Things to do in Speke Hall's house
Discover the hall's fascinating architectural features and a range of treasures, from Richard Watt’s collection of over 200 pieces of ‘ancient’ carved oak furniture to early examples of original William Morris wallpapers. Explore the exhibition to discover the life-or-death secrets kept hidden inside the walls of Speke Hall by the Norris family.
Highlights of the house
Wander through the rooms at your own pace to learn about the fascinating history of Speke Hall and its residents. Room guides are always on hand to answer any questions you may have. You may even spot a few Tudor ladies and gentlemen making their way through the house from time to time. Look out for these highlights:
William Morris wallpaper
Feast your eyes on original William Morris wallpaper. ‘Trellis’, one of Morris’s earliest designs, is displayed throughout the downstairs corridor. In the Library, ‘Pomegranate’ adorns the walls while ‘Daisy’ can be seen peeking out from behind the books. It’s a must-see for any fans of the Arts and Crafts period.
Adam and Eve
Standing tall in the courtyard, this stately pair of yew trees are estimated to be around 500 years old. First recorded in 1712, they are nicknamed Adam and Eve as one is female and one is male. The trees are evergreen and provide a dramatic contrast to the Tudor wattle and daub walls surrounding them. It's a delight to stand beneath them at any time of the year.
Painting of the Childe of Hale
John Middleton, born in the nearby village of Hale in 1578, was said to have been over 9 feet tall (though later research suggests his height was actually 7 feet 6 inches). An official portrait of Middleton hangs in the corner of the Great Hall and depicts the local legend – nicknamed the Childe of Hale – as he supposedly looked. If you’re visiting with children, don't forget to explore our fun Childe of Hale play trail in the woods once you've finished touring the house.
Fossils in the Great Hall floor
Can you spot the oldest feature in the house? Encrusted in the stone-flagged floor of the Great Hall are several fossils, including a belemnite fossil from around 350 to 365 million years ago. See if you can find it as you walk around but be careful not to bump into anyone as you're looking down.
See the games room which was once used to entertain high-profile guests such as Dante Gabriel Rossetti and James McNeill Whistler. The room has been recently refurbished and restored to its former splendour.
Carved in around 1567, the overmantel in the Oak Parlour depicts three generations of the Norris family. It also serves as the only known portrait of Sir William Norris II, who established the family at Speke and began the long tradition of representing Liverpool in Parliament in 1544. Regardless of the history, it’s an incredible piece of craftsmanship.
Also in the Oak Parlour, this magnificent plaster ceiling dates from around 1612. It's made of 15 unique panels, depicting roses, irises, pomegranates, hazelnuts or grapes, while the beams are covered with hops and honeysuckle. Look carefully and see if you can find the hidden bird and snake.
Planning your visit
- When's best to visit the house?: We'd advise you to visit us in the afternoon, so that you're here for when the house is open between 12.30-5pm. Any queues are likely to be shorter later in the afternoon, so we'd recommend heading to the main entrance of the house from 2pm.
- Tickets: Please purchase a 'whole property' ticket when you arrive - this gives you entry to the house, gardens and estate. Entry is free for National Trust members.
- Queues: While we're admitting visitors, you may need to queue for a short while on the bridge and along the hedge on busy days. There is no cover, so please be prepared for the weather. If the queue is long, why not explore more of the gardens or go for a refreshing drink at Home Farm and come back again later?
- Buggies and bags: Once you're admitted, there will be an area where you can leave any bags, but please be aware these will be left at your own risk. Buggies will be stored in the courtyard, so waterproof covers are recommended. Please only bring large bags and buggies if necessary.
- Toilets: Located opposite the exit of the house in the Dairy Courtyard, including one accessible toilet and baby-changing facilities.
- Access: The upper floor is only accessible via stairs. Wheelchairs are welcome (you can borrow one if you wish), however we can't allow large outdoor-type mobility vehicles. Read our full access statement here.
- Room guides: Our lovely volunteers will be there to greet you in each room and will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the house and collections.
- Photography: You're welcome to take photos inside the house, but please no flash photography.
We may have to close some rooms or the first floor at short notice for staffing, conservation or other reasons. We're sorry if this affects your visit.
From peaceful strolls through colourful borders, to adventures in the woodland and spotting wildlife in the secret garden, there's plenty of seasonal joy to find at Speke Hall.
Since Sir William Norris began building Speke Hall in 1530, its survival hasn't always been guaranteed. Discover the stories of the people who have lived at Speke Hall.
Home Farm restaurant is open every day for you to grab a drink or a bite to eat. Afterwards, pop into the second-hand bookshop to find a pre-loved gem.
Dogs on leads are welcome to explore most areas of Speke Hall's grounds. Find out where you can go with your dog, what facilities are available to them and other important information at this two pawprint rated place.
This pass scheme is available to residents of Speke and some parts of Garston. With the pass, you and your family will be able to visit Speke Hall for free throughout the year.
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