Rode Hall and Gardens Review*

Rode Hall and Gardens is a beautiful Georgian country house, is the seat of the Wilbraham family. Located in Scholar Green, not far from Alsager and Mop Cop in Cheshire, this beautiful estate boasts a grand garden and is nestled quietly from the hustle and bustle of the city. This is the setting for our next review!

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Rode Hall and Gardens is only open on Wednesdays and bank holiday Mondays as its still lived in by the family that owns the building. A full history about the family as well as the house can be found on their website here. Visitors to the place can participate in guided tours of the house, tour the garden at your own pace or enjoy the lovely food and cakes at their Tea Room.

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A copy of the above map will be given to you when you get your tickets at the Cashier in the Tea Room. The Tea Room can get quite busy especially if its lunch time so we would suggest you get there just before or after lunch time if you don’t want to wait long for your tickets.

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I started off my tour at the walled 2-acre Kitchen Garden which was built in the early eighteen-century. Built to take into account the weather, it currently houses Kelvin Archer, the Head Gardener’s Cottage as well as lots and lots of different plants and vegetables.

I thoroughly enjoyed looking at the many things that was growing there including pumpkins, berries, flowers, pears, peaches etc. The produce from the garden is used by the Tea House as well as sold during the Rode Hall Farmer’s Market which takes place on the first Saturday of the Month (except Jan).

Walking through the narrow gravel paths which were only made wide enough for the Wilbraham’s and their friends, I was greeting by the buzzing sounds of bees around me. If you are afraid of bees then you need to walk with caution as they aplenty, buzzing around the beautiful flowers.

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Photos taken at the Kitchen Garden of beautiful flowers that grow around the garden as well as inside the green house. You can clearly see a lot of hard work goes into the upkeep of the garden which is run by The Head Gardener and four volunteers.

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For 16 years Kelvin (The Head Gardener at Rode Halls) has held the record in the Guinness Book of Records for growing the biggest Gooseberry in the world (2.18ozs, or 39 pennyweight and 19 grains, the size of a hen’s egg). In 2009 a retired gamekeeper, Bryan Nellis from Egton Bridge, with a little divine help from the local vicar, became the new World Champion by less than 3 grains. The suspense was great as Yorkshire and Cheshire have different weighing methods, the former using drams and grains and the latter pennyweights and grains. Mathematicians were called in to ponder over the complex calculation. Kelvin conceded defeat in a truly sportsmanlike way and Mr Nellis said he was like the Lionel Messi of the gooseberry world and it was an honour to beat him.

In August 2013 Kelvin regained the world record for the heaviest gooseberry which weighed in at 41 pennyweights and 11 ¼ grains beating the previous record set by Brian Nellist whose berry weighed 39 pennyweights 21 grains in 2009.

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The above picture is off the back of the beautiful Rode Hall House, it has undergone a lot of renovation through time to restore it to how it looks like. I was told that was once the front of the House but the entrance was moved around to make it easier for the horses and carriages. The 10-acre garden is stunning with lots of different flowers. Depending on when you visit the garden, it is beautifully filled with snow drops, daffodils, blue bells, rhododendrons or roses. The garden which is surrounded by sheep-grazed parkland hence you could bring a book on a quite day and just sit and read as some did. There is also a pathway to the Rode Pool from here.

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Originally the centre piece of the garden was a Nesfield urn but the urn was damaged in 1980, a few years ago the present owner, Sir Richard, commissioned David Williams Ellis to produce the beautiful bronze statue of a Wood Nymph. There was also a lovely swing hung from the tree near to the formal garden.

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The above is a short introduction video by David McVerry who is did the guided tour.   He was very informative and funny at the same time making the tour interesting and not too boring as there was so much facts about each of the owners and persons of interest and their vast collection of antiques and paintings to learn about. We stood in the front, there were lots more people behind us.

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We were not allowed to take photos and videos of the house, due to insurance purpose hence are not able to share the beauty and richness of the place.  Just take our word for it… if you are heading to Rode Hall then make sure do book yourself a tour, it only takes around 30-45 minutes but its something you have to do at lease once.

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Here are some photos of the Tea Rooms, its a lovely set-up with tables and chairs both inside and outside (if its a nice day). The Tea Room offers a selection of light snacks, cakes and creams teas as well as afternoon teas.  Most of the produce used in the kitchen comes from Rode Gardens hence its all naturally grown, organic and pesticide free.  Unfortunately we were unable to try out any of the food there due to an unexpected crowd of 60-odd people who turned up on the day without prior notice so the kitchen had run out of food. We (together with a few other guests) were given complimentary tea and scones as we had to wait almost 15 minutes to be served.  Which made the waiting process more bearable. Rosemary who ran the Tea Room was very obliging and explained the situation to us politely.

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Some photos of the gift shop selling some lovely souvenirs for guests.

Here are some beautiful photos taken at the Italian Garden which was the Tenant’s Hall during World War I and II. Lots of information is available there for History buffs such as ‘Did you know that 550 soldiers were treated at Rode Hall during the war when it became a Res Cross Hospital in 1917?’.   The entrance to the Italian Garden is hidden, so its easily missed if you are not keeping an eye out for it.
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When is Rode Hall open?
These are the opening times of the Summer Season 5 Apr to 27 Sep. Do check their websites for updated times.

Gardens & Tearooms 
Rode Hall is only open on Wednesdays and Bank Holiday Mondays from 11 am until 5pm (Tea Rooms until 4pm).  The cafe is also open alongside the Farmers’ Market on the first Saturday of each month. The tea rooms offer a selection of homemade cakes, light lunches & refreshments using produce from the kitchen and garden at Rode Hall.

House Only
Wednesdays and Bank Holiday Mondays  12 – 4pm
Guided tours are run throughout the afternoon.  Please buy tickets in tea room and consult notice board outside the house for exact tour times. The tour lasts around 30-45 minutes each, do be punctual.

How much are the tickets to visit Rode Hall and Gardens?
Entrance to the House & Gardens cost :£8 (Adults) , Concessions £7, Children 5-15 £2, Under 5’s free
Garden Only: Adults £5, Children 5-15 £2, Under 5’s free.
RHS/HHA Members Free* (except special events i.e Snowdrop/Bluebell Walks)
25% off admission to National Art Pass Holders
Group visits are welcomed by the management and team but please do make an appointment by calling 01270 873237 so they are well prepared.
Is it wheelchair accessible and are dogs allowed?

 

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