Astley Hall

​“Astley Hall is the most exhilarating house in Lancashire” - Simon Jenkins in his book ‘England’s 1000 Best Houses’.
 
 
Astley Hall is a museum and art gallery housed within a Grade I listed historic house. The Hall is set within the beautiful surroundings of Astley Park which include historic woodland, a lake, a fully renovated Victorian walled garden alongside clean and modern facilities for visitors to enjoy.
 
The Hall is perhaps best known for its stunning Jacobean plasterwork ceilings and the house is built around an internal Elizabethan courtyard. The four wings of the house were extended by the families who lived here and most of the original features are retained to this day.
 
The walled garden is a dedicated event space and since the Heritage Lottery funded renovation project in 2009 it has built up a varied programme of cultural events throughout the year. The east facing part of the walled garden is home to a community food growing project and includes a small orchard alongside raised beds full of vegetables, fruits, herbs and salads. Much of the produce is used by Café Ambio, the onsite café within the Coach House building.
 
Café Ambio is open 7 days a week. The team are passionate about locally sourced home-made food, freshly baked scones, cakes, quality coffees Café Ambio is open 7 days a week. The team are passionate about locally sourced home-made food, freshly baked scones, cakes, quality coffees and refreshments.
 
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  • Access

    Astley Hall
    Due to the historic nature of the Hall only the ground floor is accessible to people with wheelchairs. Although there is a DVD available to watch to give you a video tour of the upper floor rooms. Please speak to the staff on duty about watching this.

    Astley Hall is in the process of a 10-year conservation plan and some of the period rooms may be closed during your visit.

    Astley Hall Coach House
    The Coach House is entirely wheelchair accessible and includes a lift in order to provide access to the first floor.

    Astley Park
    The rest of the park is largely accessible as an open space although paths within the woodland can be unsuitable for wheelchair users and it is advised that care is taken in these areas.

    Astley Farmhouse
    Due to the historic nature of the Farmhouse only the ground floor exhibition space is accessible to people with wheelchairs.
    The Chorley Heritage Centre Exhibition is in an upstairs gallery accessed by stairs.

  • Chorley Remembers Experience

    The Chorley Remembers Experience Exhibition is on the First Floor of the Coach House.

    The interactive exhibition focuses on Chorley’s involvement and military history over the years. The ideas and designs are from Trustees of the Chorley Pals Memorial, who manage and run the Chorley Remembers project.

    The twenty-one large interpretation panels provide information on the First World War including the Somme, Trench life and Casualty Clearing. Panels also cover Modern conflicts, Chorley’s Fundraising and WWII Air Raids and the local Royal Ordnance Factory (1938 – 2007). The panels were researched and written by local historian Steve Williams.

    The exhibition includes paintings and displays, a WW1 “trench experience” with sound & light effects, touch screens to search databases and a Photo Wall of the 209 who died in conflicts.

    Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and donations to the Chorley Remembers Appeal Fund, the exhibition space in the Coach House has been provided by Chorley Council. The exhibition itself has been designed and produced by Heckford Exhibitions from Preston, whilst artefacts have been donated or loaned by local people – many relatives of men and women from Chorley who served in the military.

    There is a shop and activities for younger visitors, and is open for education visits.

    It is accessible by stairs or lift.

    The Coach House is open on Friday 11th November 2016 from 10am to 2pm and on Remembrance Sunday November 13th 10am to 4.30pm.

    The War Memorial

    The War Memorial is at the front of the Park off Park Road. It was first placed there in 1919 and in 2012 thirteen Portland Stone panels were erected to record the names of those who fell in the service of their country.
     

  • Contact Us

    During office hours please contact us on 01257 515151

    At weekends between 12:00noon-4:30pm please call 07949 164708 

  • Astley Hall's collections

    The Astley Hall we see today dates from the 1570s with major additions made in the 1600s and 1820s. The contents mostly came with the house when ownership was transferred to Chorley Corporation in 1922. Its furniture, furnishings and paintings reflect the tastes of the four families who have lived at the Hall: Charnock, Brooke, Townley-Parker and Tatton.

    Due to the fragile nature of some objects and artworks, and limits on space, not everything is on display but researchers are welcome to make an appointment to view items currently in storage. Please email astley.hall@chorley.gov.uk or telephone 01257 515151.

    Paintings, drawings and prints
    There are over 330 artworks at the Hall including family portraits, studies of local dignitaries and North Western landscapes. Paul Nash and Graham Sutherland are two artists represented in a collection of 13 pictures given by the War Artist’s Advisory Committee featuring aspects of warfare from World War II. About 40 engravings by JMW Turner comprise part of the print collection.

    Astley Hall’s collection of oil paintings can be viewed on the BBC's online painting collection.

    Decorative art
    The Hall has significant collections of creamware pottery and glassware with smaller collections of silverware, ivories and pewter. Four Flemish tapestries dating from the late 1600s depicting the legend of Jason and the Golden Fleece are hung in the Drawing Room.

    Furniture
    Displayed throughout the house are about 80 pieces of very fine English furniture dating from the 17th to 19th centuries including a fine four-poster bed dating from the mid-1600s (which Oliver Cromwell may have slept in) and a 23-foot shovel board table, believed to be the longest in the world.

    Social History
    There is a varied collection of about 300 items relating to Astley Hall and the Chorley area which have been donated since the 1920s. These include: over 150 horse brasses, 35 printing plates showing images of Chorley and district and some architectural salvage from Chorley buildings.

    Military History
    Astley Hall serves as Chorley’s war memorial and has a collection of World War I militaria mostly related to the Chorley Pals: cap badges, military medals and some uniforms, photographs, letters, certificates. There is a remarkable set of three ‘Golden Books’ of remembrance compiled by local schoolteacher Susannah Knight.

    Archaeology
    In the 1970s, Astley Hall’s grounds revealed exciting evidence of Bronze Age occupation. From that excavation came a collection of 40 mainly Bronze age items including urns, lithics, pottery shards and cremated human remains.

    Donating to the collection
    If you have something that you think may be of interest to Astley Hall, please get in touch. However, due to extreme limits on space we are only able to consider items which are related to the Hall or fill gaps in existing collections. We do not accept unsolicited or anonymous donations, so please discuss your items with us before bringing them to the Hall.

  • Exhibitions and Events

    Astley Farmhouse Downstairs Gallery

    Open Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday
    12 - 3:30pm Admission free

    Friday 31st March - Monday 1st May
    FUSION, An Exhibition of Textile Art by local, experienced textile artists

    Saturday 6th May - Monday 29th ​May
    ART IN ADLINGTON, Spring Exhibition, with many paintings for sale
     
    Events
    For information about events at Astley please see the What's Happening Guide.

  • Groups and tours

    Astley Hall has a wide range of sessions and resources available for schools.

    Please contact 01257 515151 for more information

    For full information on school visits please download the School Visits Information.

    For groups and tours please download the Group Visits Information.

    We also have a selection of resource boxes available for hire by schools and groups, for more information please download the Astley Resource box hire pack.
  • How to find us

    By car
    Chorley is easy to find - just off junction 8 of the M61. From there follow the many brown tourist road signs to Astley Hall, which is to the west of Chorley town centre off the A581 Chorley-Southport Road

    We are also only a 15 minute drive from junction 27 of the M6, simply follow the A49 Preston route until you see the brown signs at the village of Euxton. Parking for cars and coaches is available in the Astley Village car park to the rear of Astley Hall. This is approximately 300m from the front of the hall. There is no charge for parking.

    If using a SatNav please use postcode PR7 1XA

    By bus
    Chorley is served by regular buses from surrounding towns, including, Blackburn, Bolton, Manchester and Preston. From the town's bus station C8/9 minibuses operate every 15 minutes to Astley village (except Sundays).

    By train
    Chorley is on the Blackpool/Preston/Manchester line, only 30 minutes from the centre of Manchester. Chorley railway station is approximately 20 minutes walk from Astley Hall, through Astley Park, or buses are available from the bus station opposite.

    Euxton Balshaw Lane station is on the Liverpool/Wigan/Preston line is approximately a 30 minute walk from Astley Hall.

    By cycle
    There are a number of fences and gates within the park in order to secure cycles. There are cycle posts to secure cycles to at Pets Corner and The Coach House. 

  • Opening Times 2017 

    Astley Hall 
    Astley Hall is closed for conservation works throughout January and February. From March onwards, Astley Hall will be open from 12noon - 4:30pm every weekend and Bank holidays plus Monday to Wednesday in the school holidays.

    Schools and Colleges
    Astley Hall has a wide offer of sessions on offer to Primary and Secondary schools, all linked to the National Curriculum. Please see the "Schools Visits Information" in the Downloads section for details on what is on offer. We are happy to create bespoke sessions with teachers given enough time.

     

    Group Visits
    We run Guided tours for groups Monday-Friday when we are not open to the public. We can accommodate up to 40 people at once. Please see "Group Visits Information" In the Downloads section.


    Café Ambio
    Café Ambio is open Monday to Friday from 9.30am - 4.00pm and Saturday and Sunday from 9.30am - 4.30pm.
    Café Ambio is closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Year's Day.

    Coach House
    The Coach House is open to the general public 7 days a week from 9.30am until 4.00pm.

    The Walled Garden
    The Walled Garden and Orchard has the same opening times as Cafe Ambio. The Victoria style Greenhouse is in the Walled Garden. Astley Walled Gardeners are a volunteer group who look after the Orchard and grow vegetables and flowers which they sell when in season.

    Astley Park
    The rest of Astley Park is an open access space which is never locked up.

    Pets Corner
    Visit pets corner Monday to Friday 10am until 3.00pm and 11am until 3pm at weekends.

    Chorley Remembers
    Chorley Remembers is an exhibition about the First World War and the role of the Chorley Pals at the Battle of the Somme. The opening times for The Chorley Remembers Exhibition are 12noon - 4:30pm every weekend and Bank holidays plus Monday to Wedenesday in the school holidays and it will remain open throughout January and February while Astley Hall is closed.

  • Prices

    Astley Hall Coach House is free admission although we do welcome donations from visitors in order to maintain these fantastic buildings.

    Some events are ticketed so please check the What's Happening Magazine for details regarding each specific event.

    We charge for group tours and school tours as we open the Hall up especially for these activities. Please see groups visits and school visits for more information.

    Astley Park is an open access park with no charges. Bowls and tennis equipment can also be hired free of charge.

    Download fees and charges for hiring Astley Hall & the Coach House.

  • Visitor photography and filming

    We welcome this sort of activity at Astley Hall but are also mindful that it presents special risks to the building, collection and our visitors which is why we manage film and photography sessions carefully.

    Private use
    The use of film and photography cameras is permitted in all public areas of the house. Flash is also permitted but please do not use flash in the Drawing Room/Tapestry Room as the antique tapestries are susceptible to damage caused by strong light. Please do not bring tripods or any other additional equipment as the house can easily be damaged while these things are carried around and there is also simply not enough room for them in some of our rooms.

    Not for profit use
    If you wish to hire the venue for a film or photography shoot as an individual or group then we can accommodate certain requests. In the past the Hall has been used by amateur photography groups running a group session and as a location for a local charity’s promotional film. We can offer full or half day hires on any day in our closed season and we charge for these activities.

    Commercial use
    If you wish to hire the Hall for a film or photography shoot for commercial purposes then this is something we can accommodate too. We have a variety of indoor and outdoor spaces that have been used for a number of different film and TV settings over the years. If you are interested in this type of activity then please contact us.

  • Weddings and Ceremonies

    Astley Hall is licensed for wedding ceremonies and civil partnerships alongside baby naming ceremonies.

    2016 Dates available at Astley Hall and Coach House

    A choice of rooms are available for your ceremony at Astley Hall or Coach House. Please contact Pamela Wookey email astley.hall@chorley.gov.uk

    New brochure available here.



     

     

    Astley Hall & Coach House Wedding Ceremony Room Hire
    Wedding ceremony room hire fees The Great Hall​ The Dining Room The Conference Room​
    ​Monday to Friday (all year round) ​£875 ​£690 ​£590
    ​Weekend low season ​£895 ​£715 ​£615
    ​Weekend high season ​£1,050 ​£955 ​£855
     

  • What to See and Do

    Astley Hall
    Is a Grade I listed historic house which was first built during Elizabethan times. In the intervening years many additions have been made including the unique front façade which was added around 1660. At this time the Great Hall and Long Gallery were also added which are two of the buildings most popular rooms. The Great Hall features magnificently ornate stucco ceiling work and the Long Gallery, once a space for indoor exercise during poor weather now features the longest Shovel Board table in existence.

    The rooms are setup in period styles and helps to give a sense of the way the house may have been used when lived in. There are Elizabethan, Jacobean and Victorian periods included within different rooms in the house.

    Children's Activities
    Children's Activity Sacks and Quizzes are available free of charge. We Participate in the Childrens University Scheme.

    Astley Hall is an Accredited Museum
    The Hall has in the past acted as the town’s repository for historically relevant artworks, artefacts and archives. The largest part of the collection is the period furniture and artworks that help to tell the story of Astley Hall and the families who lived here. The furniture helps to depict the rooms in different period styles and many of the artworks are on display around the house.

    Astley Hall Art Gallery
    The first floor Art Gallery was created around 1950 to be used as a space to present works from local artists and it still serves this purpose today. The Gallery stages up to six displays from local artists and makers each year inside this dedicated space.

    Coach House
    Following a Heritage Lottery Funded renovation in 2009 the Coach House was created as a fantastic public building.
    The Coach House is also the location of The Chorley Remembers Experience.

    Café Ambio
    This is a hugely popular café based in the Coach House that specialises in locally sourced produce, cooked well alongside great quality teas, coffees and other refreshments. The Café is also available for hire for wedding receptions or private functions and can also provide catering off site so please contact them for details on 01257 276891.

    The Walled Garden
    It Is a dedicated event space which presents a programme of cultural, sporting and community events throughout the year. When events aren’t being held, families use this area to picnic and to play. Half of the garden is dedicated to food growing and a community food growing project is run by the local volunteer group of Astley Walled Gardener's. Café Ambio are partners in the project and put the produce on the menu throughout the year

    Sports Equipment
    There will be sports equipment available to use between 1st April and 30th September on our bowling and putting greens and  the tennis court. All equipment is free to use and must be returned after use. You can find the sports equipment outside the Bowls Hut at Astley Park between 10am and 3pm subject to weather and ground conditions.

    Susannah Knight
    Susannah Knight compiled a Memorial Album in 1921 recording the names and photographs of over 750 men of Chorley who lost their lives in the First World War. The Memorial Album, also known as the 'Golden Books' is on display in Astley Hall. Susannah Knight took the Album to world leaders in Europe and North America to draw attention to the sacrifices which Chorley made and the need for allied friendships in the 1920s and 1930s to secure the peace. It is a unique record of the towns experience of the Great War and one womans endeavour to make Chorleys loss meaningful to whose who remained.