Quarry Bank in Wilmslow, Cheshire, is a working mill owned by the National Trust. We visited over the autumn in 2020 when some of the COVID-19 restrictions had been lifted. We are National Trust members so covered the entrance costs through our membership.
We’ve been members of the National Trust for some time but this was our first trip to Quarry Bank. Due to the pandemic, not everything was open during our trip but we were able to get a good feel for the experience and thoroughly enjoyed our visit (even though the weather was dire). There is plenty of outdoor space to explore and as with most NT properties and estates there was a trail for the kids to enjoy, which gave us a pretty decent tour. It is possible to go into the working mill, there are woodlands along with large gardens and grounds as well.
Was it good?
With over 400 acres of woodland and gardens to explore, along with the mill itself, Quarry Bank makes for a great family day out. Everything is clearly signposted and laid out and although there isn’t much to do inside the mill, I felt it was still worth seeing. You can see some of the machinery in action and the NT volunteers work hard to keep it interesting and relevant when explaining how things would have operated in the mill’s heyday.
National Trust had clearly worked hard to ensure that they were keeping people safe during COVID-19; we had to sanitise our hands on entry and exit to the mill and face masks had to be worn at all times when inside. There was also a volunteer on the door controlling numbers. It would have been nice to see some of that happening inside as people did tend to crowd together, especially around the more interactive parts. Be aware if you plan to visit before the Summer of 2021. We hung back to make ourselves the last in the tour group which allowed us more space, and the freedom to go at our own pace rather than feeling we were being pushed along.
The woodlands follow alongside the River Bollin and as you can see from the photos, they really do come alive with the season. We couldn’t have asked for a more autumnal explosion of colour! We particularly enjoyed this part of our visit and had the weather been better, I think we would have spent more time exploring. NT advertise three particular walks on their website which range from 50 minutes to 2.5 hours. There are historic bridges, caves and cliffs and lots of wildlife to enjoy and we really didn’t scratch the surface with our brief circular so I would definitely hope to return in the near future. Be aware that the paths around the woodlands (in fact some of gardens of the estate as well) got muddy in the rain so do come prepared.
Free for National Trust members, which includes parking. Otherwise it is £15 per adult and £7.50 per child with family tickets starting from £22.50.
We weren’t sure if the coffee shop would be open and accessible so we brought our own picnic, so I can’t speak to the costs involved but I will duly update this post on our next visit if I am able to find out.
An overall enjoyable day out and one I’d definitely recommend. Both Meg and Eli exclaimed they hadn’t realised ‘history could be fun’ and there was more than enough for a full day out had we wanted to stay longer.