the artwork that had drawn me to the house as I am a fan of the Pre-Raphaelites featured at the Port Sunlight Art Gallery and of Turner. There are also paintings by Gainsborough and Reynolds. I was interested to learn that Emma was a force of nature herself as she helped run Liverpool University and contributed a great deal of time to local health charities.

As we arrived midafternoon, we headed straight to the café on the ground floor as it closes at 4:00 and we were peckish and didn’t want to miss it. On good weather days, there is a nice patio, but it was a bit dreary and drizzly, so we ate inside. The café is situated in what was the kitchen of the house. My scone and latte were delicious, and my aunt and uncle enjoyed their cakes and hot drinks as well.

Fortified, we struck out to explore the ground floor rooms. There are pamphlets in each room explaining the origin and type of furniture, wall coverings and artwork. One of my favourite pieces in the Garden Hall is “Oh Swallow, Swallow” by John Melhuish Strudwick who was a follower of Burne-Jones. George Holt commissioned the piece from Strudwick specifically for Sudley House. Another that caught my eye in the Dining Room is “Rosenau” castle in Bavaria by Turner. I was also struck by the ornately carved wood, marble and tile fireplace in the library.

Upstairs is a room decorated as a child’s room and a room for children to dress up and participate in various activities. The remainder of the floor is devoted to exhibitions of paintings and while we were there it was “Home and Away”, paintings from the Holt and the Walker collections depicting travels abroad as well as Victorian Liverpool. I particularly liked a series of paintings of lakes in Italy and the UK by Thomas Creswick. The views from the windows upstairs are also worth checking out.

After touring the house, we headed outside for a stroll through the grounds. We stuck to the paths as the ground was wet from the recent rains, but we could see how inviting the grass would be to picnickers in good weather. One thing we were surprised to see was a huge penguin statue: Midnight Penguin by Rosalind Hargreaves which was sponsored by Friends of Sudley Estate. There was also an interesting sign explaining that eight English oak trees had been planted in the grounds in 2007 in commemoration of Liverpool’s 800th anniversary.

The staff at Sudley were very helpful and knowledgeable about the house and the Holt family. The house is about 20 minutes drive from the center of Liverpool. Parking is provided on the grounds and blue badge holders can park close to the accessible entrance. There is an elevator for those who need assistance up to the first floor. There are washrooms on both levels. Admission is free and donations are welcome. The house is open from 10-5 every day during school holidays and closed on Mondays the rest of the year except for Bank Holiday Mondays and Liverpool school holidays.

Denise Bridge

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