Here’s our review of Little Moreton Hall which is located in Congleton, a beautiful town in East Cheshire. We recently reviewed another National Trust site which is the Biddulph Grange Gardens and this is not too far from that. In a nutshell, Little Moreton Hall which is also known as Old Moreton Hall, is a moated half-timbered manor house which was built in the Tudor period to make a big impression and we have to admit….it still has what we call the ‘wow factor’ today. As a family, we love heading to Little Moreton Hall, as there are always lots of activities for the kids to do there. The house itself is stunning, upon first impression, it looks as if it might fall down at any minute, but don’t worry, it is quite sturdy. Our kids love running through the rooms, narrow staircase and discovering things in there especially if they are doing a trail. The garden is also a fabulous place for picnics, ice-cream or a hot cuppa hot chocolate. We often head here mainly to attend its various activities such as Easter Egg Hunt, Tudor Mop Fairs, The Jammy Tudors, Hallowtide, Yuletide Celebrations and other festivals as our kids enjoy getting dressed up and learning about the Tudor history in a fun environment. Little Moreton Hall’s tea rooms are also the perfect place to stop off for a quick snack or treat when you are there. Hope you enjoy reading our review of this amazing property and all that it has to offer and drop by the property to check it out for yourself.
Built by a rich Cheshire landowner, William Moreton around 1504–08, the house which was later completed by successive generations of the family until about 1610, is a fabulous place to head to and spend the day at. The building is highly irregular (and even unstable), with three asymmetrical ranges forming a small, rectangular cobbled courtyard but the first glimpse of the building is so magical. The front garden area before you enter the house often holds events while the back garden is great for a walk or wonder and the canals so calming and picturesque for photos. The house remained in the possession of the Moreton family for almost 450 years, until ownership by the National Trust.
There is plenty to do at Little Moreton Hall, from dressing up to reading the little notes about the house, and depending on when you go, the activities being held there. Our kids love heading here as its always a discovery for them whether it comes to dressing up, learning about what the Tudors ate and drank and more recently the Tudor Mop Fair (where they got the opportunity to learn about candle making, how the wool is used to make clothes, watched a canon being blasted, looked at the different equipment of torture – I was cringing at most of this as I have a week stomach for it or what medicines were used to cure an illness. Eg. Did you know that people used to such on a toad when they had a sore throat? Yuck!! I know..things you learn..the kids enjoyed learning about such facts though…).
Our kids had the chance to learn and speak to actors who were so informative and well versed with everything ‘Tudor’. We easily spent almost the whole day there without the kids complaining even once that they were bored.
What is Tudor Mop Fair ?
We had the chance to visit Little Moreton Hall recently over the weekend when the Tudor Mop Fair was taking place. Mop Fairs, held at Michaelmas (Christian festival), were the events where tradespeople and labourers were hired for the coming year. It was an opportunity to come together before the weather turned cold and to make sure that you had staff or employment for the following year. Tudors would bring along the tools of their trade to market themselves to potential employers – a broom if you were a servant or some wool if you were a spinster. Once all the hiring was concluded it was time to celebrate towards the end of the day with fun and games. This was an important time of the year for hiring staff and Mop Fairs always ended in a celebration which we are recreating at the hall. This is just an example of a fair which is held on the grounds of Little Moreton Hall, many other fabulous and educational events are held throughout the year, so head to their website to keep track of what is on.
Some more photos of our kids having a run and play no matter the season, sometimes in Spring or Summer the ducks get a little adventurous and would love to come to say hi when you are having a picnic there. Our kids also love to roll down the little hill in the garden or walk around the canal.
Where to eat at Little Moreton Hall?
Little Moreton Hall prides itself with using local suppliers in its tea-rooms. They support local farmers and suppliers and ensure the fish serves is only sustainable fish and their meat is reared in the North West Region. Also, they do have an in-house gardener who grows the vegetables and herbs in the garden which is served in your meals in the tea room. There are two tea rooms in the vicinity, the first is the Little Tea-room which serves cakes, soups and sandwiches for kids, you can either eat at the tea-room or if its nice weather outside as they have tables/chairs set-up. If you are looking for something more substantial to eat, then why not visit Mrs Dale’s Tea-room which is a waited-service tea-room which is quite cosy but it does offer some cakes, wines, hot meals and salads. They do offer both hot meals and kid’s sandwich box for children. Alternatively, if you prefer to bring a picnic and a picnic mat instead, you are welcomed to do so as there are a lot of benches and areas around the place especially if its a nice day (do mind the ducks as sometimes they can be peckish as well). Snugbury ice-cream is also available at their ice cream kiosk. Our kids love this as they get to roll down the grass or have a play as they eat which is so much more fun especially if they are younger.
Little points to take note of:
- Parking – Parking is free to members and it is approximately about 100 yards from the carpark to the property
- Wheelchair Access – The Welcome Reception Area is suitable for wheelchair access except for some areas where there are slopes and cobbled courtyard (leading to the Hall) and the house itself has a lot of narrow stairs but the outdoor garden area is fine.
- Virtual Tour – There is a virtual tour available on the ground floor for those unable to use the stairs.
- Guided Tours – There are guided tours which takes place on the ground floor, do look out for the timings on the board when you head to the Hall. The tour guides are very informative and its quite an experience taking this, we would not recommend it if you have young kids as they might want to go around at their own pace
- Trails & Events – There are often lots of activities happening/organised for children, do head to their website to see what even will be taking place. We have attended candle-making sessions, Tudor themed festivals, events, games, Easter egg Hunt, Tudor themed Food Demo as well as the recent Mop Fair.
- Tea Room – Speak to the staff if you have an allergy, do note that due to space limitations, both tea-rooms can get quite busy hence its best to get a seat slightly earlier before lunchtime.
Where is Little Moreton Hall ?
What are their Opening Hours?
Closed on Monday & Tuesday (open term time).
Open Wed to Sunday from 11am until 5pm (Do check the website for winter opening hours)
(Do note that Little Moreton Hall will be closed from late Oct 2018 through to March 2019 (it will be open for some Yuletide Celebrations in December) for some refurbishment works. So best to check their website before you visit.
How much is the entrance fee?
The Gardens and car parking is free for National Trust Members, for non-members tickets are priced at £10.20 for adults and £5.10 for kids (below 5). Family tickets (for 4) cost £25.50
About Little Moreton Hall
Little Moreton Hall (Old Moreton Hall) was built in the Tudor period to make a big impression and it still has what we call the ‘wow factor’ today. Built to make a big impression, Little Moreton Hall was constructed during the Tudor period, with the earliest part of the house begun in around 1504 to 1508 and the latest addition being completed in 1610. The Moreton family were wealthy landowners in the area and built the house as a symbol of their prosperity and remained in the possession of the Moreton family for almost 450 years until ownership was transferred to the National Trust in 1938. Little Moreton Hall and its sandstone bridge across the moat are recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade I listed building.
About National Trust
They are a charity founded in 1895 by three people who saw the importance of the nation’s heritage and open spaces and wanted to preserve them for everyone to enjoy. More than 120 years later, these values are still at the heart of everything they do. They look after special places throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland for everyone. They also take care of coastline, forests, woods, fens, beaches, farmland, moorland, islands, archaeological remains, nature reserves, villages, historic houses, gardens, mills and pubs and one of the world’s largest art collections. They have restored and protected these places and share them with the public for everyone. For the Trust, conservation has always gone hand-in-hand with public access. They have todate:
- 775 miles of coastline
- Over 248,000 hectares of land
- Over 500 historic houses, castles, ancient monuments gardens and parks and nature reserves.
- Close to one million objects and works of art