Day 1. A short break in Cheshire

We planned a short break in the gently rolling countryside of Cheshire, a part of the country we were both unfamiliar with. We frequently head to cities and large towns so just for a change we opted for a relaxing stay in a secluded barn tucked away down a leafy lane in the tiny village of Wrenbury.

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Tudor buildings in Nantwich, Cheshire

We came off the M6 motorway near to the historic town of Nantwich and decided to take a look there first. It had been raining heavily all morning and didn’t seem to be showing any signs of improving as we parked our car, so with hoods up and brollies held high, we set off to explore.

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Nantwich Museum

Strolling along Pillory Street, we came across Nantwich Museum and as it offered free entry we walked up the few steps to its entrance door to learn something about the history of the town. The museum building was originally built to house the Nantwich Free Library and is next door to the site of the old gaol.

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Cheese making displays in Nantwich Museum

The first interesting thing we learnt was the meaning of ‘Wich’. Around these parts of Cheshire there are several towns with this suffix including Nantwich, Middlewich, Leftwich and Northwich. It apparently meant a settlement in Anglo-Saxon England characterised by artisanal activity, in this case a place for making salt. A lead salt pan, discovered in 1981 is on display as proof that the Romans were extracting salt here from early times.

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A Newsham fire engine from the 1740’s

Continuing through the museum, one room gives an insight into cheese making whilst other galleries display footwear from the local tanning, leather and shoe industry covering a wide range of styles from factory clogs to bespoke shoes. A Newsham fire engine from the 1740’s takes pride of place in the main hall complete with its original leather buckets. In 1583 the Great Fire of Nantwich burned for 20 days destroying 150 houses, inns and other buildings rendering half the population homeless with the loss of two lives.

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Attractive architecture in the centre of Nantwich

There was more to see upstairs and after finishing our look around we continued along Pillory Street coming across some fine examples of Tudor architecture.

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Uneven shaped buildings in the centre of Nantwich

Higgledy-piggledy black and white buildings line the market square which is also home to the 14th century parish church of St. Mary’s. It was such a shame the weather was so poor, but we still enjoyed wandering through the town.

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St. Mary’s Parish Church, Nantwich

Before returning to the car we glanced in some of the smaller shops and enjoyed a pot of tea in one of the inviting little cafes.

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The Garden Room, Cheshire Boutique Barns,

It was then just a fifteen minute drive to the Cheshire Boutique Barns in the small village of Wrenbury where we had arranged to stay in the Garden Room, one of four of its luxurious self-catering retreats. It was everything we could have wished for and more and I plan to give special mention to our stay there in my next post.

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The Garden Room, Cheshire Boutique Barns

Wrenbury has not one but two gastro pubs, one of which just a ten minute walk away so we wandered along there early in the evening. The Dusty Miller was formerly a 19th century corn mill and is now an attractive pub overlooking the Llangollen branch of the Shropshire Union Canal at Wrenbury Bridge.

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Narrowboat passing through Wrenbury Bridge, Cheshire

Just as we were approaching its rare single span timber lifting bridge was being raised allowing two narrowboats to pass through which was interesting to observe. The pub itself was pleasant and I’m certain would be even nicer on a warm summer’s evening when one could sit outside by the canal.

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The Lifting bridge at Wrenbury, Cheshire

We returned to our idyllic retreat snuggling up in front of the cheerful wood burning stove before sleeping in the king size wonderfully comfortable bed on the mezzanine level.

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The Garden Room, Cheshire Boutique Barns

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Quarry Bank Mill, Cheshire

32 thoughts on “Day 1. A short break in Cheshire

  1. I grew up in Chester, not so very far from Nantwich! I had no idea that ‘wich’ meant ‘settlement’, though. Hope you enjoy some sunshine in Cheshire when you next visit.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Cheshire Boutique Barns, Wrenbury – Love Travelling

  3. That would be the fanciest barn I’ve ever seen. Looks great. Was interested in the suffix. So much history in the UK that could keep me engaged for days.
    there were regular fires in that early era and that is one of the reasons we came to a dead end on my father’s side of the family when researching roots. A lot of records have been destroyed by fire over the centuries.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The barn was a real treat tucked away in the gorgeous countryside. Although the Great Fire of Nantwich was devastating it was remarkable that only two lives were lost. I’ve researched quite a way back too with my family history but with the surname Smith, it’s not easy! Hope your weekend has been pleasant Ian.

      Liked by 1 person

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