Earlier this week, on a glorious sunny, early April morning, myself and M met up with Emma and E and headed to Lotherton Hall, an Edwardian country house near Leeds.
We had a quick wander around the gardens which are a riot of colour at the moment with the last of the daffodils still lingering, brassy tulips coming forth and stately magnolias in full bloom. Spring has most definitely sprung. It is my favorite season, everything is fresh and full of life but it is fleeting, one blink and its gone so we need to get out and enjoy it. Spring also means that little bundles of energy (also known as toddlers) can be released into the open air again and run around to their hearts content without having to be bundled in 10 layers and a final layer of mud. There was an Alice and Wonderland event on, a book I love and can not wait to read to M. There was a tent where you could do some painting, a trail to follow and Alice themed decorations throughout the gardens though our two are a little young to appreciate these things yet.
I go to Lotherton quite a lot as it is only 30 minutes drive from York and its is such a reasonable price and so much to do, they do fantastic Halloween and Christmas events too. It is a large estate which the website says is 75% pram friendly, with woodland walks, deer park, perimeter walks, gardens and the Bird Garden. The cafe has a good range of food to suit most tastes, nothing fancy, though they do have a rather yummy selection of cakes including gluten free options. We sat outside today to make the most of the weather and had our lunch. Though trying to have soup with a fidgety 2 year old on your lap is not easy. A reviving cup of coffee and of course cake and then off to explore the Bird Garden.
The Owls were popular with our two little ones, though the Bird Gardens are currently going through a makeover as they are creating Wildlife World which will include penguins (my personal favorite) and forest mammals. There is quite a lot to see and after a while the birds were forgotten ever so slightly in favour of running up and down steep banks and watching the busy diggers at work. There are two very good playgrounds for various ages with slides, zip wires and climbing frames galore the problem is getting them away without tantrums and tears.
The day ended with exploring the gardens. Giant gardens games were a hit with tottering draught towers being built and Jenga blocks stacked and knocked over. The gardens are beautiful at the moment and the boys loved being by the pond creating water hand prints on the stone slabs. The smell of wild garlic took us onto the woodland walk which was carpeted with garlic and wild flowers. There are fallen tree trunks to walk along, sticks to make swords with and a few wooden obstacles to discover places throughout the walk. Even though it was busy, being the Easter holidays, it didn’t feel crowded. Find a secluded spot, enjoy the sunshine, the singing birds and the sights of spring.
The estate is pram friendly with well maintained paths around the gardens and though the woods. There is ramped access to the house and a buggy park inside to leave it and explore the house and level access to the cafe.
Baby change is in the courtyard by the cafe and there is also one inside the house.
Current opening times are 10.00 -17.00 for the house and gardens. The estate gates open 7.30 – 20.00.
Price for an adult £6, child under 5 is free and child 5-18 is £3 if you want to go regularly you can get an annual membership from £20 for an individual.