After a wonderful and much needed escape to the sunny gardens of Packwood House on Good Friday, I can confirm this is a great place to take a 15 month old toddler. The whole family had fun as LP tired himself out running around and we got some much needed fresh air and Vitamin D. Although I have to admit that we didn’t actually go inside the house! We were having too much fun outdoors and, let’s face it, all toddlers really want to do is move around. It seems from the Packwood House website that the gorgeous setting is the main pull for other families. We’ll have to go back to check the house out another time.
The house was built in Tudor times and lived in by the same family of “gentleman farmers” for 300 years, before being bought by a wealthy (seemingly somewhat eccentric but much-loved) gent called Graham Baron Ash at the start of the last century. He faithfully restored it in the Tudor style, adding serious luxuries of the time such as en suite bathrooms, and entertained guests to preserve the perfect idea of the English country manor. Sounds idyllic and in the Spring sunshine with daffodils all around, you can imagine the wonderful times people had.
The star of the show for us was the Yew Tree Garden. Beautiful trees that are hundreds of years old give the impression of a maze from the outside. Inside though there are plenty of green spaces for a toddler and his family to run around in. It was the biggest outdoor space that LP had had free rein to run in – the fact it was so well looked after and enclosed let us relax and just enjoy the sight of his toddling. I got some of the best pictures I have taken with LP and his dad, I’ve already updated the home screen image on my phone:
It’s so exciting to see LP gaining in confidence and just loving the freedom of being able to run around! He took quite a few tumbles and struggled to walk uphill at first, but he got up with a smile each time.
At the top of the garden, there is a short set of steps and a gate, which leads to a hedged path that spirals upwards. At the end of this path, there’s a little den with a circular bench built around a tree trunk.
Around the garden there are several artist installations which look like insect hotels or miniature houses for animals. This a reference to the follies which Baron Ash built around the manor to put on plays for his guests and there are full-size ones in the wider surroundings. LP had no idea about any of that, he just thought they were wonderfully fascinating. After an initial investigation he began “tidying up” by pulling twigs from the inside.
Exploring the miniature follies
After this we took a walk around the lake (quite muddy in places so don’t wear your best shoes!), had a close-up inspection of some daffodils and did some more running around in the sun. There’s a kitchen garden and a set of garden games to check out too! It’s well worth a look and we’ll be back. It definitely beats soft play.
Packwood House is located in Lapworth, Warwickshire and is open throughout the Spring and Summer although it’s probably best to check opening times on the National Trust website before heading out. Taking the pushchair around the grounds was no problem, there are good baby changing facilities and a cafe, although you could always take a picnic. The grounds are pretty even so it should be safe to tote small babies around in slings / carriers. It’s £11.50 per adult including gift aid, £5.70 for kids and under three’s go free.