Ancient High House – A Portal to the Past

Ancient High House Ancient High House

Step through the doors of the Ancient High House, and you’re stepping back in time. This grand building, with its rich history and enduring architecture, is more than just a museum; it’s a gateway to a bygone era, inviting you to explore the lives of those who walked its halls centuries ago.

As Stafford’s treasured landmark, the Ancient High House stands as a testament to the town’s vibrant past. Its unique character and importance make it a must-see destination for history buffs and curious explorers alike.

Introduction: Discover the Ancient High House

Welcome to the Ancient High House, Stafford’s majestic gem that has stood the test of time. This historic building is not just a structure; it’s a storyteller, whispering tales of the past through its timber frames and creaking floors. Here, you’ll unearth the stories that shaped Stafford, and experience the rich tapestry of English history.

The importance of this house lies not only in its age but in the way it brings history to life. Its walls have witnessed the comings and goings of many, from influential figures to everyday folk, making it a unique repository of the past and a fascinating place to explore.

How to Get There: Navigating Your Visit

Embarking on a journey to the Ancient High House is an adventure in itself. Located in the heart of Stafford, the house is easily accessible by road, rail, or foot. If you’re driving, the M6 provides a direct route, with signs guiding you to the heart of the town. For a stress-free visit, consider parking in one of the many car parks nearby.

Prefer public transport? Stafford’s railway station is a mere stone’s throw from the house, and a short walk will lead you straight to its welcoming doors. For those coming by bus, several lines stop in the town centre, conveniently close to the Ancient High House. Bus routes 101, 75, and X5 are among your best bets for a smooth ride.

And for the walkers among you, the house is a pleasant stroll from any point in the town centre. Follow the signs pointing towards Stafford’s cultural heart, and let the anticipation build with each step closer to this historical treasure.

A Glimpse into Historical Living

Constructed in 1595, the Ancient High House is an emblem of Elizabethan life, built by the wealthy Dorrington family. Its timber-framed structure has withstood the ravages of time, and today, it stands as the largest remaining timber-framed townhouse in England. Its historical significance is rooted in the stories it holds, including visits from King Charles I during the tumultuous days of the English Civil War.

Over the centuries, the house has played many roles, from a grand family home to a haven for various businesses, and even a billet for soldiers. Each room within its walls offers a snapshot of a different period, inviting you to wander through a living history book. The house’s journey through time is palpable in every corner, from the ornate bed chambers to the grand hall where guests were once entertained.

Significant historical events are etched into the house’s very fabric, including the visit of King Charles I, who stayed in 1642, making it a site of royal significance. Its role in the community has evolved, but its essence remains unchanged—a place where stories of the past are preserved and celebrated.

As you walk through the rooms of the Ancient High House, imagine the conversations that echoed through these halls, the decisions made within these walls that may have altered the course of history, and the everyday lives of those who called this place home. It’s a true immersion into the lifestyle of eras long gone.

Accessibility and Visitor Services

For assistance or information about your visit, simply phone 01785 619131, and our friendly staff will be happy to help.

Welcoming Visitors with Disabilities

The Ancient High House is committed to providing an enjoyable experience for all. Accessible routes are available for visitors with disabilities, ensuring that everyone can explore and appreciate the rich history of this magnificent building.

Essential Facilities for a Comfortable Experience

When planning your visit, rest assured that parking is available close to the Ancient High House. Nearby public car parks offer convenient spots, for cars, bikes and coaches, so you can focus on stepping back in time without the worry of finding a place for your car.

Restroom Facilities

Clean and accessible restroom facilities are provided for your comfort. Whether you’ve just arrived or are about to embark on your journey through history, you can freshen up and prepare for an unforgettable experience.

What to See and Do at Ancient High House

The Ancient High House is a treasure trove of sights and activities. As you explore the house, discover hidden gems like the intricately carved oak panels and the beautifully preserved four-poster beds. The house also features a range of changing exhibitions, each offering a new perspective on the rich tapestry of Stafford’s history.

Don’t miss the chance to see the stunning collection of period costumes, offering a tangible link to the fashions of the past. And for those with a keen eye, seek out the marks left by generations of craftsmen in the timber beams—an authentic signature of their work.

Apart from its historical allure, the house also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, from craft workshops to historical reenactments, making every visit unique. Engage with the past through hands-on experiences, and let history come alive at the Ancient High House.

Hosting Weddings at a Historical Venue

Imagine tying the knot in a setting steeped in history. The Ancient High House offers a romantic backdrop for weddings, providing a truly memorable venue for your special day.

Educational School Visits

School tours at the Ancient High House offer a dynamic way to engage with the national curriculum. From the Fire of London to the Tudors, activities to enhance understanding of key historical periods are thoughtfully integrated, making learning both fun and informative.

Tips for Making the Most out of Your Visit

To make your visit to the Ancient High House extra memorable, start by planning your day in advance. Check the schedule for guided tours, which can offer deeper insights into the house’s history. Engage with the exhibits by asking questions—our knowledgeable staff are always eager to share stories and details that aren’t in the guidebooks.

Take your time in each room and imagine the lives of those who lived there. Look out for the small details that give character to the house—like the worn steps that hint at the countless feet that have climbed them over the centuries. Capture the essence of your experience with photos, but remember to respect any restrictions on photography.

Consider visiting during one of the house’s many events or workshops. These special occasions allow you to see the house come to life in different ways, from historical reenactments to traditional craft demonstrations. Participation in these events enriches your visit and supports the preservation of the house for future generations.

Finally, why not round off your visit by browsing the gift shop for souvenirs or contributing to the house’s charitable activities? Every purchase and donation helps maintain this historical gem, ensuring that it remains a portal to the past for visitors for years to come.

Practical Information for Visitors

If you’re planning to explore the rich history of the Ancient High House, you’ll find all the practical information you need right here to make your visit as enjoyable as possible. From ticket prices to opening hours, we’ve got you covered.

Guide Prices and What’s Included

For a journey back in time at the Ancient High House, adults pay £5.50 while children are welcomed at £3.50. If you’re a resident of Stafford, you’ll enjoy a discount with adult tickets at £4.50 and kids entering for just £2.80. Your ticket includes access to all the history exhibitions, including the Civil War room which King Charles I once visited, and the opportunity to admire the period furniture that tells stories of the past.

Tourists can also explore the attic floor where the Staffordshire Yeomanry Regiment Museum is located, founded in 1794, without additional costs. And don’t miss the house’s floor shop, stocked with an extensive range of local history books, traditional toys, and local crafts — perfect for taking a piece of Stafford’s history home with you.

Opening Times for Public Visits

The Ancient High House welcomes visitors throughout the week, with doors opening at 10 am and closing at 4 pm, Tuesday through Saturday. Whether you’re an early bird or prefer a leisurely start, there’s plenty of time to explore each corner of this historic marvel. The last entry is at 3:30 pm, giving you enough time to enjoy the exhibits without a rush.

On Sundays, the house opens its doors for a shorter period, from 1 pm to 4 pm, perfect for an afternoon stroll through history. Mondays are reserved for private events and maintenance, ensuring the house stays in top condition for all to enjoy. Planning your visit within these hours ensures a full, unhindered experience of the Ancient High House’s splendour.

Best Times to Visit

The best time to visit the Ancient High House is during the spring and autumn months. The milder weather during these seasons makes wandering through the historic rooms and gardens a pleasant experience. Spring brings the added beauty of blooming flowers in the gardens, while autumn showcases the changing colours of the leaves, creating a stunning backdrop for your journey through time.

Summer can be busier, with more tourists and local visitors, but it also brings longer days and the chance to enjoy the house’s exterior in full sunshine. Whichever season you choose, the Ancient High House offers a timeless escape into the past with its well-preserved rooms and fascinating exhibits.

Safety and Etiquette for the Best Experience

For your safety, please follow the guidelines provided at the entrance and throughout the Ancient High House. Always walk, don’t run, and keep an eye out for any uneven flooring or low doorways that are a part of the house’s historical character. Touching the artefacts or displays is not allowed, as these are delicate pieces of our shared heritage that we want to preserve for future generations.

Good etiquette ensures a pleasant visit for everyone. Please speak quietly to maintain the house’s tranquil atmosphere, and be respectful of other visitors who are also there to enjoy the experience. Photography is allowed, but without flash, to protect the artefacts and paintings from light damage.

Children must be supervised at all times to ensure their safety and to prevent any accidental damage to the house or its contents. Eating and drinking are not permitted inside the Ancient High House to protect the interior and exhibits from potential spills or crumbs.

Lastly, please follow any instructions from the staff, as they are there to ensure your visit is both enjoyable and safe. They can also provide interesting insights into the house’s history, so don’t hesitate to ask questions and learn more during your visit.

Gastronomy at Ancient High House

Embarking on a historical adventure can work up an appetite, and the Ancient High House offers a delightful array of local and traditional foods. Start your culinary journey with classic, Staffordshire oatcakes, a local speciality which are a must-try. They are often filled with cheese and bacon for a hearty meal.

For something more substantial, try the succulent lamb and mint pie, a regional delicacy that pairs perfectly with the fresh, seasonal vegetables grown in the local countryside. Then there’s the famous Staffordshire Lobby, a traditional stew that warms you from the inside out. The house also offers a selection of traditional English teas, served with scones, clotted cream, and locally produced strawberry jam—a perfect mid-afternoon treat.

For the sweet-toothed visitor, indulge in a slice of the rich, buttery Staffordshire fruitcake, which is as much a part of the local heritage as the Ancient High House itself.

Don’t miss the chance to savour a warm, comforting portion of spotted dick, a classic steamed pudding dotted with currants and served with a generous pour of custard.

Whether you’re looking for a quick snack or a full meal, the gastronomic offerings at the Ancient High House reflect the region’s culinary history and provide a delicious complement to your visit.

Where to Stay: The Best Accommodation Nearby

After a day of historical exploration, rest your head at one of Stafford’s reputable hotels. The Vine Hotel offers cosy rooms and a warm atmosphere, just a stone’s throw from the Ancient High House. For a touch of luxury, the Swan Hotel provides elegant accommodation with modern amenities, ensuring a comfortable stay.

For those seeking a more personal touch, the family-run Stafford Inn delivers heartfelt hospitality and a hearty English breakfast to start your day right. Boutique B&Bs in the area also offer charming rooms with unique character, perfect for immersing yourself in the local vibe.

As for dining, the Bear Grill serves up delicious traditional English fare, while The Soup Kitchen is renowned for its tasty, homemade soups and sandwiches. For a delightful evening, the Market Vaults offers a menu of locally sourced dishes with a selection of fine ales and wines.

Whichever accommodation you choose, you’ll be within easy reach of the best eateries and just a short walk from the heart of Stafford’s historical attractions, making for a convenient and enjoyable stay.

Nearby Attractions and Activities

While in the centre of Stafford, take the opportunity to visit Victoria Park for a relaxing stroll or a picnic by the river. The park’s lush greenery and serene atmosphere provide the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Stafford Castle and Visitor Centre

Just a short journey from the Ancient High House in Stafford, Stafford Castle is a testament to over 900 years of local history. The Visitor Centre at the castle grounds offers a wealth of information, with interactive exhibits that bring the medieval period to life.

The visitor centre provides engaging displays and stories about the castle’s rich past. Whether you’re interested in the medieval era or the role the castle played during the Civil War, Stafford Castle is an enriching complement to the Ancient High House visit.

Nature Reserves and Parks

Nature enthusiasts will find tranquillity and beauty in the many reserves and parks surrounding Stafford. These green spaces provide a habitat for wildlife and a chance for visitors to reconnect with nature. Take a leisurely walk, spot various birds, or simply sit and appreciate the natural beauty.

Staffordshire is dotted with nature reserves and parks where you can unwind amidst lush greenery and wildlife. Doxey Marshes, just outside the town centre, is a haven for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike.

For a family-friendly outing, the nearby Cannock Chase is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. With its extensive trails for walking, cycling, and horse riding, it offers the perfect outdoor escape to complement your historical journey through Stafford.

Dothill Nature Reserve, with its diverse flora and fauna, offers an idyllic setting for a peaceful afternoon. Cannock Chase, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is just a short drive away, providing opportunities for hiking, cycling, and spotting deer amidst the heathland and forest.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I book a guided tour of the Ancient High House in advance?

Yes, guided tours can be booked in advance. It’s recommended to secure your spot early, especially during peak seasons, to ensure you have the best experience.

Are there any special events at the Ancient High House?

The house hosts various events throughout the year, including historical reenactments and seasonal festivities. Check the official website or inquire at the ticket desk for upcoming events during your visit.

Is photography allowed inside the Ancient High House?

Photography is permitted, but please refrain from using flash to protect the artefacts and maintain the ambience of the historical setting.

Final Thoughts on the Ancient High House

As you leave the Ancient High House, you carry with you a rich tapestry of memories, having observed the grand comfort of the Victorian room and admired the elegant splendour of the Wallpaper room with its Georgian displays. This house, built around 1595 for the wealthy Dorrington family, stands proudly as one of the largest remaining Tudor buildings in the country. Since 1986, the house opened as a museum that offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of those who once dwelled within its walls.

From the Stuart bedroom, which houses a magnificent four-poster bed, to the Civil War room where King Charles I and Prince Rupert stayed, each room fascinating in its own right. The house even hosts history exhibitions, with an attic floor dedicated to the Staffordshire Yeomanry Regiment Museum, which was founded in 1794 and saw over 200 years of active service. And let’s not forget the ground floor shop, stocked with an extensive range of local history books, traditional toys, and local crafts.

The Ancient High House isn’t just a trip to the past; it’s a place where history comes alive through hands-on activities, games, and quizzes, making it a timeless treasure dominating the skyline of Stafford.

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