Friday, 22 April 2011

Family Fun: Holker Hall and Gardens, Cumbria

After 8 months of living up in Kendal I finally got to take my children to visit Holker Hall and gardens at Cark-in-Cartmel. I'd seen their marketing about an Easter Egg hunt so thought it was an ideal opportunity to get my children to agree to go to a garden (not their favourite idea of a fun destination!).

We had a rather wiggly drive from the A590 through various Cumbrian towns and villages. Its a very picturesque drive and luckily my children don't suffer from car sickness. The route is well signposted with brown signs and yellow ones for the current event. We easily found a space in the car park and were able to spread our picnic blanket on the adjacent bank. Plenty of other families were making use of either the picnic tables or their own rugs.

Suitably fortified we got our entry tickets (£7.50 for me, £4 for my daughter and my son was free) and two Easter egg trails plus pencils. When we arrived at the entrance to the gardens a member of staff kindly pointed us in the right direction to find the first clue! My children were very keen and sped off at a rate of knots to find the required letter:

I was more keen on trying to photograph the gorgeous flowers that filled the gardens with colour:

Using a combination of clues and the garden map we headed out of the formal garden and into the wild flower meadow in search of the standing stones. The gravel labyrinth around the stones was great fun for us all to follow and the children quite happily kept going to the middle. In fact all along the route and in the rest of the garden there was plenty to grab the attention of the whole family and entertain us all:

In fact after collecting the children's chocolate winnings from the ticket office they ran back to the garden for more! They both said they want to come back again as they enjoyed it so much. Unfortunately we didn't have time to see the whole garden in one go as the children were in need of some refreshment from the Courtyard Cafe. Of course this does mean that we will have to come back soon...

There was just enough time for a quick sample of the adventure playground which is nicely shaded and has some picnic benches. This area is accessible without any payment and would be a lovely place to spend a morning or afternoon. In the school room there were Easter craft activities for an extra cost but we skipped these on this occasion. 

All in all a fab family day out of you've still got some holiday budget left! If you get there over the Easter weekend then the hunt is on until Monday. The next event is a big screening of the Royal Wedding on the 29th for £2 a car (there is a marquee for a more upmarket viewing of the event).

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