A Favourite Place

This weekend we had a  much needed very good Sunday, we’ve had a couple of stinkers recently. We went out to one of our favourite family places, Chatsworth House. We are lucky enough to live within a shortish drive to this glorious estate. My husband and I fell in love with the place before the children came to us but during our plans to adopt we would imagine bringing them to this magical place. We’ve since had many a happy day out here  and a Christmas visit has become part of our seasonal traditions.

The gardens are stunning with something for everyone. Today we had a visit to the Maze, the Rockery, the Cascade water feature,the Grotto pond and played frisbee on the manicured expanse of lawn. Not even half of the delights of the garden were covered. For me on an adult only visit I like to amble amongst the vegetable and flower growing gardens,marveling at the size of the cabbages and the array of dahlias.

The bonus for todays visit and a complete surprise, was the start of the much celebrated Beyond Limits sculpture exhibition in the gardens. This year all the sculptures are by one artist, Barry Flanagan, RA OBE (1941-2009), his bronze hares and  the occasional elephant are posted throughout these beguiling gardens. Turn a corner and out they leap capturing the imagination of young and old, making art accessible to all and enjoyed by the masses.

After an ice cream we headed over to the farmyard and adventure playground. We always pay a quick visit to the guinea pig pen as this is where the children would excitedly head to at handling time before we had our own. Then along to the sty to see  if there were any piglets in the pig pens, two litters of varying size all suckling away.We found a new baby donkey in the farm shed all fluffy and cute looking but no chicks in the poultry house unfortunately.

Then the children head up the secret tunnel to the adventure playground and this is a monster of a playground. Having recently added even more items to this already very impressive play area, there is hours and hours of fun here for the children. There are plenty of picnic tables and benches for the the adults and a coffee and ice cream stall. The sand and water play area where water can be collected from the stream and channeled into some of the sand play area, has always been a particular favourite of my two. At one point  I would bring a spare set of clothing for this part of the day, now to I hope that their more senior years will create more caution, wishful thinking. This therefore always brings us to the end point of our day, and the kids with soggy bottoms and sand filled shoes,  wonder when we can return, before we’ve even reached the gate.

For us returning and partaking in any part of the Chatsworth experience, large or small is simple as we have a “friendship card” having paid an annual sum we have access to the house garden and farmyard and play area free of charge. The current on-line price for a family ticket (2adults & 3children) with a current special  offer of a half price return visit within six months is £45. It’s worth bringing food if you come all day as food onsite although delicious, is a little pricey.

So there you have it a favourite place for us and highly recommended to you all and I’ve literally only touched the tip of the iceberg which is the glorious Chatsworth Estate. To find out more click here.

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