Visitors arriving at Boscobel House will be welcomed by a new introductory display covering key periods on Boscobel’s history, from the Civil War, with an audio recreation of the account Charles II gave to Samuel Pepys of his escape, to its role as a profitable Victorian working farm, including video clips of similar farm equipment from the era in use
Most famous for Charles II hiding at the site whilst escaping from Cromwell’s patrols in 1651, Boscobel House’s past as one of the most successful dairy farms and cheese manufacturers during the Victorian era has gone largely unnoticed. But that is all set to change this Easter when the site re-opens with new extended interpretation of the house’s colourful past!
Indeed, people visiting Boscobel this summer will gain a far deeper insight into the property’s farming heritage. Historians have discovered that a room originally thought to have been used for slaughtering livestock was actually a cheese settling room, and that Boscobel was a well-known manufacturer of Cheshire cheese, selling its produce at markets in Shropshire and beyond.
“The Royal Oak is possibly the most famous tree in Britain, but when people have visited Boscobel House in the past, they have been delighted by how much more there is to see,” explains visitor operations site supervisor, Ella Harrison. “The new interpretation will enable visitors to understand so much more about Boscobel’s story over the 360 years since Charles II hid here.”
All of the farm equipment has now been labelled with a tag explaining the role it played, and the Blacksmith’s smithy has been restored back to working order.
Visits to the house will also change in 2010. Previously, visitors were invited on guided tours only, but now they will additionally have the opportunity to wander around the rooms in their own time, with well-informed stewards and additional interpretation material in key rooms to explain main features.
Although the construction of the house makes it unsuitable for wheelchairs, disabled visitors can enjoy a virtual tour of the property in the visitor centre.
For those enjoying a taste of the outdoors, there is additionally a new footpath linking the Royal Oak to White Ladies Priory – perfect for spring walks! The route takes around 20-25 minutes each way.
Boscobel House & The Royal Oak is open Wednesday to Sunday from 10.00am to 5.00pm. Admission prices are £5.50 for adults, £4.70 for concessions and £2.80 for children, or £13.80 for a family ticket (two adults and up to three children). English Heritage members get in free.
For more information, please call 01902 850244 or visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/boscobel
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