Sunny Sunday’s are meant for exploring parks! We headed off to Wrest Park in Silsoe, Bedfordshire. It’s only about 40 mins or so away from us. Wrest Park is managed by English Heritage and is free to members.
For over 600 years the Wrest estate was home to one of the leading aristocratic families in the country, the de Greys. Apparently every generation has had a different impact on the estate over the years. With over 90 acres of grounds there is plenty to explore and enjoy.
We arrived just after lunch and naturally the children wanted to immediately hang out in the playground! I managed to convince Grayson and Hallie that we would go back and play after we had explored, but Ruby was having none of it and continued to sulk for ages! Oh the joys of parenting hey.
We wandered through the more formal gardens to the side of the house to start with and the spring flowers were gorgeous. Of course Grayson decided to have a roll around on the grass – thankfully not rolling into the flowers! He is so sensory, he probably without realising loved the smell too!
I’d not been into the house before but Grayson was really keen to go in. I love how he loves exploring, and is interested in history. So in we went. We had a quick wander around the ground floor, and looked at the statues, art work, and painted ceilings. Ruby wanted to know who came to borrow books from the library! Grayson took a dislike to a number of the statues calling them gross as they were naked. I wasn’t too sure of the best way to explain to him why they always are – so if anyone has any good pointers let me know!
We wandered out into the grounds, leaving the more formal gardens behind us, we walked across the grass, towards rougher ground along the side of the gardens. There was a gorgeous magnolia tree (is it a tree or a shrub, apologies to the gardeners out there, pretty sure it was a tree!) and I wanted to get some pretty pics of the children. What a silly idea that was, Hallie sulked as Grayson did not want to let her onto the branch, then Grayson and Ruby just grumped and refused to smile. Like seriously how hard is it to smile for a pretty picture – clearly it was very hard. I gave up and got pretty pictures of the flowers instead.
We were told that there was a rumour that there was a huge catfish in the pond in the grounds, so of course Grayson was determined to find it. As if we had a chance of seeing it, the noise my three make. It’s apparently been spotted in the The Long Water, which to me seemed way to shallow for a big fish – but what do I know?! Gray got as close to the edge as humanly possible, and of course ended up with a wet foot. Funnily enough he did not spot it! The rumour was confirmed by one of the volunteers that we met, she said a number of her colleagues had seen it, and there was apparently two large catfish in there. So I guess that we shall be searching for them on every future visit now!
The grounds are so gorgeous to wander around, there is loads to see, lots of hidden trails leading off through the trees that lead to other parts of the gardens. I’d visited twice before but saw parts of the grounds I had never seen before. Letting the children lead, and not really having any agenda (apart from the playground at the end of the day!) is the way forward. It keeps them all happy (mostly) and really helps them to stay engaged. If something catches their eye and they want to dash off to explore then off we go! It was an afternoon of exploring here, there and everywhere. But they all had fun, had three hours outside, and plenty of sunshine and fresh air.
Finally it was time for tea, and for the children to play. I was devastated to find out that the cafe shut at 4pm, so tea and cake was not an option. The children dashed to playground and I popped to the shop for some Vegan Magnums! First outdoor ice cream of the year! They happily enjoyed them, whilst playing before we left to go home. It was a lovely afternoon, so so great to have sunshine. It felt like normal life again, post Covid, with sunshine and no rules & restrictions. – bliss. Let’s hope it continues. What a great start to Spring 2022.
We shall definitely be visiting again soon, they are all keen to go to the St Georges Day celebrations on 23rd and 24th April, with jesters, re-enactments, performances, dragons and St George! We went years ago and it was a lot of fun.
Where to find Wrest Park? – Silsoe, Bedfordshire, MK45 4HR
Entry Costs. (English Heritage Members Free)
To become a member of English Heritage visit: https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/join/ You can pay an annual fee, or by monthly direct debit. Love that they offer this, as it makes it so much more affordable for people.