As I have mentioned in previous blogs I am a huge fan on places where the kids get to run off energy outdoors but where I can enjoy a beautiful setting, good coffee and easy to navigate paths for the pushchair.
A good friend of mine lives in East Sussex so we agreed to meet at Wakehurst Place for some proper outdoor fun.
We started (as with all great days out!) with a coffee at the entrance. The cafe was lovely – really nice, clean and airy and with plenty of high chairs. iloved their baby chinos and even got a brownie to share (as a concession to meeting our friend) so they were huge fans. Sugar fuelled we set off into the gardens. The crocuses were coming out and were stunning (even if it did mean a fraught 5 minutes with The Bear while we tried to rescue his bouncy ball – our top accessory for visiting gardens where he can chase it with no fear of roads – without trampling the flowers!)
There were sticks and muddy puddles a plenty and after 45 minutes we hadn’t made it more than a 5 minute walk in! Outside the beautiful manor house ( which houses another gorgeous looking cafe and beautiful artisan bakery) we found a huge pine tree. This resulted in another 45 minutes of collecting all of the pine cones they could find and piling them into a hollow at the bottom “to help out Mr Squirrel Mummy” – to be fair they were having so much fun and playing so nicely I was just content to sit in the Spring sun and enjoy watching them whilst chatting to my friend.
Next stop was a gorgeous rockery and duck pond where the little paths between the stones made for some great hide and seek. By then even The Terrorists were exhausted so were content to sit in the buggy while I got my exercise in in the form of an hours walk down to a huge lake and then back up the very muddy hill ( quite a work out!) spotting pheasants and squirrels.
A quick stop in the (extensively and brilliantly stocked) gift shop on the way out enabled is to replace our lost bouncy ball and it was so lovely I opted to take out membership which means for the price of 2 visits I can go as many times as I like for free.
Top Tip – National Trust members get in for free but from April will be made to pay circa £10 in parking so share cars where you can!
Time to visit – I would say half a day though on a beautiful summers day you could probably make a day of it with a picnic blanket
Highlights – definitely the crocuses for me but the lake was also gorgeous and we didn’t see another person for a whole hour!
Getting there –it is definitely a drive (not above on parking). Directions on their website
Pushchair access – everywhere is accessible with pushchairs though beware if you decide to go further afield as some of the paths can get quite muddy. Still it is well sign posted on disability access so take that as your guide
Price – children are free(under 16) and an adult is £12.50. Membership for the year is £25 or National Trust members get in free
Food and Drink – the cafes (well the one by the manor house is more of a restaurant) are both lovely and whilst not cheap serve an excellent quality of food. The artisan bakery looks delicious and will definitely be my choice to accompany a summer picnic. Our brownie ( well the mouthful The Terrorists allowed me) was gorgeous!)
Other attractions nearby – You are only a few miles from the shops and cafes of Haywards Heath
Baby facilities – there is baby change both of the cafes and it is very clean and well maintained
Website – http://www.kew.org/visit-wakehurst/index.htm