On the 13 June, 35 members of MM&DHS and their friends travelled to Wimpole Hall and Estate, a National Trust property near Royston in Cambs. The weather could have been sunnier and warmer but we didn’t experience the rain that MM suffered whilst we were away and it certainly didn’t dampen our spirits.
On arrival we took coffee, biscuits and cake, of which there were copious amounts, served efficiently by the welcoming members of the catering staff. Duly refreshed members dispersed, some visiting the Hall first, whilst others the Church and gardens.
The Mansion at the heart of this estate is evidence of Elsie Bambridge’s (daughter of Rudyard Kipling) success in creating a home. Intimate rooms contrast with beautiful and unexpected Georgian interiors, including Soane’s breath-taking Yellow Drawing Room and wonderful Plunge Bath. From furniture to porcelain, pictures to prints, there are fabulous and frivolous items, which together with other more mundane pieces grace the collection. The fascinating basement corridor offers a glimpse of life below stairs, whilst in the Hall we were fortunate to be able to listen to a pianist playing in one of the rooms. As visitors to the Hall were scarce, due to the weather, members almost felt as if they were enjoying a private visit!
The gardens consisted of an 18th century Walled Garden abundant fruit, vegetables and herbaceous borders. Constructed by William Eames this features Sir John Soane’s glasshouse where young plants are produced for the vegetable plots and which last year produced over 450 kgs of produce for the restaurant as well as cut flowers for the Hall.
Some members also visited Home Farm which contrasts the traditional farmyard with a noisy modern ‘piggery’. We were fortunate in seeing several sows with their litters at various ages.
We returned to our luxury coach and our experienced driver Robert, duly exhausted at the end of a lovely visit to the property. We are all looking forward to our next trip to Ely Cathedral on 11 July.