Having fun at Canons Ashby

Having fun at Canons Ashby

Do you ever find that you’ve lived somewhere for years and missed visiting a total gem that’s right on your doorstep? That’s exactly whats happened to me recently.  I’ve lived in this part of the country for well over 30 years and had never visited a particular National Trust property.  When I realised it was only 30 minutes away it was time for Monkey and I to make amends as we spent a day having fun at Canons Ashby.

Having fun at Canons Ashby

Within easy reach from Banbury, Towcester and Daventry, I can’t believe we’ve not spent a day having fun at Canons Ashby before now.  We arrived bright and early on a sunny April day.  It’s worth noting that the house isn’t open on Thursdays, and on other days it doesn’t open until 1pm.  The grounds aren’t as extensive as other National Trust properties we go to regularly, but we still managed to fill our day, which rather impressed me.  You do probably need a fair day though to achieve this.

Having fun at Canons Ashby

The gardens feature various terraces, each one with its own style and all have been restored since the National Trust took over the property in 1981.

Having fun at Canons Ashby

The beds look glorious in the sunshine and you couldn’t help but admire the Top and Sundial Terraces. The flowers added a real splash of colour and are apparently replanted again for the summer. We made the most of being one of the first visitors to the gardens that day, and enjoyed having the space to ourselves while we could. Monkey loved looking at the different flowers and was really rather taken with the wooden wheelbarrow.

Monkey was fascinated with the sundial dating back to 1710, the timing wasn’t too far out either.

We got to explore the Fruit and Vegetable Terraces and meet the newly installed inhabitants.  It’s fair to say that Monkey loved meeting Mr and Mrs Scarecrow.  We even looked out for the bees.

Canons Ashby had been home to the Dryden family from 1550 and the Lion Gates at the end of the terraces show their family crest.  You can imagine horses and carriages coming through the gates in a bygone age.  Apparently the road leading up to the gates was once flanked with elm trees, and at some point in the future these will be reintroduced.

You can walk down some steps to explore the parkland on the edge of the grounds.

We were conscious that the lambs were still quite small, and neither of us wanted to start a cow stampede, so we walked around the edge of the parkland trail and headed to look across the fishing lake before heading back towards the more formal grounds again.

Who can resist a quick game of croquet?  Although my son cheats, fact.

Having fun at Canons AshbyWe were both fascinated by the musket training target.  There were clearly some very bad shots as the stone wall was peppered with shots.

Having fun at Canons Ashby

Walking into the Green Court, you move into yet another style of garden, I really did feel as if I’d stepped back in time.

Monkey made friends with the Shepherd Boy statue that dates back to 1713.  I think he wanted to turn one of his sticks into a flute.

Having fun at Canons Ashby

We’d picked up a house trail leaflet when we’d got our tickets for the house and I have to say, it’s a great trail, I’ve never seen my son so enthused by one.  He totally got what he had to do (find stolen laundry) and he loved all the activities to complete in the booklet along the way.  I’ve raved so much about this trail over the last month and know a few families who took me up on the recommendation and have said the same.  It’s a great idea, and kids just seem to love it.

As my 7 year old is commonly known on my Instagram feed these days as Stick Boy, having fun at Canons Ashby including a number of sticks and a stop at the den pen.

It’s also worth visiting the Priory Church of St Mary across the road.

Having fun at Canons Ashby

There are some interesting headstones in the graveyard too.

Have you visited a little gem of a place recently?

Having fun at Canons Ashby

Country Kids

18 thoughts on “Having fun at Canons Ashby

  1. I can see why you loved exploring Canons Ashby, it really does look like somewhere that could fill an entire day with fun. It’s fab that you’re still discovering local National Trust places to go and explore, they really do seem to all be fun for all the family. All the different gardens look so interesting too, I bet it was lovely walking from one to the next to discover what’s around the corner.

    Thanks for linking up with me on #CountryKids.

  2. Wow that looks like a jam packed day! It looks like a great trip out and if we’re ever near there I’ll think I’ll be adding it to the list – the closest one to me is Mottisfont Abbey. the stick pictures make me laugh and I remember seeing it on instagram the other day #CountryKids

  3. So glad I read this, I was trying to think of somewhere to go tomorrow and realise I haven’t visited Canon Ashby for ages. The house trail looks like great fun. #countrykids

  4. It was a very different visit to our 10 minute attempt to see it. Afternoon opening places do annoy me a tad, so we’ve not been back. We went in winter too so it was really cold. Might have to make the effort now #countrykids

  5. It’s lovely when you discover somewhere new on your doorstep. I love the look of all those flower gardens and this looks like a beautiful property to explore. Glad that Monkey enjoyed the trail in the house too 🙂 #countrykids

  6. Gorgeous pictures! My little man would love the den building. I’ll have to keep this NT property in mind next time we travel South


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