I’ve been wanting to spend time exploring Trentham Gardens near Stoke for a few years, but the thought of the drive up the M6 has always held me back. But I was determined that this year we’d get there, and by converting some of my Tesco clubcard points to days out vouchers, it meant we could have a cheap day out in the October sunshine. Daddy P was driving which was a bonus as it was a good two-hour drive from home.
We arrived close to 11am on a Sunday morning to spend the day exploring Trentham Gardens and clearly a lot of people had the same idea. We had to queue to get into the huge car park and I was worried that we would spend the day in a large crowd. But what I hadn’t realised is that there is Trentham Shopping Village before you reach the entrance to the gardens themselves and this area was heaving. I can only imagine what it will be like in the run up to Christmas. As much as I would have liked to browse around the different shops, the menfolk don’t do shops at all. so we made use of the toilets, clocked a couple of ideas for somewhere to eat later in the day, and headed into the gardens themselves.
If you live closer than us you can make use of an annual pass (not with Tesco vouchers though). Exploring Trentham Gardens takes you around the 1 mile long lake with an easy to manage circular walk.
There’s a lot to take in when you spend time exploring Trentham Gardens and we couldn’t have picked better weather to start our adventure. We decided to head towards the formal gardens first.
Given the amount of cars in the car park we were pleasantly surprised by the peace and quiet within the gardens themselves. There were a lot of people enjoying the sunshine, but there was enough space for everyone to feel they had room to run free. My son was soon in his element taking on his normal role of tour leader.
None of us were expecting to see the remains of Trentham Hall which was partially demolished in the 20th century.
As we walked along the edge of the River Trent, the ruins came into view and my son was soon spinning a story of what might have happened within the building.
The building must have looked so impressive in its heyday.
There’s also a viewing platform you can climb up to get a look out across the Italian gardens towards the lake.
I would have liked to spend some time wandering around these gardens but my son had other ideas, he’d sniffed a new adventure ahead, so I snapped a few shots before catching him up.
It doesn’t seem that long ago that my son wouldn’t go anywhere new without clinging to my hand the whole time. But these days he’s so much more confident and it’s lovely to see him running around, having fun, exploring Trentham Gardens.
This way Mummy as he raced off to explore the show gardens with their different themes.
There’s a large adventure playground behind the show gardens which looked popular, but it was too busy for my son so we didn’t get a close look at it. He’s much happier roaming around and taking in the sights.
Dotted all around Trentham Lake are some really beautiful Fairies, I think I probably enjoyed spotting them more than my eight year old son, if I’m totally honest.
Here are a few of my favourites.
Exploring Trentham Gardens is perfect with children as there are so many points of interest as you walk around Trentham Lake. There’s obviously the views across the lake and the wildlife to enjoy.
Even at the end of October there was colour to be found.
There are all sorts of animal sculptures to find and enjoy.
A troll to discover lurking under the bridge.
A root garden.
Generally just lots of points of interest to inspire the imagination. My son loved it all.
Over the years I’ve seen some lovely photographs of the Dandelions at Trentham Gardens but there’s nothing like seeing them for yourself. They, like the fairies, are just stunning to see up close.
There are a few woodland walks that you can take to explore the wider Trentham Estate and we decided to walk up to the statue of the 1st Duke of Sutherland on the monument walk. You do leave the gardens and cross the southern entrance car park to reach the start of the walk. To re-enter the gardens you just need to show your ticket at the kiosk.
Once again my son led the way as we walked up the hill.
He reached the monument well before us and I could see him clambering up the steps. The weather had also clearly changed.
Look Mummy, I’m the king of the castle!
And all great kings are found with stick in hand.
Even though the sun had decided to vacate the area the views looking back at Trentham Gardens were lovely.
My son had spotted that there was a miniature railway running on the day we visited, and we’d promised him a ride once we’d completed our walk. There’s a small additional charge, for this but it was worth it to see my son enjoying himself at the end of our time exploring Trentham Gardens.
We’d had a lovely visit and it’s somewhere I’d love to see again in the different seasons. Our stomachs were calling and we decided to eat at one of the cafes within the Shopping Village as the rain started to fall. By the time we got back to the car it was late afternoon and the traffic in the car park was at a standstill. It took a good twenty minutes to get out as we headed back towards the motorway and into our half term adventures.
Have you been to Trentham Gardens?