Trentham Gardens, Stoke-On-Trent, Staffordshire

The award-winning Trentham Gardens offer a fantastic day out for IMG_2308all the family, whether you are seeking a place to relax or action-packed fun.   Entrance is via a shopping village, which is rather like walking through the largest gift shop in the world!  There are over 50 shops and 14 cafes so if you want to combine gardens with a retail experience, you can.

On first sight, the gardens are impressive, seeming to stretch as far IMG_2324as the eye can see.  The historic Italian Garden is beautiful; it features fountains and topiary and has over 80,000 perennials.  There is a viewing platform where you can get the best pictures.  A wonderful peaceful place to wander around at your leisure.

Our children enjoyed the adventure playground; ideal for both IMG_2331toddlers and older children. It includes two sandpits with buckets and spades, a mini road with Little Tikes cars and tractors, aerial swing, three climbing walls and plenty of other equipment. Deck chairs are scattered around and are free to use.

The seasonal Barefoot Walk is nearby and our two boys were eager to try it though our daughter decided to give it a miss.  With trousers rolled up to theIMG_3567 knees, our boys waded through mud, ran across sand, tiptoed over cobbles and splashed through a stream.  Even though we visited in October, they thoroughly enjoyed this chilly and messy experience.  Lockers are available to keep shoes in and there are foot showers for cleaning up afterwards.

We did not venture into the maze on our visit due to time restraints but, decided to explore instead theIMG_3509 themed show gardens.  The gardens are linked together but all quite different: the first, bright and colourful, teasing the senses of sight and smell.  Others included a Japanese-style garden complete with bridge, a jurassic garden with logs and atmospheric steam, an allotment with scarecrow and chickens.  Each garden offered something unique and gave us ideas for our own green space.

We had lunch at the Delicious cafe which overlooks the lake.  Food was reasonably priced and tasted good; service was prompt.  We were seated at a table on the terrace where we enjoyed our meal while soaking up the last of the October sunshine.  I had sweet potato soup with a buttered giabatta.  The children’s menu offered a mix-and-match of items.

Our daughter was really excited to follow the fairy trail with fifteenIMG_2307 fairy sculptures scattered in the gardens and around the lake. Made from stainless steel wire and designed by local artist Robin wright, the fairies are exquisite, cheeky and charming, each one entirely individual.  Our daughter delighted in spotting them: one in the lake, another on a bench, one climbing a tree.  We took the easy two mile walk around the lake where many of the fairies are placed.  The boys were eager to take the Miss Elizabeth boat or the miniature train (both seasonalIMG_3574 and weather dependant) half-way around.  The offer of an ice-cream if they completed the walk persuaded them otherwise.  We purchased ice-creams on our way back out through the trail of shops, our daughter particularly delighted with her teddy-shaped cone.

Trentham Gardens is somewhere that could be visited again and again, with plenty to entice all members of the family.

We visited in October 2014.  For prices, opening times and further information go to: http://www.trentham.co.uk/trentham-gardens

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