Day out: Snowshill Manor Apple Festival

25 Mar

From the summer archives: a day out during apple season.  Snowshill Manor and Gardens is a National Trust site in the Cotswolds.  It’s worth a visit on its own, but during the yearly apple festival, there’s extra (tasty) reasons to enjoy a day out.

The National Trust visitor information text states: “Charles Paget Wade’s passion for craftsmanship, colour and design began when he was just 7 years old. His motto was ‘let nothing perish’, and his life was dedicated to finding, restoring and enjoying objects of beauty, both everyday and extraordinary.”

Translating this into real-world language: he was a pack rat.  A crazy collector who would feature prominently on Hoarders were he alive today, and could very easily be imagined wandering his higgledy-piggledy house with tissue boxes for shoes and tin foil on his head.  But he was well-off, so let’s call him a visionary lover of the extraordinary, instead.  I enjoy living in a world where people with questionable holds on reality indulge their inner promptings and collect millions of spoons, and set them all out in a room, next to another room filled with creepy dolls, next to another room filled with wooden boats, next to another room filled with samurai armor, next to another room filled with miniature houses … but in the end my hands start to itch and I want to clean everything out and scrub the floors, so it’s not my favorite sort of day out, to visit a house like this.  But apples … I do love apples … so following the suggestion of friends we rode out for Apple Weekend.


A fantastically loud and colorful organ greeted us at the gates.  IMG_1193

The view was the usual — extraordinary — Cotswold hillsides.IMG_1172

We were promised fall and apple themed food at the cafe, and were largely pleased.  The pumpkin soup didn’t live up to my expectations (not enough pumpkin in there!) and we were sad not to see the sorts of apple treats we expected from apple festivals in the US.  No pie.  No apple fritters.  No cider.IMG_1170

Some other local brews, though.  Along with local cheeses, fancy cakes, and a limited selection of fresh produce.IMG_1180

And windmilling soldiers.IMG_1191

And a ‘poo trail’.  You know, for the children.  Because what could be more fun than following a ‘poo trail’?IMG_1196

The sheep knows what I mean.IMG_1206

The huge variety of apples on display was genuinely impressive.  Over 400 varieties were on display, and visitors could sample apples, core apples, peel apples, press fresh apples and sample the juice.  Still no pie, though.IMG_1228

Inside the house, room after room of strangeness.  Hidden among the rooms during the apple weekend are about a dozen apples.  Find them all, and you can say you followed an apple trail as well as a poo trail!IMG_1242

The samurai room freaked out my youngest.  All the rest of my photos are blurry as we run through the house, worried we’d find ourselves stuck in a room full of empty baby cradles or can openers and be lost in this fearfully bizarre collection of detritus.IMG_1299

The sunshine outside was a welcome relief. IMG_1291

We were lucky for the sunshine.  The gardens are meant to be additional living spaces.  Necessary when your home is full of collections of wheelbarrows.

This clock would look well in my backyard.  Next to that Welsh dragon, I think.IMG_1321

The gardens are a hodge-podge maze as well, but beautiful, and peaceful.IMG_1277

Another view.IMG_1190I think it’s clear I have some doubts about the reality of this statement, yet it is clearly true that Charles Paget Wade had a unique sensibility and the luxury to indulge it.  We enjoyed yet another view into the eccentric life of these beautiful Cotswold hills.



2 Responses to “Day out: Snowshill Manor Apple Festival”

  1. RMW March 25, 2013 at 3:32 pm #

    Well then, forget the pumpkin soup, just give me some of that crusty bread!

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