Rocking up to Rockingham Castle

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It’s on our doorstep, but the last time we think we visited Rockingham Castle was probably 25 years ago! Before I even began blogging! 🤔

These days (at the time of writing anyway) it’s only open Tuesdays and Sundays from midday until 5pm – so today was a good decision! 😉

After yesterday’s trip over to mates Nick and Celina, for a late lunch banquet super-banquet with them, we chose a relaxed start to the day. A late breakfast, a bit of chat, and it was now just after 12 and time to head out! We decided not to take a picnic and rely on Rockingham’s Tea Room.

We arrived just before 1pm and it was already busy (judging by the number of cars already in the car park). We got in for senior citizens’ prices (£13 each, saving us about £2 each). What we hadn’t factored in though, was they were timed tickets – and ours was scheduled for 2.15pm!

So, with about and hour-and-a-quarter to kill, what to do? 🤔. We’d forgotten that they also had their own private Chapel on the premises! – St Leonard’s dating back to the 13th century.

This was a lovely Church and filled the time perfectly whilst we waited for our official entrance into the Castle. After the Church, there was just time for a cuppa in their tea-room. Bugger! It was closed due to staff sickness and replaced by a temporary arrangement just outside the Gift Shop. It wasn’t a perfect alternative, but the drinks were wet… and hot… and it offered us the opportunity to sit down for ten-minutes! 😉

Lovely!!!

It was coming up to 1.30pm and we still had forty-five minutes to go! Luckily for us there was a 30-45 minute free tour of the OUTSIDE area on offer. Mick was our Guide and we was probably the best Guide we’d been on the receiving end of for many, many years! 👍. He was humorous, engaging and really knew his stuff without boring us to death with unnecessary facts! Amongst other nuggets of wisdom, we learned that the famous Charles Dickens was great friend of the family ‘back in the day’ and frequently visited the Castle. In fact, an area in the Castle grounds called The Ghost Walk was the inspiration Chesney Wold in his novel Bleak House!

Who knew!? 😉

Impressive Gardens – especially the rose display!

In truth, the Castle wasn’t much to look at from the outside, but it was worth being reminded that this is still the everyday home of the current Watson family who have been here for 15 generations!

Inside was a different story (although no photography was allowed for obvious reasons!). This was not-so-much a Castle, but it was every inch someone’s stately home. There was plenty on show and the Long Gallery was particularly impressive – and included various manuscripts to and from Charles Dickens.

All-in-all then, a really good visit – and great to see such an old property that wasn’t hanging on by its fingernails, and relying on donations and visits from the public! In fact, Rockingham Castle was in really good shape (however you choose to measure it!) 👍

It was then back to ours to enjoy the Sun in the garden, helped along by one of Ann’s impromptu Fruit Crumbles! 😋😋😋😋

Then it was movie-time – Rogue Agent – courtesy of Netflix followed by Quiche and Salad.

A great day! 👍😀. Ralph and Karen leave us after lunch tomorrow.

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