In the North West, we’re spoilt for choice with the fantastic National Trust estates on our doorstep. Just a short drive from home we can find ornate stately homes, breath-taking views and exceptional wildlife. Based in Styal, Quarry Bank Mill is one of the region’s most interesting properties to visit. The mill played a key role in Manchester’s cotton industry and was home to some of the region’s most fascinating characters. Here’s 5 of the many, many reasons we think you should visit..
The Industrial Revolution
Quarry Bank Mill is rooted in the fabric of Manchester’s industrial heritage. The buildings and grounds are steeped in history and there’s infinite amounts to learn about The Industrial Revolution, the pivotal role Quarry Bank played and the workers that made it all possible. There are many examples of the intricate engineering and traditional machinery that would have been used to create the vast quantities of cotton that went on to be distributed across the world. The National Trust staff and volunteers are incredibly keen to share their vast knowledge of the mill’s history and there are regular talks and demonstrations. You can even see the machinery in action and hear the deafening roar as the looms spring to life.
Family Days Out
There’s something for the whole family to enjoy at Quarry Bank Mill. The estate is made up of expansive grounds and there’s the opportunity to get lost in the woods, take in the array of beautiful plants in the gardens, tour the home of the Greg family and see where the mill’s workers and apprentices lived. There are lots of family friendly events to get involved in across the year and the Children’s Book Festival will soon be returning to the hall on 23 & 24 June. Many of your children’s favourite authors will be visiting Quarry Bank across the weekend, so be sure to book in advance so that they can meet their heroes!
The estate boasts a wide and varied range of plants and flowers for visitors to marvel at. There’s a meandering river to stroll along admiring the stunning scenery, there’s 19th century history to be unravelled in the back sheds and exotic finds waiting to be discovered in the glasshouse. When paying a visit to the garden, be sure to collect a Tracker pack. Armed with binoculars and an ID sheet, your family can work together to identify the birds and bugs living there. Over in the Apprentice House Garden, you can see where the girls and boys that worked at Quarry Bank Mill grew their own fruit and vegetables. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled as the garden’s pond is a favourite haunt for grass snakes!
A brilliant programme of exhibitions runs at Quarry Bank Mill. New themes and characters are constantly explored that breathe new life into the estate and ensure that no two visits are the same. The changing exhibitions are a great way for The National Trust to share the complex and interesting history of the property and the period. They engage the young, the elderly and everyone in between. Until 7 October 2018, you can be transported back to 1918 with ‘Lost Voices of Quarry Bank’. The exhibition looks at how the men and women that worked at Quarry Bank Mill were impacted by the Representation of the People Act. You can also enjoy ‘Journeys of the Imagination’ that reimagines the exciting journeys that took place to and from Quarry Bank throughout its history. Make sure to visit before 28 October!
Stretch Your Legs
When you live in a city and you’re caught up with the 9-5 grind, it’s easy to forget that wonderful places like Quarry Bank Mill exist. Only 12 miles from Manchester city centre, the estate is easily accessible by car, bicycle and train. A visit to the estate can be as simple as a walk in your wellies through the woodlands. The sound of the river rippling past and birds whistling in the trees is certain to brighten any mood and leave you feeling refreshed. We highly recommend taking time to stroll through the grounds, breathe in the fresh air and admire Cheshire’s wonderful wildlife.
We’re sure we’ve convinced you that Quarry Bank Mill is worth a visit. When you’re there, don’t forget to make a detour to one of the estate’s cafes for a spot of lunch (and maybe a delicious cake!).
Due to some building works taking place, the mill is closed until Summer 2018. We can’t wait to test drive the new lift and to see how the galleries have been redesigned, but until then there’s still plenty to enjoy at Quarry Bank.