Houghton Hall is a large estate of more than 1,000 acres. After spending over an hour in the house, I wanted to see it all. Ed, my husband (the one with the sore foot), was much more interested in sitting in the shade on a hot afternoon than tramping through the stables, the sculpture park, the lawns, the walled garden, and the wilderness. But I was determined!
In a few years, there will be more shade
For the most part, Ed found plenty of shady resting spots. I needn't remind you that he was suffering, trying not to limp, and keeping up a brave front while muttering under his breath. I should have been more sympathetic, but when would I ever have another chance to roam around Houghton Hall? I appreciated the fact he'd made it through the house and art exhibition, but nevertheless I simply had to see the whole thing.
Let me be clear. I didn't make it through all 1,000 acres. But I tried -- sort of. There is a wonderful folly at the end of a park view, below...I didn't get there any closer than the photograph.
photo from the website showing the sculpture and the house
Full Moon Circle, by Richard Long, 2004
The folly I didn't get to!
Lovely paths through the trees
After the current Marquess of Cholmondeley inherited his title and estates in 1990, he began plans to open the house to the public and to create news gardens in honor of his grandmother, Sybil Sassoon, Marchioness of Cholmondeley (1894-1989). She was the wartime superintendent of the Women's Royal Naval Service (Wrens) and held other important posts.
In the walled gardens are many beautiful "rooms" with various flowers and vegetables, pergolas, and sculptures, both ancient and contemporary. all joined by grassy paths and perfectly maintained. More than 150 varieties of roses can be found, though I didn't count.
An abundance of roses
The stables date from 1735 and may have been designed by William Kent. Now they are open for visitors, but without their former residents!
display throughout the gardens are various contemporary works of art, including the
Waterflame by artist Jeppe Hein. A rather astonishing column of water shoots
into the air carrying an active fire. I
can only guess at how it is accomplished; it’s certainly unique among fountains
I’ve seen anywhere.
In addition to the Hall, the pictures always there and those on special display, the gardens, the sculptures, and the stables, we enjoyed the tea room and the fantastic collection of the sixth Marquess's model soldiers, in which no pictures were allowed, sadly. Those displays alone would be worth the trip!
Battle of Waterloo display
Visit the Houghton Hall Website here.
To finish off our day at Houghton Hall, our taxi driver appeared right on time and drove us to the Victoria Hotel at nearby Holkham Hall, where the next adventure awaited us. Our confidence in the Kindness of Strangers was indeed fulfilled. Ed was delighted to have a restful night, but I wonder how much walking he anticipated for the next day? Maybe he had nightmares!!