We’ve made it to Quarry Bank Mill twice in the last year. First we came with Grandma who isn’t so steady on her feet so we opted for a look round the 18th century working cotton mill, which is very impressive. There are plenty of hands-on exhibits and the kids were enthralled by guides in traditional costumes giving demonstrations and potted histories of the mill equipment. Be warned, if you have a child who doesn’t tolerate volume, when the machines start up the noise is fierce. At the bottom of the mill is the most powerful waterwheel in Europe in operation; it was hypnotic. You can’t take a pram round as there are lots of narrow staircases, but shoulder seats and hip carriers are available for a small deposit. We finished with a visit to the child-friendly restaurant where they serve kids’ lunch boxes and meals.
Our second visit was on a hot summer’s day so we decided to take advantage of the extensive grounds. We ate our picnic and played football close to the cars in order to deposit our bags and other detritus once we’d finished. Then a big walk through Styal Village and down to the river. Whilst mums kept to the paths the kids scrambled along the banking, climbed on trees and fences, investigated bugs, leapt over streams and got very muddy and wet.
If you have time the Apprentice House is worth a tour. See where the young apprentices slept and lived, and even get to peer at some leeches in a jar. Your children will learn what priviledged lives they lead today!Check website for up-to-date information on seasonal dates, opening times and prices. Quarry Bank Mill and Styal Estate, Styal, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 4LA Tel: 01625 527468 nationaltrust.org.uk