I visited Burnby Hall Gardens and Museum on a fine summer's day in July when the National Collection of water-lilies was at its peak on the lake at the centre of this attraction. But there are many other features to draw the visitor at different times. As well as the water lilies there are a number of gardens and items of interest, including the stump of the huge tree that is described in more detail at the museum entrance.
Entry to the Stewart Museum is included in the admission price (£4.65 for adults in 2013, with reductions for seniors, children aged 5-15 and groups of more than 20). It houses the items collected by Major Stewart during his world travels from 1906-1926, with some of international significance. The cafe is located in the same building and offers a range of food and drink, from locally-sourced ice-cream to a full afternoon tea for a very reasonable price. You can choose to sit inside the cafe or outside to view the gardens. Toilets are adjacent if needed.
If accompanied by children you might like to go to the children's play area or look at the small aviary. You might also buy some special food from the shop if you wished to feed the fish that surface very regularly. There is also the possibility of purchasing some plants to take home as a souvenir of your visit or perhaps you'd choose a book about nature.
Apart from assistance dogs, no dogs are allowed but the gardens themselves are designed for easy access and all the facilities are wheelchair- and pushchair-friendly, with a few deck areas to permit access to the edge of lake. Wheelchairs are free to borrow and for those who need to take a break from walking there are plenty of seats around the gardens, some in sheltered areas, other overlooking the lake. An illustrated leaflet is provided giving a plan of the gardens.
When I visited the Victorian garden was looking splendid with all its traditional flowers, including a pergola covered with bright pink sweet peas and surrounded by lavender, forming a lovely scented corridor. The rockery area might be more of a challenge to navigate for some but the paths alongside the water are all easy to use and there is a bridge to cross the lake. This provided another vantage point for me to watch the baby moorhens on their floating nests as well as the fish in the water. At the far end of the lake there is the unusual Stumpery, featuring the upturned roots of trees and providing a haven for wildlife.
There are regular events in the gardens from March to December with performances of open air theatre on some July evenings; and on Sunday afternoons between April and September there are fortnightly band concerts. So there is plenty for all ages and testes to enjoy there.