Summer appears to have finally come to England. Naturally I, like everyone else, was keen to get out in the sunshine. So, my National Trust Card and I were off again, and this time our destination was Wimpole Hall in Cambridgeshire.
With acres of land, a beautiful house, a working farm and stunning gardens, Wimpole definitely has something for everyone and is a great day out.
The hall itself is wonderful and not just for its impressive interior. Introduced to us as ‘the house that ruined three families’, Wimpole has an interesting and charming history. During its lifetime its contents has been stripped and its entire library was at one point taken away, and became the starting point for what is now the British Library.
However, the most interesting resident (in my opinion anyway) was Elsie Bambridge. She was the last surviving child of author Rudyard Kipling, and when she and her husband arrived in the 1930s the place was completely empty. Sadly, Elsie’s husband passed away just a few years after they took up residence at Wimpole, however she remained and dedicated herself to restoring Wimpole to its former glory before leaving it to the National Trust when she died.
In the Yellow Room – a fantastic space designed for entertaining – there are a set of chairs and sofas, and a set of candle holders. Except, they aren’t complete sets. Having only been able to find some of the seats and two candle holders, Elsie had the rest made so they were identical to the originals. According to the room guide, even some experts are hard-pressed to tell the difference.
Meanwhile, upstairs in the room that was formally Elsie’s husband’s, there is a bed that the Trust know at one point was actually in a room downstairs. During its life, either after Elsie found it or before, the top of the bed’s elaborate canopy was removed so that it could fit in the upstairs rooms where the ceilings were lower. After she found it, Elsie also had the drapes restored.
This level of attention to detail is amazing – let’s not forget Elsie did not have the luxury of using a quick google search, so it would have been much harder to find the missing furniture. I find the fact that she not only managed it, but was also able to have such good quality replicas and repairs made absolutely phenomenal.
Outside is equally captivating, with the farm offering a range of activities to keep you entertained, and there are plenty of different animals to see too – you can even groom a donkey – while the gardens are bursting with colours and smells that look glorious in the sunshine, and will be a treat for anyone with green fingers.
A great day out for all the family, you will never be bored at Wimpole Hall and Farm. And with such a vast landscape to explore, it’s a place you could you visit again without feeling you’ve seen it all.