Norton Priory Museum & Gardens is situated in a peaceful oasis on the edge of Runcorn. It stands in a 38 acre site split by the A558 road. On one side of the road you have the Museum and Priory on the other side is the walled garden and woodland. From the car park you enter through the museum, before going out into the Priory area and beyond. On this site you will find:-
A museum which brings Medieval Cheshire to life with its displays and artefacts including:
Excavated medieval priory ruins. The priory was originally established in 1134 for a dozen Augustinian canons (Black Canons) and later became a Tudor and then Georgian Manor house before being abandoned and demolished in 1928. You can walk around the excavated ruins and see the original location of the Church and Chapter house, as well as the warming room and toilets. There is also the Priory Undercroft.
Within the grounds on this side of the road you will find:-
A Giant replica of the Priory bell in a stand, which you can ring. It has been designed from fragments of the original bell mould found in the bell pit. Next to this is a summer house and picnic area.
The restored 18th century pathways, take you around the herb garden, pass a stream-glade, a summer house and a hide, as well as a 19th century rock garden and heather garden. All around this part of the grounds there is a sculpture trail of old and modern sculptures, including gates, walls, figure statues, animal statues such as a large snail and more.
On the other side of the road you will find:-
The 2.5 acre Walled Garden and gardeners cottage. The garden was originally built between 1757 and 1770 but what you see today is a re-created version completed in 1984 following archaeological excavations of the Augustinian priory. Features include, a fruit garden which contains unusual species of fruit trees including the National Collection of tree quince, and herbaceous borders and also houses a rose walk, a croquet lawn and orchard. Entrance to the garden is via the Tree of Life Gate. Seasonal highlights include the rose border from late May-July, a colour border form late spring through to Autumn and the deep border, shrubs, climbers, perennials and bulbs from late March to October. Close to the garden is an historic ice house.
The Woodland Gardens also has a pear orchard, wildflower meadow and pond as well as some sculptures and structures like the 'HaHa' Wall and Kitty's Gate.
Within the 38 acre grounds there is also:
A garden loggia, built in yellow sandstone with some brickwork. At its front are two Doric columns and two antae. Above these is a cornice with a fluted frieze. The side walls are of stone and the back wall is internally of stone and externally of brickwork. It is a Grade II listed building.
There are also shops selling plants and seasonal produce which is grown in the Walled Garden, such as rhubarb, beetroot, asparagus, potatoes, apples and quinces etc. As well as the refectory cafe.
Various events and activities are organised throughout the year, and the walled garden, which is closed during the winter, is open on selected days for guided tours.
Please let us know any other information that we can add to the Further information and Planning Grids or page and any errors that you discover. Before making a long trip to any location it is always wise to double check the current information, websites like magazines may be correct at the time the information is written, but things change and it is of course impossible to double check all entries on a regular basis. If you have any good photographs that you feel would improve the illustration of this page then please let us have copies. In referring to this page it is helpful if you quote the Page Ref in the grid below. To print the planning grid select it then right click and print the selected area.
Please submit information on locations you discover so that this system continues to grow.