Wollaton Hall is Elizabethan and Georgian without and unexpected within, so this post will be inside out.
Absurd architecture in the Great Hall included wooden hammer beams pretending to be stone and a stone screen for the screens passage pretending to be wood. Looking up was rewarding:
Downstairs, we enjoyed the computer mounted in a Victorian trunk, a display of ancient cleaning equipment, and a ridiculously effective trompe l’oeil clock, candlesticks and ornaments on a real mantelpiece. Here’s a watercolour box, just ready to use:
On the first floor, rooms of minerals, slightly mouldering preserved animals, skulls and ecology took us somewhat by surprise. Stars of the show, these astonishing 19th century glass models of jellyfish and other sea life:
Suddenly we were being looked down upon. How on earth did they hoist this genuine seventeen-foot-high giraffe up the stairs?
Outside, the house delivers a fine stately home experience in its green open space, superb specimen trees, deer resting in pools of shade, ancient brick paths, formal gardens and grandiose Usual Offices.
There is still a functional ha-ha; Henry Crawford and Maria Bertram could have appeared any moment.
Final astonishment: this is all offered free, with only an inconspicuous appeal box for donations, by Nottingham City Council. Thank goodness the National Trust haven’t got their hands on it.