We check in to the Mercure Haydock Hotel in the afternoon. Later, we enjoy a welcome drinks reception hosted by our tour manager.
Tuesday: Adlington Hall & Bramall Hall
Today we begin at Adlington Hall, home to the Legh family from 1315. It was built on the site of a hunting lodge in 1040 and we find out more about this property’s history on our private guided tour. Highlights include the beautiful oak-panelled Dining Room, the 16th-century Great Hall and the Chinese Room. Afterwards, we enjoy a cream tea together and a chance to view the surrounding tranquil gardens.
We continue on to Bramall Hall. Set in 70 acres of parkland, this Tudor manor house has origins that date back to the Middle Ages. Make sure to take in the Hall’s impressive 16th-century wall painting, Elizabethan plaster ceiling and the Victorian Kitchens.
After dinner this evening, we enjoy an interesting themed talk from a guest speaker.
Wednesday: Chester Walking Tour, Chester Cathedral & Grosvenor Museum
This morning we enjoy a guided walking tour of Chester as we retrace the steps of our Roman and medieval visitors. We explore the numerous charms of Chester, a city with a fascinating history that spans the centuries, from the remains of its Roman Amphitheatre to the eye-catching medieval Rows that line its streets.
Next we explore magnificent Chester Cathedral, typical of many English cathedrals in having been modified many times between 1093 and the early 16th century, although the site itself might have been used for Christian worship since Roman times. Here we enjoy a guided tour of the ground floor and a light lunch in the stunning refectory of the cathedral.
We then visit the Grosvenor Museum, where the various collections celebrate Chester’s extensive heritage. There is plenty to see, including inscribed stones in the Roman galleries, half a millennium of paintings and sculptures in the art gallery, and changing fashions in the period rooms.
Thursday: Capesthorne Hall & Gawsworth Hall
Today we head to Capesthorne Hall, a beautiful family-owned stately home set in 100 acres of the glorious Cheshire countryside. The striking example of Jacobean architecture dates back to 1719, yet the Hall contains a range of treasures, paintings, furniture, Greek vases and the Bromley-Davenport family heirlooms from 1153. We enjoy a private guided tour of this fascinating property followed by lunch. The peaceful gardens are also a delight to explore, and feature three serene lakes, rhododendron woods and colourful herbaceous borders bursting with a variety of perennials.
We continue to Gawsworth Hall, a Tudor manor house and family home with a wide variety of magnificent paintings, stained glass and sculpture. Built in 1480, this was once home to Mary Fitton, the beautiful Dark Lady of Shakespeare’s sonnets and maid of honour to Queen Elizabeth I. We learn more about Gawsworth’s history on our private guided tour followed by tea and coffee.
After breakfast, we check out of the hotel for our journey home.