Lyme Park – A beauty spot on our doorstep
Lyme Park is located in Macclesfield and technically it’s more Cheshire than Greater Manchester. But if you live in or are staying in Manchester this is a fantastic day out not to be missed!
The National Trust owns and maintains Lyme park if you are a member of this fantastic organisation your entry into the house and parking is completely free. For individual membership, you are looking at just over £5 per month, this goes to maintain all of the beautiful scenic buildings and landscapes they own up and down the country.
There is plenty of parking upon arrival, if you’re not a National Trust member, it is a little steep at around £8 for a car. But taking into account the upkeep of the grounds and house and the fact you can have an entire day out there with no further expense, it’s a bargain!
The Lyme house dates back to the 1400s and was actually originally a hunting lodge. The same family the Legh’s owned the house for just shy of 600 years before the National Trust took ownership of this magnificent building! Somewhere along the way, the Legh’s employed a range of architects to convert the old hunting lodge into the fantastic house it has become.
When walking around the house you are captivated and taken back to a time when things were much simpler, there are relics from times gone by and the families personal items such as the dog collars from their beloved dogs.
If you are a regular at National Trust properties you will appreciate The Sarum Missal. This is one of the most treasured books the National Trust have in their possession.
A strange thing to write about in detail I agree. But, The Sarum Missal is a pretty significant book, one that has survived centuries and again gives such a glimpse at the past, it is fascinating!
The idea of the book was a colourful, text-based mass for religious readings, the colours broke up the paragraphs to make it easy for someone to navigate and read. This along with different font types and sizes made it quite something to look at.
Written versions of this book were quite commonplace around this time, but this is thought to be the only largely intact printed version of the book, printed by William Caxton in 1487!
Whilst a book surviving in a somewhat originally bound state is something to marvel at in itself, the plot thickens when you understand a little more about the book.
“Henry VIII’s edict in 1538 requested the obliteration of references to the Pope, the Church of Rome and the Catholic cult of St. Thomas from all liturgical books.” – National Trust
But the Legh family were quite religious, you can see where the verses have been lightly crossed out to comply, but not enough that they would stop you reading them. You can also see Prayers re-written at the back of the book.
For someone to have done this in the 1500s and the book to still be surviving now for us to take a look at, is quite something.
What you will see in abundance around Lyme park is people walking their dogs. It is the perfect place to let your dog roam free. People are very respectful at Lyme and you see little in the way of dog litter on the ground. There are also designated areas where dogs must be kept on a lead.
The grounds of the house alone span around 15 acres, but the whole deer park is around 1,359 acres! If you are looking for a quiet walk away from the beaten track there is an area for everyone.
Newly restored in 2017 are the Lyme Avenue Ponds. As with most areas of Lyme Park, there is a story to tell! I won’t go into too much detail as it is fascinating to discover for yourself when at this magical park. But in essence, in order to restore these ponds to their former glory, it required a large sum of money. To raise the funds they decided to reenact something that happened in the 1700s, involving a legendary gamekeeper named Joseph.
Joseph Watson who was still hunting game for the Legh’s at 102, needed to transport two dozen red-deer from Lyme to Windsor, in the reenactment a whole range of people re-did the 210-mile walk. There is much more to the story that makes it even more fascinating, so make sure you find out about it on your visit.
Lyme Park is somewhere that children grow and flourish. As boring as some of the park and houses histories may seem to the little ones there is plenty to captivate them!
From amazing adventure playgrounds with something for all ages to the fantastic wildlife to explore. I spent a Sunday afternoon feeding the ducks with my little girl, on the lookout for deer around the park and stroking every dog that passed us.
Food and drink
There is a little courtyard area that houses a gift shop and a lovely quaint little cafe. The cafe building itself has been restored and adapted as it was once the timber yard for the estate and is now aptly named. The cafe has outside seating which is perfect for a summers day or a well-dressed winters day.
There is plenty of choices when it comes to food, soup, paninis, and much more. A large selection of cakes for those with a sweet tooth and a nice children’s box that they can select the contents of. There is a large selection of hot and cold drinks to choose from and if you are just in the mood for a nice cold glass of tap water there is a jug on the side for you to help yourself.