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Solo Staycations – Food For The Soul And Your Health And Wellbeing January 22, 2024

Solo Staycations – Food For The Soul And Your Health And Wellbeing

It’s a new year, and a time to try new things. What was your new year’s resolution this year? Was it to try new things, to enjoy your own company more, or to travel about when you can? We have a solution that encompasses all three – a solo staycation.

The allure of a solo staycation, a trend that’s becoming more and more popular as time goes on, beckons as a serene escape – a chance to rediscover yourself and recharge away from the demands of your normal daily life.

Combermere often welcomes guests who’ve come away on their own to our North Wing and cottages, whether to work for a few days in the peace and quiet or enjoy a new experience in their own company.

Getting away from the everyday interruptions and demands and instead embarking on a solo journey within the familiar confines of your own country holds a unique charm. Here’s why you should consider a solo staycation this year, and why Combermere Abbey might be your ideal destination for such an adventure!

A Self-Tailored Itinerary

Our favourite thing about travelling solo, is that you have complete autonomy over where you go and the length of time you have!

A solo staycation can become the ultimate bespoke experience for you because you can do whatever you’d like. Why not craft an itinerary that resonates with your own interests, whether it’s cultural explorations, gastronomic adventures, or moments of tranquil solitude?

The freedom to set your own pace allows you to savour each experience fully, ensuring that every moment works for you and aligns with your preferences and desires.

Plus, if you choose the prestigious and sought after North Wing for your solo staycation, our House Manager Stephan, who’s recently been nominated for the Unsung Hero Award in Cheshire, ensures you enjoy a bespoke and first-class stay. Stephan and his team at Combermere are ready to help you plan  your itinerary, from suggesting local attractions to recommending scenic walks and the best restaurants and pubs in the area, as well as making reservations for you. This personalised touch allows you to set your own pace and create a staycation that perfectly aligns with your preferences and desires, plus, should put you at ease as a solo traveller.

In our smaller award-winning self-catering holiday cottages, you can truly be on your own, self-sufficient, and master of your own timetable.  Still luxurious, with wood-burning stoves and option of a breakfast hamper – they are equipped with everything you need for that short break, and you can bring your dog along too.

Self-Discovery

Embarking on a solo staycation doesn’t just involve physical travel; it can be seen as journey into self-discovery.

Free from external influences, you have the rare opportunity to tune into your own thoughts, desires, and aspirations. Whether you choose to explore a quaint market town, try a new experience such as glassblowing or immerse yourself in the natural world which surrounds you at Combermere, the solo staycation becomes a background for self-reflection and personal growth. Sounds idyllic!

Disconnect To Reconnect

In a world tethered to technology, a solo staycation provides the ideal opportunity to disconnect and reconnect – with both you and the world around you.

Put away the screens, silence the notifications, and immerse yourself in the present moment.

Combermere offers the perfect chance to do this without even having to leave the estate. Leave your phone in your North Wing room or cottage, and head out for a stroll through the Pleasure Gardens or sit down by the mere for a while. You’ll be surprised at how cathartic it actually is!

For more ideas on how to embrace wellness at Combermere Abbey, you can read our blog all about it.

Cultivate Independence

Something else we love about solo travel, is that it creates a sense of independence and self-reliance. Navigating your way through a new destination, making decisions based solely on your preferences, and embracing the unknown all by yourself fosters a profound sense of empowerment. It’s something to be so proud of.

A solo staycation is not just a getaway, but a testament to your ability to navigate the world on your own terms. If your new year’s resolution involves empowering yourself, then this is the ideal way to do it!

Rediscover Your Own Country

Often, the allure of exotic destinations draws us away from the hidden gems in our own backyard. A solo staycation allows you to rediscover the charm of your country or region and explore with fresh eyes.

It’s shocking to us that the average British person has only discovered 32% of their own country! Now is the time to unearth local secrets, try new places to eat, and engage with what’s on your doorstep in a way that a hurried daily routine might not permit.

Expand Your Comfort Zone

Finally, stepping out of your comfort zone and embarking on a solo staycation is a gateway to personal growth plus a gentle nudge to try new activities, meet new people, and embrace the unexpected. The courage to navigate solo opens doors to a world of possibilities, fostering resilience and adaptability in the face of the unknown.

In the journey of life, a solo staycation is a thread of self-indulgence and reflection, weaving moments of joy, relaxation, and personal growth. At Combermere Abbey, we’re passionate about making your trip, no matter how short or long, as welcoming, easy and enjoyable as possible.

As this new year unfolds, give it to yourself as a well-earned present – a journey that begins and ends with you. All our availability can be found here. Just book in and let us know your preferences and leave the rest to us.

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The Importance Of Heritage To The National and Local Economy May 10, 2023

The Importance Of Heritage To The National and Local Economy

Combermere Abbey, with its rich historical significance to the UK and beyond, recognises the vital role that heritage properties play in the local economy.

Our team has decided to delve deeper into the importance of heritage and historical properties and discover the impact they have on the local economy and communities, along with the ongoing efforts needed to safeguard these treasures for generations to come.

Wider economic impact on local communities

The UK’s heritage industry is one of the biggest tourism sectors, generating billions in revenue and providing livelihoods for thousands of people nationwide. It’s easy to see why – the United Kingdom is renowned for its rich history, with countless historic cities and buildings that tell the story of the country’s past. From iconic landmarks like Buckingham Palace to hidden gems tucked away in rural areas like Combermere Abbey itself, these significant buildings are often given a quality designation indicating their importance as either Grade 1, 2*, or 2 listed buildings.

Heritage tourism has a staggering impact accounting for over £36.6 billion in annual revenue and as overseas visitors return post pandemic, continued growth is predicted for the future.

Heritage sites are not just a window into our past, they document social change through the centuries, chronicle the fortunes made and lost by families who owned them and act as important anchors in their communities. The majority of the privately owned heritage buildings are in rural areas and when tourists flock to these locations, they not only learn about history and culture, but also provide a significant boost to the local economy by providing a much-needed source of revenue for ancillary businesses such as pubs, restaurants, cafes, taxis, shops and accommodation in the wider community. In addition, they provide vital opportunities for employment, community development and foster entrepreneurial spirit.

Beyond the immense economic benefits historic properties offer, heritage sites in private ownership like Combermere Abbey, contribute to the preservation of a region’s cultural and historical significance. This provides a sense of pride and identity for local communities. It is therefore,  essential to ensure their preservation and development for present and future generations.

Some properties, like Combermere Abbey, have restored and repurposed their listed buildings as holiday lets and venues for weddings and events. Many also invite members of the public to “share” and benefit from access to a whole range of cultural events, festivals or simply dog walking areas. This not only generates vital income to support the property, but also allows more people to experience the beauty and history of these properties first-hand. Weddings and holiday destinations can bring enormous secondary spend to local towns and villages, supporting local businesses such as pubs, taxi services, employment, and maintenance trades. Business parks and other ventures associated with historic properties also support local producers and trades, creating a ripple effect that benefits the local community.

If you have visited our estate before, you can see how the restoration of our 890 year old Abbey and its listed buildings has contributed not only to the wedding, hospitality and rural tourism sectors, but encouraged and attracted many local businesses to become tenants at Park View Business Centre, with our very own onsite café, The Old Piggery Café, an all-female butchery ‘Alternative Meats’, Three Wrens – an award winning gin distillery and a kitchen design business. Its position on a main road, with lots of parking and easy commuting emphasises the entrepreneurial spirit of these historic property owners and the tangential contribution to the nation’s GDP. Combermere Abbey with its leisure accommodation and wedding business adds over £1 million into the local economy each year and we continue to work hard to cherish our nearly 900-year history.

Historic Houses Management

Despite all the wonderful benefits historic homes offer the local economy and community, managing and maintaining these historic properties can still be a challenging task. Most private owners face enormous obstacles of preserving these treasures for future generations. Repairs attract full VAT, all upgrades and alterations require conservation officer consent, cost of acceptable materials is much higher than a contemporary structure and an out of date and one size fits all planning system subjects historic properties to strict regulations governing their restoration and repair in line with its level of historic significance. This can involve lengthy and complex planning applications and conservation consents, adding a significant burden to owners in terms of time, effort, and cost.

Combermere Abbey, for example, is a Grade 1 listed building. All other listed buildings on our site are therefore deemed in its curtilage and treated as Grade 1 as well. This means that the challenges of making it financially sustainable are onerous, as the owners must navigate the regulations carefully while maintaining the property’s historic integrity.

Many of our most  popular historic buildings are still under private ownership with owners and families regarding themselves as guardians with responsibility for their upkeep and maintenance for the future.  However, many other heritage buildings are in public hands or protected by organisations like Historic England, English Heritage, or the National Trust who use charity status to benefit from different tax treatment. Both groups enhance this country’s position as a world leader in historic preservation.

The Historic Houses organisation represents privately owned heritage, with approximately 1400 member properties managed and lived in by their owners. Nearly 500 of them are open to the public regularly. Historic Houses is a vital lobbying group speaking out against unfair and unjust legislation which impacts on the sustainability of the private owner as well as a large marketing arm alerting visitors to member houses activities.

Despite these challenges, historic house and estate owners see themselves as entrepreneurs and business people, driven by a passion for preserving the past but adapting for the future. There is a sense of responsibility to protect and pass on the legacy to future generations for the benefit of the public. Just like Combermere Abbey, many properties have been in the same family for generations and we all have a deep seated passion for our estates and its vibrant history.

History repeats itself and financial crises and downturns has forced sales allowing a new group of owners to buy and re-invigorate these wonderful historic properties out of love and desire to rescue them from neglect. These owners also embrace diversification, a love of our history and architecture  and find creative ways to make their futures sustainable. They are also energetic and see themselves as guardians of the property, rather than mere owners.

Myths & Legends Of Wildflowers On Our Estate March 9, 2023

Myths & Legends Of Wildflowers On Our Estate

 

Mother nature is part of Combermere’s DNA and all year long she offers us presents of wildflowers-a-plenty with each changing season. So a stroll through our gardens and woodland is wonderful no matter when you come to visit. Our holiday cottage and B&B guests can enjoy our woodlands all year round, but we also open up our grounds to the public for our annual Bluebell Walks for a few Sundays a year. It’s just too special not to share!

There are four particular wildflowers in the late winter and early springtime: snowdrops, primroses, bluebells, and daffodils. All are uniquely marvellous. All with different meanings. Today, as we begin the countdown to our first Bluebell Walk of the year, we thought we’d take a closer look into the wildflowers on our estate and the myths and legend behind them. Why indeed we’ve been gifted them here at Combermere Abbey – and what it all means.

Snowdrops

The first wildflowers to emerge in late winter are snowdrops, appearing in the woodlands in January for about six weeks before they make way for other blooms. We have displays of snowdrops throughout the Garden Wood, Pleasure Garden and Pempe’s Pavilion. and we get excited seeing them every year as it’s our first indicator that spring is on its way.

This delicate painterly flower is said to be a symbol of hope. How very fitting as we enter another year and period of new beginnings! According to legend, the snowdrop became the emblem of optimism when Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden. When Eve shared a despairing thought that winter would never end, an angel appeared. She transformed some of the snowflakes into snowdrop flowers, proving that the harsh cold

does eventually give way to spring. This season is one of our favourites at Combermere, watching the gardens come to life and hearing the birdsong return in full harmony – so this sign that spring is dawning is a very welcome one indeed.

Primroses

The primrose is one of the first flowers to bloom in spring. Its name actually comes from the Latin word ‘primus’, which means ‘first’. So, many believe that it has a meaning of youth, renewal, and optimism and even first love. Its gentle yellow flowers poke out from the woodland floor and shine a ray of colour in early spring.

Bluebells

Our woodlands are transformed into a stupendous blanket of blue each year at Combermere. There are many natural wonders here, but these native British wildflowers are our favourite… Hence our yearly Bluebell Walks! There are hundreds of thousands of these little flowers throughout the woods, many of which can be enjoyed along our Woodland Walk open to guests. They also make for a perfect photo backdrop – as our visitors demonstrate.

In folklore, ‘blue bells’ were said to be rung by fairies to summon their fellows to a gathering. But if a human heard the sound, it would be their death knell. Due to this, it’s considered bad luck to trample a bluebell patch as you may upset any fairies underneath! A fair warning to protect our lovely nature and wildlife if we do say so. According to The Hazeltree, there’s also an interesting belief that wearing a garland of bluebells will induce you to speak only the truth. What do you think?

Daffodils

A trusted friend at Combermere Abbey is indeed the daffodil. They reappear each year without fail and can be spotted across the estate, even down by the mere. Daffodils are a spritely sign of spring that last a long time – very welcome as we see yet more colour coming up in the grounds.

In folklore, daffodils are not only considered a sign of love and fertility, but they are also thought to be lucky. Here too is a tradition that if you make the deliberate effort not to step on them and crush them, fortune will favour you. There’s a theme running! There are also a few other fun myths surrounding this flower, including if you give someone a gift of daffodils, they’ll have good luck (but it must be a full bunch) and in parts of the British Isles, including in Wales, it’s sometimes said that if you’re the one in your neighbourhood who spots the first daffodil of spring, it means that you’ll see far more gold than silver come to your home over the coming year. Wonderful.

See Wildflowers At Combermere Abbey

If you’d like to celebrate spring with the first sign of wildflowers or try your hand at being the luckiest neighbour of the year by espying a daffodil, then why not book a short break at Combermere? Soak up our grounds and all its spring offerings as we head to a warmer, brighter time of year. Our woodland walk is always open to private guests of the holiday cottages and North Wing.

Or if you’d simply like to visit for the day (keep a watch out for fairies!) then look at tickets for our Bluebell Walks, which are running over only 3 Sundays this year. The sessions take place in the morning and afternoon, and you can find out how to make the most out of them by clicking here. Don’t forget to send us your photos as we LOVE to see them.

 

#WalkYourDogMonth – Pubs With Dog-Walking Routes In Cheshire & Shropshire January 23, 2023

#WalkYourDogMonth – Pubs With Dog-Walking Routes In Cheshire & Shropshire

Naturally you want to spend your wintery days out in the company of your pooch. But sometimes, it can be challenging to find somewhere to have a restorative drink and some comfort food with your little buddies in tow after a ramble.

Luckily for those staying in our dog-friendly cottages at Combermere Abbey, we are very fortunate to have an abundance of locally owned, ‘pooch perfect’ pubs around us that are perfect for a pit stop after a walk around the Cheshire plains or Shropshire countryside.

Here are our ‘Famous Five’ of the best pubs with dog-walking routes in Cheshire and Shropshire, which is definitely one to bookmark for next time you come to stay in our cottages, or indeed if you’re planning to visit us for one of our Bluebell Walks in the spring!

 

1. THE SWAN AT MARBURY

The Swan at Marbury is afamily run rural pub just 7 miles from the Combermere Abbey estate. This CHARMING pub welcomes all dogs with open arms, allowing    their owners to dine in  its cosy surroundings and of course, giving them  a little doggy treat too. The pub sits next to the stunning Marbury Lake and has a lovely circular walk to enjoy either before or  after your hearty meal.

The venue also offers a monthly dog walking event that anyone is free to join. You and your pooch can join the locals and their pets to explore more of the Cheshire countryside and maybe even make a friend or a few!

 

2. THE COMBERMERE ARMS

Of course, our close neighbours The Combermere Arms are always going to feature on our doggy-friendly pub list. Only a short distance from the top of the drive, this village gastro-pub welcomes dogs and Pia and Greg and their staff at The Combermere Arms will welcome your pooch with a bowl of water and a treat. they are famous for their cask beers and freshly home cooked food

The pub has some beautiful surroundings for a walk, and even carry leaflets with ideal walking treks for you and your pooch to venture which includes The Combermere Arms and Burleydam three-mile circular that starts and ends right at the pub’s front door! Perfect…

 

3. THE PHEASANT INN

Located in a peaceful corner of rural Cheshire, 15 miles from Combermere is The Pheasant Inn. This lovely venue offers breathtaking panoramic views across the county and is located on the renowned Sandstone Trail. Not only is this 300-year-old pub in a prime location for walkers, but the team also goes above and beyond to cater for four-legged patrons. Furry friends are welcome throughout the building, so your little buddy will be able to socialise with other four-legged guests while you take in the views and have a relaxing drink or two.

Being located pretty much on the trail means you and your dog can explore the rolling hills of the Cheshire countryside for miles on end. With many routes to choose from (ranging from easy, to challenging!), it’s a breath-taking destination to visit time and time again.

 

4. THE CHOLMONDELEY ARMS

The Cholmondeley Arms (an award-winning gin pub no less!) is just 8 miles from the estate and welcomes well-behaved doggies in all areas of the pub, as well as the garden and terrace. Originally a school house, its transformation has created a centre for locals and visitors as well. It is famous for its offer of over 350 different gins as well as menus featuring local produce.

If you and your pooch are up for a challenge, why not try out the popular Bickerton Hills trail which is just over 5km? It delivers some stunning views and on clear days you can see across to Liverpool and Ellesmere Port. Then stroll back and sit comfortably at the bar and enjoy an ale or two alongside side your canine friend, who you can even treat to the jar of biscuits and bottled dog beer.

The Cholmondeley Arms is actually renowned for its dog-friendliness and has been featured in the Sawday’s Dog Friendly Pub Guide as well as The Good Dog Pub Guide. In 2018, they were listed in The Independent Britain’s Top 50 Dog Friendly Pubs 2018 and Sunday Telegraph’s Britain’s 25 most Dog Friendly Pubs too.

 

5. THE SHROPPIE FLY

Finally, there’s the Shroppie Fly, a small pub with BIG ambitions nestled on the canal in beautiful Audlem. The family run establishment has just been featured in Condé Nast Traveller as an  innovative UK restaurant worth travelling for – which we think is very well deserved! Located just five miles from us here, this innovative canalside pub welcomes ALL guests (four legged or otherwise) to dine on their locally produced cuisine, while watching the narrow boats drift by.

 

If you’re looking for a magnificent walk that stops right by the pub, try the Canal, and Hankelow Mill trek, which boasts views of glistening fishing lakes and the winding River Weaver. The perfect trail for you and your pet on a spring or summer’s day!

Now that you’re equipped with all the dog-friendly pub knowledge you could ever need, why not book a stay in one of our holiday cottages? It’s the perfect way to celebrate #WalkYourDogMonth! Enjoy a well-deserved getaway treat for you and your pet and explore all that the area has to offer and you can also expect a pooch pack waiting for them on arrival too.

Filming At Historical Properties – The Empress At Combermere December 6, 2022

Filming At Historical Properties – The Empress At Combermere

 

Our country is known across the world for its outstanding period properties and heritage locations.

Some of these have been the set of many famous and renowned TV shows like Highclere Castle (good friends of Combermere!), which was famously the set for Downton Abbey, to the interiors of Knebworth House and Wilton House, which have doubled for interiors of royal palaces in countless dramas and films.

Filming at historical properties offers a number of huge benefits for a production company which not only helps to create a realistic timepiece for any TV show or movie but one which could not be replicated without huge cost to the production company. The dramatization of our stories not only helps to immortalise historic homes, but it also vitally helps in the maintenance and upkeep of these beautiful buildings, as well as allowing so many to relish in their beauty.

 

Filming At Historical Properties Such As Combermere Abbey

Many of the beautiful period properties around the UK offer a location for filming and a level of authenticity and historical accuracy that is hard to match anywhere else in the world!  

Did you know Combermere Abbey is one such of these buildings? Our historic home has been the backdrop for a number of projects over the years, from famous music videos, advertising campaigns, full length feature films, well-known UK and several Netflix TV series. With such a wealth of interiors and exteriors to choose from, we offer lots of choice for location scouts.

When historical properties open their doors to big picture opportunities, it can bring a wealth of benefits to not only the homes themselves but the surrounding towns and the local economy. Many a time we’ve seen previously a boost in local rural economy during the filming processes at Combermere. Sometimes, hundreds of cast and crew can descend on nearby towns and villages as well as ‘location pilgrims’ who visit after the footage has aired.

 

TV & Film Based Around Historical Properties

At Combermere Abbey, we have had the wonderful opportunity to be host to many famous and even aristocratic guests over our time, which included esteemed royalty, Elizabeth, Empress of Austria!

With the latest success of the series “The Empress” on Netflix UK, which follows the early life of ‘Sisi’ Empress Elisabeth, we hope to see her journey over to Combermere Abbey, “the most romantic place in all Europe” in later seasons.

With that being said, let’s take a little review Empress journey to Combermere!

The Empress Of Austria & Combermere Abbey

 Elisabeth preferred hunting in England and Ireland and enjoyed lavish entertainment in keeping with her status. When she decided to spend the season in England in 1881, she rented Combermere Abbey for a period of two years from Viscount Combermere. The agreed rent was £600 per month, which equates to around £14,000 today! So she did not do things by halves.

To accommodate her stay, a regal waiting room was built at Wrenbury railway station. The Empress also travelled with such a large retinue and so much luggage, that a special train was required, and the platform extended. The modifications to the small rural station cost the enormous sum of £10,000 (equivalent to around £1.5 million today).

Elisabeth arrived at Combermere on the eve of 20th February 1881, accompanied by Prince Liechtenstein, Countess Festetics, Baron de Nopsca, Herr Aiuger, and her secretary Herr Firfallach. Eight of the Empress’  horses arrived at Whitchurch station on the 30th of the month from Ireland and were taken to Combermere, along with her other horses from Vienna.

Today, the stables where her horses were kept have been renovated into our award-winning holiday-cottages available to rent and all decorated to a very high standard, including one that is aptly named ‘Empress’ to honour her time staying on the estate.

‘Sisi’ travelled to England (and namely Combermere) with a personal retinue of 25 staff out of a staff number of around 80. Rooms had to be re-furnished at the abbey to create an imperial bedroom, a sitting room, bathroom, gymnasium, dressing room, and even a Roman Catholic chapel. A private telegraph line was put in to keep her in touch with her husband and family in Austria.

The Empress’ life at Combermere Abbey was not without the drama that seemed to follow her everywhere. She wished to take her meals in her apartments, unseen by others, but she also wanted her meals served hot. Thus, a completely new (secret) staircase to the kitchen was built, just for this purpose.

Staying at Combermere made her one of the abbey’s most distinguished guests and she wrote that she thought Combermere Abbey to be “the most romantic place in all Europe”

 

We truly hope to see Elizabeth’s stay at Combermere portrayed in one of the upcoming seasons of ‘The Empress’ and welcome all admirers of the show to visit and even live like the Empress once did.

 

Mystical Stories Of Combermere Abbey September 2, 2022

Mystical Stories Of Combermere Abbey

 

‘Spooky season’ is approaching, so we thought we’d celebrate by sharing some good old campfire tales. From ghosts caught on camera to secret tunnels, there are many stories that have emerged from Combermere Abbey in our nearly 900-year-old existence! So, settle down and journey back in time with us through the myths and legends that were born from the estate.

Ley Lines Through The North Wing

Ley lines running through the globe, credit: https://www.livetray.com/ley-lines-what-they-are-what-their-uses-are-how-to-find-them/

Ley lines are thought to be a web of earth energy lines that connect the universe. According to Alfred Watkins who ‘discovered’ them in 1921, “at the places they intersect, there are pockets of concentrated energy, that can be harnessed by certain individuals”. In Combermere Abbey’s North Wing, would you believe that you can discover one of these exact spots?! Marked by an ancient stone that was discovered during the restoration process, guests of our B&B can take a look at the find which is now showcased under a glass panel, and try their hand at standing over it to see if they feel a spiritual difference.

Our marker stone on display, try standing on it if you visit the North Wing!

The Secret Tunnel To The Pub

When the urge for a tipple takes you, wouldn’t you just love a shortcut to the pub? Well, legend has it that deep in the mere is a secret tunnel that leads you directly to The Combermere Arms. This charming Brunning & Price venue has a history that dates back to 1540, which has been lovingly preserved where possible by its owners over the centuries. We don’t recommend trying out this jaunt underwater, but it is definitely worth a walk to from our cottages or North Wing for your dinner.

A Bottled Ghoul

We’re not finished with The Combermere Arms just yet, as it too has an intriguing supernatural history. In the ‘Cheshire Village Book’ of the 1990s, a story that appears more than once is that of two clergymen who tackled a ‘troublesome ghost’ in the pub by trapping it – Ghostbusters-style – in a glass bottle! They then buried the bottle under the front steps of the pub, and legend warns that if it is ever broken or disturbed, the ghost would be released. In more recent years, the best ‘bottled spirits’ you’ll discover are behind the bar at the pub, best enjoyed by the cosy log fire on a cool autumn evening.

Gold In The Lake

We’ll tell you this one if you promise there’ll be no diving to try and discover any ancient treasure! When the ‘wicked monks’ that once inhabited Combermere Abbey were forced to leave by Henry VIII, there are rumours that they tossed their gold and silver into the mere to avoid it being taken by the ‘Sheriff’ or tax man. To this day none has been discovered despite trying, so we’re inclined to believe this may be no more than an interesting story. However, with the Crewe and Nantwich Metal Detecting Club once uncovered an ancient papal bull the size of a £2 coin found under a  buried piece of lead near the Abbey! It dates from the 1300’s during the time of Pope Innocent IV. A piece of historical treasure.

This isn’t quite the gold we hope may be under the lake, but it was a very interesting find all the same!

Built-In Lucky Charms

Over the years of restoring Combermere, many historic artefacts have been discovered, from old fire extinguishers to centuries-old glass bottles. Guests who join us for a tour can view them where they’re now stored, in the Game Larder.  Perhaps the one that excited the restoration team the most though, was a small shoe and horseshoe from the 1700s found in between the floors. What first may have been seen as some misplaced everyday items, actually turned out to have a much more mystical meaning. Extensive research concluded that it’s more likely these shoes were placed here strategically, for luck and to ward off unwanted spirits and ghouls. When you read on to our next story, you may think it fortunate these items remained within the walls through the next century.

A man’s shoe and a large horseshoe were uncovered during the restoration work at Combermere Abbey

These shoes are now being preserved and maintained within Combermere Abbey

Combermere Abbey’s Resident Ghost

Finally, we’ve saved the best until last! One of the most popular supernatural images in the world was taken at no other than Combermere Abbey. This photograph of Lord Combermere sitting in his chair in the library may look fairly inconspicuous, perhaps just badly developed. This is until you learn that at the exact time it was taken, the Viscount was actually being buried at Wrenbury church four miles away.  The picture was snapped by his sister a keen amateur photographer Sybell Corbet and it was thought that the photographic exposure recorded took about an hour while she was attending the funeral herself. The resemblance is remarkable. Paranormal experts have since visited Combermere Abbey and felt several ‘presences’ but there’s been no further hard evidence of any spooky spirits since this image from 1891. We’ll let you make your own minds up when it comes to this one!

One of the most famous ghostie photographs in the world… What do you think?

If you love history, then there’s nothing to be refuted about the fact that Combermere Abbey is a fabulous place to explore. Whether visiting us for a tour (which are offered all year round for private groups for as small as 2 up to 20 persons) or immersing yourself in history with a night in our North Wing, there’s much magic to be discovered here. You can check availability directly on our website. Please note the North Wing of the abbey (as well as our grounds) is for private holiday use only and only certain rooms can be explored during tour times too.

 

Why You Should Take A Solo Staycation At Combermere Abbey May 17, 2022

Why You Should Take A Solo Staycation At Combermere Abbey

Do you need something to lift your spirits? Or perhaps you just need a break for reflection in your own company? Whatever it is that’s bothering you,  spending some time alone with no-one else to account to is highly beneficial – so treat yourself to a solo staycation at Combermere Abbey? We know you’ll return feeling more relaxed, calmer, and happier than when you left!

Benefits Of A Solo Staycation

Boost your mood

Short bursts of solitude are believed to have a positive effect on mental health, help you reconnect with yourself, and recharge your mental batteries at the same time. All this goodness just by letting yourself relax? That sounds marvellous to us.

Control your time

Weekends away or perhaps even a little midweek break are short enough that you won’t miss your partner, babies, family, or friends too much, but long enough that you’ll feel as if you’ve had a true purposeful break away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Staycations can be as short or as long as you choose to make them – which can be a welcome break from overseas holidays. You’re completely in control.

Conquer creativity

Sometimes when you’re stuck in a rut or have a creative block, it can be really hard to get work done or to concentrate – everything becomes overwhelming and juggling home commitments become hard work! – Take a few days out, ditch the diary and schedules and reconnect with nature. It honestly works wonders for getting the wheels turning again. Plus, at Combermere Abbey, our broadband speeds are excellent across all our holiday cottages and B&B rooms, so you can take a time out alone and get your head down to work on an important project for a few days without interruption and at your own pace.

Solo Staycations At Combermere Abbey 

Solo staycations at Combermere Abbey offer peace and quiet, privacy, lush green landscape, luxurious accommodation and of course some fabulous views. Woodland walks, picnics by the lake and rambles through the surrounding countryside, and wild swimming in the mere are at your fingertips.

Perfect to break any monotony during the day, Cheshire’s award-winning Three Wren’s Gin’s new distillery is just a short walk away from Combermere Abbey, along the estate roads, ideal for our holiday cottage and B&B guests. They operate an open-door policy, meaning you can pop in for a look around and to treat yourself to a bottle (or two). With summer on the horizon, doesn’t a glass of gin out in the beautiful outdoors down by the mere sound perfect?

Or, pop into another new estate enterprise whilst you’re there – the recently opened Old Piggery Café on Park View Business Centre, which is quite literally next door to Three Wrens and a lovely spot for lunch.? For solo travellers, it’s a great spot to take some time to yourself and enjoy a coffee and cake. Or you may even like to take your laptop over and work there for a few hours, providing yet another welcome change of scenery.

And how could we forget, the most convincing argument of all, your dog is welcome to join! In fact, we encourage it in our holiday cottages! Solo staycations don’t have to exclude your furry best friend after all. Our grounds are a paradise for pooches.

At Combermere Abbey, we’re passionate about making your solo staycation as relaxing as possible. Whether alone or with your furry friend for company, you will find a stay with us uplifting and rejuvenating.  You really don’t need to travel far as it’s all here in the rural heartland on the Cheshire/Shropshire border, We invite you to come and see us and treat yourself to something very special  – give yourself permission to explore solo! It may just change your life. Our booking page can be found here. We look forward to seeing you.

Secrets Of Our Combermere Abbey Tour April 26, 2022

Secrets Of Our Combermere Abbey Tour

 

We offer some exceptional tour options at Combermere Abbey including public tours for individuals (perfect to go on with your friends), group tours for special interest parties and the Invitation to View events booked with Historic Houses. Visitors to the Abbey have a chance to walk through our fascinating history – from 1133 to the present day!

 

As you can imagine, there are so many secrets to uncover in the Abbey’s 889 year history. If these walls could speak, they would have some stories to tell! As they can’t, let us instead give you a preview of some of the interesting things you’ll be given the scoop on from our tour guide Myra – or, if you’re on one of our VIP tours, the owner, Sarah Callander-Beckett –when you book onto one of our fascinating tours of the Abbey.

 

Secrets Of Our Combermere Abbey Tour

 

A Brief Overview Of The Abbey’s Beginnings

 

This one isn’t so much a ‘secret,’ but a key piece of history that is essential to knowing all about Combermere and its fascinating history. The Abbey began as a Cistercian monastery, with 22 monks in residence, on lands given by Hugh de Malbank, Lord of Nantwich.

 

The Abbey has survived the Dissolution of the Monasteries, religious arguments, civil war, debt, and family tragedy. These grounds were also originally 22,000 acres at their peak!

 

In 1536, the abbey was dissolved and given to Sir George Cotton, during which the abbey church and claustral buildings were removed, leaving only the Abbots House and refectory which form the heart of the current house.

 

Throughout the next few hundred years, the Abbey underwent extensive alterations and in 1820 extensive Gothic remodelling. In 1919, Combermere Abbey and its estate was sold to Sir Kenneth Crossley of Crossley Motors.

 

In 1992, and after many years of hidden decay, it was inherited by Sarah Callander Beckett from her mother, Lady Lindsay. She began an extensive restoration project which has taken 30 years, and we have seen the restoration of most of the listed buildings, the Walled Gardens (now a wedding venue), the conversion of the stable block into luxury cottages and the exciting restoration of the magnificent North Wing.

 

Since 1992 there have been so many changes to the Abbey – but you’ll have to join one of our tours to find out all the ins and outs of those!

 

The Creation of the Mere

 

A little-known and fascinating secret is that the mere surrounding the Abbey was, once upon a time, split into two meres! In the 18th century, they were joined and dug by hand to create the single mere you see today. The ‘big mere’ and the ‘little mere’, glacially formed during the ice age, were conjoined by hundreds of people with spades and wheelbarrows. Sounds exhausting to us!

 

 

Lord Combermere’s Ghost

 

We hope you’re not too easily scared… Because when you come on the tour of the Abbey, you may well hear some bumps and scrapes! The second Lord Combermere, who passed away in 1891, is said to have been caught on a long-exposure camera used to take a photo of the Abbey’s library, on the very night his body was being buried four miles away… Take a look for yourself! Are you convinced this is him, or perhaps just a servant who quickly stepped in and out of the frame after noticing a long-exposure photo was being taken? Who can be sure…

 

 

 

The Ley Lines

 

Combermere Abbey is situated on ancient ley lines, something few people know about! For the uninitiated, ley lines are markers that crisscross around the globe, like latitudinal and longitudinal lines. They are dotted with monuments and natural landforms, and are said to carry along with them rivers of mystical energy. Along these lines, at the places they intersect, there are pockets of concentrated energy, that can be harnessed by certain individuals.

 

You can find the marker stone that signifies the joining of two ley lines that run through the North Wing room encased in glass for visitors to look at. This was discovered during the restoration – we think it’s pretty fascinating!

 

The Shoes

 

During the Abbey’s restoration, a man’s shoe dating from the 1780s and a horseshoe were both found in the walls! While this might seem as though someone simply lost some items in the years since the Abbey’s creation, the explanation is actually more interesting… These items were both thought to bring good luck and ward off unwanted spirits, witches, and devils! With a potential ghost around, it seems as though these might have been very needed indeed!

 

 

If these secrets have captured your interest, there are plenty more to be discovered during the Combermere Abbey tours. These can be booked for weekday mornings or afternoons on dedicated days. To enquire about dates for booking, please email or call 01284 827087. You can find out more information on our website.

 

What’s A Heritage Break & Why Should You Take One? April 7, 2022

What’s A Heritage Break & Why Should You Take One?

If you’ve never heard of a heritage stay, let us tell you about them. For those who have a passion for heritage – specifically, historic houses and the long and fascinating history of the British Isles – it’s just the thing for you!

 

What is a Heritage Break?

 

A ‘heritage break’ is quite self-explanatory, it is the decision to stay in a historic house or venue with the purpose of learning more about the back story and history of the place as well as other properties in the area. You can find out fascinating secrets of a building,  uncover its hidden gems, and appreciate the beauty of something that’s right there, truly immersing yourself in the experience– it’s certainly a more exciting alternative to staying in a more generic venue, even if it’s simply to help support the upkeep of an independently-owned historic property.

 

Why Combermere Abbey?

 

We doubt there are many more places with secrets to uncover in such abundance as Combermere Abbey. Steeped in almost a thousand years of history, Combermere has seen everything from ghosts and ghouls to Empresses and monks passing through its walls. The Abbey has survived the dissolution of the Monasteries, religious arguments, civil war, debt and family tragedy. You can find out all about that during one of our public tours, or even better – book a special Invitation to View tour to quiz Abbey owner Sarah Callander Beckett on anything you’d like over an English Afternoon Tea.

 

Then, an overnight stay in our North Wing will take your experience even further and will be your chance to see what it’s like to live in a Grade I listed English Country House! With multiple major renovations, we’re so proud of the wonderful beauty of our oldest part of the abbey. We’ve ensured the North Wing has retained its romantic elements, too – and the rooms even feature some of the spectacular finds uncovered during construction!

 

But if you’d prefer to stay somewhere remote and self-contained (though still full of history!) then our Combermere Abbey renovated holiday cottages are perfect for you. Guests are given their own living and dining spaces, private cottage garden, and a kitchen with all the mod-cons you need. What’s more, dogs are very welcome!

 

Get away from the hustle and bustle of towns and cities and become immersed in the countryside, where you can feel like you’re in your own little world. The cottages all have their own personal history too, from their names to their decor! Why not ask your guide about them?

 

Take Our Tours

 

Abbey Tours will be taking place this year between Tuesday 5th April to Thursday 7th July 2022. These will run at specific times on a Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Join a personally-led tour, and gain fascinating insight into the abbey’s 908-year-old history, from 1133 to the present day. Hear about its famous residents and visitors, and the restoration from ruin at the hands of the current owners.

 

For your comfort and safety, tours are limited to 20 person, with online booking available on specific dates. For alternative dates, email [email protected].

 

You can book a heritage stay with us to finish your visit and give you the treat you deserve by heading to our online booking page. We very much look forward to welcoming you, and hope you have your history hats on!

 

 

 

 

The Importance Of A Winter Detox February 3, 2022

The Importance Of A Winter Detox

Many people choose to make winter their season of detoxing to go forth into the year with clear heads, good intentions and with stress to a minimum. Here are some ways to detox in the new year, and just why it’s important to hit pause and reset.

The Importance of a Winter Detox

1. Digital detoxes

Digital detoxes are a great idea for a number of reasons. It helps us maintain a healthy work-life balance, can help us sleep better, and reduces ‘FOMO’, or the fear of missing out. If you’re living fully in the moment without worrying what might be happening in your inbox or your favourite group chat, you’re bound to feel less stressed, happier, and more connected to those around you.

Scientists seem to agree that too much time with tech is overall a bad idea: a Swedish study found that heavy technology use amongst adults was linked to sleep problems, depressive symptoms, and increased stress levels.

Combermere Abbey is the perfect place to purge technology from your life for a few days and get back to nature, our secluded countryside retreat is ideal for a ‘disconnection trip’ a so-called new trend for 2022.

We’ve spoken in the past about the importance of digital detoxes – for even more information, give our previous blog a read here!

2. Health Detox

If you’re usually a keen jogger, gym bunny or all-round fitness fanatic, there’s no better time to get back into your routine than during the winter.

The benefits of exercise are endless, as, like digital detoxes, it helps us improve our sleeping patterns, mood, energy levels and overall wellbeing – to name just a few!

Getting out in the fresh air whenever possible is a sure-fire way to put you in a great mood. Being amongst nature, as opposed to working out indoors or in a crowded city, is cited to be beneficial. The charity Mind has a list on all of the perks of being out in nature, which even includes reducing feelings of loneliness, improving relaxation, and even boosting your confidence.

3. Body Detoxes

A “body detox” doesn’t necessarily mean going vegan, removing your favourite things from your diet, or any form of ‘cleansing.’ Sometimes it’s just nice to treat yourself after a busy period – particularly if you’ve been under more stress than usual. And despite how wonderful winter can be, there’s no doubt it comes with some stressors, too!

At Combermere Abbey, we’re partnered with Glo Pamper, an amazing local business that provides a wide variety of holistic and beauty treatments including detoxifying deep-pressure massages, de-stress holistic facials and reflexology.

Read more about our partnership with Glo Pamper, and why a body detox is the perfect treat for yourself during the winter here.

4. Mind Detox

It goes without saying that taking good care of your mind is essential. You might have been feeling overworked in the new year – but it’s important not to just keep on ticking if things don’t feel right!

There are so many things to do at Combermere Abbey that are guaranteed to help you clear your head. For example, yoga has long been linked to mental health betterment and over all wellbeing increase. Why not do a spot of it down by the mere when you come and stay with us?

Simply being by nature is also known to help with stress levels, and at Combermere, we’re surrounded by it! From our beautiful woodland and mere to our rolling fields, you’ll feel completely at peace when you come to visit us.

5. ‘People’ Detox

Last but not least, your preferred winter detox might simply to get away from the world for a while. Our North Wing and cottages are the perfect place to get some well-deserved rest, peace and quiet. You’ll be surrounded by nature in the beautiful Cheshire. But don’t worry – you won’t be completely isolated if you choose to come and spend some time with us! We’re close by the quaint towns of Whitchurch and Nantwich, where you can browse locally-owned shops, grab a bite to eat, and explore.

Head to our booking page to see our availability and book your stay today.

Featured photo: Patrick Schätz via Unsplash 

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