The best seats in the house? New picnic area opens at Attingham Park to reveal a hidden view.

One of Shropshire’s most popular visitor attractions is inviting visitors to relax and enjoy one of its most impressive, but secret, views at a new picnic spot opening this weekend.

The new Tern Bridge path will re-open a walk alongside the river Tern, taking visitors through the tranquil deer park and under the impressive stone bridge to admire a view designed in 1797 by the famous landscape architect Humphrey Repton, which is one of the best views of the Regency mansion on the estate. Repton altered the whole landscape to create amazing scenes, widening the river to make it appear more like a lake, and sculpting the parkland so that the bridge perfectly framed the view of the imposing mansion. This view was designed to impress and show off the owners’ wealth, and would only have been seen by privileged guests of the Berwick family as they arrived.

A new picnic spot has been created just past the bridge, allowing visitors to sit and take in this rare view of the front of Attingham Hall framed in the stone arch. A highlight of the picnic area is the chance to spot a few of the bridge’s secrets, including centuries-old graffiti, some of which dates back to the nineteenth century. Keen-eyed visitors will also be able to spot the playful carved faces, one on either side of the bridge at the top of the arch. The faces were designed to be a sign of welcome to guests arriving, with a smiling face greeting them on the way towards the Hall. The face on the other side which would have been seen by those leaving has a sad expression, as if it is sorry to see the guests returning home.

Bob Thurston, Countryside, Park & Gardens Manager, is looking forward to seeing visitors enjoying a picnic with a view. “The view from the picnic spot is just fantastic – you’re looking back at a piece of history, and it’s truly a wonderful thing to be able to come and see. We’ve put out picnic benches so that you can have a seat and take your time soaking up your surroundings – in the summer sunshine, it will be a fantastic picnic spot by the riverside. These new benches might just be the best seats in the house!”

The parkland is now open from 8am – 7pm so visitors can enjoy the lighter summer evenings in this stunning location.

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Pete White Pete White

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