Well, the Easter holidays are very nearly over and I have to say the weather here in the East Midlands has been pretty disappointing!
It’s been mainly wind, drizzle – heck – even a little sleet!
Still, we did manage to get a couple of nice days last weekend and luckily we actually made the most of them and got out of the house.
Just to be interesting, we decided to steer clear of our usual stomping grounds and instead took a trip to Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire.
We used to go to Newstead Abbey all of the time, but the parking fee (£6 a car!) put us off for a while. However, we were very kindly given a season pass a gift from the girl’s grandma and now we get to visit as much as we like.
It’s very local to us and has some truly beautiful gardens to enjoy. It’s not quite as large as Chatsworth, but that kind of works in it’s favour. You can have a good walk around for an hour or so and feel like you’ve seen everything there is to see.
At the moment, the flower gardens aren’t really much to look at. Eventually, when all the flowers are blooming there will be beautiful rose gardens and flower displays to walk around. I can’t wait to get back there and take lots and lots of pictures. (Which will probably be plastered over Instagram)
If you prefer something a little more original, there are stunning japanese ornamental gardens with lots of little bridges, stepping stones and other novelties to enjoy. Moogle found this part particularly interesting and spent ages pretending she was in the film “Labyrinth”, trying to make her way to the castle in the goblin city. (Nobody could ever accuse her of being unimaginative.)
For the little ones there is a really cute playground with all the trappings. Slides, swings, see-saws, climbing frames – you name it. There is nothing my girls love more than a good play area, so they could have stayed here forever! There are also picnic tables in the play area, so hopefully on a sunny day in the future (if we ever get one!) we’ll be able to enjoy an al fresco lunch while the kiddies play!
I’ve never actually toured the house of Newstead Abbey, but it’s definitely on my to-do list. Moogle is particularly eager to take a look inside, so that will probably be on the cards when we have a bit more time. I’ll be sure to take lots of pictures and write another post when I do.
There is a cafe (which we didn’t go in) and a shop (which we obviously did). The shop is the quintessential stately home gift shop, filled with beautiful little trinkets and knick-knacks. I picked up these cute little flower crowns ( I have no idea when I’ll wear them but that’s really not the point!).
Bug chose a little treasure chest toy (which she protected like Gollum did the One Ring) and Moogle picked up a bow and arrow set. She then proceeded to spend the next half an hour alternating between loving pretending to be Merida and getting frustrated at not being able to shoot the bloody thing! She’s a contrary little monkey!
All in all, I’d say Newstead is perfect for a lovely day out. I do think the parking is a little steep, especially considering you have to pay extra to get in the house itself. The walk around the gardens doesn’t really take much more than a couple of hours. There is an activity centre for kiddies, but I’m not sure what else is offered for the grownups!
Having said that, the season pass is only £35 for the year and you can park there as much as you want. So if you fancy going at least 6 times a year then you’ll more than make your money back. For me, it’s a no brainer. The walk around Newstead is so beautiful I’m sure I could drag myself there at least once every two months (probably more!)
I guess which you decided to choose would depend on how close you live and how often you like to visit. But whatever you decide, it’s certainly a beautiful place and well worth a look. I have lots of lovely memories from there and I’m looking forward to making many more.
Oh, and if you’re really lucky you might see the peacock in full display. It’s truly breathtaking and I would have taken a picture if my stupid phone hadn’t run out to battery!!!! Bloody iPhones!
Do you have a place that brings back special memories for you? Leave me a comment below.