I was full of cold and feeling really rather grotty, so no Saturday paddling for me. Whilst I would have loved to curl up on the sofa with a supply of hot drinks and a few good films the weather was holding off and I didn’t want to waste the chance of a family day, especially with winter looming.
Not wanting to venture too far we decided to dig out our National Trust cards and try somewhere relatively nearby which we have never been to before. I’m not sure why we’ve never been to The Vyne, it’s under 15 miles from us and a beautiful property with plenty to see.
The grounds leading up to the main house are beautiful and I can imagine they would be packed on a warm summers day. With a river graced with elegant swans and deck chairs on the lawn to use, it would be easy to just sit, relax and let the world go by whilst soaking up the sun and people watching.
Despite the seasons changing and the beginning of the autumnal colours, there were still flowers blooming, brightening up the borders. I was particularly looking forward to the walled garden, but I think they are undergoing a bit of a make over at the moment as they were not as spectacular as you would usually expect.
Of course the buildings as a whole are beautiful, but often you need to look a little closer, to see the detail, the funny little bits and pieces which add character to a place.
We all have different things we find interesting, with a place like this I think you could return multiple times and each time find something you failed to notice before.
When entering the main house the first thing that struck me was the ceiling. I remember a minister once saying to look up, that people forget to look up enough. That was many years ago, but I think with everyone burying their heads in their mobile phones nowadays, it is more important to remember now than ever before.
The route you take through the building winds through the various rooms, each one has a guide who can tell you so much more than just a casual look around would afford you.
Whether it was the chapel, with its wood panelling and stain glass windows
Or the orangery with the selection of children’s toys and various carved busts
At the front of the house you have an impressive set of stairs, but personally I much prefer the stairs at the back. More likely for the use of the servants, but beautiful with the turns and that dark wood.
Whilst I love the grandeur of these stately homes I much prefer the ‘back of stairs’ side to the properties. I guess this is because this is an area you can relate to, you can imagine trying to cook and run a household in the kitchens without all the mod cons we take for granted, no refrigerators, cookers which produce instant and controllable heat, washing machines and tumble dryers to ensure a regular supply of clean clothes.
Unfortunately this tends also to lead to the secondhand bookshops which a lot of the National Trust properties seem to have, this time I managed to escape with only two new additions to my already overloaded bookcase.