We had a treat in England this year- the sun came out in March. March I tell you. I was outside in a dress in MARCH. I was so excited by the fact that my daffodil hunting went a bit mad. I’d always heard that Wimpole Hall, just to the South of Cambridge, was a great place to see the daffodils in bloom – so I took an afternoon off work and went to explore, easily spending 3 hours enjoying my visit. And it’s just as well because only 3 days later it was snowing and hailing – blinking English weather!
The moment I walked through the gates and up the path I smiled to myself. Oh my goodness look at the daffodils. I started in the formal gardens at the back of the house and ended up spending ages sat on a bench in the sunshine just happy and content.
After strolling the gardens, I headed to the walled garden where I met a lovely volunteer who was telling me all about his wife’s work with Sue Ryder, the fact he’d been volunteering for 15 years and even where his daughter kept her horses (bizarrely in the same village my husband was born in but that’s by the by). It was nice just to chat.
After the walled garden, I needed to quench my thirst in the sun so I headed to the restaurant – yey for more daffodils on the path up for it. I had a nice cold drink and a cake and then was ready to explore further.
Next I went in to the stables to look in the gift shop and browse some of the plants for sale, before heading on a walk round to the front of the Hall.
Wimpole dates back to the Domesday book of 1086, and was once a small manor house in the countryside. In the 1400s it was owned by the archbishop of Canterbury, and in 1650 the house was extended massively – and today it’s the biggest house in Cambridgeshire. Queen Victoria even visited for supper in 1843, and stayed for a ball after dinner. You can visit inside the Hall and explore a number of rooms.
A highlight is the Hall’s library, a result of the fact that in 1938, Rudyard Kipling’s (the famous author) daughter Elsie bought the Hall, fully restoring it using her inheritance and father’s royalties. Her particular focus was on the library, and it truly is stunning.
In 1976 Elsie died childless, and her biggest aim was to preserve the work of her father – leaving the entire Hall and collection to the National Trust to look after. Today the Hall forms one of the Trust’s most important collections of books and requires significant care and maintenance. I particularly loved that in one of the rooms there was a pianist playing live, it was just stunning.
You can also explore the basement rooms of the Hall, including the servants quarters and the Chapel, which is a really beautiful feature you don’t see in many of these types of houses.
I fell in love with the Hall, with Elsie’s passion for preserving her father’s legacy (though I’m biased, I like a strong willed woman persisting despite not being able to have children), and most definitely with the daffodils.
What do you think of Wimpole and my spring time stroll? It was a beautiful find in the Cambridgeshire countryside and well worth a visit. And if you’re interested in visiting Cambridgeshire, you can also check out my other posts here:
- 2 day Cambridge Itinerary
- Cambridgeshire Walks and my favourite walk in Cambridgeshire
- Beautiful Cambridgeshire villages
- Things to do in Cambridge
- Visiting Ely
Thanks for reading – stay safe and happy travelling everyone.