When my parents were here during the half term holidays we wanted to take them out for the day to somewhere they’d not visited before. We’d got a long road trip ahead of us, so we needed this day to be a little closer to home. Before they emigrated to Spain nearly 13 years ago, they’d lived in North Oxfordshire for a number of years, so finding somewhere ‘new’ for them was a bit of a challenge. But I came up with somewhere and we decided to spend a family day at Greys Court, near Henley.
We’d had glorious sunshine the day before, but of course, it’s England, so there was no guarantee that we’d be lucky two days in a row. We arrived, rain macs at the ready, to spend a family day at Greys Court and little did I know that by the end of the day I’d have been transported back to my own childhood making some special memories.
We picked up a timed ticket so we could explore the 16th century manor house, which is really rather lovely but for us the main attraction of a family day at Greys Court is the gardens. We were a few weeks too late to enjoy the wisteria in full bloom which was a shame, but there’s always something to enjoy and the weather wasn’t going to hold us back. Monkey took on his familiar role as tour guide and headed off, directing us this way and that.
I always feel that Greys Court has one secret garden leading into another. Lots of little ornate gates leading you through a magical world.
Even on an overcast day there was plenty of colour to be found.
There are new things to discover around every corner and the fountain always is a must see attraction for Monkey.
This way our tour guide says as he finds another door to open.
He conjures up tales of knights and wizards as we pass the 14th century tower, and we wonder who passed by in times of old.
There were bug spotting moments for Monkey to enjoy with Gramps, our fountain of all knowledge.
Precious time for Monkey to spend with his grandparents before he dashed off again on a new adventure. Come on Granny.
This way to the labyrinth and off he ran again.
We had no chance of beating him to the centre and out again, and he ran around crying out in glee, I’m the winner.
Next stop the cows as he headed off to the Chinese bridge and fields beyond.
He was eager to show Granny and Gramps the Ice House. This way.
After a walk past the cows Granny and Gramps were allowed to have a little breather as we took in the views.
One of the loveliest things about spending a family day at Greys Court for me was getting to share an experience from my own childhood with my parents and my son. As children my brother and I spent a lot of time walking along the Basingstoke Canal and Black Pond, looking out for insects of all sorts with our parents. Pond dipping was something we just did as standard, but it’s not something I really get to do with Monkey. So it was so wonderful to find some animal life in the pond at Greys Court. We got to see Crested Newts (trust me, they are in these photos), water boatmen, dragonfly nymphs, pond skippers and water snails. In a matter of seconds I was a 7 year old girl again, looking down at the water in wonder, but in reality it was my son, seeing newts for the first time, taking in everything his Gramps was telling him. It was just wonderful.
We had a wonder time spending a family day at Greys Court, and memories were made for Monkey with his grandparents. It was lovely to see.
Maybe pin this for later in case you fancy visiting with your own family.