Some of you will know Lyme Park, Manchester due it’s association with one very famous leading man of English Literature…Mr Darcy. For this is the back-drop of the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice and the setting of the famous scene where Mr Darcy emerged from the Lake in his breeches (getting hot and flustered at the very thought!).
It is a stunning Edwardian estate with the most beautiful house, lakes and 1300 acres of grassland woods and walks. It’s the perfect place for families, singletons, couples and dog-walkers alike with space to enjoy the history of the property, fun and games, a quiet read and of course a picnic! We opted for the latter.
With temperatures in Greater Manchester nearing 30 degrees lately, of course every man and his dog venture out into sunshine and last Saturday was no exception. Beer gardens were full to the rafters, people flocked to the coast with the hope of finding a spot on something that resembles a beach and the rest of us were heading to The Lakes. So we needed to come up with something different – something that was quintessentially British for our traveller guests, something that involved being outdoors, something where we could bring Bobbi along and something that involved the consumption of Pimms. The latter being highly important obvs!
So after a bit of deliberation and in all honesty, faffing around, we decided on the National Trust property Lyme Park. Just a 20-minute drive away, on the outskirts of Stockport, it seemed the perfect option and ticked all boxes. So after a quick rush around the supermarket to get some picnic goodies and the all important bottle of Pimms, we packed our cooler box, grabbed some tennis balls for Bobbi and piled into the car to head on our merry way.
20 minutes later we arrived at the entrance-way to this stunning place (wow):
It cost us £5 to park our car, which for 4 of us is a complete bargain. This gained us entry into the grounds and access to the 1300 acre estate. You can pay extra to enter the house itself, which we will certainly do another time, but with the sun shining it was too nice to be inside. What surprised me most about Lyme was how much space there was and although the car-park showed that it was clearly very busy, it seemed like there was so much room for everyone to enjoy without being on top of each other – and we weren’t surrounded by crowds of people at all.
So we parked-up, picked-out the ideal spot on the hillside overlooking the house and spread out our picnicky goodness. Mmmm picnic and Pimms (salivating at the thought). As I said, we weren’t surrounded by people at all! Most families congregate around the lake where there’s picnic benches, and a place for kids to paddle, but we made our way up the hill slightly and it felt like we had the park to ourselves…bliss.
So we tucked in… In case you’re wondering, here’s what we ate:
Fresh Tiger Bread with Honey-roast Ham and French Brie (smelly Stilton for the hubby), crisps with guacamole and soured-cream and onion dip, carrot batons, an Italian cured meat selection of Prosciutto, Chorizo and Salami, mozzarella and sundried tomatoes, Mushroom pate, fresh raspberries, blueberries and strawberries.
All washed-down with a flask of Pimms on ice. Delish!
Even Bobbi loved every minute – running around, chasing her tennis ball and lazing in the shade when she got too hot (we were responsible dog-owners and picked a shady and sunny spot so she could get out of the heat if needed). We even took her for a dip in the lake to cool off and she rescued many a stray ball for the kids who cheered her on. Aside from the brief incident where she ate some sheep poo and instantly threw it up again, our picnic was positive sophistication.
The day was absolute heaven. The perfect way to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon. And all for £5 and the cost of a picnic!
With a calendar of events and the promise of Afternoon Tea on The Lawn, we will certainly return to Lyme Park and it’s the perfect place to take visitors who want to see the other side of Greater Manchester. It’s also a great place where we can relax and take Bobbi, spend a bit of quality time together in a seriously stunning setting, without spending lots of cash.
Our trip to Lyme has also re-introduced the wonders of the National Trust and the properties that are only a short drive away from Manchester.
Are there any others that we should be visiting? Dog-friendly is always a bonus!