Visiting popular National Trust destinations does have its challenges if you are a keen amateur photographer. Hanbury Hall is so photogenic and countless pictures have been taken over the years. I would guess each season throws up wonderful views not only of the house but the impeccable gardens as well. Usually, before I visit a well-known property, I check over the web sites and look at other people’s photographs to find out which are the best views. As it happens for this visit, I did not get myself organised, so I went to Hanbury Hall not knowing what to expect.
Arriving by car you pass the front façade of the house and catch a glimpse of the striking architecture. Walking back to the house from the carpark, the entrance approach provides post card picture views. The property is operating a timed ticket entrance which limits the amount of people. This favours the photographer as in this case there are only a few people and not the crowds that may interrupt the pictures.
First stop was the interior of the house, and I met a volunteer who in a few minutes gave me all the information I needed. Also, I found out that she was a good photographer and took a picture of me on the grand staircase with the beautiful paintings as a backdrop. The building is interesting and there was much activity happening in the house. The volunteers did not mind having their photographs taken included one dressed up as the former owner of the house, Thomas Vernon. The staircase is beautiful and the wall to ceiling painting by the English painter Sir James Thornhill has so much to see. I spent some time moving around using my iPhone for the pictures finding that the wide-angle lens was very useful.
Following that important mid-morning coffee, it was time to set off and explore the grounds of the house. I am always amazed how the National Trust find gardeners to tend and cultivate their extensive properties. They are so creative and design wonderful garden designs. The apple orchard was symmetrically laid out and the trees were just beginning to blossom.
The Orangery was a particular favourite of mine. The sun was shining in through the large windows accentuating the orange glow of the brick paintwork. I leant that this grade II listed building has red Flemish bond ashlar brickwork which gives the characteristic colour. There is also a tiled floor. One of the tiles has a dog paw print caused by a disobedient pet wandering around before the cement had set 250 years ago.
The symmetry of the Pareteer garden was beautifully coloured by yellow tulips. The Encyclopaedia Britannica describes “a Pareteer as the division of garden beds in such a way that the pattern is itself an ornament.” It is like an Elizabethan knot garden and was fun to photograph. Linking the gardens is Snob’s tunnel which returns you to the back of the house. The tunnel allowed servants to move around without being seen by guests of the house.
On my way home I visited Hanbury Church which is adjacent to the Hall and has commanding views over the river seven valley.
If you enjoyed this account of Hanbury Hall, then please visit my blog on Croome which is another nearby National Trust property. The official National Trust website account of Hanbury Hall provides more information.