Posted by: marymarthatours | October 8, 2012

Little Moreton Hall, the First Surprise on the 2012 England in Miniature Tour

Martha and I like to build some surprise stops and activities into all of our tours. These surprises are not announced in the brochure or on the blog, so our travelers have something special to look forward to.

On our recently completed England in Miniature Tour, we started the surprises on the very first day. After our arrival at the Manchester Airport, we boarded our coach and headed south. We parked in the coachpark at our destination, screened from the house by a grove of trees. As the group followed the path from the coachpark, they cleared the trees and this is what they saw:


Little Moreton Hall

Little Moreton Hall is the quintessential Tudor-era timber-framed manor house. Described as, “Top-heavy, with leaning walls and sagging roofs, its seems like some vast unstable doll’s house”. What better way to introduce the dollhouse and miniatures enthusiasts on our tour to the history, architecture, and charm of England.

We crossed the moat and passed through the entry into a small interior courtyard.

Some of the group joined the house tour to learn more about the family that built and inhabited Little Moreton Hall over 500 years ago.

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Little Moreton Hall entrance                                                  Interior courtyard

Others wandered the interior rooms on their own. The most impressive room is the long gallery which was added to the top of the house over the existing south front in about 1570. With its almost continuous windows, waving walls and floors, and beautifully decorated gable ends, the long gallery is amazing.

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Long Gallery exterior and interior

Other impressive rooms include the Great Hall and the Chapel. Outside is a beautiful Elizabethan-era garden of boxwood hedges and gravel. Martha and I spent some time chatting with the gardener, who was painstakingly pruning all the hedges with hand shears. He told us that he much prefers doing the once a year job by hand, as the result is much more attractive than if done with an electric shears.  I wonder if he’s permanently bent over.

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The garden and gardener at Little Moreton Hall

One of the first funny moments of the tour happened in the garden. I turned a corner and through a gap in the hedge saw a feature of Elizabethan gardens that I had not seen in person before. “Martha, Martha,” I called excitedly, “come look at this!” When she joined me, she exclaimed loudly, “Oh, a mount, a mount!” That brought one of the tour participants running to see what we were going on about. All she could see was a small round grass-covered hill, about 12’ tall. When we explained that a mount, or grassy mound, was included in medieval and Elizabethan gardens to provide a viewpoint, she practically collapsed in laughter at our extravagance of emotion. I’m sure she thought we’d found something “naughty” going on. That got us all to laughing even harder.

In the “excitement” of the moment, I didn’t even get a picture of the mount, but here is the view from the top.


View from the Little Moreton Hall mount

Little Moreton Hall was a fabulous surprise for the group, but sometimes the best surprises happen to the tour leaders.

(by Mary)



  1. Every time I drive into town I pass a subdivision full of modern “box” houses, sitting cheek by jowl on teeny lots. Why oh why can’t we have the charm of a few hundred years ago? Thanks for sharing. Mount On!

    • And here’s a scary thought — maybe in 500 years, one of those “box” houses will be the exciting tourirst attraction. Ugh.

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