Activities at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

Part of our Literature guide

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor
Elizabeth Gaskell's House garden. Photo by Chris Tucker
Elizabeth Gaskell's House. Photo by Chris Tucker.

Activities at Elizabeth Gaskell's House, online, Until 31 December 2020, free entry - Visit now

Back open from Wednesday 12 August, Elizabeth Gaskell’s House has to be on the must-see list of every discerning literary tourist exploring the UNESCO City of Literature and was home to the famous Victorian writer and her husband from 1850 until her death in 1865, and is where Elizabeth wrote some of her most famous novels. A Grade II*-listed neoclassical Regency-style villa on Plymouth Grove in Ardwick, just one mile from Manchester City centre, the award-winning writer’s house museum has been lovingly restored and is once again open to the public Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday 11am to 4.30pm (last entry 3.30pm), with events and activities to be confirmed.

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House has been awarded the Visit England We’re Good To Go badge, demonstrating that the team is adhering to the respective Government and public health guidance in regards to COVID-19. New rules apply to ensure a safe visit and you must book a timeslot (these are every 15 minutes, for a maximum of five people) in advance (tickets are bookable up to two weeks in advance) and wear a face mask.

“We are delighted to be able to open the House again and that people will be able to visit us in the summer, when the garden is an array of colour thanks to our wonderful volunteers.”

All of the house will be open, along with the wonderful garden, replanted and returned to its former glory by a dedicated group of volunteers – visitors can bring a picnic blanket and sit in the garden with their own lunch, if they fancy. An average visit to Elizabeth Gaskell’s House lasts approximately two hours, including a visit to the newly reopened Tea Room, located in the original kitchen and serving light refreshments. Sally Jastrzebski-Lloyd, House Manager of Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, says: “We are delighted to be able to open the House again and that people will be able to visit us in the summer, when the garden is an array of colour thanks to our wonderful volunteers.”

The purpose of the garden at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House has always been to give as much enjoyment today as it did in Elizabeth’s time, and this has recently been recognised with the presentation of a prestigious RHS Britain In Bloom Silver Gilt Award. The garden’s layout is based on a detailed map of Manchester in 1850 which shows the paths and planting areas, and the choice of plants has been informed by references in Elizabeth’s letters and novels, as well as by Victorian garden history. The garden was very important to Elizabeth, for both pleasure and practical reasons – this was where she could grow flowers that were a sensory delight and also vegetables for the kitchen – and plans are afoot to reinstate the conservatory outside the Drawing Room, which would provide additional enjoyment of the garden to visitors… watch this space.

Also be sure to also check out the exhibition, “My Dear Mr Ruskin…” Friendship, Inspiration and Scandal, John Ruskin and the Gaskell Family, which has been extended until 31 December 2020. It’s part of a programme of activities celebrating the bicentenary of the birth of writer, artist, social reformer, philanthropist, ecologist and ‘visionary thinker’ John Ruskin, that have been taking place around the UK and also abroad. Often sharing the same ideals, putting them at odds with their contemporaries, John Ruskin and Elizabeth Gaskell were controversial writers during the 19th century.

Activities at Elizabeth Gaskell's House, online

Reoccurring dates
Free entry

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