Hidden gems in the North West

Think you know your local National Trust place? Here are some hidden gems to discover this spring. Why not bring a friend and enjoy finding them?

The Secret Garden at Speke Hall

Escape to the Secret Garden at Speke Hall 

The estate has a variety of gardens from woodland to manicured lawns and a kitchen garden. Delve a little deeper and you’ll discover the Secret Garden; a hidden area to relax and unwind. A trickling stream, colourful blooms and the occasional web-footed visitor ensures the ultimate in escapism.

 The ornate plaster ceiling in the Drawing Room at Lyme Park, Cheshire

Look up at Lyme 

The much-loved home of the Legh family is everything a grand country home should be with intricately decorated ceilings and dramatic paintings lining the walls. Spot the fruit and flower-filled vases set into the ceiling in the grand dining room and keep your eyes peeled at the top of the grand staircase for a painting of Joseph Watson, Lyme’s longest-serving gamekeeper of 70 years.

The beautifully glazed curvilinear glasshouse

Beyond the mill at Quarry Bank  

A cotton mill at the centre of the industrial revolution and a fruitful, lovingly tendered kitchen garden – two things not closely associated with one another. But at Quarry Bank a newly restored glasshouse consisting of thousands of panes of glass provide a different view. Explore the Back Sheds where gardeners grew plants for the Greg family’s kitchen and wander through the dramatic glasshouse bearing exotic fruit within its frame.

The Studio with equipment at The Hardmans' House, 59 Rodney Street, Liverpool.

1950s life through a lens at The Hardmans’ House 

Did you know that Liverpool city centre holds a photography secret? Behind the door of this unassuming house on Liverpool’s Rodney Street lies a time capsule of life and creativity in 1950s society. Discover the home and studio of a talented couple, packed with vintage treasures and fascinating photography from a bygone era.

The exterior of Nether Alderely Mill

Flour power at Nether Alderley Mill 

Beneath the long sloping roof of this medieval building discover a working cornmill where family millers since the 1500s have turned wheat into flour to make daily bread for the villagers of Nether Alderley. Spot centuries–old graffiti left by millers and workers from its past.

 Children taking a close look at the wood panelling at Little Moreton Hall, Cheshire.

What’s troubling the Tudors at Little Moreton Hall?  

The Moretons seemed to have had many worries relating to fire, evil spirits, and plague. They believed that witches, evil spirits and disease could enter the hall via chimneys, windows, and doorways. Keep your eyes peeled for found secret marks and not so secret burn marks around these ‘vulnerable’ places and ask our guides to point out the witch traps created by the carpenters who built the Hall.

 The Great Hall at Rufford Old Hall, Lancashire

A roof of note at Rufford Old Hall 

What makes the roof of Rufford’s Great Hall so great? The open timber roof truss design, known as a hammerbeam roof, has been regarded as “…the most spectacular endeavour of the English Medieval carpenter.” Don’t believe us? Come take a look and decide for yourself.

Detail of the orrery in the library at Dunham Massey, surrounded by signs of the zodiac and a calendar

The planets align at Dunham Massey 

A hardwood model of the solar system can be found in Dunham’s library. But not quite as we know it today. See which planets were known and which planets were yet to be discovered at the time it was created.