So yesterday, 3″ Thorin and I got talking about the lack of lonely mountains and dragons to slay around here, so I decided to take him on a tour of Nottingham, and letting him see the sights. Perhaps he would find something around here worth sticking around for, even if there’s no treasure or glorious battles involved … Here’s how we got on!
Where are we?
As we started talking about Wollaton Hall yesterday, I thought we might as well start there on our journey around Nottingham.
I hope you have arranged some sort of transport, that building seems an awful long way away. Not that I mind distances, if I have important business to attend, but this “sightseeing” you call it, I am not so certain is all that important.
Yeah, it is a bit of a walk just to get up to the house, but just jump on my camera and hold on, and I’ll carry you there.
The red thing?
Yes. Pretend it’s Smaug. Or actually, no, don’t do that, you might break it and I only got it in September last year. You could call it my “precious”.
There we are, we’ve made it up the hill. This is Wollaton Hall! Did you know it was the setting for Wayne Manor in The Dark Knight Rises? That’s right, Hollywood came to town! They completely closed off the park for a few weeks, so we couldn’t even have a peek inside because of the brick wall surrounding it, but we heard people like Michael Caine had been seen in the nearby gastropub. Oooh, that’s a thought, we could always pop there for lunch later.
I have no knowledge of this Dark Knight, or Mr Caine, but carry on. I do not suppose this hall is of Elven architecture?
If I said yes, would you have a look inside?
Not willingly, no.
Fortunately, it was built in the 1580s, for a man called Sir Francis Willoughby. The style is called Elizabethan, after Queen Elizabeth I, and has nothing to do with Elves of any kind, you’ll be relieved to know. Let’s have a look inside, shall we?
This is a part of the great hall. The pipe organ you can sort of make out ahead is the oldest one in Nottinghamshire, made in the end of the 1600s.
Who owns this hall, and why do they not seem to mind us coming here unannounced?
The hall and park came into the possession of Nottingham City Council in the first half of the 1900s. The building we’re in now can be rented for weddings, for instance, and it also houses the city’s natural history museum. That’s where we’ll have a look next.
With the, what did you call it yesterday? Something about taxidermy? Disturbing amounts thereof?
I am beginning to see what you mean, yes. All sorts of things here, staring at you from the walls and in glass display cases. That is not an eagle, is it? Gandalf seems to have a good understanding with eagles.
No, it’s a kakapo. They’re a very, very rare species of flightless bird from New Zealand. So you could say you have seen much of the same scenery.
New Zealand? I have never heard of such a place.
That’s because you’d know it as Middle Earth …
Oh. Really? This is a bird from Middle Earth?
Yeah … Yeah, let’s go with that. Now come on, we have bugs to see. Have to show you that dragonfly, right? And the geology section with all the bits of minerals and crystals?
Like I said, positively enchanting. What is the outside like?
It has live animals, as opposed to dead, stuffed or pinned down ones? It’s a lot less depressing, I promise.
This sounds agreeable. Take me to see these animals. What sort of animals are we talking about again?
Deer. Lots of deer. There are two kinds: red deer and fallow deer. The ones up front are red deer.
You mentioned something about lunch?
I didn’t mean eating the park’s herd! Put that sword away! Bad Thorin! … Thank you. As you can see, there’s also a lake here, and no, there’s no town in the middle of it. There are waterlilies and birds and things, but not a city. Pretty, though, isn’t it?
It is acceptable.
It also amuses me no end how the seasons seem to change in your pictures. Clearly, the first pictures were completely out of season – this being March and the photographs are clearly depicting the height of summer – and yet the last one is more similar to what it is like today. The weather must really have changed while we were inside.
This has been a public service announcement to your readers.
Thank you. So anyway, there’s also a camellia house, nice gardens, although they won’t really be booming with blossoms at this time of year, and there’s a golf course on the side as well. Then there are the old stable buildings which house a café, a gift shop (there’s one in the main hall as well) and a transportation museum!
No, but there are steam engines and things that get displayed here every year. The grounds are also used for craft fairs, and in July, there’s a big music festival called Splendour. We’ve never been, but we’re considering getting tickets this year. Could be fun.
I bet the minstrels you will find there do not have as fine voices as us hardy dwarves.
Debatable, although you’re quite right about the Misty Mountains song of yours, because I love that, and I don’t think anyone’s going to sing that. Sadly.
Absolutely. Now, do you want to have a look in the gift shop before we go home?
Why are you even asking me this, considering you told me earlier you picked up a bookmark and a fridge magnet from here on a previous visit? You even said as much that you were going to offer them as giveaways to these readers of yours. Why not offer them this instead?
Fair point. I just have to, ahem, figure out where I put them. They’re at home, somewhere … Maybe we should go home and look?
Yes, after lunch. What are you in the mood for? Gastropub or Chinese? There’s a nice Chinese restaurant pretty much next door to the park gate where we came in [Wollaton Road on the map above].
Do they do hearty stews with a good flagon of ale?
Umm, they do a very nice Sunday buffet?
Today is Wednesday, so I take that as a no.
Fair enough. Where do you want to go tomorrow? Sherwood Forest or Nottingham Castle?
Anywhere that does a decent ale.
Actually, that gives me an idea … 🙂
To be continued tomorrow!
P.S. Yes, he’s quite right, there will be a giveaway if I can find where I’ve put the things, because I did get a bookmark and a fridge magnet to use as blog giveaways! When/if I can locate them somewhere in the spare room, I’ll take a picture and make a separate post about it. 🙂
P.P.S. Thorin will be dishing out “agony aunt” advice on Sunday to anyone who wants to ask him. If you wish to ask for his advice on any topic, either post it as a comment on one of the posts this week, or send it through email to askthorin (at) traxy.co.uk. I recommended he set some kind of limits on what sort of advice he’s willing to dish out, but “as a monarch waiting to get back my rightful kingdom, I need to be able to give my subjects advice, regardless of the subject matter”. However, I don’t think he’s too clued up on rocket science and brain surgery, put it that way … 😉
P.P.P.S. All the Wollaton Hall & Deer Park photos above, and oodles more, can be found on my Flickr:
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