I think we’ve pretty much exhausted the parks nearby and I like to get out and about to do something a bit more special at weekends rather than just going to the same places.  Maybe parks can be our Friday afternoon treats, with going further afield at weekends?  So I’ve started making a list of places I want to take N to over the Spring and Summer to make the most of whatever good weather we have.

First on our list was Batsford Arboretum.  My brother had taken my mum there in the Autumn as she loved kicking leaves and it was one thing she wanted to do before she went in the hospice, but we’d never been.  We went for opening time and was a good job as the overflow car park was having to be used by the time we were heading home.

The weather was absolutely perfect.  I did make the mistake of taking coats with us which was totally unnecessary, as it was really warm, and with walking we didn’t need them.

The daffodils were out which N loved telling me about

daffodils

The blossoms were looking beautiful – Batsford have lots of japanese trees, and they were looking beautiful at this time of year. The magnolias were stunning (it reminded me of our old house in Windsor when I was a child, where there was magnolia in the front garden)

We followed half the trail round as I wasn’t sure how far N would walk.  I didn’t want to get stuck halfway round with him wanting to be carried back to the car.  He’s way too heavy for that now, plus it would have been too hot and sweaty to do it.  The simple map was really good as it had the features marked on and was easy enough to follow the main driveways and the paths.  We could see everything we wanted without going on the grass, although it was in fact dry enough not to need wellies thanks to the good weather we’ve been having.

waterfall at Batsford

We’ve not really been ticking off our 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾ National Trust activities, but we can now tick off a few for N, including walking behind a waterfall (well, under/through it in this case).  N wasn’t keen on walking past it at first, but after a while he wanted to touch it.  Luckily he didn’t get too wet.

under the waterfall

We also did a bit of tree hugging – not that there’s much chance of joining hands round a Californian Redwood.

tree hugging a redwood giant redwood and boy

N was really pleased to find his very own ‘Stick Man’ at the start of our walk, so that was walked round, helped him try and dig a tunnel, and then clip clopped over the bridges.  It’s even made its way home with us.

boy and stick stickman boy posing on tree stump

We were also lucky enough to spot some frogs in a pond, so we watched those for a while as well as discovering pine cones.

frog in a pond

pine cones

We ended up with a spot of lunch.  The café/restaurant has an outdoor terrace which looked lovely, but there was no shade so we opted to stay inside for our food.  There wasn’t a massive amount of choice, although there were sandwiches, salads, soups and other hot food.  We were eating in the evening so just wanted sandwiches – fine for me, but there were no cold children’s options, just hot. Most places do the usual ‘pack a box’ pick and mix style kids option, but I had to ask for a sandwich without mustard, pickle or horseradish as all the options out had extras that weren’t that child friendly.

Lunch at Batsford cafe

 

We did get a choice of sandwich made up for us without a worry from the staff though, so that was good.  It was a doorstep sandwich, and massive.  Even N who is a real piggy, didn’t each more than half (and all the ham), so I think they could do with a half size option.  £16+ for 2 soft drinks, 2 sandwiches, a slice of cake and a packet of crisps was a tad on the steep side!  I didn’t see any picnic tables where you could be encouraged to take your own food, so maybe that’s why there were fewer families than I would have thought.

They do provide activity sheets for children as we saw one family filling theirs in as they walked round, and there’s a falconry centre next door, so I’d have thought they could have made more of it for children.  It’s nice to go somewhere I don’t have to pay for N’s entry, as it’s one place that is free for under fives, rather than under threes.

relaxing on the tree stump

So, all in all a lovely day out, lots to look at and a lovely walk for Spring.  I shall be doing a separate post for my lovely floral and landscape photos I took.  There’s just too many photos for one post!

Have you visited any arboretums near you?

I’m linking up with #Country Kids over at Coombe Mill, so do check out what other people have been up to.
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

28 Comments

    • He loves being outdoors anyway, but add a stick and a couple of bridges, and he’s over the moon.
      Thanks for popping by

    • I reckon it’s one of those things that you visit on school trips, but never occur to go to outside of that. Unless you’ve a dog maybe. Definitely worth checking it out though

  1. Lovely photos, it looks like a beautiful place to visit. I’ll be having a look around for our local arboretum(s) 🙂 x

    • Definitely do. some are on National Trust sites, others are more independent. But definitely worth checking out

    • Thanks. It was a really nice place. We only did half of it, so still more to explore

    • Think they’re missing a treat, but maybe they just don’t get the younger age range through to warrant it. They do have hot meals for kids though

  2. Looks like a lovely day out and great to tick off more of the 50 things. You’ve inspired me to go further afield to look for our frog spawn now.

    • We were lucky to spot them, it was only that someone else was looking at pointed them out. I’d have not thought to look (disgraceful given I used to go to WATCH/BBONT nature group as a child)

    • N loves hugging at the moment, trees, people, animals. He’s happy…always makes a cute picture.
      Thanks for commenting

  3. I love Batsford, it’s a beautiful spot. I like the food available at the cafe but it’s always a treat rather than a substantial meal that we have.

    • Agree that it’s a treat. Shame there’s nowhere to enable you to take your own food and have a picnic although suppose that removes their profits!

  4. Batsford is on my list. We go to Westonbirt. Tree hugging is a definite favourite. I love that the children can run around and be children. Plus the dogs can come too. #CountryKids

    • Definitely handy if you’ve dogs. Great for a proper family outing while having lots of space

    • lol.
      Even joining hands we couldn’t get more than a third of the way round the tree!

    • Thanks Sara. Having great weather really does help with the beautiful photos.

  5. Aww.. looks like a nice trip to make. I have to confess that we also have exhausted the parks nearby and I would have want a special trip but the budget is a bit tight at the moment. So for now all I can do is look at other people’s trip and drool relly =P

    Thanks for sharing this special day with me/us readers.

    • I was quite surprised at how much it cost for basically just a walk in nice gardens/woods. Once children are paid for, things are an expensive day out.
      Thanks for coming by and commenting

  6. What a wonderful spring walk in beautiful surroundings. I love that you saw a frog too, we still have some frogspawn around but I’ve not seen many frogs yet. That photo reaching out for the waterfall is adorable. Thank you for joining me for Country Kids and sharing your arboretum visit.

    • We don’t really go anywhere to have the opportunity to see frogs, but luckily another person pointed them out to us. Quite exciting.

  7. That sounds like a lovely day – love the stick man. We have sticks that have been given beds and all sorts (I’m not allowed to throw them away!) Lunch and snacks at these places always seems to be extortionate so we often take picnics. We have been to Winkworth Arboretum which is a National Trust place near us. We went in the autumn and had a great time exploring.

    • Autumn’s definitely the best time – lots of leaf kicking. It seems that any outdoor adventure requires a stick if there’s one around

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