Daughter has often extolled the virtues of Burton Agnes as a place to take the two boys for a day out. We decided it was time we checked it out.
You won’t encounter the words “I’m bored” here. This is a visually exciting place which grabs the attention as soon as you arrive. It is a place which stimulates the imagination. The grandchildren can explore, play and run off energy.
Through the Gatehouse there is a long row of tall and carefully trimmed yew trees leading up to the beautiful Tudor Manor House. There are more yews scattered around the lawns surrounding the house. These are perfect for running and chasing round or playing hide and seek. There is also a huge ornamental lake.
The walled garden is huge and has a network of paths through the kitchen garden. There is the chicken wire gardener to find as well as a small fountain. Beyond the greenhouse are what are described as the ‘Coloured Gardens’. These are a series of small secret gardens with giant games of chess, draughts, snakes and ladders and hop scotch to play. There is even a jungle garden with huge bamboos which is great for imaginative play. And there is a maze to get lost in…
The woodland garden has more paths to explore as well as carved animals to find from the owl standing guard at the entrance to giant spiders webs and caterpillars. You can’t miss the wind chimes and the cacophony they make when the wind blows.
There is a special children’s guide book which has a trail to follow and there were several parents and grandparents going round with children using this.
The youngsters may not be too keen on going round the house, but will want to visit the Queen’s bedroom to find out about the ghost…
There is the old Norman Manor House to explore with its spiral staircase. Don’t miss the restored donkey wheel behind the house which was used to draw up water from the very large and deep well next to it.
There is a small play area designed for the younger children with climbing frame charabanc. There are also plenty of picnic tables. The cafe has a child’s menu and the restored 1663 ice cream van sells locally made ice cream. There are baby changing facilities and toddler ‘hip seats’ are available from the reception desk in the hall.
At Easter there are Easter Egg hunts and spooky pumpkin trail over Halloween.
Staff are excellent and aware of the needs of the different age groups. We have often found that places that are good at catering for the kids are also good at looking after the needs of older visitors, including those with disabilities. This is no exception. There are seats to sit and watch the children play and paths are wheelchair and pushchair friendly too. This really does cater for all the family.
Children under five are free and 5-15 are charged half price. There is a slight reduction for seniors too.
All in all this makes an excellent day out. The grandchildren are entertained and best of all they are stretched and encouraged to use their imagination. This is creative play at its best and they are out in the fresh air too.