Kentwell Manor

Over the Bank Holiday weekend we popped over to Kentwell Manor in Suffolk which has full re-creation ‘Tudor’ Weekends. Miss L had been on a school trip there and raved about it, and as bit of history buff I thought it would be fun to see the recreation of a Tudor Manor.

It wasn’t quite what I was expecting, I thought there would be a couple of people in costume who’d point you in the direction of the gardens or the house. Oh no, nothing like that!  There were maybe 100 people in full Tudor costume, talking in ‘Tudor’, working in the Bakery, the Kitchens, the Dairy, the Forge. They really, really bought the house and time period to life – no one, not even the little children there were out of character.

It was a bit odd to start with when someone came up to explain something to you, or you asked a question about something and you really had to listen to what they were saying.  I had a whole conversation with a woman working in the bakery about the Pages and how they can’t collect the right kind of bread to take to the ‘Family’. Her Tudor scorn for them was hilarious!

But you know what it’s like when you’re on holiday, in a foreign country and you make an effort to say something in ‘their’ language.  Even if it’s just ‘Hello’ or ‘Goodbye’, I found myself saying ‘Fair thee well’ or “Greetings’ to everyone by the end of the day!  It was like being on holiday in Tudor England, but without the plague 🙂

The whole place is really magical, very quite and you can’t hear the outside world not even traffic/road noise which is pretty unusual these days. It made it seem really peaceful and tranquil and quite soothing.  The house itself is an ongoing renovation project and is pretty much fully open to the public. Unlike National Trust properties where you feel like you should hover and never ever touch anything. This is someone’s home and if you touch a table or chair you won’t get yelled at and that gives it a lot of charm.

As you can see the gardens were beautiful, and I’m utterly inspired by the vegetable garden which was just stunning. Put my two raised beds to shame! The herb garden was stunning too, and to my shame I didn’t know what half of them were.

It’s funny though, if you’d asked me before I went ‘Would you like a Tudor manor house?’ I would have said ‘Yes!!’ and jumped up and down a bit. Now I don’t. A house like that needs people and a lot of them. The people made the house, a dairy, bakery, alehouse, forge are just empty old buildings waiting to fall down if they don’t have people working in them and being part of the community that makes up an estate like that.  It makes me sad now to think of all the houses in the UK who are missing their ‘people’.

Kentwell is a truly marvellous experience and I look forward to going back to the ‘Dickensian Christmas’ later this year.

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  1. I’ve never actually been, but years ago I looked into taking part. I was put off by the fact you’re not supposed to take a shower for the duration – a bit too authentic for me! Would love to visit one day.
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