Canons Ashby

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Canons Ashby – not the prettiest of exteriors

Off to National Trust’s Canons Ashby today to meet up with long-time mates, Chris & Gill. Ordinarily, a straightforward journey using the A43, but not so today! It’s F1 Silverstone Weekend starting later and that means only two things – chaos on the main routes plus the local villages seeing an exponential increase in through-traffic. 😟

Cue, a ‘plan b’ in the shape of an alternative route! After a bit of head-scratching, our revised trek using mostly minor roads and the A5. It only took us around 10 minutes longer, but it felt like we were on a permanent chicane for most of it, negotiating numerous narrow and twisty roads – whilst discovering parts of Northamptonshire we’d never seen before! 😲

Just after midday, it was mission accomplished as we found a space in NT’s car-park where Chris & Gill joined us, just a few minutes later. The last time we were at Canons Ashby was back in May 2017 with Ian & Ann, and although the weather wasn’t anywhere near as warm as back then, it was good to be out and about.

The House

Built by the Dryden Family, the NT took it on in the 1980s. It’s decorated as it would have looked in Victorian times and the enthusiastic volunteers were doing a great job sharing their extensive knowledge of the House. Outside, it’s not the most attractive of properties, but inside certainly was a treat! The Gardens always look good with an excellent Kitchen Garden – and there’s the Priory to look around too!

The Gardens

Not as colourful as I remember them from our previous visit, but the Kitchen Garden looked very healthy.

Enough of all this history, time for lunch.


The girls had prepared a picnic – and that was always going to make any location more attractive! πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹. We nabbed one of the numerous picnic tables just inside the entrance, but just as we sat down, it began to rain! β˜”. Luckily, it only lasted a few minutes and we were soon tucking into spicy chicken, salmon, pork pie, and quiche with salad – followed by fresh fruit and meringue!

The Priory

I think when you hear the word Priory, you tend to think of something quite large. Certainly, that used to be the case here before a certain Monarch exercised his enthusiastic pruning of this Augustian establishment! 😟

Thanks to Henry VIIIth, it was only a short walk to the altar! These days, the Priory is one of a few remaining privately-owned places of worship in Northamptonshire originally (owned by the Dryden family who lived across the road!). Very nice inside! There’s not much to see except for its mini-museum and a scale model of what it looked like before the Royal chop! Story goes that the Monks developed more of a fondness for the grape than for worship – consequently, another Pub bit the dust!!!! 😁

We spent about twenty minutes looking around then headed back to the cars and said our goodbyes. Fortunately, our revised journey home (A5, A5199 and A14) was much less eventful, and we were home in under an hour.

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