There’s something magical about a morning walk through Tatton Park’s beautiful and extensive grounds. As the familiar Cheshire mist lifts, you will spot herds of red and fallow deer roaming freely in 1,000 acres of parkland. Then, as the sun breaks through and lights up the estate’s two Meres, you may see migrating birds skimming across the sparkling water – twitchers take note: the new Allen Bird Hide on the edge of Melchett Mere provides the perfect spot for a closer look at Tatton’s resident and visiting birds.
This is one of Britain’s most complete historic estates. It is home to a Tudor Old Hall, a neo-classical mansion, 50 acres of landscaped gardens, a rare-breed farm, an adventure playground and the aforementioned deer park. To complement all that, there are shops, a restaurant and an ever-changing list of events and educational programmes to attract visitors of all ages.
It may not look like it now but the Old Hall, originally built at the turn of the 15th century, was Tatton Park’s manor house until the late 17th century. It stands near the site of the long-gone Tatton village whose humps and hollows show where houses once stood. It’s the oldest building on the estate and a costumed guided tour will reveal its historical journey from manor house to humble cottages.
The present mansion, which was remodelled in the Neoclassical style, between 1780 and 1813, is sited in a more elevated position with its impressive portico on the South Front dominating the view of the house from the parkland. The house’s rich furnishings and its important collection of paintings, ceramics and books reflect the growing wealth and status of its occupants, the Egerton family, at the end of the 18th and during the 19th centuries. The library is considered one of the finest in the National Trust and its collection of Gillow’s of Lancaster furniture is outstanding.
The theme of Victorian grandeur extends into 50 acres of gardens, which reflect over 250 years of horticulture and design. They include the Japanese Garden (considered the finest in Europe), the Italian Garden, the Fernery, the Orangery, Rose Garden, Tower Garden and, last but not least, the Walled Garden and extensive Kitchen Gardens, which are renowned for their remarkable glasshouses.
Tatton Park, Knutsford, Cheshire WA16 6QN
Tel: 01625 374 435.