I remember visiting Belton House as a child, the adventure playground was as impressive to me back then as I am sure it was to the children now, one of my fondest memories was of the huge slide they used to have there, I remember sliding down it clutching my newly purchased Victoria Plum book.
Now they have so many wonderful slides, bridges, swings and zip slides it really is an adventure play and was obviously the place to be, as each corner was full of excited children and slightly bemused parents who weren't sure where to stand.
After the playground we headed to the gardens, for me this was another highlight, if you were a child of the 80s you may remember Moondial by Helen Cresswell, I loved the series and have fond memories of running down the path to see the the exact spot of the where the Moondial stood, it is definitely one of those childhood memories that never leave you. The children rolled down the same grassy banks I remember rolling down with my brother., it was perfect.
The beautiful gardens and church were great to walk around in the sunshine and the children loved running amongst the hedges and around the pond. The pond, although empty, was still beautiful and very much reminded me of the one on which we floated boats in Paris last summer.
Heading into the woods, we came across some breathtaking views and daffodils as far as the eye could see. It was a quieter place to be. Away from the hustle and bustle we found a stream where we did some exploring. The children and their dad collected some water from a stream to check for signs of life, they couldn't see anything but we found so many flowers, they more than made up for it.
Further round the woodland we found a wonderful boat house, painted bright yellow, it looked like a little cottage in the woods. I can only imagine what this would have looked like back in the day. So much space and wonderful places to sit and think.
The vast woodland was a great place to explore, we looked under bits of wood to find creatures, and we saw everything from centipedes to beetles and snails to woodlice. Under old logs is the perfect place to look for bugs and insects and searching underneath them together is a great way to get children into wildlife and exploring. Old trees are often a great place to see the tiny holes from woodworm. This old tree trunk was teaming with life and showed the effects of the weather where the rain had worn away the bark.
We had a great time walking around the lake and walking amongst the daffodils, which gave us time to reflect on the busy start to the day. We walked about 5 miles in total around these beautiful grounds, we didn't make it into the house this time but it seemed a shame to be inside when the sun was shining outside. We'll be back on hopefully a less busy day.
Have you been to Belton House? If so which was your favourite bit?