Tuesday 30 October 2018

Hillier Gardens

On our first full day in Hampshire my mum chose the Hillier Gardens and Arboretum for our trip out. We were hoping that there would be plenty of colourful foliage like this:

Hillier Gardens and Arboretum autumn foliage

My son was relieved to find that the gardens were well geared up to entertain younger visitors with a Spooky Halloween trail:

Hillier Gardens and Arboretum Halloween

We got a trail and used the map on the back to follow the clues and to complete activities. The first of these was counting pumpkins in the Children's Education garden. Not the real ones like these but over 30 numbered plaques:

Hillier Gardens and Arboretum pumpkins

I got slightly distracted by some of the stunning sculptures:

Hillier Gardens and Arboretum sculpture

There were plenty of interesting places with nooks and crannies to look in for the pumpkins: 

Of course my son found the musical instrument irresistible:

Hillier Gardens and Arboretum

There were signposts to help us find the places mentioned on the trail:

Hillier Gardens and Arboretum Halloween

After making a spider out of sticks and leaves my son reluctantly went for a ride on a broomstick:

Hillier Gardens and Arboretum Halloween

Down in the bog garden was one of the trickiest challenges... counting black bats on a grey slate wall! In the end we took the average from about 6 of us as we couldn't quite agree:

Hillier Gardens and Arboretum Halloween

We detoured off the trail a little bit to check out the Woodland Pigs who have been introduced to clear out the undergrowth:

Hillier Gardens and Arboretum woodland pigs

Back down into the bamboo forest and my son's favourite challenge, the Spider's Web (check out the video at the bottom of the post). He had to weave in and out of the web and went back in for several attempts:

Hillier Gardens and Arboretum Halloween

Next up was a slightly more sedate ghost challenge. The ghosts (beanbags) had to be thrown back into their house:

Hillier Gardens Halloween

No Halloween trail would be complete without some potions. So they had provided a mud kitchen in which to whip up a concoction:

To complete the challenge and discover the magic words you had to read using a mirror:

Hillier Gardens Halloween

After a restorative snack in the cafe we headed down to the playground. This really is designed for smaller children but my son managed to have fun:

Hillier Gardens adventure playground

He showed how brave he has got by leaping off the climbing wall:

Hillier Gardens adventure playground

Our visit ended with a sedate meander around the maze:

Hillier Gardens maze

All in all a good three generation day out with plenty of fun, fresh air and beautiful gardens. Here is a taster of the fun in a short video:

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