Tales from the A1: The One With The National Trust Gem

My new project at work requires a new commute, straight up the A1. 3 hours on a Monday, 3+ hours on a Friday. This road is a fairly maligned road, and people generally don’t have anything much nice to say about it. I thought that, seeing as I have to do this drive no matter what, I may as well liven it up as best I can. To that end, I’ll be stopping at a new place along the A1 each week and writing about what I find there. Sometimes I may choose the place based on careful research and planning, sometimes on a whim. I can’t promise it’ll be interesting. But it will all be true. Also see: {Part 1} {Part 2}

After last Friday’s decidedly damp squib of a stop (er, a service station) I decided to do something a little more exciting this week. Also, my National Trust membership card has been winking at me every time I open my wallet, quietly reminding me of its presence.
So what else could I do than find a classic National Trust property to wander around for my mid-journey stop. Welcome to Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire.
The two-mile long avenue of lime trees, planted two-deep (the longest in Europe) greets you in serene leafiness as you approach the house.
If the sun is shining and you’re feeling like stretching your legs, there’s plenty waiting for you here. You can head over the lawn and down to the lake, where the swans glide over the surface and occasionally attempt a loud take off, using the length of the lake as a runway.
There’s a path that runs alongside the lake, so you can start your wander there. You may glimpse a folly or two across the water…
…or a cosy place to sit…
…or perhaps a scale-model gun battery where the Duke of Newcastle used to play battles with his scale-model battleship. You may choose to wonder at the more money than sense nature of the British aristocracy of the early 20th Century but on the other hand, you may be too distracted by the view for that nonsense. 
I expect there will be time to explore the enigmatically named Pleasure Gardens, too. You’ll find sweeping cedar trees and benches to stop and admire the view aplenty.
You might even find a room with a view (and some very ‘naturalistic’ wallpaper).
You might wander around for a bit, taking photos and admiring the serenity.
Or, you might heed the siren call of tea and cake and head back to the main house, where the cafe is located. On the way, you’ll pass the magnificently gothic Church of St Mary.
The cafe, located in the old stable blocks, will have just what you’re after. The sun will have made an appearance after all, so you can sit outside with your hard earned morning tea. Maybe you’ll choose peppermint tea and a gluten-free brownie to accompany your required reading. Maybe you won’t. But hopefully you’ll have picked your next destination by the time the pot has been drained.
At the very least, you’ll have basked in the blue skies and warm air, and made a new dog friend or two. If you don’t have time for one last sit on a bench to admire the view, then maybe you can check out the shop. It sells some really awesome cinder toffee.
Have you ever been to a place that instantly took all your stress away? If so, where was it?
-Rachel

Linking up with ChristineSara Bonnie for Travel Tuesday, and with Malinda for Wednesday Wanderlust.
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