Working the weekend before Christmas is always a trial so when I got the Friday off, I jumped at the chance to get out of the house and do some exploring with my mum in tow. Having neglected my English Heritage Challenge of late, I thought it was only proper that one of their historical properties should be ticked off the list. Living in Staffordshire, I had a few options to head to, but when I spotted a property that would be free for my non-English-Heritage-member Mum, it seemed like the perfect place to head off to for a wet and windy day of exploring.
Making our way into what seemed like the middle of nowhere, we made our way down many a country road and side lane before seeing the sign for our destination. Something to bear in mind for anyone visiting the property is parking. When it says limited parking, it MEANS limited parking. With just a small layby in front of the entrance there is just about enough room for three cars to park in a line, you might find yourself having to walk a little way if it is busy on the day.
Even on the drive to Croxden Abbey, it is clear how massive this thing must have been in its day. With towering walls and sprawling grounds, it is an impressive sight from the word go. Stepping through the gate, you have the chance to wander through every inch of it, with many an archway to head through.
With a water-filled gulley running through the middle and a lovely spot in the middle of the countryside, I can imagine this would be a beautiful place to bring a picnic in the summer (note taken!).
Head across the road for a view of how the abbey would have looked in its heyday (pre-Henry VIII thank-you-very-much), with some of the oddest coffins I have ever seen. There is a space for their heads and everything! Surrounding the grounds of Croxden Abbey are views that go on for miles, with a number of public footpaths in close proximity, take a wander through the area and you will be rewarded with lovely sights of English nature at its greatest.
Head off down the road and a charming pub will welcome you in for a hot drink and some lovely grub. If you are looking for a bit of a different dining experience, this place has glass bubbles spotted around the outdoor seating area, allowing you to take in the surrounding views whilst staying nice and toasty warm.
Planning to travel to the area on a slightly longer visit? Check out nearby Boscobel House and the Royal Oak and the White Ladies Priory, just a short drive away. Packed with tales of their own, these properties once gave King Charles sanctuary in their hidden spots and are a great visit.