National Trust and English Heritage

For my birthday, in November last year, hubby bought a National Trust membership for us. We’ve visited a few before becoming members, but we were reluctant as there aren’t many properties around Liverpool.
We were wrong. In less than 1 year, we’ve visited more than 10 properties, in day trips to North Wales, and around Shrewsbury & Manchester. Also, it was very handy on our very short holidays in Yorkshire and Ascot.


I’m always happy with our days out, the properties are beautiful and the tea rooms are nice with lovely freshly baked scones. So, it was worth to get the membership and we’ll continue to have it for next year. The handbook was a lifesaver on our trip to Ascot. In it we were able to find a countryside location to play with the dog, near the camping site, in an area where there aren’t many parks.

I can’t say which NT location is my favourite. I’m very found of Hardman House in Liverpool and next month we’ll visit it again. I will mention other 5 locations, but I liked all of them: Chedworth Roman Villa, Baddesley Clinton, Fountains Abbey, Quarry Bank Mill and Plas Newydd.

We’ve decided to get memberships to English Heritage too. We’ve visited a few locations and we thought it will worth it. We’ve been to Beeston Castle as members, but we’ve also visited Conwy Castle, Beaumaris and other attractions in Yorkshire.
I wasn’t a huge fan of history classes while at school, maybe I found it boring. I started to be interested in history after I moved to UK and I’ve started reading about different tourist attractions that we planned to visit: houses, castles, Liverpool docks.
Now we are watching a series about the English monarchs, for me it’s the best way to learn some history in a very relaxed and easy to remember way. I enjoy the stories behind them and it’s a shame it took so many years to discover this passion. Having a membership with EH will surely make me even more interested in history.

Can’t wait for another year of day-trips and short holidays.

Knowsley safari park

For hubby’s name day (he is so lucky, he has 2/year), he decided he wants to go to Knowsley safari park. I was surprised, as I’m the one suggesting this kind of things. We’ve been there last year and he enjoyed it very much, especially the lion enclosure.

This Park is amazing, we didn’t even realize how fast the time passed by while we were watching the animals. There are only a few fences which makes everything natural and realistic. Also, the majority of the animals are born in the UK, at different safari parks and zoos. I believe the animals should have a peaceful life in the wild but, considering what is happening in the wild… having a good gene pool in captivity is very important too.
Also, having animals so close makes it easier to raise awareness, we’ve made a donation to a Sealion charity after the sealion show.

As there are a lot of pictures and movies, I’ve decided to make a few posts. First, you can see more pictures here. Another 3 will follow, about different animals: lions, monkeys and birds of prey. I’m going to post them 1 each week, so it’s not too much. This also allows me time to write more about them.

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The first animals we saw where the Camels.

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Then we saw the Tiger. I’m not sure why we can’t drive near him like in the lion enclosure.

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As I said, there will be another post with more pictures and details about the lions.

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Isn’t he such a cutie? So curious and funny, love him (or her, not sure about the gender).

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The monkeys were monkeying around, obviously. On our first pass thru the safari they were busy eating and they weren’t that destructive. On the second pass…I’m only going to say that hubby had to do some DIY in the car park.

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The rhinos are so beautiful, majestic. I could feel their energy when they were interacting with each other. Amazing thing to be able to watch them as close as they can be in the wild.

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Forest buffalo were sleeping the first time we’ve passed… and the second time.

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The Bongos were fed cabbage by a lady who was enjoying her job. Lovely to see the keepers love the animals as much as the visitors do.

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Emu, a very curious bird, that has a funny behaviour. They have a strange diet and they follow humans or other animals to see what they are up to.

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They’re only a few Roan Antelopes. I like the horns, they look interesting.

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I love bats, they are so cute and small. Even hubby said he would like to pet them! That is really a strange thing to hear, as he is not a huge fan.

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The Meerkats are adorable and very popular. It was crowded at their enclosure.

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These pigs were incredible. They were living in their pig friendly environment, but still manage to have that lovely white fur on their bellies.

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All the Asian elephants are bred in UK, at different zoos and safari parks.

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We had a chocolate cake and some Earl Grey.

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She was looking at me, awwwww, my heart melted. Funny looking creatures, with small horns, purple tongues and not bothered by the people around them.

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There will be a special post about the birds of prey. This one is an eagle. Lovely bird, but vultures are still my favourite birds of prey.

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We took a selfie before the sealion show.

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Near the sealion cove there is a small bug house with only a few animals.

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How to relax and DE-stress in 30 minutes with less than £2. This is how feeding pigeons should sound like.

I love feeding animals and having a huge park at only a 5 min drive means I do this quite often. Usually we feed the squirrels, pictures here. I also fed swans in Nantwich. For me it’s a very relaxing activity, I just enjoy the tranquility.

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He was looking at my bag, hoping I have something yummy for him.

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I knew the pigeons are willing to eat from the hand.

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It was the first time when a pigeon landed on my head. It was a very funny moment.

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I was curious how far the pigeons are prepared to go, so I took a seat and waited to see if they will still be willing to eat from my hand.

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Love is in the air. Aren’t they cute?

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The little girl was so happy to see the pigeons so close, that she came near me. I gave her some bird food, so she can feed them too. It’s always nice to see parents encouraging kids to respect and love nature&animals.

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Beeston Castle

Beeston Castle, called ‘Castle of the Rock’, offers amazing views over the Cheshire countryside. At the entrance there is a lot of information about the castle, as it is part of English Heritage.
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The way to the top is steep, so trainers are the best option.

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Beeston Castle views

Beeston Castle view

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This family was so cute, the boy was a very good dog handler. It was so nice to see him controlling the dog so well at his age. The grandma was telling stories about the castle to the little girl, I couldn’t help but hearing. It’s always nice to see grandparents with well behaved kids when we visit different attractions.

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The woodland walk is nice, and less than 1 hour long.

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Sampling the produce from the woodland walk.

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We joked about our primitive behavior: eating wild blackberries and seeking shelter in a cave when the rain started pouring.

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It was only a short shower. By the time we got to the parking lot, it was dry. We took advantage of the castle’s location to make a stop to Cheshire Ice Cream Farm, it’s only 7 min away.

Plas Newydd

“Enchanting mansion and gardens, with spectacular views of Snowdonia” is the description on National Trust website and I agree with them. The country house is beautiful and the views are exquisite.
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On the way to the property, we’ve stopped in Conwy, where we ate a beautiful cake and we visited The Smallest House in Great Britain, pictures here.

On arrival at Plas Newydd, I realized that this was the place where there are a lot of red squirrels. I’ve read there are red squirrels in Anglesey on the RSST’s website (Red Squirrel Survival Trust), but I completely forgot this was the property they mentioned. So we walked thru the woods towards the house, I had 3.5″ heels, not a real issue for walking, but inappropriate.
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We didn’t see any squirrels. The guide told us that on his visit, HRH The Prince of Wales (Patron of RSST) didn’t see any either, so we felt a little better.
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This is only a small part of the renewable energy projects made by National Trust. They also installed a sea energy pump, that will cover the costs of heating the mansion.
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The painting is a Van Dyck.
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I couldn’t pass the opportunity to have a picture taken near the painting of Henry VIII.
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The Marchioness of Anglesey’s bedroom, so cute, pink and girly and elegant at the same time. I was smitten.
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There isn’t a handle from the bedroom and the door looks like the wall. It is the door for the servant’s stairs, so there wasn’t any need to put a handle from that side of the door.
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The clock is 212 years old and it was stopped by the NT to protect it.
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I love the window settee, I imagine myself with a cup of tea and a book, snuggled on a rainy day.
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After we finished the visit of the house it started raining, so we went back inside to have a cream tea.
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I was so happy that we went back, as I found a great book about the history of F1, by season, from 1950 to 2004 at the used bookshop.
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The rain stopped and it was much sunnier and warm than before. We stroll thru the terraced gardens.
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It was a beautiful day out. We learned about the 1st Marquess of Anglesey and the Napoleonic wars, his courage and the scandal that involved him and the Duke of Wellington.
After visiting the house, I’ve read a few things about The 7th Marquess of Anglesey, who died last year, at 90. He donated a part of the estate to National Trust in 1976, but still retained a few rooms for him to live in.  The 7th Marquess was involved in different charities, including NT. The 8th Marquess lived at Plas Newydd until 1999.

In the dinning room there is the biggest painting by Rex Whistler, a very talented painter who died in WW2, at only 39. We weren’t allowed to take pictures of his paintings this year, due to copyright. But next year the copyright will expire, 70 years after the death of the author. We intend to visit the mansion again and take a lot of pictures of the painting, it’s a beautiful piece of art.

The Smallest House in Great Britain

Yesterday we were on our way to a National Trust property in Anglesey, a new post will follow, when hubby realized we’ll pass by Conwy.
Last time when we were in Conwy, visiting other NT properties, we discovered a small local bakery with delicious cakes. It’s called Popty Conwy Bakery and it’s near Aberconwy House, a medieval merchant’s house.

So, we’ve made a detour to go to the bakery for some cake. Hubby had a Vanilla Slice again and I tryied the Chocolate Fudge Brownie… pure indulgence!
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We went on the quayside with our cakes. We ate them sitting there and admiring the seagulls.
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On the quayside there is The Smallest House in Great Britain. It is listed in the Guinness Book. It is 72 inches (183 cm) wide and 122 inches (309 cm) high.
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There was a queue in front of the house, but it took only a few minutes to go inside and because the house is so small, only 2-3 people can go inside at once.
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The last person who occupied the house was a local fisherman in the 1900 and, surprisingly, he was as tall as hubby. Before him, the tenants were an elderly couple.
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The house has a small livingroom-kitchen. The first thing I thought when I stepped in the house was: “this is so beautiful”. It seemed like a miniature house, but with a very strong feeling that it’s real.
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Upstairs is the bedroom.
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The bed is for a single person, but there is still place for a small table.
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In the livingroom-kitchen there is a small wooden settee and a small cupboard.
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The fireplace looks different as it has two mini-stoves, for kettle, irons and small pots. They would have kept the coal under the settee.
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Even the door is very short. It was great to see the house, the entry fee is  just £1 and it is in a very beautiful location, a few minutes from Conwy Castle. the smallest house in great britain 12

Dunham Massey

Dunham Massey is a National Trust estate in Cheshire, it has a deer-park, beautiful gardens and a lovely house. This year marks the centenary of WW1 and the house was transformed again in a sanctuary for wounded soldiers.

I had no idea the deers, even if they are still wild, they aren’t bothered by people. It was an amazing experience to be able to stay so close to them, without any fences. The fallow deers were relaxed, having a snack or just looking at the crowds admiring their grace and beauty.
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Isn’t he (I assume is a he) extremely cute?!
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In the Hospital there were actors dressed like nurses and patients. It was interesting to see different equipment, including a device for electrocardiograms.
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The upper floors were kept for Her Ladyship.
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Elizabeth Woodville, 1437-1492, had a tragic story. She married J. Grey and had 2 sons, The Princes in the Tower. After their father’s death, they were locked up in the Tower of London by the man appointed to look after them.

She re-married King Edward IV and her daughter was Henry VIII’s mother. Through her daughter, she is ancestor to every English monarch from Henry VIII and Scottish monarch since James V. I find fascinating this kind of stories.
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I have a soft spot for libraries and the ones in old stately homes are beautiful. Most of the books in this library were from 17th and early 18th century.
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After visiting the house, we’ve took a short walk in the gardens. As it was quite late, we didn’t go all the way to the rose garden, we left it for another time.
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Dog graves from 18th century. Some of the dogs were pugs, all were family pets. It was the first time I’ve seen something like this and it was impressive to see how much the family loved their pets even in that period.
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Getting ready to pay the toll for the Warburton Bridge, 12p. It was a miracle that we had the exact change twice, especially considering the amount! It’s a 110 years old toll, for a bridge that is privately owned. I thought it’s amusing, but I believe it’s a nightmare for the residents.
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