- Take a glimpse of what life would have been like at the turn of the 18th century at the National Trust's Hanbury Hall.
- From the design of the English baroque style building to the restoration of Hanbury's gardens, delve into the fascinating Hanbury Hall history.
- Gaze at the spectacular wall paintings by Sir James Thornhill, which depict the birth of Georgian society.
- Designed by George London, stroll through the formal gardens where you can discover the orangery, the walled garden and the orchards.
- Explore the historic Worcester city and visit the impressive Norman Cathedral and the Museum of Royal Worcester.
Visit the magnificent William and Mary-style early 18th-century country house, garden and park in Droitwich, Worcestershire, which is located in the heart of England. One of the finest National Trust properties in Worcestershire, Hanbury Hall and Gardens was built in 1710 as a country retreat by Thomas Vernon, a highly successful lawyer. Believed to have been designed by local architect William Rudhall, the Vernon family wanted a venue for entertainment, as well as the chance to show off the family wealth and taste. The early 18th century was a time of considerable political, cultural and social change, and there was also an underlying fear and uncertainty.
Thomas Vernon commissioned Sir James Thornhill, an artist, to create the ceiling and wall paintings that are so prominent in the baroque building's interior. An English painter who worked in Italian baroque tradition, Thornhill was the only large-scale painter in Britain at the time. The monumental wall paintings depict the story of Achilles, a hero of the Trojan War, and have been restored to become Hanbury Hall's crowning achievement.
The beautiful gardens at Hanbury Hall were originally designed by the royal gardener George London in 1701 under Thomas Vernon. A celebrated garden designer, he had created gardens including Hampton Court and Kensington Palace. A formal style of the time, George London included a fruit garden, wildness and parterre.
Emma Vernon inherited the estate aged 16 in 1771 and she made remarkable changes with her fortune, including altering the drawing and sitting rooms. Married to Henry Cecil, Emma Vernon caused a scandal when she eloped with the local curate whilst already married. Her portrait, which shows Emma Vernon in the late 1770s as a 22-year-old, can now be found in the National Trust hall.
Emma Vernon also swept away the original 18th-century gardens that had been designed by the royal gardener because she preferred a more natural garden in the style of Lancelot 'Capability' Brown. Not a trace of the formal gardens remained when the National Trust took ownership in 1953. In the 1990s, the National Trust used George London's original 1705 plans with a brilliant team of gardeners to recreate the magnificent historic gardens that can be seen today.
Explore Hanbury Hall with your family and take a look at the stunning Thornhill wall and ceiling paintings on the great staircase of the house. See the beautiful array of ceramics and family portraiture that fill the Hanbury mansion, and take a peek at the beautiful flying tester bed, which has been so well preserved in the Blue Bedroom. Make your way to the Hercules Bedroom where you can enjoy wonderful views of the Parterre, and take some time out in the Ladies Parlour and play old records on the gramophone. Soak up the atmosphere of the Main Hall, and discover a beautiful harpsichord shaped organ amongst other treasures. Take in all the delightful collections at the estate, including interesting objects and captivating works of art.
Discover 20 acres of magnificently restored formal gardens and 393 acres of Worcestershire parkland. Perfect for little explorers, there is also a brilliant children's adventure play park, which is suitable for younger kids as well. Keep your eyes peeled for the many different species of birds that visit the garden all through the year or take a walk in the peaceful walled garden. Bring along a kite to fly in the open green spaces, create your own piece of wild art with the twigs and leaves you find in the parkland, see how many bugs you can spot in Hanbury's gardens or climb the huge hill that leads up to the nearby Hanbury Church. There is even a children's trail around the garden with a variety of activities to tick off your list and clues to collect along the way. The kids' trail is free and you can pick it up on arrival from the visitor reception. If you are spending the whole day at the estate, why not enjoy a picnic on the Orangery Lawn or in the nearby parkland.
There are also some wonderful Hanbury Hall walks that families can enjoy, where you can see a variety of beautiful trees and wildlife. Whether you want to take a leisurely walk around the estate or venture further afield and explore the surrounding landscape or nearby Hanbury village and church, there are a variety of different trails.
Although it is easy to spend the whole day at Hanbury Hall, you may also want to make time to explore the surrounding area. There is one of Worcestershire's finest outdoor pools, which is located in the heart of a lido park, as well as Churchfields Farmhouse Ice Cream Cafe in Droitwich Spa. The historic city of Worcester is a half-hour drive from Hanbury Hall and you won't be short of things to do. Visit Worcester Cathedral, which overlooks the River Severn, and immerse yourself in brilliant activities at the Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum, including following dinosaur footprints and unearthing Roman mosaics. For more outdoor fun, Gheluvelt Park has a brilliant splashpad, playground and is the perfect spot for a picnic.
What to know what before you go
- The National Trust Hanbury Hall opening times are dependent on the time of year, so please check before you go.
- There are toilets available in the Stableyard. An adapted toilet and baby-changing facilities can be found here as well.
- Get something to eat at the Servants' Hall Tea Room, which serves freshly-prepared soups, sandwiches, quiches, homemade cakes and clotted-cream scones. The Stables Cafe serves sandwiches, cakes, ice cream light snacks and hot and cold drinks. You are also welcome to bring a picnic to enjoy in the grounds. You'll discover a variety of beautiful spots, and there are also picnic tables under the trees in the Stableyard.
- BBQs are not permitted at Hanbury Hall.
- Dogs on leads are welcome in the parkland for walks, the car park, forecourt and Stableyard.
- Assistance dogs are permitted in Hanbury Hall and gardens.
- The ground floor of Hanbury Hall is wheelchair accessible. There is a ramped entrance. There are wheelchairs available to hire.
- The garden is mainly level. The surfaces vary between gravel and grass.
- There is a buggy available, which runs between the visitors reception and the Hall.
- If you are looking for places to stay at Hanbury Hall, including the Lodge at the entrance to the estate, the South Wing located in the attics of the hall, and the Rosedene, one of the UK's last remaining Chartist cottages near the scenic Clent Hills. There is also a Holiday Inn Express in Droitwich Spa and is just four miles from the estate.
- Hanbury Hall has a Stableyard Gift Shop selling a tempting range of treats, including National Trust and locally-produced items like books, children's toys, blooms and plants from the garden, homeware, greeting cards, stationary, foods, plus much more. Money spent in the shop goes back to supporting the conservation work at Hanbury Hall.
- Browse the wonderful array of books in the secondhand bookshop, which is situated in the Summer House in the Stableyard.
- There are a variety of Hanbury Hall events throughout the year, including Christmas celebrations, Easter egg hunts and art exhibitions.
- Droitwich Spa train station is four miles away. Served by West Midlands Trains, there are direct trains to Hereford, Bromsgrove, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Worcester and Birmingham New Street. It is eight minutes by taxi or you can catch the 354 bus from the Ombersley Street East stop to School Road, and it's a 16-minute walk away to Hanbury Hall from there.
- By bus, there is a service from Worcester to Birmingham that passes close to Droitwich Spa train station. Get off the bus at Wychbold and Hanbury Hall is two miles from here.
- If you are arriving by car, there are brown signs that can be followed from junction 5 of the M5 across Droitwich Spa.
- There is free on-site parking at Hanbury Hall. There are also designated Blue Badge spaces available.