Travelling to a National Trust property by canal might sound somewhat unusual, but not when the destination is Dunham Massey Hall and a narrowboat is your ONLY mode of transport! Feeling rather adventurous a few years ago, and deciding I wanted a more outdoorsy kind of lifestyle I bought myself a little narrowboat, and set out to explore as many of the canals and rivers of the North West and Pennines as possible. I’ve always had a love of the countryside, and have particularly enjoyed walks alongside many of the local canal towpaths, but actually travelling along by boat was an even better experience! The trip to Dunham Massey began with a 15 mile journey along the Bridgewater canal from Preston Brook to Dunham Town, which, incidentally, took over 4 hours! I moored up near Dunham School Bridge, walked through the little farming village of Dunham Town, past Little Heath Farm and the Axe and Cleaver pub, and then continued with a pleasant walk through the Hall’s deer park, home to some very tame fallow deer, up to Dunham Massey Hall itself. An impressive and beautifully preserved Georgian building, the Hall houses a great collection of paintings and silver, which for me as an Art History student make it a must-see for any visitor to Cheshire! After enjoying an extensive tour of the Hall, I rounded my visit off with a pot of tea and a slice of homemade cake in the Stables Restaurant, in the 18th century stable block, which provided a perfect end to the day.
Whilst I no longer have my narrowboat, I still have a love of local heritage, walking, and being outdoors as much as possible, whatever the weather. So when Regatta recently advertised a competition they were running via their Facebook page, asking people to describe their favourite National Trust property and give reasons why – well, how could I resist? I chose Dunham Massey Hall, of course, wrote a few witty lines about ‘historic house tours’ and ‘the great outdoors’, and crossed my fingers! Lo and behold, less than 2 weeks later I got the email to say I had won! I could barely believe my luck, especially when my prize was being able to order £500 worth of Regatta gear from the website! I am still in shock! My favourite item has got to be my Queenswood Jacket, probably the warmest coat I have ever owned! I also treated myself to some fabulous non-slip, fleece-lined Lady Jetson Snow Boots (don’t you just love the name?), perfect for the recent snowy weather. Of course there’s the fact that I am now the proud owner of a wardrobe full of fluffy fleeces, jackets and hiking boots of every shape and colour, and I still have some money left over to treat myself to some more fantastic goodies from Regatta’s new Spring/Summer collection. Thanks to Regatta, winters will never be the same again!