I’m always on the look out for photo opportunities and when I spotted the Spring flowers and tulip festival at Stonor Park I thought that would be perfect to take lots of pretty flowers pictures. So back in Spring we headed off for the trip there.
On the website it mentioned that with National Trust membership you could get in 2 for the price of 1, but children don’t pay until they’re 6 so we didn’t need to pay for N anyway. Stonor Park’s a beautiful house in parkland. I’ve only ever been for a craft fair years ago, so hadn’t really explored, but as it’s still owned and lived in by the family, it’s got limited opening hours and certainly isn’t like a National Trust property in terms of access and activities. There’s also only a small coffee area, and the toilets were back out by the entrance and the refreshment tent.
It’s a pretty house, on the walk up there were some interesting sculptures that got N’s attention.
The staff were welcoming explaining about the house as you walked in but it wasn’t until I’d taken a few photos (my camera being on full show as I entered) that someone mentioned that no photos could be taken in the house. So the whole reason for me going didn’t happen which was a pain and felt like a wasted trip. It was a shame I’d not seen anything mentioned on the website about it, or I’d not have bothered going given how much it cost for limited things to do.
The house isn’t really set up for children – there’s no trails or activities as far as we could tell, although the flowers did look beautiful, and there were some quirky hat stands that N like to investigate. I did have to explain the catholic church and the hidden room where they kept their catholic tendencies hidden away against the king, but otherwise we were out pretty quickly.
After a toilet break we decided not to walk back up to the house to see the gardens so we were probably in and out within 40 minutes. The car park guy was certainly surprised to see us so quickly!
Instead we decided to head into Henley-on-Thames to get some lunch and enjoy the weather walking down by the river. N turned up his nose at the rowing museum which was a shame, because it meant I had to pay the extortionate £3.30 for 2 hours of parking! Yes, I reckon that has to even beat Oxford parking prices.
Henley is a lovely place down by the river. Lots of boats, lots of green park and play space, lots of ice cream stalls, and on this weekend a few mini kids fairground rides. N decided he didn’t want to go on any, so instead we stopped for a sandwich and drink by the park, eating outside.
Then it was time for a simple walk. Sometimes when the weather’s nice it’s just good to go somewhere new, spend some time together and relax. And that’s what we did.
We talked boats, N fed the ducks and swans with some duck food we’d bought, and we walked up to the main bridge through the town before heading back for ice cream treats.
We also chilled out in a sensory style garden area.
On the walk back N changed his mind about going to the playground so he spent a good amount of time playing there on some really nice play equipment. He wasn’t too sure when a girl came along complimenting him on his jumping technique and ability before announcing he was good enough to play her game with her dad whereby he would stand in the middle and try to stop them, while the 2 of them jumped around. That was an easy way to get N to retreat and look for something else to do.
It was a lovely afternoon out, and considering the beautiful weather not too crowded with people. The day turned out to be a lovely one despite the early flower photo disappointment.
Are you fans of walking along rivers? Do you have any near you? Have you visited Henley-on-Thames?
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