05 October 2008

all about audley

While I admit I sometimes find English Heritage and National Trust properties a bit disappointing, Audley End, a Jacobean stately home run by English Heritage, is completely amazing.

One of the highlights of our visit was the recently opened Victorian service wing: kitchen, scullery, laundry, dairy, and larder. These areas were just as beautifully restored and just as interesting as the rooms in the main house, if not more so:

I just wish my washing up pile were this lovely (although I'm sure the washing up itself wasn't so lovely for the scullery maids involved):

The walled kitchen garden was another unexpected treat. When Garden Organic, the national charity for organic growing, began restoring the garden in 1999 it was semi-derelict. But you'd never know it today. The garden has been restored to look as it would have done in Victorian times, growing original fruit and vegetable varieties, all carefully labeled in beautiful copperplate script.

The vinehouse is particularly stunning. It was originally constructed around 1804, and is one of the oldest and largest in the country.

Inside the vinehouse we found wonderful citrus, including Meyer lemons and Seville oranges:

Numerous varieties of tomatoes in all shapes, sizes, and colors:

And gorgeous figs:

Out in the garden itself we wandered past row after row of espaliered apples, including quite rare heritage varieties, many of which were on sale in the on-site gift shop:

I only wish we could have returned for Apple Weekend. We've already added it to our to-do list for next year!


  1. Audley End is impressive...especially the progress made on the kitchen garden. Have you seen the kitchen garden at West Dean? They have an apple day, tomato day, chilli day.....
    D x

  2. I always prefer the 'below-stairs' bits at NT properties - you get a real sense of what life was like for the staff. It looks like a great place to visit, and has been on my list for ages. Thanks for the lovely photos.
    Cathy X

  3. I love the kitchen and laundries in those properties too. It's really where the soul of a house survives.

    Now if I could just attend to polishing mine...

  4. Can you imagine polishing that lot?

    Those stripy tomatoes look wonderful...

  5. I'm thinking that this was heaven on earth for Mr. Allotment.

  6. What a wonderful place. Love the kitchen, but wouldnt' fancy having to clean and polish all that copper!

  7. Ah, I wish I'd known - you could have taken a 15 minute detour and had tea with us! We drive to Saffy every week for ballet, and love Audley End - and at Christmas they run a Santa special on the mini railway!

  8. Beautiful pics kristina, you're inspiring my growing list of places to visit on my next visit.

  9. Is that another picture of the handsome husband? Just put him to work in the Audley laundry!