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Things to see and do at Little Moreton Hall

Staff in traditional dress giving talk in the courtyard at Little Moreton Hall, Cheshire
Visitors with a costumed interpreter at Little Moreton Hall, Cheshire | © National Trust/Annapurna Mellor

Discover Cheshire's most iconic black and white house. While modern life rushes by on the busy road outside, Little Moreton Hall, encircled by a moat, survives as a Tudor fantasy, transporting you back to another time. Find out about the knot garden, the burn marks on the house and all the other things you can see and do here.

Fascinating stories of the house

This timber-framed building, with a scenic moat curling around it, has defied logic for over 500 years. Why is it so wonky? Why was the drain for the garderobe put on the front of the house? Why were clothes stored near it?

Come and meet the Tudor gentlefolk at Little Moreton Hall, also known as the living history costumed guides, who’ll help you to uncover the stories here.

Things to see in the house

Take a look at the fireplace in the Long Gallery Chamber when you visit. It may seem unbelievable in this wonky building, but the fireplace is perfectly straight, as proved by a spirit level.

The surrounding floors and walls are so out of line that they create the false impression that the fireplace is leaning.

Look out for marks

Keep a look out for burn marks on your visit around the house. You might also spot a couple of sets of concentric circles that former residents at Little Moreton Hall scored into the wood to trap evil spirits.

The carpenters who built the house also added their own special marks to help them with construction.

Little Parlour wall paintings

While faded, the wall paintings in the Little Parlour still astound people today. They tell the story of Susanna and the Elders, a moralising tale from Apocrypha which sometimes accompanies the Old and New Testaments in the Bible.

The wall painting can be dated to between 1563–98. Faded initials ‘IM’ for John Moreton appear below the frieze. He was head of the household during the period when this type of painting was popular (1575–1600).

After this time, the family fitted oak panelling over the wall paintings, where they stayed hidden for centuries until an electrician discovered them in 1976.

Visitors walking through the gardens in August at Little Moreton Hall, Cheshire
Visitors at Little Moreton Hall, Cheshire | © National Trust Images/Annapurna Mellor

Long Gallery

No visit to Little Moreton is complete without viewing the Long Gallery and you can climb up the spiral stairs to the top of the Hall.

Often likened to being onboard a wooden ship, the weight of the Long Gallery is responsible for much of the wonkiness you see in the Hall.

Supporting the walls

In the 1990s, the National Trust placed a steel cradle behind the panelling in the Long Gallery to redistribute the weight on to the load-bearing walls.

This stabilised the Hall and the restrictions of ‘only eight people and stay to the edge of the room’, were thankfully lifted.

Children playing on the lawn at Little Moreton Hall, Cheshire
Children playing on the lawn at Little Moreton Hall, Cheshire | © National Trust Images/John Millar

Explore the garden at Little Moreton Hall

Though the garden is small there is plenty to see. A fine selection of native flowers as well as early introductions from the continent grow here.

You can wander around the garden and discover the plants which the Moreton’s would have likely grown.

The moat dates back to the Middle Ages and was likely a status symbol to prove how well the Moretons had done for themselves. Nowadays it is alive with wildlife, including tufted ducks and moorhens.

Varied uses for plants

Many of the plants grown here would have had medicinal and culinary uses and, due to the garden’s small size, every one of the plants would have had some kind of use.

There would have been roses for sweet desserts and lavender to stuff the mattress to ensure a restful night’s sleep.

These herbs, flowers and vegetables surround the Elizabethan-style knot garden. Based on a Tudor quatrefoil design, the box hedge has recently suffered from box blight and the garden team are working to save and restore it.

A family having a picnic on the lawn at Little Moreton Hall, Cheshire

Discover more at Little Moreton Hall

Find out when Little Moreton Hall is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

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