During a prolonged stop-over at Manchester Airport, I grabbed a rental car for a day and did some sightseeing in the region. My key stop was the Quarry Bank, which was in fact not really a too far ride from the travel hub (but carrying the luggage around by car has been very convenient). The Quarry Bank is a lovely park which also hosts a historic cotton mill. Here is my review of the visit.
Quarry Bank – Location & Admission
The Quarry Bank Park is located in Stayl, Cheshire, right South of Manchester Airport. I arrived quite early at the premises, so that parking has been really relaxed. I can, however, imagine that if you arrive on a Sunday afternoon you might have some trouble.
The adult ticket, which includes access to the mill as well as the estate, costed 20.25 GBP at the time of visiting. There are different websites for the park, the mill, the glasshouse and other facilities, so that I recommend to check the website for exact opening times and planning.
Quarry Bank Mill
To me, the key attraction of my visit was the Quarry Bank Mill. I was really curious how it would compare to other sties like the cotton mill in Ratingen near Dusseldorf, Germany. The Quarry Bank Mill has been established by Samuel Greg in 1784. The mill, which is originally driven by water, is in lovely condition. Later, it has been transformed to a steam mill. The building is already impressive from the outside when you approach it. The whole building is packed with exhibitions. The National Trust, which is driving the site, calls it one of Britain’s greatest industrial heritage sites.
One key part of the mill museum is the way from cotton to cloth. The illustration is really nicely done, the museum is also running demonstrations on the process. The production sites are huge and impressive. It also feels really complete from cotton as a raw material to all necessary production steps and the power transmission (steam and water). I really enjoyed to stroll around the place, even though it has been rather full on the day of visit (which has been a holiday in England).
Quarry Bank – The Gardens
Visiting Quarry Bank just for the mill would however incomplete, for sure. The park around the mill is awesome and a lovely recreation site. The area is also very popular for hikes. The serviced part of Quarry Bank almost feels like a botanical garden. There are, however, also some other buildings like the glasshouses or the Apprentice House (which you can visit as part of a guided tour). I visited the place in spring, so that everything was blooming – such a beautiful place.
Quarry Bank – Services
There are two major places on he premises to grab a bite. The Weaving Shed Restaurant is likely the poshest option. I really enjoyed their lovely food. There is also the Garden Cafe and an ice cream parlor. On top of that, the park also has some picnic areas.
Of course, there are also places where you can buy some souvenirs including cotton mill products. They are located at the mill as well as the glasshouses.
Quarry Bank – My View
Quarry Bank is a real beauty. The mill is an impressive historic industrial site. The garden was an amazing place during spring. On the negative side, there is a quite high price and the high popularity in peak times. Nonetheless, these disadvantages are really minor. Especially if you have a long stopover at Manchester Airport, Quarry Bank is a perfect opportunity to have some history and fresh air.
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