Arley Hall sits in 2000 acres of parkland and has over 100 acres of gardens. It has been in the same family for more than 500 years. The original hall was built in 1468 by Piers Warburton. The outbuildings and cruck barn were constructed at the same time. The 15th century buildings had to be demolished due to the sorry state they were in by the 1800s. All that remains is the cruck barn.
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The present hall and chapel date from 1832-1845 and are in the ‘Queen Elizabethan style’. Modern conveniences of the time were, however, installed. The hall was built by George Latham for Rowland Egerton-Warburton and his new bride Mary Brooke from Norton Priory.
Inside are plasterwork, panelling, a library with stained glass windows, and a grand staircase. Ceilings are painted and patterned. The gallery has a fireplace complete with statues and carving, while the front hall is panelled. Historic family furniture, pictures, and porcelain complete the rooms. A famous but brief resident was the future Napoleon III, and his bedroom is on view.
The gardens were laid out by Egerton-Warburton and his wife. Already existing were the walled kitchen garden and alcove walk. The herbaceous border (best in July and August) dates from 1846 when it was laid out along the alcove walk.
The gardens have been added to by succeeding generations. In the grounds are a pleached lime avenue, yew topiary, giant columns of Quercus Ilex, and two walled gardens (a shrub garden in addition to the kitchen garden). The grove is an informal woodland garden with exotic trees, rhododendrons, azaleas daffodils, narcissi, and other spring blooming bulbs. A garden festival is held in late June.
A plant nursery sells garden products. The converted 16th century Tudor barn serves lunches and teas. There is a shop selling gifts, and the cruck barn has pottery on sale by local artists. Farmland and cottages are further parts of the estate. Arley Hall may be rented for weddings and corporate affairs.
Arley Hall and Gardens
Arley, Cheshire (near Great Budworth by Northwich)
Tel. 0 1565 777353
Open: End March-end Sep, hall on Tue and Sun from noon-4.30pm, gardens, grounds and chapel Tue-Sun and BH Mon, 11am-5pm; Oct open weekends only; gardens open end March
Member Historic Houses Association
Web: Arley Hall and Gardens
All photos courtesy Geograph British Isles