England is full of giant houses, now mostly owned by the National Trust, from the days of the landed gentry (which sort of still exist, but whatever – cough Downton Abbey cough cough). Every time I hear about/come upon a new one, I hope its the house they used as Pemberley in the original Pride & Prejudice. No luck yet, but I’ll keep you posted. Anyway, Audley End is a National Trust property about 20 miles south of Cambridge, with its own train stop. When Our Friend Liz was here, Ian and I took her to Audley End for a tour of the house, gardens and stables.
For me, the highlight was the garden – the things these houses did to be self-sufficient is so clever. They had a mushroom cave, a pineapple pit, and a heated greenhouse so that they could have peaches and tomatoes year-round, and I bet they tasted better than the crap I bought at the grocery today.
The stables had two horses, which was exciting for the horse-enthusiast among us (hint: it wasn’t me) and the house was cool. But actually the house wasn’t nearly as exciting as everything outside – a seven-acre kitchen garden, a formal garden, a set of walking trails, a giant expanse of lawn in front of the house…it was really lovely.