It’s been almost a week since we went to Compton Verney for a day out, but I’ve only just got round to sorting through all the photos I took. I’d never been to Compton Verney and always meant to given it’s less than half an hour away from us, so when we had a spare day, it was time to make the trip.
I’d checked in advance whether it would be suitable for children of N’s age given it’s basically a museum of art and exhibitions. But the website was pretty comprehensive in detailing what family and child activities were on, plus there is a playground. For under fives it’s also free, and it’s not expensive for adults either, so even if it hadn’t been as expected, it wouldn’t have been that much of a problem.
I needn’t have worried with N though. Let’s face it, he’ll enjoy anywhere as long as there’s lots of green space to explore, and food. Compton Verney has both. I bought a season ticket as for only a couple of quid extra, it will mean I only need to go twice to break even. It’s definitely good value. You can choose to pay extra for the additional exhibitions, but there’s plenty for your money artwork-wise without paying the extra.
The car park’s not far from the house and it’s a lovely walk through the willows, past the Ice House, and over the bridge to cross the lake and walk up to the house.
I hadn’t realised before turning up that there was a Henry Moore/Rodin exhibition in the grounds so I was pleased there were some sculptures to introduce N to. I do like Henry Moore pieces, so it was interesting to see them in the flesh.
The grounds are lovely, and with lots to see and places to explore. There’s also some natural den areas set up for children, although they were a bit muddy so we didn’t really check them out. N did do a spot of tree ‘climbing’ or pretending to ride a horse.
I also tried to explain to him the concept of counting rings on trees to work out their age. My estimation for this stump was ‘very old’ which N seemed to accept.
N refused to let me head up the hill to find the final 3 sculptures, instead he was enjoying playing with the gravel more.
I think he was a bit gutted as I’d told him he couldn’t take his bike or scooter, but there were other children on theirs. But he didn’t seem too concerned as there was plenty of grass to play on, and corners of the building to explore.
The building is beautiful,and inside is full of rooms of beautiful artwork. We only flitted through the Naples room where N seemed to like one painting where he told me ‘the babies haven’t got any clothes on’.
Something tells me he wasn’t feeling much for most of the art on display though.
We did stop in the family room and discover area. If you go to Compton Verney with children, this room gives you more information about the place, provide games and activities for children to play with, and just generally provides a bit of a respite if the children aren’t feeling the grown-up art.
I also had a nosy at the children’s backpacks that are available for free to help kids discover Compton Verney and what’s there. There were a good variety, aimed at different ages. Definitely worth checking out if you head there at the start of your visit.
Of course we checked out the cafe. There’s a proper restaurant as well, but we opted for the cafe. There’s sandwiches, soup, jacket potatoes and salads, and a children’s pick and mix bag for which there were decent sandwiches (no fake cheese or jam!) and nice healthy choices. The service was REALLY slow considering there weren’t really any complicated meals being ordered, but the prices weren’t ridiculous, and the choices were all reasonable.
Before heading back to the car, we detoured off to the playground. The walk through the redwoods was amazing with the sun streaming through them. N was keen to find the biggest stick possible.
I was relieved that he decided to leave it behind.
The playground is better for older children than those of N’s age. There is a toddler area with a train and swings
I think N would have loved to have tried the zip wire, and there were some great climbing and obstacles for older children. I loved the dens that were built around the playground area. We didn’t explore them as it was a bit boggy underground and we weren’t in wellies, but in summer, being there with friends, it would be great to have them as little secret hideaways.
The best thing about Compton Verney was that although the car park was packed when we left, it didn’t seem crowded in any of the places we were in because there’s so much space, even in the galleries themselves.
We’ll definitely be going back and possibly taking a picnic next time to make the most of the grounds.