Hidden gems in the North West

Think you know all the National Trust places in the North West? From a secretive walled garden to a 1950s home and photo studio filled with personal items, we've some hidden gems ready to share their secrets this spring. Here's our top pick of lesser-known places to explore on your own, or with family and friends.

A couple sat on a bench in the walled garden at Hare Hill

Enter a secret garden at Hare Hill

The covering of trees at Hare Hill hides a secret; a tranquil walled garden which is the perfect spot to while away an afternoon. Follow the pathway into the heart of the woodland garden, push open the iron gate and enter the beautifully landscaped garden alive with colourful plants and wildlife. You can join a guided walk with our ranger team or a tour to find out more about Hare Hill.

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 beautifully glazed curvilinear glasshouse

Beyond the mill at Quarry Bank

A cotton mill at the centre of the industrial revolution and a lovingly tendered kitchen garden – two things not closely associated with one another. But at Quarry Bank the restored glasshouse made from thousands of panes of glass and the beautifully colourful gardens reveal a contrasting side to life at the mill. Take in the best views of the mill from the upper garden and grab a hot drink in the garden cafe before heading down into the lower garden for more visual surprises.

Window detail at Little Moreton Hall

The devil's in the detail at Little Moreton Hall

The former residents of Little Moreton Hall seemed to have had many worries about fire, evil spirits, and plague. They believed that witches, evil spirits and disease could enter the hall via chimneys, windows, and doorways. Explore the crooked rooms of Little Moreton Hall and keep your eyes peeled for symbols burn marks around these ‘vulnerable’ places. Ask our guides to point out the witch traps created by the carpenters who built the Hall too.

 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.

A miller and a guide engaging with visitors to Nether Alderley Mill

Flour power at Nether Alderley Mill

Beneath the long sloping roof of this medieval building a fully restored and working corn mill takes back to another time. Take a guided tour to discover more about the family millers who turned wheat into flour to make daily bread for the villagers of Nether Alderley. You'll get to see the machinery working and spot centuries–old graffiti left by millers and workers from its past.