Days Out In the North West
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Holly's Festive Feast Christmas Trail, Tatton Park

1 December 2020

14 comments
We have begun our Christmas Festivities with a trip to Tatton Park to enjoy the Christmas Garden Trail, Holly's Festive Feast. 

holly's festive feast sign



boy with rabbit statue



What To Expect At A Christmas Trail: Holly's Festive Feast, Tatton Park, WA16 6QN (Sat Nav WA16 6SG)
Holly the Hare needs your help, she’s been invited to a festive garden feast with Tatton Park’s other woodland friends, but she’s mislaid her invitation! Journey through the Gardens and help solve the puzzles to find her friends at their Christmas party.

Holly Festive Feast party pack


The trail begins at The Gardens entrance where you can pick up your party pack. Inside you will find an animal mask, candy cane, pencils, pencil, sticker, tag for the wish tree and a question sheet and map. 

boy looking at an arrow sign


Next you need to follow the arrows to find the clues to help Holly The Hare get to the party in time. 

Holly's Festive Feast clue

man and boy writing


There are 6 clues in total which take you all around the gardens. You can also head off on different paths to explore if you wish but make sure you get back on track as you don't want to miss the party.

Each clue is easy to solve although younger ones may need a little help from a grown up. Just below each clue is a beautiful stature of Holly The Hare. 

Once you have worked out the clues, pop your answer on the sheet and then head off to find the next clue. 

Two boys looking at a clue

Boy looking at a sign


When you find clue number 6 you then have to find Holly's invitation which will then tell you where the party is. 

Holly's Festive Feast

Holly's Festive Feast

Holly's Festive Feast


Once you have found the party venue join the queue and wait your turn to head inside and see the animals enjoying their party. 

Holly's Festive Feast wish tree

Holly's Festive Feast wish tree

Holly's Festive Feast wish tree




wish tree

Although Holly The Hare made it to her party in time there is still more to do. Next head to the wish tree to put on your own wish.

Roasting marshmallows

Roasting marshmallows

Eating a roasted marshmallow

Eating a roasted marshmallow


Last but not least follow your nose to find Pat the jolly Gardener whose job it is to care for the gardens and wildlife. Pat’s keeping warm by the fire roasting chestnuts.You can even enjoy a chestnut or roast your own marshmallow before heading to the exit as your trail comes to an end.

Anything Else?
Holly's Festive Feast Christmas Trail is available on selected dates
Sat 28th - Sun 29th November
Tues 1st  - Sun 6th December
Tues 8th - Sun 13th December
Tues 15th - Thurs 24th December (including 21 Monday Dec)
Sat 26th December - Sun 3rd January (including 28 Monday Dec)

The trail opens at 10am - 4pm (with the last entry being 3pm). The trail took us well over 2 hours as we explored around the gardens and woodlands so entering at 3pm may cut your time short as it closes at 4pm.

Entry to the mid-winter gardens this festive season is £8 an adult, £6 a child and free for National Trust members.

To experience the full trail experience you may want to the purchase the party pack mentioned above. This costs an extra £2.

There are no toilets inside the garden area so make sure you head to the toilets before you enter which are just outside the gardens entrance. 

Refreshments are available for take away only at Stable Restaurant plus there are snacks, ice creams and drinks available in the gift shop. 

There are lots of picnic benches and tables available to enjoy a picnic for takeaway at with some being under a marquee. 

Head to the Stables Restaurant for festive food and drink and browse pop up Christmas stalls in the stableyard - a mini market of local traders selling homeware, Christmas gifts and more.  This is available to enjoy 11am-4pm
Fri 4, Sat 5 and Sun 6 December
Fri  11, Sat 12 and Sun 13 December 

The cosy Gardener's Cottage this Christmas is inviting you to experience the delights of a Festive Afternoon Tea – and great news for little ones -  they can feel special too with their own limited edition mini festive tea with choice of sandwiches, crisps, hot chocolate or juice and a Christmas tree cookie. Available to enjoy Tuesday - Sunday from 2 Dec until 3 Jan 2021 

Parkland is closed Mondays and open Tuesdays - Sundays 10am – 5pm (last entry 4pm)
Farm and Mansion are currently closed. 

All vehicles will be charged £7 parking fee, this is half price for blue badge holders, cyclists and pedestrians are free to enter.

Please ensure you follow social distancing rules & Government guidelines and if somewhere is busy on arrival, please consider leaving and returning at a later date. 

Face coverings are required in the cafe, gift shop and also the toilets for those aged 11+ (usual exemptions apply)  

Check for local lockdowns / travel restrictions before visiting anywhere. 

Always check with the venue direct as things may have changed after this post was published. 

What Is Close By?
Dunham Massey, WA14 4SJ - 15 Minute Drive
Dunham Massey is a green oasis nestled between the urban sprawl of Manchester and rural tranquillity of Cheshire.

Arley Hall and Gardens, CW9 6NA - 15 Minute Drive
Arley Hall & Gardens is a place of enormous character, charm and interest. Visitors are frequently struck by the warm and intimate atmosphere and the feeling that Arley is a much-cherished family home.

Further Away.
Dream, WA9 4BB - 30 Minute Drive
Dream is a huge sculpture of a child's face situated in the middle of Sutton Manor. You may have read our post recently about our visit to Dream. It's just a 30 Minute Drive from Tatton Park and nice easy walk to enjoy.

Speke Hall Estate and Gardens, L24 1XD - 40 Minute Drive
Speke Hall Gardens and Estate is a National Trust property just outside Liverpool with lots of walking trails, adventure playground and beautiful views of the River Mersey.

Holly's Festive Feast Christmas Trail at Tatton Park will definitely put you in a festive mood and ready for the big day. 

If you found this post useful there are a few ways that you could say thanks and support Playdays and Runways.

Have you been to Holly's Festive Trail? Leave us a comment below and let us know about your visit.

Visit our Autumn Walks In The North West post for more walk ideas

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Michelle
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Visiting Speke Hall Estate and Gardens

25 November 2020

8 comments
As you all know we have been trying to head out at least once a week for a walk and we are trying to visit new places each week. This weekend the weather wasn't too good so we didn't want to go far. We chose Speke Hall Gardens and Estate. Speke Hall Gardens and Estate is a National Trust property just outside Liverpool and last weekend we visited for the first time since it reopened after lockdown.

Speke Hall


Due to current restrictions Speke Hall Gardens and Estate are asking their visitors to pre book your visit with tickets being released every Friday for the week ahead. You can purchase your tickets up to 3pm the day before your planned visit date if available. 

What To Expect At Speke Hall. L24 1XD
Unfortunately Speke Hall is not currently open however there is still plenty to do at the Estate to keep you busy. 

Boy overlooking a runway

airport runway

Boys overlooking the airport runway


Bund Walk
The Bund Walk starts just past the adventure playground and will take you up and around the estate. This huge earth embankment was built in 1967 to lessen the noise and sight of nearby aircraft, when Liverpool airport moved to the east side of Speke Hall. Enjoy the stunning views out across the River Mersey to Wirral and the Welsh hills. 

There are benches along this path where you can sit and if you are lucky you may see a plane take off or land on the very near runway. 

You continue around the Bund Walk until it brings you back round to the front of Speke Hall. 

Childe of Hale Trail

Childe of Hale Trail

Childe of Hale Trail


boy playing woodland instruments

Childe Of Hale Trail
The Childe of Hale Trail also begins just at the back of the adventure playground. Begin a woodland adventure with a sculptured play trail, based on the local legend of John Middleton who was supposedly 9'3" tall! It is even said that he slept with his feet sticking out of his bedroom window in nearby Hale village. Will you spot him on your way around? Remember to look out for giant buttons, optical illusions and some larger-than-life vegetable musical instruments that you can play.

This trail is suitable for all ages and pram-friendly.

woodland playground

woodland playground

woodland playground


Woodland Playground
After the Childe of Hale Trail you will come to a huge open plan area that is perfect for letting the kids go wild! 

Hidden away in the magical woodland, there are lots of exciting challenges for them to take on including a hair-raising zip line, a hill of stepping stones and outdoor balancing obstacles. Will you conquer the wobbly wooden and chain bridge? There's hours of fun to be had in our woods.

Dotted around are huge sticks and branches of fallen trees that are perfect to put together for a den building session. 

Hedge Maze (currently closed)
Will you find your way out of the giant hedge maze? Designed by the world’s leading expert in maze construction, Adrian Fisher, there are 12 gates, 5 bridges, 4 finger mazes, 3 weather vanes and a viewing platform waiting to be discovered. You can even catch a wonderful view of the River Mersey from the platform as a rewarding surprise.

Adventure Playground
The playground is a great place for  the kids to burn off some energy and for the adults to sit and enjoy a takeaway hot drink from the nearby cafe. 

takeaway at speke hall

takeaway at speke hall


Enjoy a Takeaway
At the moment is cafe is open and is offering a selection of hot and cold drinks and snacks to takeaway.

Anything Else?
If you are not a National Trust member then you do need to pay to enter Speke Hall Estate and Gardens. 
Tickets cost £5 per adult and £2.50 per child. There are family ticket options available too. 

Opening Times - Gardens are open 10 - 4 and the cafe is open 10-3.30 every day. 
There are toilets open at the Estate.

There are plenty of car parking spaces all within a very short walk to the main entrance. 

Most of the routes and trails are one way at the moment so keep an eye out for green arrow signposts. 

There are hand sanitiser stations dotted around especially near attractions that require you to use your hands such as the Woodland playground. 

Please ensure you follow social distancing rules & Government guidelines and if somewhere is busy on arrival, please consider leaving and returning at a later date. 

Face coverings are required the cafe and also the toilets for those aged 11+ (usual exemptions apply)  

Check for local lockdowns / travel restrictions before visiting anywhere. 

Always check with the venue direct as things may have changed after this post was published. 

What Is Close By?
If you are looking to make a day out of your visit to Speke Hall then there are a few places you could also visit close by. 

Dobbies, L24 1UX
Dobbies Garden Centre is approx 5 minutes from Speke Hall and is decorated for Christmas.

Royal Albert Dock, L3 4AA
Take a walk along the waterfront just a 15 minute drive from Speke Hall.

There are lots of parks close to Speke Hall including the closest, Calderstones Park and Sefton Park.

Further Away
Dream, WA9 4BB 
Dream is a huge sculpture of a child's face situated in the middle of Sutton Manor. You may have read our post recently about our visit to Dream. It's just a 20 Minute Drive from Speke Hall and nice easy walk to enjoy.

Antony Gormleys Another Place (The Iron Men), L22 1RR
Another Place is a piece of modern sculpture by Sir Antony Gormley located at Crosby Beach in Merseyside, England. It consists of 100 cast iron figures facing towards the sea

If you found this post useful there are a few ways that you could say thanks and support Playdays and Runways.

Leave us a comment below and let us know about your visit 

Visit our Autumn Walks In The North West post for more walk ideas

Like us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram


Share This Post With Friends Who May Also Find It Useful. 

I really hope this post helps you plan your day at Speke Hall Estate and Gardens. 

Michelle
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Visiting Formby and The Red Squirrel Nature Reserve

24 November 2020

19 comments
We have been trying to make the most of lockdown by making sure that we get out at the weekend for some much-needed fresh air. We have a huge list of places that we want to visit in the North West For some scenic walks. A few weeks ago we decided to head to Freshfields which is also known as Formby National Trust Red Squirrel Reserve.

boys walking through the woods


It’s been a while since we visited the squirrel reserve but it's probably one of our favourites and we have been visiting since both John and I were little.  It was once home to lots and lots of red squirrels but as the years have gone on there are less and less and unfortunately we didn't see any on our visit this time. It's a nice scenic walk and perfect for some fresh sea air. 

What To Expect At The Red Squirrel Reserve, L37 1LJ
There are some walking trails to enjoy at The Red Squirrel Reserve including

woodland

boy on a rope swing




woodland

Formby Red Squirrel Walk
​Explore beautiful woodlands surrounding Formby in Merseyside, home to the rare native red squirrel. This walk is mostly covered by trees so if you choose to visit on a wet and rainy day like we did you won’t feel the rain at all.

There is lots of ground to cover and so much for little ones to explore. There are lots of hills to climb and run down and large open spaces perfect for den building.  We even found a tree swing someone had made which was lots of fun. 

woodland space

tree carvings

Formby Asparagus

Formby Asparagus


Asparagus Walk
Have a wander through the crop fields and discover how a spring vegetable helped shaped Formby as it is today. There are lots of information points along the way to read about Formby Asparagus.

boys walking over Sand Dunes

beach

beach


Over The Dunes
The Squirrel Reserve is a short walk away from the coastline and just over the dunes you will find Formby beach which is perfect for a nice stroll or even a paddle in the sea.

Anything Else?
The National Trust Squirrel Reserve can be reached on foot or by car. If you choose to use the National Trust carpark you will be asked to pay £7.50 if you are not a National Trust member.

Toilet facilities are open every day till  3pm however they are closed at 12:30 for a 30 minute deep clean.

There is an ice cream van selling ice cream and refreshments just located by the toilets. Card is accepted however due to poor wifi signal I would recommend taking cash too. There is also a pop-up trailer serving hot and cold drinks and some light snacks including cakes.

If you are heading to the beach upon arrival please take note of the tide times as it can come in very quickly and you do not want to be surrounded by water.

The Red Squirrel Reserve is very popular with local schools so there are lots of picnic benches and family friendly areas situated around the reserve and clearly signposted.  

Please ensure you follow social distancing rules & Government guidelines and if the reserve is busy on arrival, please consider leaving and returning at a later date. 

Check for local lockdowns / travel restrictions before visiting anywhere. 

Always check with the venue direct as things may have changed after this post was published. 

What Is Close By?
Antony Gormleys Another Place (The Iron Men), L22 1RR
Another Place is a piece of modern sculpture by Sir Antony Gormley located at Crosby Beach in Merseyside, England. It consists of 100 cast iron figures facing towards the sea.

Southport Pier, PR8 1QX
Not only does Southport have 22 miles of coast but also boasts the Grade II listed Southport Pier, the oldest iron pier in the country, standing for over 150 years.

Further Away
Blackpool Promenade, FY1 5BB
There’s nothing quite like a day at the seaside, and Blackpool is one of the best beach resorts you will find in the UK.

Speke Hall Estate and Gardens, L24 1XD
Speke Hall Gardens and Estate is a National Trust property just outside Liverpool with lots of walking trails, adventure playground and beautiful views of the River Mersey.

If you found this post useful there are a few ways that you could say thanks and support Playdays and Runways.

Leave us a comment below and let us know about your visit 

Visit our Autumn Walks In The North West post for more walk ideas

Like us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram


Share This Post With Friends Who May Also Find It Useful. 

I really hope this post helps you plan your day to Formby and The Red Squirrel Reserve.

Michelle
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Family Walk At Rivington Pike

2 November 2020

1 comment
Sometimes the best thing to do at the moment with all the restrictions and constant change to what we can and can't do is to find somewhere new to explore and have a day outdoors. We had heard about Rivington Pike a few times before so after some research about the type of walk we could expect we headed out on another adventure. 

View from Rivington Pike


To start your walk, you can park at either The Great Barn House Cafe, or on the road up to Rivington Hall Barn. We parked further away at the Barn House Cafe, as the toilets and availability of parking suited us better. This made our walk a little longer but it was good to be able to get freshened up before we started. From there you walk up to Rivington Hall Barn and your walk starts here. 

Climbing a Rivington Tree


There are multiple paths you can choose to start with, however we followed the signposts pointing towards Rivington Pike which took us around the back of the Barn, past a small waterfall and then up towards Breres Meadow, which has a well maintained path and the remains of a long dead tree that looked fun to climb on. 

Summer House


As you follow the path you will be heading towards the Terraced Gardens which hide a lot of different areas to explore.  There are maps dotted around the Terraced Gardens so that you can decide which of the areas to explore and plan your route accordingly. 

remains of a Summer House

boy walking on bricks


Within the Terraced Gardens there are many 'crazy paving footpaths' that lead to Man Made Caves, The Japanese Gardens, 2 Summer houses and the ruins of a stone Bothy - where the servants used to live. They are quite spread out, and you will need some time to be able to visit all in one day.  On the outskirts of the terraced gardens there is also Lever Bridge and Pigeon Tower that are also worth a look, and we plan to visit again shortly to be able to pick up the parts that we missed this time around.

Rivington Pike In The Distance


Once you break out of the gardens the Pike will be visible, and again there are a number of routes you can take depending on where you come out of the gardens.  We ended up at the far right end of the gardens and our route to the pike from here was quite long with the path more rocky than previous paths had been which made the walk more of a challenge. The path took us out past Bolton Wanderers ground and some great views of the local area, and then swept back round to the left and up to the Pike. 

Rivington Pike


Once at the top it was noticeable that the temperature was lower and the wind stronger. It was also very busy at the top with lots of people having made the journey enjoying the views and sitting on one of the four benches to have lunch. 

A view from Rivington Pike

Looking down from Rivington Pike


We took a different route down which took us past the Summer Houses and Lever Bridge. You could climb into the gaps in the bridge which was good for Little J who wanted to get as high as he could. We then headed down towards Lower House Car Park, which always has an Ice Cream Van there, to reward Little J for his efforts.  

Bridge


From there it was a short walk back to Rivington Hall Barn and then back to the Great Barn House Cafe and Car Park. Overall the walk took us around 4 hours, with a stop for lunch at the top included in this time.  It is one of those places that you would get to know the more you visit so you can expect the walk time to reduce depending on the route you choose and how well you get to know the area. 

If you found this post useful there are a few ways that you could say thanks and support Playdays and Runways.

Leave us a comment below and let us know about your visit 

Visit our Autumn Walks In The North West post for more walk ideas

Like us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram


Share This Post With Friends Who May Also Find It Useful. 

It was another day out that we all really enjoyed, and we will be heading back to explore more days out in the near future.

John
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