I woke up early Wednesday, since my body clock was telling me it was 7:30am when it was 6:30, so I decided to try the Minster again, as morning matins are scheduled daily for 7:30am. Walking around to the front entrance at 7:15, I found the door open but saw no one inside. I let myself in and listened, but the only sound that met my ears was that of a vacuum!
Because my flight out of the UK was late at night, Cathy and I had a full day to kill on the way to Heathrow. She recommended we stop at the Snibston Discovery Museum, which is just off the motorway. I’d taken my tour group there in 2012, and we enjoyed not only the museum displays but behind-the-scenes study of the fabulous Symington corset collection. Cathy mentioned there was a new display in the costume section, so I readily agreed to the stop.
Suzi had a morning appointment on Friday and urged Cathy and me to do something on our own. She and Keith would meet us for lunch around 1. So we took the bus to Oxford Street, then walked past Selfridges to Manchester Square, home to the stunning jewel box that contains The Wallace Collection–one of London’s best kept art museum secrets.
Driving into Derbyshire Was every bit as enchanting as when my husband and I visited on our tenth anniversary, and it was wonderful to find the lovely village of Bakewell just as I remembered it. We checked into our hotel, which is where Jane Austen most likely stayed when she visited Chatsworth in 1811 and revised Pride and Prejudice. Standing in the room identified as Jane’s, you can look out the window and picture “Lambton” exactly as Elizabeth Bennett saw it in the novel, including the village green and the long road leading directly up to the inn.
The collection at Platt Hall includes over 20,000 items of clothing, a huge array of buttons, and ephemera including fashion plates and magazines. The curator closed the museum in the morning to admit our group, which was lovely. Half of us wandered all over the former great house, enjoying the clothing on display, much of which was collected by the late Dr. C. Willett Cunnington.
Monday we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast before journeying to nearby Styal for our tour of Quarry Bank Mill–a beautifully preserved cotton mill from the early 1840s, complete with the workers’ village, apprentice house, and gardens. If you’ve read Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South or watched the BBC film adaptation, you can imagine the setting perfectly.
We were once again greeted by the sun as we rose to meet the day. Truly, the weather this trip was nothing short of spectacular. The temperature was neither too warm nor too chilly, and we had a lovely breeze all day. After a yummy breakfast at our hotel, we headed to the Gloucester Road underground station for our journey to St. Paul’s and walk to the Museum of London.
We wended our way southward today to Devon, enjoying beautiful scenery all the way there and cheering the warming temperature. Arriving at Killerton House was like entering an enchanting dream. I’ve seen many fine manor houses in England, but I have to say that Killerton now ranks as my absolute favorite.