Last weekend we got to visit somewhere that’s been on my ‘to do’ list for a couple of years, and we’ve never quite made it. But I was determined this year that we would go without fail, we’d already had to cancel one weekend I’d planned but on Sunday we drove over to Gloucestershire to spend time spotting snowdrops at Painswick Rococo Garden. We couldn’t have timed it better.
We knew that plenty of people would also want to spend time spotting snowdrops at Painswick Rococo Garden as the weather was so mild for the time of year. So we arrived not long after the Garden opened, to be met by parking marshalls who were really well organised. We parked in a field, but I’m not sure if that’s just used at busy times of the year or not, but there are also some portaloos at this point which come in handy if you’ve driven some distance to get to Painswick.
It’s also worth noting that their cafe can be accessed before reaching the ticket office and there is an additional toilet block there too.
Once we’d paid for our tickets (if we lived closer I’d be tempted by the annual pass), we had a look at the map of the grounds and headed out for our latest adventure. As you walk into the gardens you have a good view down across them, so it’s easy to get your bearings and decide which route you want to take.
We spotted beehives straight away and I can imagine them being full of activity as the months roll by.
My son, as always, led our expedition and he’d spotted one of a few unusual buildings dotted around the grounds, and he was off. This first one is called Eagle House.
From there we headed into the main gardens looking down onto the Snowdrop Grove, which looked quite beautiful.
The display really was stunning, and as well as the snowdrops which were taking centre stage, we also spotted crocuses, hellebores and winter aconites.
At the heart of the garden is the Swan Pond, no sign of swans when we visited, but we did see the resident ducks.
If you’re looking for views across to the privately-owned house at Painswick then head to Pigeon House and you can look back across to see it’s impressive facade.
As for the Pigeon House itself, it was built at the same time as Painswick House, for the purpose of breeding pigeons to eat.
There are clearly defined pathways throughout the garden so the snowdrops are protected from little feet.
The Hidden Hollow Play area is a must for families and my ten-year-old had lots of fun trying out the different pieces of equipment. We didn’t get to try the wooden see-saw as that was occupied but there were lots of squeals of delight to be heard.
We were all rather happy to see the bug hotels dotted around the site, but any inhabitants were tucked up warm inside.
There was plenty of space to run around, as well as places to perch for a moment or two and just enjoy the view.
You might just spot an owl if you keep your eyes peeled, and a castle too.
My son thought he’d found another ice house but it turned out to be a Ram House instead.
And we all agreed that we wouldn’t be plunging into the Plunge Pool in the middle of winter.
Anyone who has ever seen photos of Painswick Rococo Garden will undoubtedly have seen the Exedra, and my son was fascinated by the structure.
Something that none of us was expecting to see during our time spent spotting snowdrops at Painswick Rococo Garden was a maze. The maze in the garden spells out 250 and was laid in 1998 to celebrate 250th anniversary since the Thomas Robins’ painting of the garden, which the renovated garden we see today are based upon.
If you are ever faced with a maze, then my son is the person to have with you. He has such a good sense of direction and a natural talent for working his way through any maze. He does not take after his mother!
The final stop on our visit was to see the Red House, with its colourful stained glass windows.
We’d spent a lovely couple of hours spotting snowdrops at Painswick Rococo Garden and just enjoying being outdoors on a February day. The snowdrops certainly were the stars of the show.
Have you been out spotting snowdrops too?