Ok, so i should start off by saying that we are big fans of the National Trust. I have always been a member and have very fond memories of jumping in the car at weekends as a family and visiting numerous properties and gardens when my sister and i were growing up. We probably visited most properties in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset. Now we have a toddler, we really value our membership more than ever. For us, it’s all about the outdoor space. Don’t get me wrong, i love the houses, however we rarely get to go in them now without a toddler having a total melt down (he’s not a fan of indoors). We do a lot of long journeys and there is always a National Trust property en route which we can use to break up the journey and let our little one have a good run around (and i can get a good cup of coffee and slice of cake!).
Taking advantage of the one decent day of the Easter Bank Holiday weekend we headed to one of our favourite local National Trust Properties, Biddulph Grange Gardens, near Congleton, to meet friends and do our first ever Easter Egg Hunt (first egg hunt for me too…. I don’t think Easter was such a big commercial event when we were growing up).
Biddulph is the perfect place to take children. Only the gardens are open to the public and in my opinion every garden should be modelled on this one. On first glance it is a pretty formal Victorian garden belonging to a grand country house, with large lakes, lyme avenues, blossoming rhododendrons and manicured lawns. However, if you follow the path around the lake you come to a long tunnel which leads you to discover the secrets this garden holds.
Once through the tunnel the path twists and turns taking you through different areas of the garden. At one point the path ends at a Tudor house, once inside you follow the passageways and emerge from an Egyptian pyramid. Further turns lead you into a Chinese garden complete with temple and a zen garden.
The winding and twisting nature of the garden paths and the combination of tunnels, buildings, stepping-stones, stairs and water mean this is like an adventure playground for children (and adults). As I have said in previous posts my toddler is not the biggest fan of walking but even he couldn’t resist getting down of his dads shoulders and running off with his friend to see what was around the next bend.
As part of the Easter egg hunt, we were given a map which showed the location of 11 wooden rabbits dotted around the garden. Each rabbit had a letter which when put together spelled out an Easter message. The boys had great fun pointing out the rabbits and with a little / a lot of help from us they completed the trail. I have never see such big grins as when they got given an Easter egg at the end of the hunt.
We ended the day with a picnic in the sunshine on the old tennis lawn. A lovely grassed area perfect for the boys to run around on. There was even a little maze made out of daffodils which they loved following.
There is a cafe on site selling lunches, beverages and of course cake. There are also toilets and baby change available. As this is a National Trust Property there is an entry fee for non members (see link to the web site at the top of this page for details).
The first time we visited this garden back at Christmas we took our pram on the walk. Whilst we managed to navigate around the garden with the pram, the many steps, tight turns and tunnels meant it was really hard going.
If the sun is shinning (or should I say if it is not raining) and you have a free day this place is well worth a visit. Looking forward to many more visits here with family and friends over the summer.