I discovered the fascinating Victorian Biddulph Grange Gardens when visiting the Tudor/Elizabethan Little Moreton Hall, just across the border in Cheshire, and combining visits to these two National Trust properties made for a lovely day out in the early spring sunshine.
There is so much to see, even in early spring when the bulbs and rhododendrons are only just bursting into life. The trails and pathways take visitors around the lake teeming with enormous fish, through long, spooky tunnels, up rocky steps and across bridges. There is a woodland trail full of scented daffodil and a field with beehives.The gardens are divided into themes, each with their own microclimate, so you move from Italy, through the Americas, into the Himalayan Glen and on to China, via the oldest stumpery in the country, to Egypt! Enormous fun for children, and for the fit and able, but a little bit taxing in places for those not so sure of foot as there are 400 steps into and around the gardens, some steep slopes and stepping stones. However, you can ask at reception for access via the old toll road to the lake and pinetum which would enable many of the paths to be enjoyed.
The staff are lovely and helpful: I would have completely by-passed China had it not been for the directions of a member of staff assuring me I really did have to climb through a claustrophobic tunnel! However, I completely missed the geological gallery – "the only one of its kind in the world". There is a cafeteria and a couple of shops. Before you leave, don't forget to visit the kitchen gardens where they have plants for sale. I purchased some strawberry plants at the bargain price of 50p each. Staff were proud to inform me that the gardens are to be featured on on BBC 4's new "British Gardens in Time" series on 22 April 2014 at 9pm.
As a member of the National Trust, my entry was free. Adult tickets cost £7.50 and children are £3.77. Further information can be found at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/biddulph-grange-garden