Time flies by and no matter how good my intentions are to revisit places, sometimes it just doesn’t happen quite as quickly as I’d envisaged. We were trying to arrange a meet up with my oldest friend, godmum to my son, and she suggested somewhere she’d found on the internet. It was somewhere we’d been before, but not for a while, and I agreed that I thought it would work well. We spent a cold day revisiting Beale Park, and I’m still trying to come to terms with the fact that our first visit was nearly six years ago!
Beale Park is between the villages of Pangbourne and Lower Basildon in Berkshire and it has something for everyone really. Your ticket includes one train ride around the grounds, there are various animals to look at and there’s also a play ground area to enjoy. There’s a large free car park and an eclectic mix of things to see around the grounds to keep everyone entertained. This starts with the Spitfire that we’d both forgotten about from our last trip.
I did remember the lakes and ornamental gardens, and even on a bleak day they looked rather lovely.
There are statues of animals all over the grounds, so it can be quite fun trying to spot them all. My son didn’t really remember them at all, so he enjoyed discovering them all afresh.
Revisiting Beale Park also gave me the opportunity to take a few then and now type shots. The crocodile isn’t quite so daunting when you’re nine!
On this visit the otters were definitely one of the enclosures my son enjoyed visiting the most.
Whilst the meerkats are always a big draw for him.
Other highlights were the various birds. They have macaws but they were being rather shy on our visit. But the owls were as beautiful as ever.
The farm animals only received a cursory glance on this visit, I guess my son’s growing up and the exotic hold his interest a little bit more these days.
The last time we visited we ate our picnic on the grass, but revisiting Beale Park in mid February on a cold, damp day, would be a slightly different experience, so we decided to have a cooked lunch inside. We timed it badly and the queues were mad and the system just didn’t seem to be able to cope with a lot of people all at once. But that aside, what we had was lovely and we were soon raring to go again.
There are two little museums in the grounds of Beale Park, one showcases toys through the decades, and a trip down memory lane for my friend and I, and lots of excitement from my son. Whilst the other houses all sorts of model ships from Victory through to lifeboats. Both are worth a visit.
As we wandered around the gardens it gave us the opportunity for a bit more animal statue spotting along the way. The elephant was as much enjoyed this time around as he was all those years ago, if you wait long enough you might get splashed with water.
As I mentioned earlier, there is a train that runs around the grounds, and it’s a good way to work out your bearings on a first visit. My son loved it just as much as when he was three. That’s one thing that doesn’t change.
I remembered the play ground from our first visit and my son bravely walking along the rope bridge for the first time ever. This time around it held no fear and he was over it in a flash.
How times have changed. It was fun to spend a day revisiting Beale Park, we shouldn’t leave it so long next time! It’s also really close to Basildon Park, somewhere else we haven’t visited in a long time, so we made a flying visit on our way home, and my son got another stamp for his National Trust passport while we were there. A good day, all told.