Monday, 23 February 2015

A Day Out

Today P and I are back to work and D is back at school and we've had some very wintry weather - high winds, heavy rain and snow, all in one day! But just for a little bit I'm going to take us back to half term last week, so grab a cup of tea and make yourself comfortable, and I'll tell you about our day trip.
 P had booked a couple of days off work, and we had planned to go to the coast, but when we saw the weather forecast we changed our minds about the location, and indeed the next morning we awoke to pouring rain. We decided to head for Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire which isn't too far away. D's boyfriend came too, and we arrived there mid-morning in heavy rain. However we were not disheartened and headed off for some hot drinks to warm up before we decided what to do first. Lacock is a very pretty and unspoilt village with a country house which was originally a nunnery 800 years ago.

There is also a photography exhibition there as William Henry Fox Talbot, one of the inventors of photography, lived in the Abbey. I enjoyed looking at these very early cameras.

I couldn't help comparing them to my own tiny, easy-to-use compact digital camera.

Despite the cold rain there were carpets of lovely spring flowers along the approach to the house - purple and yellow crocuses ...

... gorgeous yellow aconites

looking very drippy in the rain ...

...and drifts of snowdrops, pure white and delicate.

Lacock Abbey is an attractive, imposing house in a mixture of medieval and other styles.

I liked its quirky features, like this offset window.

The abbey has been a film location in several of the Harry Potter films, and this cloistered courtyard featured in the first film. Perhaps you recognise it? The vaulted ceilings are very beautiful indeed.

The stone window-frames open onto a very tranquil scene.

Here's the sacristry which was very cold on such a wet day. I do love medieval architecture with its sense of history and solidity.

This is the warming room (where the nuns would have gone to warm up), and this giant cauldron is hundreds of years old.

I'm always fascinated by the domestic side of large country houses, like these shelves which house copper pans and old irons,

and this range.My mum tells me stories of growing up with a smaller version in her house which had to be regularly covered with black grate polish. How lucky we are to have modern appliances!

Along the corridor we passed through some sweet bedrooms which were homely and old-fashioned.

The wallpaper designs seemed quite modern. You can just about see the pattern in this photo.

Here's a tiny and, I imagine, rather drafty bathroom.

I especially liked this wallpaper in the next bedroom, depicting flowers and birds.

I'm sure I've seen modern designs like this in magazines.

This sweet little room looks quite cosy with its trailing flowers on the walls.

On to the dining room, and I was impressed by the printed 'information' tablecloth and place settings - a really clever idea.

Finally we finished up in the great hall with its rather lovely Tudor stained glass windows. In fact Lacock Abbey currently has a starring role in 'Wolf Hall', the brilliant adaptation of Hilary Mantel's novels about Thomas Cromwell which is showing on tv at the moment. P and I are completely addicted to it and I can recommend it if you like period/historical dramas, or just like a cracking good story.

Outside we stopped to look at the Tudor courtyard, and then into the warm again for some lunch at the nearby National Trust tearooms.

After lunch we ventured outside again into the village itself. By now the rain had eased and so we didn't need our umbrellas as much.

Lacock village is mainly medieval, and is unbelievably picturesque. Like the abbey, it has featured in many film and tv productions including the Harry Potter films, Pride and Prejudice and Cranford.

I noticed that there are no street lights, tv aerials or satellite dishes - I wonder if it's a great inconvenience to the residents when the production companies descend on the village.

The half-timbered houses are very striking ...

... and the weathered stone is mellow and reassuringly aged.

These worn, and very chunky moss-covered tiles look very old indeed.

One of the guides told us that Harry Potter and Dumbledore walk along this street in one of the films,

and the house on the right stars as Professor Slughorn's house.

I love the way medieval houses overhang the street.

Some of them are quite wobbly-looking, and uneven.

The tearoom in front of the church is very quaint and pretty indeed. On a warm, sunny day the tea garden would be very appealing.

We had a lovely day out despite the cold and wet, and I enjoyed a fascinating slice of history. However, we all agreed that it was good to be back in a warm car, and as soon as we got indoors I put the kettle on for a warming cup of tea! I hope you've enjoyed this long post, and that we can all enjoy some more sunshine soon x


  1. I loved reading about your visit to Lacock. It bought back happy memories as we used to visit there when my Dh's Uncle lived in nearby Corsham. His wife used to work for the National Trust in Lacock - a lovely location. xx

  2. Hello Cathy

    What an amazing place Lacock Abbey is. The sacristy reminds me so much of Fountains Abbey (if you get the chance it is well worth a visit and NT) Like you I. enjoy looking at the different rooms, and the stained glass Tudor windows are stunning with the different coloured glass.

    Thank you for sharing your visit with us.


  3. That looks a wonderful place to visit despite the weather. It must have been quite authentic feeling the cold in the sacristry. The cloistered courtyard looks so familiar. Sarah x

  4. LOVE the tablecloth! And the cauldron :)
    How funny that you posted about Wiltshire, I've just done the same, except we went to Centerparcs, not quite as cultural!

  5. What a lovely day out - I love a bit of history. We're enjoying Wolf Hall too at the moment and I can definitely recognize some of the scenes from Harry Potter in your photos. x

  6. Hi Cathy, you live in a wonderful country! I like UK !
    Have a nice day!

  7. What a beautiful place! I always loved the medieval architecture best whenever we visited France. So solid yet so quiet and peaceful.
    I am very envious of those Spring flowers!

  8. How interesting! I wonder if the 'glamour' of having a film crew around eventually wears off and becomes a little intrusive :)

  9. What wonderful photos, Lacock really is gorgeous isn't it. I haven't been for ages, but now I've seen your post I'd love to visit again soon. It's so picturesque, and I'm so glad it hasn't been too spoiled by modern additions. CJ xx


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