Thursday, 10 March 2016

Surprising Mum at Tatton Park

Simon and I both live quite a distance from our Mums with mine hundreds of miles away in Norfolk and Simon's a few hours down the motorway in Manchester.  We're definitely guilty of not going home as much as we should and in previous years Mother's Day has involved a simple flower delivery and a phone call.

This year we decided we wanted to do something special for Simon's Mum who hasn't had the best start to her year.  We hated the thought of her being by herself on Mother's Day so decided to plan a last minute trip to the North West without telling her!

I love surprises although when it comes to attempting to surprise my future Mother in Law I don't have the best luck.  After a few sneaky phone calls during the week to try and make sure she'd be home we decided that it was becoming a logistical nightmare.  So on Friday afternoon we made the decision to tell her our plans.  It wasn't quite the doorstep surprise I'd been hoping for but she was still really shocked and very happy.

As we usually spend our time in the North West rushing about we decided this time we wouldn't tell anyone else about our trip so we could just spend the whole weekend with her.  We wanted to take her on a lovely day out and after studying all of the National Trust sites in the North West I decided that Tatton Park would be the perfect treat.


Tatton Park sits in 1,000 acres of beautiful parkland and if you're lucky you get a rather lovely treat when you make your way down the long drive way as the park is home to a gorgeous herd of deer.  The park is free to walkers and cyclists but if you have your car it's £5 to park. 

Unfortunately we didn't have time to explore the parkland but we'll be making plans to return in the Summer months - there's loads of walks to do and I'll definitely be wanting to visit the bird hide. Anyone remember that time Simon and I spent 2 hours sitting in a bird hide?!

Don't let the beautiful blue skies in these photos fool you, although we had some little spells of sunshine it was pretty cold - the kind of weather where you need a bobble hat and sunglasses, no matter how silly you look!

I fell in love with Tatton Park from the moment we arrived.  We felt like we were stepping back in time with the picture perfect old buildings sitting round a cobbled courtyard with a traditional carousel.

Everything you'd need for your visit is positioned around the courtyard including the Gardener's Cottage for afternoon tea, the Gift Shop, Tuck Shop, Housekeeper's Store and Garden Shop if you're in the mood for shopping and the Cycle Hire Stop where you can hire bikes to cycle your way round the park.

Completely distracted by all of the great food on offer we decided that our first stop of the day would be to the Stables Restaurant for lunch.  The Stables offers a variety of delicious home made dishes using produce from the Tatton Estate and the surrounding area.  Needing to warm up we all decided to have the Potato and Leek Soup which we served ourselves from a huge bubbling pot.

Feeling nice and warm it was time to take a look at the map and decide where to head first.  With so much to do it was tough to decide where to begin.  In the end we opted for the Gardens.

As you can imagine most gardens are a little bare at this time of the year and although we were a little too early for Spring flowers I was thrilled that there were some golden daffodils to admire.  They have always been my favourite flower, I just love their happy yellow colouring and how they promise that warmer weather is just around the corner.

The 50 acre garden is gorgeous to walk round even in the Winter and we loved how peaceful it was.  Simon got plenty of time to catch up with his Mum which I think really made her Mother's Day weekend.

Despite the lack of Summer colours the gardens looked stunning and I was immediately transported to my childhood exploring all of the little corners. 

I particularly loved the ornate garden gates and brick walls covered in plants which really reminded me of one of my favourite books, "The Secret Garden".



We kept ourselves warm with some brisk walking and it felt lovely to blow away the cobwebs even if it was a little chilly at times.  I was forever taking off my gloves to take photographs for Instagram, I just couldn't help myself!

We all agreed that our favourite part of the Gardens was the 100 years old Japanese Garden which looked absolutely stunning.  Unfortunately there isn't any access to the Garden but the views from the parameter was perfect and I should imagine not having people traipsing through daily is what keeps the Japanese Garden looking so perfect.

Our Garden visit ended with a little look at the Mansion.  Unfortunately it's closed during the Winter months but we had a good time playing Lord and Ladies on the step outside and resisted the urge to peep through all the windows.

Our last stop of the day was to the working Farm which was what I was most looking forward to, and the main reason why I'd chosen Tatton Park over all of the other National Trust sites close by.

The Farm was everything I had hoped it would be, beautiful old brick buildings with red features, cobbles, hay bales and plenty of farm animals to interact with.  I got chatting to some friendly calves within minutes of entering and would have happily spent my entire afternoon there.

We loved the Piggery which is home to an impressive collection of pigs.  Amusingly one of them shared their name with Simon's niece so Simon's Mum spent quite a bit of the afternoon trying to get a selfie with it (I don't know if you've ever tried to take a selfie with a pig, but it's not easy!)

Unfortunately we were a bit too early to see any babies but if you visit over the next few weeks you could be lucky enough to see some lambing and the newly hatched chicks and ducklings.

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Tatton Park and hopefully we'll have the opportunity to visit again later in the year to see the Gardens in full bloom and explore the Mansion.  2016 is a pretty fantastic year to visit Tatton Park as they are celebrating all things Roald Dahl.   You can go on an adventure with Danny Champion of the World, explore the Farm with Fantastic Mr Fox, enjoy the library with Matilda and, my personal favourite, over Easter weekend there are loads of chocolate activities with Charlie - see the Roald Dahl Events Guide for more information.

Hopefully we'll see there there!

7 comments:

  1. So lovely that you went to visit your mother in law! :) Bet she loved it! Looks like a great NT house too, I've explored the majority of the ones down here and I love them! Alice xx

    www.woodenwindowsills.co.uk

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  2. Lol you are so funny - love that you 'got chatting' to some calves.

    The gardens look beautiful and I can definitely imagine taking the kids here for a good run around. We are hopefully going to visit Manchester in the Summer holidays so I will definitely pop in on your recommendation :D

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  3. I loved the Secret Garden when I was little too! And the Japanese garden is gorgeous. What a lovely treat for Simon's mum.

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  4. I love Tatton Park - such a great day out. I love going at Christmas especially.

    Lizzie Dripping

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  5. Tatton Park is beautiful and it must have been such a nice surprise for her. x

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  6. What a lovely idea, the weather looks like it stayed nice for you too. I love national trust properties all year round even when the flowers are a little sparse from winter. A lovely blog post x

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