The first thing we saw as we entered Wakehurst Place were hundreds of cyclamen planted under the trees in front of us. They had been scattered like I’ve only ever seen bluebells or snowdrops and looked breathtaking. C kept saying how pretty they were and wanted to go over the fence to be in and amongst them. First chat of the day was about staying off the borders; not only to avoid flowers that we could see but there were signs up saying that bulbs had recently been planted everywhere.
We headed down the paths and I let C lead the way. He chose whichever path he wanted and I followed, pushing S in the buggy.
He raced along the paths and we stopped to collect some of the leaves from underneath the trees. The sky was blue, the sun shining (in fact I was boiling) and the colours were incredible. C was pretty interested in going deep into the ferns, down the rock path and into the denser woodland but with the buggy we stuck to the main paths and I promised to come back with him on my own another time.
There was such a sense of space (it is 500 acres). It felt like we were away in another country and when we passed the eucalyptus trees we could have been in Australia (the smell took me right back to travelling there).
C climbed tree roots (to a dinosaur kingdom) and we saw giant seeds high in the sky.
The boys loved a huge and ancient yew tree. It dates back to about 1620 (around 30 years after the mansion itself was built) and has a trunk diameter of 4.52 metres. I sat and had a coffee while the boys chased each other round and round the tree.
We saw Koi carp in the ponds, a waterfall, a tiny Robin red breast having a wash in the water and endless flowers and trees.
At Wakehurst there is the Millennium Seed Bank, three really good cafes and for children there are tunnels and tens (willow structures), talking totems (totems that make sounds), root route (balance beams) and trunk hopping (stepping logs); amongst other things. For us today the children just ran and explored, collected leaves, conkers, pine cones and eucalyptus bark. C plans on making a picture by sticking some of his leaves together on a piece of card.
The park was quiet today, it was very peaceful and the best day out with the boys that we have had together in a while. The entry was £12.50 (including parking) for myself and the kids (under 17) went in for free. Wakehurst hold events throughout the year (including a winter lantern trail round the gardens at night in December and a chance to see the UK’s oldest Christmas tree). We will be going back at half term to trial the new brand new potting shed and mud kitchen. Look out Wakehurst I’m bringing all three boys; the noise levels may just be a little louder than today! When we arrived today, C asked where the playground was, two minutes in and he didn’t mention it again, content with the open space and nature around him.