The Mr. and I recently just purchased our own cards for the English Heritage Sites. This membership for an annual fee gives us free or reduced entrance tickets to the affiliated locations on their list along with castles, forts, mansions, Stonehenge and the like. We got our joint adult membership for 88 quid.
Our first on the list was Audley End House.
We got there about half past twelve and walked around the kitchen garden. They restored it to nearly its original state: vegetables and flowers everywhere. They also had a greenhouse which house tomatoes, grapes, peaches, and various flowers.
After a light snack, we walked around on a tour of the lavish insides of the house. We weren’t allowed to take pictures of the inside but all the rooms are elaborately decorated. There were various parts of the house are also interactive: the servants’ quarters and yard as well the children’s nursery that had a working rocking horse. Here are few shots of the kitchen and the laundry room:
We learned that the laundry took about a week to do because of all the manual parts involved. I learned that day to be grateful for all the wonderful technology we have now. It may take 3 hours to dry one load of laundry but at least it doesn’t take three days. Also thank goodness, there’s no more scrubbing on washboards to get stains out of cloths and then having to boil water to wash them and wring them.
They also informed us about they kept the large estate heated: coal. They had to use hundreds of pounds of coal a week to heat the entire house and they had to transport it by lifting it through a pulley system to a storage room. Thank goodness for central air and heating too.
I have to remember to come back here again with a blanket and picnic basket of food. This place has a nice, large property, perfect for sitting in lawn chairs and having lunch. I don’t know how they keep the grass so well-manicured, but it’s a lovely house and I can’t wait to return.