Exploring Castle Ashby Gardens

When we stayed at Chicheley Hall last month I was looking for somewhere we could visit before heading home.  After a family discussion we decided to spend a few hours exploring nearby Castle Ashby Gardens in Northamptonshire.

Exploring Castle Ashby Gardens

Whilst Castle Ashby House remains the private home of the Marquess of Northampton it is possible to spend time exploring Castle Ashby Gardens all year round.  Situated between Northampton and Bedford we found that Castle Ashby Gardens has something for everyone.  It’s a real little gem and one we will visit again when we’re in the area.

We started our visit by admiring Castle Ashby House from afar, and imagined how grand it must be inside.  It has rather unique lettered balustrading around the roof and garden walls.

Exploring Castle Ashby Gardens

The gardens include an Orangery, formal Italian gardens, a woodland, Arboretum as well as a play area and Menagerie.

Exploring Castle Ashby Gardens

My son was eager to pick up sticks so we decided to walk around the perimeter of the gardens first and explore the arboretum.  We passed the estate church just as the Sunday service was in full swing, it was all rather atmospheric.

Exploring Castle Ashby Gardens

Whilst exploring Castle Ashby Gardens we came across this rather impressive fountain, which resembled more of a vast doorway.

There is a nature trail which winds its way around the arboretum but my eight year old wanted to have his own adventure and I’m finding more and more that he strides out ahead of me, stick in hand, leading the way.

Exploring Castle Ashby Gardens

The gardens were full of daffodils when we visited and I can imagine a riot of colour would be found as summer approaches.

Exploring Castle Ashby Gardens

He’s also developed a fascination for tree stumps over the winter and whenever he finds one, he just has to stop to examine it, and normally ends up turning it into a drum.

Exploring Castle Ashby Gardens

As well as admiring the yew, weeping willows and pines, I could look on at my son, listening to his running commentary for some imaginative adventure.  He’s growing up so much and is so much more at ease without being constantly looking for me for reassurance.  It’s lovely to witness.

Exploring Castle Ashby Gardens

Whilst he may not be a dare-devil, he is an adventurer, eager to explore and discover what lies along the next path.

Exploring Castle Ashby Gardens

He does sometimes need to be called back though, to really see what lies in front of him.  The Park Lake stretches out into the private estate, so we had to admire it from behind the fences.

Exploring Castle Ashby Gardens

But the pathways do take you around the Warren Ponds and the terracotta and bathstone bridges.

Exploring Castle Ashby Gardens

Throughout the grounds there are loads of picnic benches but it’s worth noting that the only toilet facilities are back at the main entrance next to the coffee shop and play area.

The formal gardens are lovely to wander around, there was quite a bit of work being carried out when we were in preparation for the busier summer months.  I can imagine the gardens being full of colour and butterflies in the months ahead.

We all loved exploring the various parts of the gardens.

The Orangery is particularly impressive and my son and his Dad were soon to be found counting fish in the pond.

Exploring Castle Ashby Gardens

It was a really beautiful setting and so tranquil.

Exploring Castle Ashby Gardens

There’s a large Walled Garden which unfortunately you can’t access, but you can get a good view of the Victorian Beehives which would be so interesting to see up close.

Exploring Castle Ashby Gardens

When you spend time exploring Castle Ashby Gardens you soon discover that there’s more there than meets the eye as you head into the Menagerie.

Exploring Castle Ashby Gardens

Entrance is included with your ticket, and there are farm-yard animals such as ducks, rabbits, goats and pigs, as well as budgies, parrots and marmosets.

Exploring Castle Ashby Gardens

But the main attraction has to be the meerkats.

Exploring Castle Ashby Gardens

There are loads of them at Castle Ashby Gardens and my son spent ages running around their home looking at the various characters.

Exploring Castle Ashby Gardens

The Menagerie certainly added to the appeal of our trip for my son.  There’s also a large wooden play area at the main entrance, which looked great, with plenty of seating for parents and easy access to the cafe and toilets.

Exploring Castle Ashby Gardens

We thoroughly enjoyed exploring Castle Ashby Gardens for a few hours, and you can find pricing and opening time information on their website.

Exploring Castle Ashby Gardens

Country Kids

Mummascribbles

About Over 40 and a Mum to One

I'm a Mum with an 8 year old son. I had a busy life in Export Sales before my Monkey came along, but decided to become a stay at home Mum once he arrived. Now I enjoy writing my own family lifestyle and travel blog. sharing the adventures that we have as Monkey makes his journey through school. We have a cat called Brewster who makes appearances and I’m a mad Ferrari Formula 1 fan, so that expect to hear about as each season unfolds. We love reviewing days out, toys, games and books and would love the opportunity to look at anything that fits in with our family lifestyle. We are always out and about and offering an insight on the places we visit, with a passion for nature thrown in for good measure. If you like what you read please leave me a comment, I love to hear from people, and always try to reply. Enjoy the read.

22 thoughts on “Exploring Castle Ashby Gardens

  1. Oh wow what a wonderful place to explore! The gardens look so beautiful and the house it’self. What a little adventurer you have striding out ahead and leading the way. He is growing up too fast! What a delight to explore the orangery and see the meerkats, they look so full of character.

    Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids

  2. I love how these places have so much to see and do and generally manage to appeal across the generations.
    How many fish were there?
    Great how he is coming on and gaining in confidence but by bit,,,,,that sounds just like Dixie Dog right now….lol. #countrykids

  3. Wow – this is beautiful! I’ve never heard of Castle Ashby before, but it’s pretty close to my parents – so I’ll be stopping in next time we visit them. Thanks for sharing #countrykids

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