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Tatton Park Farm

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Another planned visit for us this month to Tatton Park but it was the first time that we’ve been able to visit the farm. The farm reopened on the 17th of May and is another reason why we love Tatton Park. The farm which is setback away from the main courtyard and gardens has its own pathway leading to the farm entrance. You can reach the farm by walking, taking the land train or by car if you wish to park in the disabled bays. The land train is chargeable each way and stops at the farm and children's playground, every 20 minutes. 

Boy looking at a goat




Booking is preferred when visiting as it allows the farm to control the amount of visitors per day however we did see a family allowed entry as numbers were low at the time of our visit.  Entrance to the farm is via the shop and once inside you’ll be greeted by donkeys and an introduction video showing what to expect on your visit. 

donkeys on the farm


Once on the farm you can explore the area including a visit to the horses, goats and chickens. The horses will be the first to greet you on your visit to the farm including 21-year-old Blossom.

As always the goats provide lots of entertainment. They love to come up close for a stroke and it is fun watching them play on their climbing frame. You will spot some cheeky ones poking their heads through the fences and jumping up too. You will also find some cows and pigs on the farm too.

Tatton Park Woodland Playground

Tatton Park Woodland Playground

Tatton Park Woodland Playground


Once you’ve made your way past the animals you can head towards the playground area. It's a woodland playground that has lots of different climbing obstacles for the children to complete. It's set out like a trail from start to finish and has balance beams and rope climbing areas to complete.

Cost onto the farm for all visitors including National Trust members is a  £8 for adults and £6 per child. Concessions and family tickets are also available at a discounted rate.

There are lots of picnic benches around for you to enjoy a picnic and there are snacks available in the gift shop. There are two sets of toilets one by the main entrance and one just before you head to the children’s playground.

boy stroking a goat
boy at tatton park farm


Most of the ground is cobbled stones and I did see a few people struggling to push a pram around however when we left I noticed some people had left their prams near the shop. 

Estimated time on the farm does depend on how long you spend in each area but I would think no more than an hour and a half.

We recently visited Tatton Park to complete the Percy the Park Keeper Trail in the gardens which finishes on June 13th. We will be heading back to the farm soon when the new Percy the Park Keeper Treasure Trail lands on 20th of June 2021.
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Michelle
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Dunham Massey, Altrincham Greater Manchester

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We have visited Dunham Massey twice over the past few months and it has quickly become one of our favourite National Trust properties.

boys looking at house across a lake


What To Expect At Dunham Massey, Altrincham, Greater Manchester WA14 4SJ.

Dunham Massey boasts a garden for all seasons, ancient deer park and a house that is filled with treasures and stories.

On arrival at Dunham Massey your tickets will be checked as you drive in to the car park area. Pre Booking tickets is advised and guarantees entry. Once your tickets are checked you are shown to the car park area and ready to start your day out.

The reception area is just as you enter the estate and has a cafe, toilets, gift shop and an ice cream kiosk. It is probably the largest reception area we have seen in the National Trust places we have been to, and its really modern and fresh. 

boy on grass


When you are ready to enter the main estate you can head up the steps or the accessible route which leads you to the courtyard. There is a large lake which you walk past here which has fountain sprays which fire up from time to time and are really nice to look at.  In the courtyard you have access to toilets, ice cream parlour, the gardens and the deer park.  The courtyard also has some pop up stands with freshly cooked pizza, coffee, and cakes to choose from. 

The house, mill and stables are closed at the moment but there is still plenty to explore.  The house itself looks really impressive, and well preserved so we are looking forward to being able to have a look around when it opens.  

boys sat on a bench


From the courtyard you can choose to head out onto the deer trail, or into the gardens. Both are different experiences and I would recommend you visit both when you go. 

The Gardens are a lovely walk through brightly coloured plants and flowers and large open spaces too. There are plenty of benches dotted around for a break or just to take in the views.  The open spaces are really flat which makes it a great place for a picnic, or to play some games. We played frisbee and the area was perfect for that.  As with most National Trust areas a lot of the trees and flowers are labelled so if you want to have a look and see what everything is you will be able to. 

deer park at Dunham Massey



The Deer park is a much larger and open spaced part of the property. You can choose to wander across some of the more open wooded areas, or you can walk the deer park paths, which in places you can't go off as you have the Deer Sanctuary areas which are left alone for the Deer.  There is so much space to explore and the wide areas reminded us of Tatton Park.  If you follow the defined path you will be able to walk all the way to the end of the estate and come back along another path where we did see some deer from a distance.  There is lots to explore and plenty to climb over, run through and generally enjoy the outdoors. 

boy holding an Ice cream


All paths will lead you back to the Courtyard area, which is a good idea as you can get refreshed and have an Ice Cream before you head back to the reception area and have a look in the shop if you like. 

Anything Else?
The car park at Dunham Massey is free and has lots of parking spaces. It's open daily from 9am-5:15pm (weekends) and 9:30am - 5:15pm. (weekdays)

Please check the individual opening times for the gardens, cafe, shop before you visit.

Well behaved dogs are welcome in the parkland (9.30am – 5pm) and gardens (12 noon – 5pm), but must be kept on a short lead at all times to protect the herd of deer.

Pre Booking tickets is essential. 
Prices are 
£8 per adult
£4 per child
£20 per family

There is plenty to see and do at Dunham Massey to keep you busy and makes a lovely day out. 

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Michelle
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Quarry Bank Mill, Wilmslow Cheshire

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At the weekend we visited a new National Trust property, Quarry Bank Mill in Wilmslow, Cheshire. Although some of the property was closed it was still definitely worth a visit. 

Quarry Bank Mill


What To Expect At Quarry Bank Mill, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 4LA.

Quarry Bank Mill is one of Britains greatest industrial heritage sites, home to a complete industrial community. Although the mill and apprentice house remains closed at the moment there is a huge estate to explore.

On arriving at Quarry Bank Mill you will be checked in by a member of staff. Pre booking tickets is essential and guarantees entry. 

boy running on grass


There are a couple of paths to choose from once inside the estate with most heading towards the upper gardens. 

The path that leads to the upper gardens is only a short distance away. The upper gardens are filled with beautiful spring flowers and landscape gardens. There are toilet facilities in the upper garden as well as a small shop and newly opened Garden Cafe.

Boy overlooking gardens

3 people walking ahead


There is a downward winding path from the upper gardens which takes you in to the lower grounds and mill. 

view of landscape

view of landscape

view of landscape

view of landscape
The path can be steep in places however there are oils to hold on to in certain parts. The path features lots of spring flowers and benches to enjoy the view of the estate below. 

boy on grass
Once at the bottom you can access the lower grounds, a range of walking routes, the mill (when open), weaving shed restaurant, mill shop and stables ice cream parlour. 

Southern walk at Quarry Bank Mill


There are four walks to enjoy in and around Quarry Bank Mill. 

The Southern Woods Walk
Distance 2.5km
Duration 50 minutes

Walking routes at Quarry Bank Mill


The Kingfisher Walk 
Distance 2km
Duration 50 Minutes

Giant's Castle Walk 
Distance 6.2km
Duration 2hrs30

dad and son looking in the river

boy walking down a hill

Boy climbing up a hill

boy sitting on a riverbank
We took the Southern Woods walking path and did the route in reverse. There are plenty of things to see along the way including rivers, wildlife and stunning views. There are benches along the way for those who need to rest or take in the views. If walking with the kids there are plenty of opportunities for them to explore and climb.

All routes are circular so bring you back to the estate. 

Anything Else?

The car park at Quarry Bank Mill is free and has lots of parking spaces. It's open daily from 8am - 8pm. The estate opens at 8:30am and there are individual opening times for the range of facilities available 

Gardens 10:30-5pm
Garden Shop 12-4pm
Mill Shop 10:30-5pm
Stables Ice Cream Parlour 10:30-5pm (weekends only)
Weaving Shed Restaurant 10:30-4pm (weekends only)
The Garden Cafe 10:30-5pm 

Dogs of all shapes and sizes are welcome at Quarry Bank Mill. 

Pre Booking tickets is essential. 
Prices are 
£8 per adult
£4 per child
£20 per family

There is plenty of grounds and space around the gardens and mill to ensure social distancing. 

quarry bank mill


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                                      Michelle
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The Secret Path In The Gardens Trail | Tatton Park

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After visiting Tatton Park last Christmas time to join in with their Holly's Festive Feast trail we have been on the lookout for something similar. We found the new trail, Percy The Park Keeper - The Secret Path In The Gardens Trail, which started on 2nd April. 

The secret path sign


What To Expect At Percy The Park Keeper - The Secret Path In The Gardens Trail. Tatton Park, WA16 6QN (Sat Nav WA16 6SG)

Percy The Park Keeper and all his animal friends have headed to Tatton Park this Spring for an adventure. 

The idea behind the trail is Percy is working in Tatton Gardens. You must follow the trail along secret paths and sloping hills to help Percy find all the items that have gone missing which he needs to have a big Spring clean-up

boy looking at a trail map


The trail begins in the garden entrance. You can pick up your trail map and pencil upon arrival and head out in the gardens to start your journey along the secret path. 

Dad and son walking along the grass

boy pointing in a direction of a path


Once you are on your way you can follow the squirrel signposts which will tell you which direction to go in next. 

boy looking at a signpost

boy and dad completing a trail map


There are 7 clues in total hidden around the gardens and you can solve each one and write them down on your trail sheet. Each answer is a missing item that Percy needs to finish his Spring clean up. 

tatton gardens

tatton gardens

tatton gardens


The gardens are so big and you can of course head off and explore the gardens along the way or after you gave finished the trails. There is lots to explore and you can use your map to help you get back on track. 

If you complete all the clues in order when you complete clue number 6 you may spot someone in the distance. It's Percy! Percy is at his potting shed ready to say hello to all his visitors. 

Meeting Percy the park keeper
Meeting Percy the park keeper


When we arrived at the potting shed, Percy introduced himself and had a lovely chat with little J about what football team he supports. He then gave us a a little pot which contained a french bean. He told us all about the bean and the steps we need to follow to help it grow. As it was Easter weekend Little J was also given a Lindt chocolate bunny which was a lovely surprise. We took a quick photo with Percy and then we were on our way to find the last clue. 

Meeting Percy the park keeper


Once you complete the trail there is another photo opportunity with Percy and his animal friends.

On your way out you can collect your Percy The Park Keeper trail sticker to keep. 

Anything Else?
Percy The Park Keeper - The Secret Path In The Gardens Trail is available every day until 13th June 2021.

Times:
10am - 6pm (last entry 5pm) 

Price: 
Garden entry: £8 adult, £6 child, National Trust members go free (but must still book a timed ticket to visit). 

£1 per child for Percy the Park Keeper’s garden trail sheets (including NT members).

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. 

There are plenty of grass areas suitable for a picnic both in and outside the gardens plus there are picnic benches and tables scattered around the estate too. 

The Stable Restaurant is open daily 10am-5pm and offers a limited takeaway menu. 

Parkland is open daily 10am – 7pm (last entry 6pm). The Farm and Mansion are currently closed. 

All vehicles will be charged £8 parking fee, this is half price for blue badge holders, cyclists and pedestrians are free to enter.

Tatton gardens


The gardens have plenty of space to ensure social distancing and the trail is a lovely family day out to enjoy with the little ones.

Michelle

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 Percy's trail yet? Leave us a comment below and let us know about your visit.

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Things To Do In The North West This Easter

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The kids have only been back at school for a few weeks but it won't be long until they are off again for Easter break. Last Easter we were in lockdown in the UK however this year although some things are not fully open yet, restrictions are easing and there are some nice activities to keep us busy in the North West.

illuminated rainbow


River Of Light
Liverpool Waterfront

The River of Light will commence one year on from the day the UK went in to its first lockdown. The River of Light trail will light up Liverpool's Waterfront for a total of 14 nights from Tuesday 23rd March to Monday 5 April. Local residents can explore the free River of Light Trail free of charge. 

There is a total of 11 illuminated artworks in various locations across the city's waterfront. You can view the trail at any time throughout the day however the artworks will be only be lit from 6pm - 10.30pm each night. 

In total the River of Light trail covers 2km and is a full walking loop so there is no set start or finish point. Covid-safe measures will be in place and everyone is required to follow government guidelines so that the trail can be enjoyed by all. 

To see a full list of installations head to visitliverpool.com/riveroflight and for a full list of FAQ's you can head to Visit Liverpool.

Easter Special flyer


Social Kids - The Parking Lot Easter Breakout
Speke Hall Ave, Speke, Liverpool L24 1YD

The Parking Lot Social’s Easter Breakout is perfect to get the kids away from their screens and to enjoy lots of Easter fun. The Parking Lot Social’s Easter Breakout DJ will occupy you for a full 90 minutes including a silent disco, car-a-oke, an interactive quiz, party bingo & lots more.

One hour before the party starts the warm up DJ/MC will host some music, fun and games to get everyone in the mood to party.

The Parking Lot Social’s Easter Breakout tickets are available to buy for both the 17th and 18th April. 

Saturday 17th April 
Gates Open 11am - Pre-show with a live DJ to get you settled in, and hyped up.
Show Starts 12pm - Let the party commence!
End Time 1:30pm approx

Sunday 18th April 
Gates Open 2:15pm - Pre-show with a live DJ to get you settled in, and hyped up.
Show Starts 3:15pm - Let the party commence!
End Time 4:45pm approx

Easter Eggs in a basket


Easter Trail at Speke Hall
The Walk, Speke, Liverpool, L24 1XD

Explore the gardens and park at Speke Hall on their Easter Trail. Complete all the activities at the 10 trail points along the way and have lots of fun.  

To help you along the way you can purchase a trail pack which costs £3 on top of the general admission cost to enter Speke Hall. 

Each trail pack includes an activity sheet and  pencil to help you complete and a chocolate egg or allergen free reward.

The trail is available Wednesday 31st March to Sunday 11th April (except Tuesday 6th April) 10.30am – 5pm. Tickets for the Easter Trail are available to purchase on the day however you do need to book your tickets for Speke Hall in advance and tickets for the Easter period will go on sale on Friday 26th March.

Family Welly Walks


The Storybarn – Strolling into Spring
Calderstones Mansion House, Calderstones Rd, Liverpool L18 3JB

This Easter enjoy the scenery and explore Calderstones Park on a Spring Welly Walk.  Make sure you bring all five senses with you so you can enjoy and play games, listen to stories and even create your own.

The Spring Welly Walks will last a hour-long and will take place outdoors. You can't rely on the great British weather so make you dress appropriately and prepared.  The Storyhunter will be waiting for you on the steps of the Mansion House.

Best suited to children aged 4 - 8 but there’ll be fun for the whole family.

Tickets are available to purchase in advance and £4 each for both and adults and children. Under 1's go free. 

Percy pushing a wheelbarrow


Percy the Park Keeper - The Secret Path in the Gardens
Tatton Park, Knutsford, Cheshire, WA16 6QN (Sat Nav WA16 6SG)

Head to Tatton Park to join Percy the Park Keeper and his animal friends on a Spring adventure.  The family trail will take you inside Tatton Park’s gardens. Follow the pathways and help Percy along the way to take care of nature and wildlife. Why not stop off for a selfie at Percy’s potting shed, here you can enjoy the all the sights and smells of spring. Can you find all of Percy's animal friends along the way? Once you have finished collect your Easter chocolate treat and meet Percy too.

Percy The Park Keeper - The Secret Path in the Gardens trail is available from 2nd April - 5th April for Easter however the trail will continue through to the 13th June.

The trail is available 10am - 6pm (last entry 5pm).
 
Garden entry is priced at £8 per adult, £6 per child, National Trust members go free (but you must still book a timed ticket to visit). £1 per child for Percy the Park Keeper’s garden trail sheets (including NT members,

I will add to this post if more days out / Easter themed activities pop up.

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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 

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Michelle
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Holly's Festive Feast Christmas Trail, Tatton Park

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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.

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

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


Michelle
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