Rufford Old Hall is a Tudor building surrounded by Victorian and Edwardian gardens. It’s located in Rufford, Lancashire, about 19 miles northeast of Liverpool.

    At the heart of the estate, there’s a cobbled courtyard with stables, a shippon (cow barn) and a piggery that dates back to the 18th century. It’s said that a young William Shakespeare once resided at the estate. He was part of Sir Thomas Hesketh’s company of actors.

    Rufford Old Hall near Liverpool - one of the highlights of 10 Best Road Trips near Liverpool and 9 Best Things to Do After Dinner in Southport (Read all about Liverpool here)

    What are the highlights of Rufford Old Hall?

    A ticket to the National Trust-administered Rufford Old Hall gives you access to the entire property. That includes the Victorian and Edwardian garden, which spans 5 acres – a tranquil space filled with flowers and fruit trees. Some of them are old English apple varieties like Carlisle Codlin and Keswick Codlin. There are also different games on the lawn that kids will surely have fun with.

    Spring is an excellent time to watch the wildlife around the hall. Throughout the season, mallard ducks will be roaming the yards while swallows will be busy building nests. Across the canal, you might spot hares and butterflies.

    At the Tea Room, you can enjoy afternoon tea and treats. They serve hot and cold refreshments. If you want, you can even have a picnic on the grounds.

    A brief history of Rufford Old Hall

    Rufford Old Hall was built in 1530 for the Hesketh family. The Great Hall, which exemplifies Tudor construction, is the only surviving structure from the original house. Inside, you’ll see a rare carved hall screen, arched-brace roof timbers, and a hammer-beam roof.

    Since the 1600s, the house has been through several renovations. One of the additions was a brick wing, which still exists to this day. The owners stopped living in the house in 1798. Eventually, the property was leased by a tenant farmer, while the hall was converted into a school.

    By the 1820s, a member of the Hesketh family had decided to rebuild and refurbish the house. A third wing was added while the east wing was refitted in Tudor Gothic style with the help of a local architect by the name of John Foster. A lantern roof was added to the Great Hall, serving as a skylight. The main entrance was transferred to the brick wing, which used to be the kitchen. They decorated the home with Gothic Revival furnishings, including oak furniture with intricate carvings, stained glass and tapestries. They also added a collection of German and Italian arms and armour.

    Finally, in 1936, the family donated Rufford Old Hall, its furniture and the military collection to the National Trust. In 1968, the hall was designated a Grade I-listed building, with the cottage, coach house and stables nearby listed as Grade II.

    photo by Mike Peel (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    How to get to Rufford Old Hall?

    Rufford Old Hall is easily accessible on public transportation. If you’re coming from Liverpool Central, you can get on a 310 bus from Vauxhall to Ormskirk. Then you can transfer to a 2A bus to reach Rufford Old Hall. From your bus stop, you can reach the estate on foot.

    An alternative is to take the train to Rufford and, from the station, it’s about a 14-minute walk to the estate. You can also hire a taxi or rent a car to reach the place, but this will cost you more than public transportation.

    Make sure to book a ticket in advance for Rufford Old Hall, especially if you’re scheduling a visit on a Saturday or Sunday or a holiday. Children of all ages are welcome to explore. Kids above the age of 5 will need a ticket.

    You can bring a dog to the property, but your pup will be limited to the Courtyard, North Paddock and North Woods. Only assistant dogs are allowed to enter the gardens, and you have to keep them on a lead throughout your stay.

    Rufford Old Hall near Liverpool

    Location: 200 Liverpool Rd, Rufford, Ormskirk L40 1SG, UK

    Open: Friday-Monday from 11 am to 4.30 pm (closed from Tuesdays to Thursdays)

    Phone: +44 (0)1704 821254

    Geri Mileva | Contributing Writer

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